It’s time for me to look back on the year in movies that was for 2016, and rank my top 10 favorites of the year. These 10 are not what I would objectively call the best, but more what ones I had the most fun or thought were the most interesting. Overall I saw around 50-60 movies so far, which some left to see. I saw Silence and loved it, but after some debating decided to not put it in the top 10. It was a brilliant movie, but it’s story felt a little too cold for me to really enjoy. It would however make my top 10 best of 2016. I still haven’t seen Manchester by the Sea, so that one is not eligible for this list, a is Miss Sloane, Nocturnal Animals, and Lion as well.
- Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie) – August 12, 2016
This is great movie because it blends neo western and crime drama seamlessly. It’s fun to watch of course, but also is insightful about how many people in middle-America might be feeling about the banks and their money. Great performances highlighted by Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges. Director David Mackenzie has done it again after the stirring Starred Up.
- The Nice Guys (Shane Black) – May 20, 2016
If I want to smile, all I have to do is start thinking of moments and scenes from this movie. I love its humor and how great it is to see Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe working together to solve a mystery. This is the funniest movie of the year, and the best thing ever is to hear Gosling scream like a 12-year-old girl.
- Hail, Caesar! (Joel & Ethan Coen) – February 5, 2016
I love watching this movie because it’s full of interesting people doing interesting things in a Hollywood studio. George Clooney is kidnapped, Alden Ehrenreich is a goof character actor, Channing Tatum is a song-and-dance man, and Josh Brolin is just trying to do his job and keep things from getting out of hand. I mean really, would that it were so simple?
- Deadpool (Tim Miller) – February 12, 2016
The best WTF movie of the year. Watching Ryan Reynolds give joke after joke after joke about all kinds of things was great, and when you add it to the fact that he’s a superhero, it’s all the more enjoyable. I loved the look of Deadpool’s suit, and the makeup for Wade’s face was incredible. I can’t wait to see where the filmmakers take us for the sequel.
- Money Monster (Jodie Foster) – May 13, 2016
Besides The Wolf of Wall Street, this is my favorite movie about the stock market. I loved seeing Jack O’Connell hijack the set of George Clooney’s stock market show, and have Clooney strap a bomb jacket to himself. I was on the edge of my seat for almost the entire movie. All the secrets and lies that people tell to try and avoid or get out of situations is so interesting. Jack O’Connell gives one of my favorite performances of the year as someone who’s mad as hell, and is not going to take it anymore.
- Deepwater Horizon (Peter Berg) – September 30, 2016
Besides the battle scenes in Hacksaw Ridge, this was the most harrowing movie to watch at times, but very much worth it. I couldn’t believe how well the explosion of the oil rig was recreated. It was like being there at times. So crazy this happened in real life, but so oddly enjoyable to watch it happen in the movie. It’s like getting a front-row seat to watching a bad car crash. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moment when poor Jimmy (Kurt Russell) gets thrown from his shower and lands a ways away on glass. Yikes!
- Arrival (Denis Villeneuve) – November 11, 2016
Denis Villeneuve is on a roll for me with his last few American movies, Prisoners, Sicario, and now Arrival. I love how he stages each pivotal moment, and how Amy Adams captures the feelings and thoughts of the movie’s audience. In my opinion, she should have been nominated for an Oscar for this, and it’s a shame she wasn’t. My favorite thing in the movie is seeing them go up into the space craft for the first time and not knowing what to expect. It was riveting.
- Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson) – November 4, 2016
This was Mel Gibson’s comeback, and it was a joy. I liked the story of Private Doss, who didn’t believe in going into battle with a weapon of death. He wanted to save lives at the risk of losing his. In this day and age that is very admirable. Andrew Garfield to me gave a wonderful performance, and I will always remember his prayer of “let me get one more”.
- La La Land (Damien Chazelle) – December 9, 2016
It’s obvious why I would love this movie. The singing, the dancing, the classy design and editing, and so much more. I was in awe of the movie and all of its moving parts. I still sing those songs in my head, and I really enjoyed watching Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling live in a dream-like existence for a while.
- Patriots Day (Peter Berg) – December 21, 2016
Every year I look ahead to what’s coming out, and I rank what my most anticipated are. Last year this was #1 with a bullseye because I love movies that are recreations or real life events. I remembered all the coverage I watched on CNN about the Boston bombings and the search for the bombers. The movie was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Peter Berg and his team did a fantastic job with the choice of actors, and it had a good script and set pieces. I also really like how he paid homage to the city and people of Boston, and that he never made anything feel like it was too much and/or offensive. He handled the film with much care. I thank him for that.