Look, time is a man-made concept. The Earth doesn’t rotate a perfect 24 hours a day. There was no Year 0. For all intents and purposes, it could still be 2016 in an alternate universe. No?
Well, I’m done making excuses for my chronic procrastination. This was an arduous task, though, as it is every year. I watched lots of movies this year (and missed a lot) so it was even tougher ranking them. I think I have a pretty good list, though.
First things first, you won’t see Manchester by the Sea on here. Nothing about Casey Affleck is interesting. I’d rather stick my hand in a beehive. No, seriously, he sucks. He just shares the same last name as a slightly decent actor/director. Dear God, he’s awful. Ok, moving on. You won’t see Arrival either. I have no good reason, I just never got around to it. Looks good, though, so I’ll see it one day. Hopefully. Hidden Figures doesn’t make the cut because it had a limited Christmas Day release but it’s technically a 2017 movie. Also, no La La Land. It came out at a really busy time for me but it’s on my list of things to see this upcoming week.
I saw 20-30 something movies this year. For the sake of my list, I’m keeping the number at 15. These movies are the ones that I absolutely loved. Before my list, I’ll give you 5 really close alternates.
Marvel’s psychedelic adventure explores daring new territory but falls slightly short when because it is bound by the MCU formula. Still a strong movie, but not strong enough to break into my list.
Southside With You
This movie a great rom-com but throw in the fact that it’s the First Family origin story and it’s even better. It’s a good movie but it’s one of those movies you need to see only once. While I recommend it, it’s still short of making my list.
If you like gratuitous violence and neo-nazis getting their heads blown off, this is your movie. This movie is also one of Anton Yelchin’s last appearances. RIP. Anyway, check this one out if you like violent thrillers.
I usually don’t like this type of movie. I definitely don’t go see these movies at the theaters. I try to avoid hordes of teenagers finding a place to do some heavy petting. But this movie gets in, gets out, and does what it needs to do. If you like Green Room, you’d like this one too.
This movie is about a kid with special abilities. Those abilities don’t really matter. We never really find out what those abilities are. But it’s a testament to Jeff Nichols great skill for storytelling. This movie doesn’t really focus on plot, which is totally a weird thing to say, but it’s driven by emotion.
Now…for THE LIST
15. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Considering I wasn’t too crazy about Cloverfield, I really wasn’t checking for this movie. I waited, waited and waited but one night I needed something to watched. I saw this was available for streaming and took a chance. I was surprised. If you follow me on twitter (which you should) you see me rant about “genre films” within movie franchises. You take a general premise but apply a different genre to it. This movie might be set in the Cloverfield universe but it’s basically a Panic Room-esque movie and it totally works.
14. The VVItch
Ay man…this movie can go to hell. I usually don’t do “scary” movies because 1) they suck 2) they go for cheap tricks 3) they aren’t scary 4) see one but The Witch got me. It’s more of a slow-burning suspense movie than a true horror film but it works nonetheless. The few opening minutes are crazy, the middle gets bogged down but the ending is frightening.
13. Birth of a Nation
There are more appropriate forums to talk about the controversy surrounding the creator of this film. I’m just here to talk about movies so this ain’t one. This movie is a great depiction of Nat Turner’s rebellion and lives up to its ballsy title.
12. Hell or High Water
“You know what I haven’t seen in a long time? A good bank robbery movie”-Me to myself. Ok, I never said that. But I’m saying it now. Whatever. This movie is the story of two outlaws who are robbing banks to save the family farm. This sounds like every country ballad ever but it’s a good movie, I promise. Great performances from Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Daniels.
11. The Lobster
If I had to put a Viewer Beware label on any movie on my list it would definitely be this one. This movie isn’t going to be everybody’s thing. Frankly, it’s weird as hell. There are going to be plenty “what the hell am I watching” moments. But it’s creative, funny, and daring. The Lobster is a movie about a futuristic society in which loners go to a hotel to find love. If they don’t, they’re transformed into the animal of their choice.
Deadpool is the comic movie that the world deserved. It was a great homage to this great character. Not a whole lot needs to be said about this movie because you all know about it already.
I only heard about this movie because it stars Thomas Middleditch. He’s also the star of one of my favorite shows, Silicon Valley. This movie is about a group of friends who go a cabin they previously rented out for an engagement party although Joshy isn’t getting married anymore. You think you know what type of movie this is but you find out why Joshy isn’t getting married within the first 10 minutes and you’re hooked. This movie does a great job of making some incredibly awkward moments funny.
8. Nocturnal Animals
When fashion mogul Tom Ford has spare time, he makes movies. He makes pretty good movies, apparently. I haven’t seen A Single Man but he knocks it out the park with Nocturnal Animals. This movie is about an author who sends a draft of his first novel to his ex-wife. As she begins to read, she realizes that it’s dedicated to her in the weirdest way possible. That’s all I can really tell you. Just watch the damn movie. Plus, it features a GREAT and I mean GREAT performance by Kick-Ass, who goes by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in real life.
I mentioned Jeff Nichols name when talking about Midnight Special. Yep, this is his movie too. This movie is based on the real-life story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple whose cohabitation was ruled illegal by the state of Virginia. Their case went all the way up to the Supreme Court where they won. This story is tough to put on screen considering there’s no real highs, lows, or climax. Once again, Jeff Nichols and his knack for telling a story shine through here. This movie works with great pacing and is emotionally driven just like Midnight Special. Joel Edgerton is good but Ruth Negga steals the show.
I grew up during the golden era of Disney movies. I got Lion King, Aladdin, Toy Story, etc. I guess because I’m older, Disney movies haven’t captured that same magic for me in a very long time. Well, I watched Zootopia watching one thing but received something unexpected. Zootopia is such a good movie with a great lesson. I’m putting this one is my personal Disney classic vault.
Denzel is one of my favorite actors ever but if you told me he didn’t have very many definitive roles, I wouldn’t argue with you. Troy Maxon is instantly one of his standout roles. Though this movie has its (minor) issues, I’m glad he took it upon himself to bring this play to life. You won’t find a better pair on screen this year (well 2016) than Denzel and Viola Davis. This movie isn’t what it is without these two.
4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Much like 10 Cloverfield Lane, Rogue One is also a “genre film”. It’s based on Star Wars mythology but it’s totally a war film. I was pretty hype for this movie but it blew away every expectation I had.
3. Captain America: Civil War
I watched Civil War last week to see if it was as good as my first, second and third time seeing it and it is. This movie goes down and one of Marvel’s best. I’ve already ranted enough about it, though.
2. The Handmaiden
Apparently, I’ve been a Park Chan-wook fan this entire time without realizing it. I loved Oldboy. The Handmaiden might be his best movie, though. There’s sex. Lots of sex. LOTS of sex. But it’s shot masterfully and isn’t cheesy like those Grey movies. The Handmaiden is about a young woman brought in to be the handmaiden of a wealthy Japanese woman in an attempt to finesse her out of her inheritance. It gets pretty crazy after that. You probably won’t hear a lot about this movie because the dialog is in Korean and Japanese but you should stop being lazy and just deal with those subtitles.
No movie has ever quite challenged me like Moonlight. It’s not easy to watch. There are plenty of scenes that took me outside of my comfort zone. The experience is rewarding. Moonlight is a masterpiece. I can’t give a lesser label to it. It’s a story about three stages of a man’s life as he struggles with identity while growing up in poverty-stricken Miami.
This movie works because of the cast. It has to be incredibly tricky to cast 3 separate actors for the same role and make it believable but all 3 versions of Chiron were excellent. Give Mahershala Ali every award for supporting actor. Janelle Monae is proving herself to be a great actor also.
Even with a great story and a great cast, it would be nothing without a great director. I had no idea who Barry Jenkins was before this movie but he’s a very talented filmmaker. This movie is visually stunning. As soon as the movie opens and I hear Boris Gardiner’s “Every Nigger is a Star”, I know it’s going to be good. He uses colors to evoke emotions and great music in the background to bring the scenes to life. Stylistically, this movie is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen.
That’s enough praise for this movie. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
Since there are a lot of good movies coming out in 2017 too, I’ll try to stay on top of those. Maybe I’ll even have a list done within the calendar year. Nah, that’s asking for too much.