It is that time of year where we all do our best and worst list, I’ve done two already (Best Games, Worst Games) and now I’ve moved on to film, so here are my picks for best movies of 2016. Before I get to the list though, here are some honorable mentions, The Greenroom, Rogue One A Star Wars Story, War Dogs, Zootopia, Pete’s Dragon, and the Jungle Book.
7. Star Trek Beyond: When J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek Universe he did what I thought was impossible, took a beloved universe with characters we identify with the actors who originally portrayed them and make it work. The smart move J.J. did was create a separate timeline so he could say everything we saw before still was cannon but so was this. It allowed fans of the old Star Trek to accept this and a jumping on point for people who never watched the show or movies before. Even though J.J. did not direct this (only produced this) Beyond built on his ground work and this was probably the best of the 3 movies. I was wonderfully paced, beautifully shot, and the set pieces were great, and like the two movies before it, it handled the entire crew well giving them all enough screen time for us to care about them, in a summer filled with disappointing blockbusters Beyond stood out and was fantastic.
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane: When the original Cloverfield came out the viral marking and the mystery were more fun than the actual movie. The found footage take on the giant monster genre was something new, but told a shitty tale, however, 10 Cloverfield Lane (another J.J. produced movie) had all the intrigue and mystery that the viral marketing of the original Cloverfield. John Goodman is so fantastic in this movie and is so unnerving you’re constantly guessing whether or not he’s a villain or a good guy, he’s obviously not completely right in the head but his intentions seem pure. The claustrophobic nature of the bunker setting just make it so uneasy. It’s a small movie with a small budget and would have made this list if it wasn’t connected to Cloverfield. If you missed this in theaters go check it out.
5. Deadpool: Deadpool hit the ground running and didn’t stop. In spite of it having a basic romance/revenge plot the movie is a lot of fun. Ryan Reynolds is perfect for the role, T.J. Miller is hilarious, and Tim Miller did a great job in his motion picture directing debut. It became the second highest grossing R Rated movie ever and that is shocking for not only a comic book film, but one based on a character that isn’t known by the mainstream, and those numbers are amplified when you realize it out performed every X-Men movie before it and Batman v Superman to boot. The movie has fantastic humor and action and is a must for any super hero fan.
4. Nice Guys: Shane Black’s follow-up to the cult classic Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Nice Guys stars Ryan Gossling and Russel Crow as private detectives in the 70’s is fantastic. It’s a new take on the noir genre and both actors have great chemistry and we go on this ride as they try and find a missing girl. It’s a true detective story in that it doesn’t reveal too much to the audience too soon so we’re on the same ride as our heroes. We’re trying to put together the clues as well and when everything is revealed, whether we guessed it or not, the mystery makes sense and even if we were wrong (I was partially right) the end pieces all fit together and make sense when you rewatch the movie, and I did, many many times, it’s just that good.
3. Captain America Civil War: This movie was building since the first Avengers movie when Tony Stark and Steve Rodgers had their little argument before Loki’s forces attacked the SHIELD Helicarrier and in spite on how well the Avengers worked together, that initial argument between the two stayed just beneath the surface and was boiling underneath. Then in Captain America: Winter Soldier when we found out that Bucky had killed Tony’s parents we knew (even before the announcement of Civil War) that these two would duke it out over Bucky. Then we get to the movie and unlike the other Versus movie we got this year (more on that in a later list) this one was well paced and a great build up and then the conclusion had a lovely payoff, and of course we got our first glimpse of the MCU’s Spider-Man and it was glorious. Tom Holland was great in the role and was the cherry on top of this awesome sundae that Marvel gave to us, and when all was said and done the line that got me the most was when Cap was trying to defuse the situation with Tony over Bucky, Cap says “He wasn’t in control.” and all Tony says was “I don’t care, he killed my mom.” and oh shit was it on. This movie did a great job of making you change sides, one minute you agree with Cap, the next Tony, both men were right, and both were wrong and that was the master stroke of this movie.
2. Doctor Strange: Man did this movie seemingly come out of no where, well I mean we knew we were getting it, but we didn’t know how good and visually stunning it would be. Probably the easiest Marvel comic to screw up on film and somehow someway director Scott Derrickson gave us a great movie. Doctor Strange tells the tale of a gifted surgeon turned Wizard (basically) and how he saves the world from a demon, just writing that sentence and it seems dumb, but it worked, by god did it work. Also what helped was the excellent cast of Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton. Tilda’s casting as the Ancient One was a bit of a controversy since in the comics the character is a Tibetan Monk, but Disney and Marvel ran into a problem if they left the character like that then the film couldn’t be shown in China, and if you change him to Chinese that’s a slap in the face of Tibet, so what do you do? Well they made the Ancient One Celtic, whether or not it was white washing or not I don’t know, but it was lose lose for Marvel. With that being said, once the movie was out no one was talking about that at all they were just blown away by the story, the acting, and the visuals. I’m not a big 3D guy, but I have to say you need to see this movie in IMAX 3D before it leaves theaters, it’s well worth the price.
1.Everybody Wants Some: The spiritual successor the Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some was a fantastic comedy about a college baseball team. A real simple concept, just like Dazed and Confused about about the last day of school and first day of summer, but the devil is in the details. Like its predecessor EWS has a whole host of characters and yet somehow they all seemingly get equal billing to tell their stories, get their characters across and you’ll love all of them. It’s very funny with moments of heart, and even a couple of characters that look like jackasses at the start, by the end you kind of like them. Really there is nothing I can say that will do this movie justice you just need to see it for yourself. I remember when it first came out on digital release I showed it to a bunch of friends at the beach who had never heard of it and they loved it. In fact I’ve yet to show this film to anyone who didn’t like it. This movie probably gave me my most joy this year at the movies and continues whenever I put it on to watch. Go check this out now, you’ll thank me. Also, like Dazed and Confused, this movie has a killer soundtrack.