Since a lot of people have been asking me to put up my top films of the year list, I thought I’d do it here instead of on the YouTube page.
Since all film is subjective, my list won’t be just like anyone else’s. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with theirs or with mine, it just means film hits us all in different ways.
Another thing to keep in mind about my list. To me, not all films have to be about heroes saving the world to be good. Not every film has to be about heroin addicted college drop outs struggling to restore a relationship with their alcoholic fathers to be good either. Great storytelling comes in all shapes and sizes and I hope my list reflects that.
Now, before I get to my list I want to highlight some honorable mentions. These films are all fantastic and absolutely no disrespect is intended for any of them for not making my final 10. The honorable mentions (in no particular order) are:
The Nice Guys
The Jungle Book
So, without any further ado… here’s my top 10 0f 2016:
#10 – QUEEN OF KATWE
This is the kind of movie that reminds me of why I love the movies. It’s just a story about really good people doing really good things. There’s not even a villain. Just remarkable people confronting and overcoming their daunting circumstances and environment. I deeply love this film.
#9 – THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
Honestly, I didn’t know Hailee Steinfeld had it in her, nor was I prepared for how well Woody Harrelson would play off her so hilariously. Being a teenager can suck, and I don’t think I’ve seen a better 80’s style teenage/coming of age comedy translated so well into a modern context.
#8 – MOONLIGHT
It’s a daunting task for any director to present a story to an audience that may fall well outside their worldview. However, director Barry Jenkins does just that with an amazing sense of directness yet subtlety at the same time. The film makes you walk a mile in another person’s shoes so well that you almost forget to take them off when the film ends.
#7 – MOANA
I unapologetically include MOANA on this list. Not only is it the best animated film of the year, far outdistancing films like Dory, Zootopia and Kubo, but it deserves a place amongst the best films of the year. Beautiful mythology, fantastic music, two heroes journeys as one seeks her purpose and one seeks redemption with humor, excitement and thrills along the way. It’s one of those films that gets better and better with each viewing.
#6 – DEADPOOL
On just a pure entertainment level, DEADPOOL is a hard film to beat. The outrageous nature of the character mixed with sharp wit, frantic action and a legit love story all rolled into a fourth wall breaking escapade left audiences catching their breath and dying to see it again. It far exceeded even the most optimistic fan’s expectations and deserves to be on this list.
#5 – LA LA LAND
Newsflash: Musicals are not dead. Not by a long shot if this incredible feat of sound and images has anything to say about it. Emma Stone may very well get her first Oscar for this one and she flawlessly draws us into every scene she’s in with incredible emotion. And they Gosling guy is no slouch in this either. I know musicals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but go see this movie. No seriously… forget your pre-existing thoughts on it and just see it.
#4 – STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE
Where most of my peers seem to enjoy the second half of this movie more than the first, to me the first half is where this movie really shines. More than another Star Wars film, ROGUE ONE truly has the feel of a space western with shades of The Dirty Dozen thrown in for good measure. This movie made me look at the Rebellion in a whole new, and admittedly dark, way. And yeah… VADER!
#3 – CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
I know putting a comic book film on your top films of the year list isn’t the “cool” thing to do, and I’ve got two of them, but I really don’t care. CIVIL WAR was heart-stoppingly exciting with real dramatic tension and purpose to its awe-inspiring action set pieces all while delivering the best performances the MCU has given us thus far. Instantly one of the top 5 the genre has ever produced.
#2 – HELL OR HIGH WATER
I really didn’t have high expectations for this film. The first 2 minutes set that aside pretty quickly. If any of us had any doubt that Chris Pine can be a powerhouse performer, this movie settles the debate. Ben Foster has been in my top 3 most underrated actors list for year and Bridges is just vintage in this. Powerful, slow burn, riveting film has you exploring your own ethics, changing sides and swapping between laughing and gasping more times than you can count. A BRILLIANT film that would have been my #1 film of the year had it not been for….
#1 – HACKSAW RIDGE
Even if this film weren’t based on a true story it would still be my favorite film of the year. The fact that it’s real just highlights it even more. An incredible performance by the entire ensemble, fist clenching action that makes you appreciate the heroism and horror of war all at the same time without being apologetic for either. It’s one of those films I think is important for people to see.
So there you have it. My personal top 10 of 2016. So many great films this year. Please feel free to comment and let me know your top 10. Cheers!