The Year in Film: 2016
With 2016 now in the books, it is once again time to present the list of my favorite films of the previous 365 days. It was a year of cinema that featured superheroes, turkey basters, flatulent corpses, and scene-stealing goats. Which made the cut? Read on…
*Note: This list is composed of movies that I don’t necessarily think will win an Academy Award (well, in my world they would), but, rather, they are pictures that I found to be entertaining, challenging, or memorable. I present the movies in reverse order, with a short comment about each. Also, I include a link to the review I wrote when I initially screened each film.
This year, I’m also featuring abbreviated lists by two talented, young movie reviewers. The three of us have diverse backgrounds and tastes, which is evident in the contrast of our selections.
10.) Shin Godzilla – “Fifty-plus years deep and Godzilla has proven to be just as relevant as it was in 1954.” Full review here.
9.) Don’t Breathe – Two words: Turkey baster. Full review here.
8.) Hell or High Water – “Sometimes bad people do bad things for a good reason.” Full review here.
7.) The Shallows – Blake Lively carried this film with an unexpectedly taut performance. Full review here.
6.) The Land – “(The Land) shows how the wonder of youth can be splattered and stunted by the dark reality of poverty and hopelessness in the big city.” Full review here.
The Land: "There's nuthin' better than livin' it with your brothers..."
5.) Train to Busan – “Train to Busan is great in a way that American films don’t even aspire to be.” Full review here.
4.) The Neon Demon – Beauty isn’t everything. It’s the only thing. Full review here.
3.) The Witch – Horror invades the art house in this authentic, meticulously shot, mind-melter. Full review here.
2.) Green Room – “Green Room” is anxious. It’s ferocious. It does not flinch.” It is intense and violent. Green Room stayed with me for weeks after I watched it. I ranked it second…but just barely. Anton Yelchin will be sorely missed. Full review here.
And the best film of 2016:
1.) 10 Cloverfield Lane – “Just because he is crazy, it doesn’t mean he is wrong.” Brimming with terrific characters, a smart soundtrack, and a gobsmacking final few minutes, this is a rare sequel that is better than the original. John Goodman’s menacing performance carried 10CL to the top of the heap in 2016. Full review here.
5.) Train to Busan – The best zombie film I have seen in years. A high-octane thrill ride that kept me on the edge of my seat. Characters were well developed given the number and the adrenaline of the “chase” was consistently embedded throughout.
4.) Kicks – This depiction of a David versus Goliath tale with an urban twist is SO entertaining. The film introduced you to the Bay Area lifestyle and culture. I appreciated the symbolism placed throughout and being a Sneakerhead, I understood the plight of the protagonist.
3.) The Land – A great coming of age story that concentrates on life in the streets and what consequences it can have. A dope musical score coupled with the gorgeous cinematography of Cleveland’s urban decay.
2.) Fences – This film was filled to the brim with raw emotion. As the monologues became “heavier”, the messages became clearer. A beautiful yet bittersweet story about how pain is passed down from parent to child and the definition of family.
1.) Moonlight – This film is the road less traveled and true poetry. So much is said in the silence of Moonlight with great performances, cinematography, and musical score. Moonlight resonates as a journey of pain and finding one’s identity. Full review here.
**Cassidy Edwards is a co-host of the Reel Playas film review videocast. She is also a contributor to “Super No Bueno.” She will soon be making a major splash with the launch of her culture and lifestyle blog: “The Urban Wallflower.” And oh yeah, she is kinda-sorta obsessed with the Philladelphia Eagles.
5.) 10 Cloverfield Lane – A great suspenseful movie that did not need the ‘Cloverfield‘ title, but got many more people at the theater (including me) because of it. My favorite John Goodman performance in recent memory.
4.) Nocturnal Animals – This movie was the most intense experience I had in a theater in 2016. Great characters, surprising twists, and has the rare quality of requiring multiple viewings.
3.) The Conjuring 2 – This movie was so much better than it should’ve been. One of the best love stories of the year, hidden inside one of the scariest films of the year. One of the best horror sequels of the this era.
2.) The Fundamentals of Caring – The biggest surprise of the year for me. This movie is proof that Netflix can make great films. A road trip movie that makes you laugh, cry, and most importantly, truly care about every single character. There isn’t enough talk about this movie, although I’m sure you’ve scrolled past it a dozen times looking for something to watch on Netflix on a Tuesday night.
1.) Captain America: Civil War – If you aren’t a fan of superhero movies, then you will disagree with this pick. However, if you ARE a fan of superhero movies, then in 2016, no other film even compares to Captain America: Civil War. I liked Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, Dr. Strange, and I even thought Batman v. Superman wasn’t TOO bad, but Civil War blows all of them out of the water. This film showed us all the characters we love, introduced several new ones flawlessly, and became my favorite Marvel film so far. It is no doubt my favorite film of 2016.
**Joshua Singh is a movie reviewer and professional wrestler from Cleveland, Ohio. He is the host of the incredibly entertaining “Josh Singh Reviews” show. He can be found on YouTube (here) and on Twitter (here). Josh can also do one helluva pretty moonsault.
The Fundamentals of Caring