It's that time of year again!
Klep and I start threads summarizing the best films of the year many years ago now, and it's one of our annual traditions.
Last year's Top Lists and thread: http://www.archive.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=48320.0
I thought 2016 was an above average year, and a few big standouts.
Here is a complete reference list: http://www.firstshowing.net/schedule2016/
Here is the list of films I saw that were released in 2016 (subject to revision):
Batman v. Superman
The Jungle Book
Captain America: Civil War
Star Trek: Beyond
Hell or High Water
Queen of Katwe
Birth of a Nation
Manchester by the Sea
La La Land
I’m not counting the HBO special All the Way or the Netflix film The 13th, both of which were great.
I haven’t seen, but would like to see still:
This was a very challenging year to rank, largely because the Top 3 was so outstanding, and I loved them each for different reasons. They are almost impossible to rank, and a case could be made for any of them.
Without further adieu, here are my Top 10:
Joel Edgerton's performance is possibly the greatest male acting performance I've ever seen. His love for his wife emanated off the screen, and he portrayed a more complex set of emotions with just a glance than most actors can do with a speech. This was the most captivating film I've ever seen with this kind of pacing, and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.
- Hell or High Water
The best conventional narrative film I saw of the year, and perhaps the best all-around movie. Utterly compelling, highly entertaining, and just a great all around movie with superb performances.
- Captain Fantastic
Easily the most thought provoking film of the year. Unforgettable and brilliant. This is a movie you can watch every couple of years for decades. It's a keeper.
As I said, the top 3 could be ranked in any order. It's a virtual tie, and trying to rank these films is the hardest ranking chore I can remember trying to do.
After that, there is a much greater demarcation.
Easily the second most thought provoking film of the year. Brilliant overall, and captivating as well. Astounding.
- Hidden Figures
The perfect film for our time. Wonderful performance, and reminded me of the dreams and fears of the space race. I loved it, and the audience in the theater I was in cheered louder and more frequently through the film than I can ever recall. Great film.
This year was a bumper crop of incredible animated film (Moana, Finding Dory, Jungle Book), but this was the standout. Truly a classic, and one I'm sure I'll enjoy for years to come.
- Birth of a Nation
I actually refused to see the film at first, because of the negative aspects of it's production, etc., and had low expectations, but ultimately saw it, and it exceeded expectations.
- La La Land
Like Birth of a Nation, I had low expectations, simply because I didn't think a contemporary - and seemingly cheesy - Musical could work. Yet, the film was actually wonderful, with a great message.
- Manchester by the Sea
I knew this movie would be good, and sad, but I was prepared to come out of the theater a bit hardened, and not terribly moved. Boy was I wrong. Michelle Williams performance was a home run.
- Doctor Strange
2016 was not the best year for big-budget, tent-pole flicks, especially superhero variety (Superman v. Batman, Civil War, Suicide Squad, Deadpool, etc.), but this was probably the best of the bunch. Not because it was the best narratively, but because the visuals were unlike I'd ever seen.