Those 10 Movies from 2016 that I really loved

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So here we are, it’s the last day of January 2017 and I’m just now getting my best of 2016 list out there. Yes, I know I’ve been really late with my lists this year and for those who read, it might be annoying, but I guess better late than never right? Anyway, let’s put my lateness aside and get to what I think are some of the best movies of 2016. 2016 was an interesting year for movies, it had a lot of surprisingly good ones, a lot of subpar ones and a lot of shit (which isn’t unusual for any year). I realize now that I probably say this at the end of every year and probably said the same kind of thing last year when I posted this list, but I think the world is growing and the world is changing so every year we have different experiences with movies and we have different emotions with them. Either way, I think maybe I should stop rambling and get to this list, here are my top 10 movies of 2016.

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10. Love & Friendship

Kate Beckinsale is a great actress and she rarely gets her time to shine. She’s in what seems to be an endless amount of Underworld movies, which are fine for what they are but aren’t really the best movies quality wise, and every now and then gets a smaller movie like Love & Friendship where she can really show her talent. Love & Friendship has my favorite type of Kate Beckinsale character in it which gossipy and witty with a slight touch of bitchiness mixed in there. There was a little bit of that in her last collaboration with Whit Stillman, Last Days of Disco, but it’s not nearly as great of a performance (or movie), as the one present. But let’s not shy away from all the other great performances in this movie, it’s filled with wit, class and funny little jabs that the characters throw at each other which I love. Love & Friendship was one of the best times I had watching a movie in 2016 and I would highly suggest to check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

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9. Nocturnal Animals

Of the two Amy Adams movies to come out this year, this is the more dark and haunting one. With A Single Man in 2009 being his debut, Nocturnal Animals marks Tom Ford’s sophomore directing effort and I’d say it’s even better than his first. One of the things this movie does so beautifully and so effortlessly is the way it’s able to go back and forth from reality to this world of fiction. As we get to experience what Amy Adams’ character is reading we get to feel the dark pain along with her, especially as we come to see what has happened in her past with her ex husband. I wouldn’t say this is for everyone especially since it can be brutal at times just with how dark and menacing it can get, but man if it doesn’t hit you right in the gut. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon have to be my two favorite parts of this movie as the avenging husband the officer by his side, they add something to the movie that I don’t think could’ve been made as great without them in the parts. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s a dark affair and I ate up every second of it.

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8. De Palma

This is a documentary about a guy just talking about what he loves to do, and that’s why I love it so much. My dream is that in the future the same filmmakers get other directors to sit down and talk about their long spanning careers because I could watch movies like these 24/7. I knew a little about Brian De Palma before going into this. I knew the basics that he directed, stuff like Carrie, Mission Impossible, Dressed To Kill, Scarface but I never knew about most of his other films and how long his career has been going on for. One of the things I always loved about him as a director is the split screen effect of course but also how much he uses these long takes. There’s nothing more that bugs me in a movie than a bunch of quick cuts, I love long drawn out shots and that’s what De Palma did in a lot of his movies. I wouldn’t go into this movie expecting a full documentary about this director because that’s not what it is, it’s literally just this guy talking about his movies and the experiences he had while making them, along with some great editing of the footage from those movies. It’s a simple little movie and that’s why I loved it.

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7. Green Room

Nocturnal Animals may have been dark and brooding but this is the more brutal and tense side of things. The build in this movie is insane and unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time. It’s hard to put this movie in any specific box because I wouldn’t say it’s horror necessarily but I also wouldn’t just call it a thriller either, it’s a suspenseful movie with moments of intense insanity. Similarly to what I said with Nocturnal Animals, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. The deaths in this movie feel painfully real and don’t give you a second to catch your breath, it really adds to the brutalness of the movie. The late great Anton Yelchin is fantastic as what is pretty much the lead along with another great performance by Imogen Poots. Patrick Stewart is only in a few scenes but he also is amazing as always and will send shivers down your spine. This isn’t the easiest movie to sit through but I definitely think it’s an experience that’s worth your time.

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6. Arrival

Amy Adams has two great performances in 2016 and doesn’t get an Oscar nomination for either of them, that doesn’t make much sense. Yes, Amy Adams has been snubbed and it’s sad but at the same time it really isn’t what matters, what matters is that these movies are great and she is at the peak of her career right now. I do have to say that I think Arrival is the better movie of the two, even though I did love Nocturnal. Adams breathes and lives this movie, it’s her movie, it’s her platform. There’s something that happens in the last third of this movie which I guess you could call a twist that really changed this movie for me. Before it got to that point I was enjoying it and was genuinely interested in where it was going but wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of it. But once that thing happens towards the end the movie comes full circle and it’s really beautiful. I will say that there is one scene that just has some of the worst CGI on Adams but it’s nothing that will ruin the movie, it’s just something that I noticed and thought I should point out for some reason. Arrival is a beautiful and emotional experience of a movie and it’s definitely one of the better “alien movies” in the past decade or so, even if they’re not the sole point of the movie.

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5. Fences

Something that stuck out to me about Fences was how much it felt like a play, and that’s what drew me to it. Originally a stage play, Fences is adapted to the screen in this but still feels like it’s living it’s life on a stage, which maybe a turn off for some but it was a plus for me. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are the driving forces of this movie, with monologue after monologue they own this movie and are the reasons to see it. Like a lot of the movies on this list, it can be a tough movie to sit through at times and you don’t always get a lot of room to breathe, but that’s what this movie is, that’s what the writing is. August Wilson’s writing in the original stage play is so beautifully heartbreaking and it seamlessly transitions to the screen. Like I said before, Denzel and Viola are the sole reasons to see this movie and I think it’s an important one, especially considering the times we’re living in right now.

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4. 20th Century Women

This movie blew me away when I saw it and I’m actually still thinking about it. With Beginners and now this, Mike Mills might be one of my favorite directors in the last few years. I could make it simple and just tell you that Annette Benning is the star of this movie, which she is, but I just can’t do that because every performance in this movie is outstanding. With Greta Gerwig in all her lovliness, Elle Fanning in what’s probably my favorite performance by her to date, Billy Crudup as the cool kind of hippie dude and Lucas Jade Zumann in one of the better teenage roles in the past year or so, the cast is undeniable. The characters in this movie are insanely complex and they’re all so interesting to watch, none of them get thrown to the side or are forgotten about, they’re all present in the moment. 20th Century Women is definitely one I’ll be watching again and again.

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3. Blue Jay

I’ve seen Blue Jay twice now and fall in love with it more and more every time I see it. Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass are the leads and really the only people in this little black and white indie film. With themes of coming back to your hometown and rekindling old flames it all just works so well. You can tell every acting decision was thought out so well and even improvised some of the time, or a lot of the time who knows. As much as I do love Mark Duplass and think he’s amazing in this I do have to say that Sarah Paulson is a bright star for me and just brings an extra layer of emotion to this movie. I’ve loved her since her early days in American Horror Story and anything that she’s been in after, but this really put my love for her in stone. It’s a simple movie about love and longing that I would really suggest to anyone, it’s so so great.

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2. La La Land

I’m going to keep this short and simple, this is a magical film and it’s wonderful. I feel like this movie has become a victim of winning all the awards and therefore it becomes “overrated”. Sure, maybe it doesn’t deserve every award out there and others deserve it more but that doesn’t stop me from loving this movie. It seems like the second the oscars or any of the award shows come around a movie that gets any type of recognition or love in these awards is automatically not that great, but I just can’t and won’t let that happen to this movie. I had a giant smile on my face the whole way through this movie. Sure, it’s not the most complex movie ever and it’s not anything groundbreaking, but it’s fun and I think it knows that. Another complaint is the fact that the two leads can’t sing that well or don’t have strong enough of voices which is another thing I just won’t let happen. I really found nothing wrong with either Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone’s voices. Yeah neither of them have big voices for broadway, but that is not what this movie is trying to bring you, it’s bringing you a story about two dreamers in LA that fall in love and that’s that. So if you haven’t seen La La Land yet and are skeptical about it based on some of the negative things you’ve heard, I’d say fuck it. Go see this movie! It’s a spectacular time and it’s undeniably charming.

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1. Moonlight

This is the best movie of 2016 and is undoubtedly become one of my favorites of all time. Moonlight spoke to me in a way that I never thought it would. Now, it is true that I am not someone who is black or from Miami so I can’t relate on that level but I can relate to being gay and feeling like you are lost in the world because I am gay and I have felt that way. The way this movie chronicles Chiron’s life in three chapters is so seamless it’s something to see. All the actors who play Chiron in the differnt stages of his life (Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes), are really great and somehow are able to make it feel like you’re watching the same person throughout the movie, which isn’t an easy task to feat. Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali and Andre Holland are three other people in this movie that are out of this world great. There’s not much else I can say about Moonlight other than that it’s a beautiful piece of art and that if you haven’t seen it, for god’s sake go watch it!

Thanks for sticking around for this list! Hope you enjoyed it and let me know what you thought below! Till next time!

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A flashback to the worst films of 2016

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I am aware that we are well into 2017 at this point and that people usually will post these kind of lists either in the last few days of December or the first few days of January, but I just don’t roll that way. Yes, it is January 23rd and I am finally bringing to you my worst of list from 2016, what a joy! 2016 was an interesting year for movies because there was a sizeable chunk of pretty great movies and another sizeable chunk of just alright movies. Then there’s a whole other section with all the shit from 2016, and there is a good amount, as always. 2016 has probably been the best year for me as a movie goer in the sense that I actually went and saw a lot of them! Usually I’ll ignore a lot of the ones that I don’t care about or just haven’t been hyped for, but this year I went out of my comfort zone (for better and for worse), and watched a plethora of different things. Like I mentioned above, some were great, some were just alright and some were real stinkers. Today I’m here to talk about the stinkers, the ones that made me realize not everyone cares about making actual good movies and that some people just want money. So before I ramble anymore about the shit that has come out of 2016, let’s get to this list already!

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10. Hell or High Water

I know, you’re probably thinking that this was accidentally put onto the wrong list because everyone loved this movie, but in fact you are wrong, this movie was put on here very much with my knowing. This is one of those movies that everyone (and I mean everyone), loved with a passion and I just did not get anything out of it. I think at the end of the day it’s just not a movie for me, I didn’t get the appeal and I didn’t get the hype. I do think it’s a beautifully shot movie and a beautifully acted movie (although I’m not sure how much more of Jeff Bridges’ mumble acting I can take), and I do get why people love it. It’s possible that hype killed this movie for me too, as it does for so many. Everyone I know that saw it told me it was this amazing thing and that I’ll love it, therefore I built it up in my head and I was let down spectacularly. So really I’m not saying this is a bad movie at all, because it isn’t, I’m just saying I couldn’t find anything to love about it, hence it making this list.

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9. Little Men

Here we have another movie that was adored by everyone that saw it, except me of course. While I can admit that Hell or High Water is a legitimately good movie and has noteable things about it, I honestly really just don’t think this is that good of a movie. You can call me crazy or whatever, but I found this movie to be painfully dull. There’s a few scenes here and there with our two lead kids that are somewhat enjoyable but I couldn’t find a thing about this movie that really stood out to me or spoke to me. The story also just feels so recycled with the two kids becoming friends but their parents get in a fight which leads to them not letting the boys see each other, I saw it all coming. I may be alone again on this one, but I think Little Men is an indie drama that most will forget about a day or two after they see it.

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8. Tallulah

I should really love this movie for the fact alone that it has Allison Janney and Ellen Page in a movie again, but oh man this one is no good. Granted, it’s not so bad I want to turn it off immediately (which is why it’s so low on the list), but it’s just such a pointless and forgettable movie that there’s no use to even try and watch it. I don’t think it’s the worst plot of a movie, it’s somewhat unique and has unexpected actions, but there’s nothing that sticks out about this movie, nothing memorable. And while I did say that it’s somewhat unique it also has it’s generic cliches, girl’s boyfriend leaves her, she seeks out the boyfriend’s mom to get help and to bond with her …but the the worst of all is the trope of the “liar revealed” plot device, which if you know me is a personal dealbreaker. If you couldn’t tell from the name, a “liar revealed” is when a certain character lies to another pivotal character somewhere in the span of the film and eventually in one way or another that lie is revealed to our character that has been lied to and there’s a big dramatic scene that usually involves yelling or crying. And while Tallulah doesn’t have a “liar reveal” element to the likes of an Adam Sandler movie, it’s still there and used as a plot device in what I think is a lazy way. I don’t think I would suggest this one to many people, even ones who are fans of Janney or Page, I’d say you would be better off just re watching Juno.

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7. The Jungle Book

I should’ve made a separate part of this list just called “overrated” because I’m realizing now that I have a lot of movies on this list that were acclaimed by pretty much everyone but myself. It probably doesn’t help that I used to watch the original animated Disney film all the time when I was younger and will judge any other version from that one, but then again that shouldn’t matter if the movie was going to try to stand on it’s own. Again, like Hell or High Water, I think that it’s possible hype could’ve killed this one for me a little bit. Before I actually decided to sit down and watch it everyone was telling me it was so great and visually was stunning, but I just didn’t see it. Visually, sure it’s pretty great for the most part (there were a couple of scenes that I thought looked a little questionable), it’s truly amazing to think about the fact that literally everything in the movie, besides the boy, was made on a computer. But other than that the only thing that I found appealing about this movie and actually different than any of the other adaptations was Bill Murray. I thought he was the one that brought the most life to his character and was actually memorable. As far as the rest of the star studded voice cast goes, they’re alright but I didn’t love any of them or think they were amazing, Scar Jo is nice as the hypnotizing snake, Kaa, in her 5 minute scene and Ben Kingsley is always soothing to listen to, but there’s nothing to really write home about. My biggest problem with this movie is my problem with a lot of these Disney live action remakes (especially with something like Maleficent), what is the point? About halfway through this movie I was starting to get distracted because all I could think about was the fact that this whole movie is basically animated and so why even make this movie when there’s already an animated version that is much better? Clearly, I just did not enjoy this one, you can say I’m heartless but it’s a no go for me.

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6. The Forest

Poor Natalie Dormer, you deserved so much better than this. A horror movie released in January is always kind of bound to be shitty, but I always try to go in with high hopes, especially with ones like The Forest, that seem to have something interesting going for them. But by this stage in my life, I should know better because The Forest is as generic and cliche as a horror movie can get. Natalie Dormer is nice to look at and there’s no denying that she can act (doing the best that she can in this), but there’s just not much to this movie, the forest that we’re hauled into for most of the movie is something to look at (funnily enough is the second movie with the suicide forest in 2016 with Sea of Trees), but as far as our story goes, it’s pretty boring and for the most part predictable. This movie is also filled to the brim with endless jump scares that lead to nothing and stupid decisions. I completely forgot this movie was released in 2016 until I looked it up and most of the world probably doesn’t even know what this movie is or also forgot about it completely.

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5. Suicide Squad

I’m just gonna say it, this movie is really fucking stupid. As you’re gonna see with some of the remaining films on this list, I am sick of all these superhero movies. There was a simpler time when there were really only a few superhero movies every few years, think Iron Man or even before that with a really great Batman movie or a so-so Superman movie, either way there were less of them and they were easier to handle. Over the past few years or so it seems as though all we have are these big Marvel/DC comic book movies that get endless sequels and are all built up into these giant universes. I’ll admit, after the first few big Marvel movies (like Iron Man and Captain America) had come out and it was said that every movie would be connected and eventually they would join together in movies (hello Avengers), it sounded really cool and I was actually all in. But now once we’ve gotten some of this big universe and we’re right in the middle of it and more and more of these things are being released a sour taste is left in my mouth for some reason. There’s no denying that Marvel has perfected this formula at this point and that DC is trying to get that formula down but hasn’t quite gotten there yet. Suicide Squad is part of that DC family and it’s just a mess. Not to mention that these characters aren’t really fleshed out with anything other than a specific song choice (generally having something to do with their name or who they are), and a cool looking title card. So we’re left with these characters we don’t know much about or really care about for 2 hours and it makes for a grating watch. To it’s credit, it does try to have fun with what it has and is more exciting than some other certain DC movies that came out this year, but it isn’t done nearly well enough to be any good. Jared Leto was advertised like crazy for this movie and he’s only in it for a good 3 or 4 scenes. His performance is a copy of Jack Nicholson’s Joker and some whiny rich boy villain and it results in a mediocre performance, which is kind of surprising seeing that I know Leto is a legitimately good actor. I’d say the two highlights of this movie are Margot Robbie and Will Smith because you can tell that they’re both (especially Robbie), having a good time making this movie regardless of it’s quality. And I’ll just say that I am a little excited for the Harley solo movie just to see more of Robbie having a good time and really fleshing out the character way more than this movie did. Let’s just hope we get a better team behind it this time.

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4. Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Suicide Squad may have been a shitty mess but at least it had a little glimmer of fun in it, this has none of that. I can’t say I was excited about this at all really but I was a little curious of what it would turn out to be like. I should’ve expected what I got because it was exactly what you’d think a Batman/Superman movie directed by Zac Snyder would be like. It’s dark (literally), emotionless and even kind of boring. I’m not really sure why I watched this, because I could give less of a fuck what Batman and Superman thought about each other, maybe it was in hopes to see them look hot? Who knows. I don’t have much to say about this one other than, it’s not very good and maybe just avoid it all together.

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3. Independence Day: Resurgence

Another trend that seemed to come about in 2016 was the idea of taking movies from the 90s (or early 2000s) that made a lot of money and making pointless sequels out of them. Independence Day: Resurgence is the perfect example of that trend, it’s pointless and it’s stupid. Look, I’m sure there were a lot of people who really enjoyed this movie for what it was, and I respect that, but I’m not one of those people. Like The Jungle Book, I kept thinking to myself while watching “why does this exist?”. Someone out there in the world thought it was a good idea to add a second part to the story of Independence Day but without Will Smith and without what made the original movie so appealing. When the original Independence Day came out it had groundbreaking effects, it looked like the white house was really being blown up, but this one doesn’t have that and it’s bland. End of story, goodbye.

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2. Me Before You

If you’ve read my review of this from last year when it came out, then you know how I feel about this one. Man, the actors from Game of Thrones just can’t get a break! With Emilia Clarke in this and Natalie Dormer in The Forest, maybe Game of Thrones is cursed for anyone trying to do movies, I don’t know. It surprised me too that Emilia Clarke decided to be in this due to the fact that she plays a strong, fierce leader in Game of Thrones and in this she’s a useless nothing that sort of just gets used and then left behind by the end (but oh no it’s okay because cheesy movie endings). And yeah, let’s talk about how our leading guy is kind of an asshole. Spoiler alert, he decided to fall for Emilia Clarke but then kind of just decides life isn’t worth it so he’s gonna decide to die anyway. It’s as cliche as a movie can get and hits every note you think it’s going to hit, has all the montages you think it’s going to have, Emilia Clarke’s eyebrows have a life of their own for some reason and her face never stops moving. It’s all just a huge mess that I would avoid altogether if I were you.

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1. The Choice

I know what you’re thinking, what could be worse than what I just said about the previous movie? Well, there’s always Nicholas Sparks to help with that. The tagline for this movie should’ve been “even Safe Haven wasn’t this bad” because my fucking god this has to be the worst of the Nicholas Sparks lot. I would watch The Last Song or Nights In Rodanthe 100 times each before having to watch this by the numbers snoozefest again. I’ll just start with the thing that bugged me the most about this whole experience, the fact that our main guy, the one we’re supposed to feel and root for, is a complete asshole and kind of just gets away with it. I knew from the first scene with him that I was going to hate him throughout and the movie didn’t let me down. The story isn’t worth mentioning because it’s laughably familiar and I get bored even trying to type it out. As expected with these movies that seem to come out every year (when are people going to run out of Nicholas Sparks books to adapt, seriously did he write that many?), and every time they seem to get worse and worse. Of all the ones I’ve seen/tolerated, this one has by far been the worst. And that is why this has made the #1 spot for the worst of 2016, it wholly deserved it and i wouldn’t put anything else in it’s place.

 

That’s about it for my worst of 2016! Hope you enjoyed it and thought it was readable (if not I am so sorry and don’t know why you came in the first place), and make sure to look out for the best of 2016 coming in the next few days!