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Monday, June 12, 2017

Top 10 Films of 2016



We are well into 2017 and I am just catching up on all of the films from 2016. Having seen what I have wanted to see, and a lot that I didn't, I have finally compiled my list of my favorite films of 2016.



Before we get into the list proper, I wanted to give you a list of films that just missed the Top Ten:


Everybody Wants Some : As much as I don't like most of Richard Linklater's films, I have to say that there are a few films of his that I like and Everybody Wants Some is one of those films. There is just a laid back comfort to this film that a lot of films don't have. There is no plot, we just live with these characters for two hours and enjoy ourselves while doing so.


The Mermaid (Mei Ren Yu) : One of 2016's highest grossing films (worldwide) that most of the public has never heard about, The Mermaid is one of Stephen Chow's best films. The comedic timing of all the actors is perfect and there are many laugh out loud scenes to be found. It is a shame that this film didn't get a bigger release in the States because I think that the film would have found an audience.


Hail, Caesar! : One of the Coen Brothers' best films, Hail, Caesar! contains some of the funniest scenes involving Hollywood I have ever seen. The scene between the proper English director and the out of his league southern actor is something that should be shown in film schools to demonstrate comedic timing.


De Palma : Since we will never get Brian DePalma to sit down for commentary tracks for his films, this doc has to be the next best thing. We are taken through each of DePalma's films as he talks about each film in detail. Fans of DePalma will want to seek this out if they already haven't.



-The Little Prince: This is probably the most overlooked film of 2016. The film tells the story of a little girl whose life is run to the second by her mother. When she meets her next door neighbor, who doesn't live by very many rules, she discovers that life can be fun. The film is a wonder to the eyes and is filled with laughs and tears. This is available exclusively so get a trial subscription and watch this film.

NOW ON TO THE TOP 10!





10. The Nice Guys

Sometimes a film comes along that has everything that it needs to be a success (great actors, a witty script, etc) and the film flops anyways. I put the blame mostly on Warner Brothers for screwing up the film's release. I know that they released the film in the summer as counter programming, but when your counter programming is a bunch of films that this film's core audience will also want to see, that audience has to choose, and films like The Nice Guys loose ten out of ten times.

The Nice Guys is a brilliant film written and directed by Shane Black, a man who shaped what the "buddy cop" film would become with Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, and my personal favorite of his, The Long Kiss Goodnight. Here, he gives us a 70's based comedic thriller starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in their funniest performances. Crowe and Gosling are so good here that they could have had no story at all and the film still would have landed on this list. Add in some genuine shocks and you have one of the best films of 2016.





9. Pete's Dragon

No one expected this film to be good, let only great. Pete's Dragon is a remake of the 70's Disney film of the same name, but this film is wildly different than it's predecessor that it is more a remake in name and idea only.

I had a blast watching this film. The kid actor wasn't annoying like so many that have come before him and the CGI for the Dragon is well done. The only problem that I had with the film is why no one is able to find this kid. Outside of that, I feel that this is the film people should have been talking about, not The Jungle Book and Zootopia.




8. Fantastic Lies

I have three documentaries on this list and they are all worth the time. This film is about the Duke Lacrosse Player scandal where three players were accused of raping a stripper that was brought in for entertainment.

This is an infuriating doc that will make you side with the people who are usually the bad guys in the movies (and in real life). You may not like jocks (I don't), but the way that everything was handled here was wrong and this doc does an amazing job at telling both sides of the story.




7. The '85 Bears

As a kid of the 80's and a resident of the Chicagoland area, the '85 Bears were like superheroes to us normal folk. This doc tells the stories of what the Bears went through to get to the big show and win it all. The doc then takes a turn that no one expected and talks about the concussion aliments that many football players are facing after they have done their service to their team. This is both a celebration of a great football team and a shocking reminder that football is an incredibly dangerous sport.




6. Moana

I hate Frozen. I do. While I think that the film is well made and has some catchy tunes, I find the film very distant, like a robot with no soul or imagination made it. Plus, that damn soon was stuck in my head for two years as Disney kept pushing the film that they didn't realize was going to be the success that it was.

Now Moana, that is a film. Moana is filled with life and has a purpose other than trying to talk parents into buying more useless crap that their kids will forget about once the next one-note kids film comes out. No, Moana is a film that takes its subject matter seriously, but also presents us with a culture that we don't know all that well. The film is sunny and bright and has more colors than the biggest box of crayons. The songs are catchy but won't stay in your head for too long and has Dwayne Johnson in it, so it can't be bad, can it?





5. O.J.: Made in America

In 2016, we had an unhealthy obsession with O.J. Simpson and his life and crimes. We not only had this brilliant 7 hour and 47 minute documentary about his life, fame, crimes, and other things about him, but there was an FX "limited series" about the "crime of the century", the murder of Nicole Brown- Simpson and Ron Goldman, starring John Travolta with a horrible hairpiece and his worst acting since Battlefield Earth.

Made in America aired over the course of five days and each episode was better than the last. It chronicles O.J.;s life before the murders, goes into incredibly graphic detail about the murders and spends time with him after the trial. This is a spellbinding doc that needs to be seen.





4. Sing Street

Sing Street is a film that is filled with joy and doesn't have a mean bone in its body. This film reminds of The Foo Fighters in that it is about the music and not about money or anything else.

Sing Street follows a group of teenagers who form a band because the lead singer wants to date this girl. The band starts to write some really good songs and they get to play at the school's upcoming dance. We see the songs create from start to finish and enjoy the process, which is something that I wouldn't think would be this exciting. The film is just plain fun and, while we want more, we know that anymore would ruin this otherwise perfect film.

If you like this film, I would recommend watching Rockin' 1000. This is a group of 1000 people singing and playing instruments and sing different songs. This is what love for music looks like.





3. Kung Fu Panda 3

This shouldn't happen. How can a film series that you would think had already hit its apex with part 2, give us a number 3 and have it be at least as entertaining as part 2? Doesn't make much sense, but Kung Fu Panda 3 does the impossible. T

The film is filled with laughs and a lot of color and is perfect for kids and adults. The fight scenes are excellent and exciting and we want to see the heroes defeat the baddies. A great film that was all but ignored at the box office, much like my number two film of 2016.





2. Kubo and the Two Strings

If there was just one film in 2016 that deserved everything that it didn't get it would be Kubo and the Two Strings. This is the film that families should have been going to see instead of plunking down more money to see Zootopia or The Jungle Book again. Kubo has more imgination in its left pinkie than the barage of Disney crap that has been hitting theaters over the last few years (minus Moana which was amazing). Kubo relied on story and characters over jokes per minute and that goes a long way with me. I cared more about Kubo's plight than I did about anything that happened in Zootopia. Give this one a watch. It is worth it.




1. Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla is the first Japanese made Godzilla film in over ten years and it is the first one I saw in the theater and it was amazing. The film takes a look at what would happen if Godzilla were to attack Japan now, post 9/11. There is a lot of red tape that has to be crossed before anything can happen, which means that a lot of people could die while the government shuffles their feet.

This is not to say that it is all bueracracy. There is plenty of Godzilla action and the filmmakers were able to make Godzilla scary again. The effects are amazing and seeing this film on the big screen made it all the more special. There are a lot of people who were mad that this film spent a lot of time on the human characters, to which I say "Have you seen any Godzilla films before?" The crowd I saw the film with loved every minute of the film's run time and the overall theater experience was very fun. 

Shin Godzilla is the best film of 2016 because it lived up to the hype that was created and because I love Godzilla.

So there are my favorite films of 2016. Not a bad year in film. 2017 is shaping up to be a great year as well.



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