Scott’s Top Ten Favorite Films of 2016
February 9, 2017. This may seem like very late in the calendar year to put out my list of favorite films of 2016, but I’m actually proud of myself because it’s a whole DAY earlier than last year. I’ll be accepting pats on the back all week, thank you. I don’t know how people make their lists on January 1. It usually takes me all of January to get through the award season movies, and then the movies I’d never heard of but saw on somebody else’s list and then start making my list but get stuck deciding between 3 films for my last spot so rewatch all three, but I’m a little tired so I keep falling asleep during one of them but instead of just not putting that one on my list I finish the rewatch and make a pros and cons list for my final decision. It takes a while, people! I saw a large number of films in 2016 but still feel like I missed some (Moana, 20th Century Women). I liked a lot of them, loved a few, enjoyed some I shouldn’t have and wish I liked 2 of them as much as everybody else did (please make guesses in the comments). I also HATED a handful of crap but won’t get into that here. We have enough negativity going on in the world, let’s keep this post positive!
So let’s get to it. These are my favorites of the year. Not necessarily the best, just the ones that stayed in my mind days or months after seeing, had me recommending to everyone I saw on the street and/or reminded me why I fell in love with movies in the first place. 10 favorites, 2 honorable mentions, 4 people reading this. Let’s go!
HM) Author: The JT LeRoy Story
I saw a lot of documentaries this year to make up for only seeing, like, 3 last year. Instead of talking about the great docs nominated for Oscars this year (Life Animated and 13th are amazing) or Tickled, which is one of the funniest movies of the year, I want to mention this film that I haven’t heard anyone else talking about. I didn’t know the story going in and discovering it as it unfolded was a riiiide so I won’t lay it out for you here but it’s a really well made documentary by the same director behind The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Then after you see it let’s talk and debate whether we need to trust our artists or if enjoying the art is enough.
HM) Captain America: Civil War
Yes it’s a big blockbuster movies. Yes it made more money than Scrooge McDuck swims in. But it’s the best of the Marvel movies so far and I had a blast and it’s only an honorable mention so stop yelling at me, fake person! Black Panther is rad. Giant Man is rad. Spider-Man the Third is rad. Vision in a sweater is rad. You are rad, fake person. I’m sorry I got mad.
10) 10 Cloverfield Lane
Here is the film that won the coveted ten spot after battling it out with Keanu and Blue Jay. It was a good fight but ultimately Cloverfield won out because of how creepy John Goodman is and how perfect Mary Elizabeth Winstead is (just in life I mean). This movie is like an alternate universe Room. That would have been an interesting twist in Room, actually. What if when he rolls out of that rug he had to run from aliens. I can’t be the first person to make this comparison. This is my thought any time I come up with any idea. Self doubt at it’s best. Or is it?
I really didn’t hold it together in this movie theater. I kind of cried through this whole movie. I blame Dev Patel. He’s too handsome and it makes me feel bad for myself. Also probably had something to do with a great story about someone lost in the world. And Google Maps.
Here’s my only gripe: I don’t want to see the pictures and videos of the real people at the end of the movie. Maybe as a special feature on the DVD that I’ll never buy, but tagged onto the end of the film doesn’t sit well with me. It undermines the story I just watched. Also guilty of this in 2016: Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, Florence Foster Jenkins.
This was a surprise for me. I thought it was just going to be your run of the mill bio-pic, a genre that I’m generally not a fan of. But the story being told is fairly intimate and the acting and filmmaking are extraordinary. Natalie Portman has so many levels here and Peter Sarsgaard is as good as he always is. Also that poster is pretty striking, right? Red on red. Come on! Good design!
7) Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Taika Waititi took my number one spot last year with What We Do In The Shadows and gets number seven this year with Wilderpeople. Will Thor: Ragnarok get on the list next year? Maybe an honorable mention. I don’t know, it’s not out yet and I’ve only seen, like, one picture from it. Or it might have just been conceptual art. Conceptual art can’t make a list. Wilderpeople, though. Charming movie. Sam Neill looks like a grizzly bear. That little kid should be in everything.
6) Toni Erdmann
Fantastic German comedy about a “zany” dad connecting with his overworked daughter. This story in another director’s hands could have been just like any other bad comedy. Gross out jokes, cheesy music, somebody throwing a football and accidentally hitting a woman in the face. Instead it’s played like a dramatic thriller, making the jokes punch you in the stomach when they happen. And now Adam McKay is putting Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig in the American remake so I don’t know. (cue woman getting hit in face with football)
5) The Nice Guys
Ryan Gosling should be nominated for this and not the other thing. I guess he doesn’t sing in this so that makes it not as good? It’s a fun movie, super rewatchable. I really dig the father/daughter relationship. Other things I like: Hannibal Buress as the killer bee, the rotating car bit, Russell Crowe doesn’t sing either, how awful all of Holly’s friends are, Josh Hoover cameo, Shane Black is making a Predator movie.
4) Sing Street
This movie is great. If you’ve seen it you agree. Honestly I think this is probably the most universally liked movie of the year. If you didn’t like this movie you probably have some serious issues. Maybe see someone? Everything about Sing Street is pleasant. The brother gets the award for Scott’s Favorite Movie Character of 2016.
Not what I expected at all. Did I expect War of the Worlds? Probably. Or at least Spaced Invaders.
Side note: Spaced Invaders (1990) is the first movie I remember being disappointed by. The first of MANY!
Beautiful direction, haunting score, surprising storytelling (I’m back on Arrival, not Spaced Invaders). Sorry if this is a bit of a spoiler but I loved that the aliens were more of a secondary plot, there to facilitate what the film is really about. And what’s it really about? 2 hours. (I’ll show myself out)
2) Green Room
This was my favorite movie of the year for most of the year. I love what Patrick Stewart is doing these days. He’s choosing some awesome roles and kicking our asses with them. This movie is so scary and creepy and brutal and makes me scared of rock and roll. All those old people were right, it’s the devil’s music. Eric Edelstein is a big mean guy in it and later when I saw him I said “Dude! You got cut open with a box cutter!!!” and he said “Ha, thank you.” Anton Yelchin was always one of my faves. RIP
Remember back when I said these are my favorite films of 2016 and not the best? This is an exception. This is the best film of 2016. This film is written so damn well. It’s directed so damn well. The acting is so damn incredible. The last moment of the film is so perfect it makes me want to not watch another movie ever again for fear I will remember how not perfect most movies end. What are we doing with our lives, guys? At the same time this movie was being made I was writing a sketch about the band Creed. Does the world need a sketch about the band Creed? I wish it did but the answer is a resounding no. The world needs Moonlight. I’m glad it exists.
I’m filming that Creed sketch soon, though.
(cue woman getting hit in face with football)