Here we are guys, the definitely not at all late Top 10 movies of 2016. The carefully-curated list of movies which I did not change the order of slightly a few minutes ago at all and now for your viewing pleasure. Pardon the run-on sentences. I am tired.
Directed by Barry Jenkins
Written by Barry Jenkins
The deserving winner of Best Picture 2016, Moonlight is an emotional, powerful, relevant drama about a gay black man growing up. It’s a shame the Oscar hooha happened, because it sort of robbed the cast and crew of Moonlight from really basking in that “Best Picture Winner” glow, but fuck it they won. Good for them.
Also, check out my Oscar predictions because HAHAHAHA WHAT I WAS RIGHT YET AGAIN AAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH
9. Manchester by the Sea
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
Written by Kenneth Lonergan
I sat in the theater, teary-eyed and depressed, surrounded by crying old women for the bulk of this movie. When everyone wasn’t laughing anyway. And that’s what a SHARP script can do. And man oh man was this movie an emotional rollercoaster. Absolutely phenomenal performances from everyone as well. Matthew Broderick has never been as passive-aggressive.
8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy
Rogue One is the first Star Wars movie that says “yeah I mean jedi and sith are cool but so are these other guys” and it turns out that yes, these other guys are COOL AS HELL.
Set right before New Hope, Rogue One follows the daughter of the guy who helped build the Death Star, and she and her merry band of rogues take off with those plans and fuckin run the ball home.
I unabashedly love the Star Wars movies. Even episodes 1 and 2 are like. At least half of those movies are good. This, I have to say, is my third favorite Star Wars movie after Empire and New Hope. IT’S REALLY GOOD GUYS.
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese
Silence is a powerfully Christian film. It shows people who are unashamed of their faith, and against all obstacles, they overcome. Like any great Christian story, it has strong, brave Christian martyrs and it has the Judas character(s).
Now, if you read my blog, you’ll probably know that I have very few kind words for Christianity, or any religion for that matter. Why is that, you ask? Because I think organized religion is super fucked up, I don’t care what religion it is. But anyway, that doesn’t mean that I hate Christian people, same as I don’t hate Muslims, Jewish people, Buddhists, etc. Just wanted to clear the air on that one. And yes, I agree that there are fucked up, evil people who do evil things in the name of their religions. Fuck them, too.
Anyway, this and Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ are two underrated, deeply Christian films that show the good aspects of that religion, and how strong good people of faith can be. Unfortunately, we are buried under the weight of fucking asshole money scams like PureFlix entertainment movies and the “My religion is the best and I will actually kill you if you disagree, enjoy hell, dick” mentality that pervades them.
Anyway Silence is an excellent example of what faith-based films are actually capable of. Sorry for ranting about this again.
6. The Nice Guys
Directed by Shane Black
Written by Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi
The Nice Guys is the funniest movie of the year. It may not be my #1 comedy of the year (stay tuned), but it is overall the funniest movie throughout of the year.
I love Shane Black. I love him in Predator, I love Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, and I love The Nice Guys. And holy shit am I excited for The Predator.
Anyway The Nice Guys is one of those movies that comes along every few years and makes very little money, wins very few awards, but maintains a fond following for who knows how long. Not quite a cult film per se, but one of those movies that shows up every few years on “underrated movies of the [whenever/whatever]” lists. And I know it will be because it’s already underrated and I definitely think it has staying power. Great actors are in it and it has a fun, unique story with some amazing scenes throughout. And who doesn’t love a good film noir?
5. A Monster Calls
Directed by J.A. Bayona
Written by Patrick Ness
This movie’s release was criminal. If it would’ve come out in, say, November, everyone would’ve seen it and everyone would love it. The same can be said for Silence.
J.A. Bayona made The Orphanage, which is one of the best modern horror movies we’ve gotten so far. It would probably be in my Top 25 horror movies of all-time. I’m pretty shocked it hasn’t been re-made and ruined by Americans yet (hope I didn’t speak too soon). He also directed The Impossible, which is one of the most solid disaster movies I’ve ever seen.
A Monster Calls is such a unique and powerful cinematic experience. I wish I could see it again in theaters. I was the only person there on a weekday afternoon, and I sat there and cried through about 75% of the movie. From start to finish, it was one of the most raw, emotional movies I’ve ever seen. And on top of that, it was visually both amazing, and unmatched in its creativity. You have the stark, bleak backdrop of suburban England, the aggressive and gigantic giant tree monster, and the beautiful watercolor of the story world that we are tossed into when the monster tells his stories.
God damn this was a great movie. I hope Lewis MacDougall keeps taking great roles. He has an excellent future in acting.
4. Nocturnal Animals
Directed by Tom Ford
Written by Tom Ford
I don’t know much about fashion, but Tom Ford should quit it to make movies full-time. A Simple Man was a heartbreaking, visually-stunning drama. Now he gives us Nocturnal Animals, which is like wow holy shit. This movie ROCKED ME.
- Amy Adams is amazing and she plays cold better than any actual person I’ve ever met.
- Jake Gyllenhaal is always good.
- Michael Shannon is also always good.
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson is amazing, deserved the Golden Globe, and should have gotten the Oscar nomination. He was responsible for the most terrifying scene in movies this year, and this isn’t even a horror movie.
- The fact that this movie can tell two completely different (but obviously similar) stories simultaneously is so great. Oh man.
3. Toni Erdmann
Directed by Maren Ade
Written by Maren Ade
Toni Erdmann is a 2 hour and 42 minute long movie that feels like it’s under 2 hours long. This is an absurdist, existentialist comedy/drama that I LOVE. It features scenes that have very little context that make very little sense, but they make you feel good for some almost-unexplainable reason. Good, but sad. This is a feel-good but also feel-sad movie and I’ve never seen a movie that sent me on such a subtle, gentle emotional rollercoaster.
Very few movies send my mind into such a welcome, exciting spiral.
2. The Witch (or The VVitch, because you know, fun)
Directed by Robert Eggers
Written by Robert Eggers
This is the most atmospheric film of the year. From start to finish, this movie just spews dread at you. It vomits tension. It sprays terror.
Anyway, The Witch is almost a horror drama, if not for the overwhelming feeling that your soul is being threatened through the whole movie. And I don’t even believe in souls.
By the end though, you aren’t scared anymore. You feel FREE. YOU FEEL GREAT. HAIL SATAN. HAIL SATAN. HAIL SATAN. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
1. Shin Godzilla (シン・ゴジラ)
Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi
Written by Hideaki Anno
Oh man. Oh boy. Godzilla Final Wars was amazing when I saw it in 2005 (when it hit the Blockbuster in my old hometown). It was so much insane fun. And then nothing. Not until 9 years later, 2014, when Godzilla came out. The new American reboot made my Top 50, and I still love it. It was really great. But it didn’t quite hit me like many other Big G movies have. It was really good, and underrated in my opinion, but it didn’t quite scratch that itch from 2005.
Then, just after Godzilla rocked the U.S. box office, our Lords at Toho announced Godzilla would return to Tokyo. My itch got itchier.
The we got little peeks. A screenshot. A little teaser. And it wasn’t until August that I found out that Shin Godzilla would be coming to Pittsburgh. Not JUST Pittsburgh, but the movie theater that’s walking distance from my apartment.
I called up my friends, fellow Godzilla marks, and they all came up to see it (except JIM who is a DICK). And I walked out of that theater relieved. 11 years I waited for that itch to be scratched, and Hideaki Anno, the man who brought us Neon Genesis Evangelion (my favorite anime), reinvented Godzilla for the modern era. He made a Godzilla movie as emotionally and politically powerful as the original (which it is second-only to), and as thoroughly entertaining as some of Godzilla’s greatest hits.
Oh MAN FUNIMATION RELEASE THE GOD DAMN BLU RAY ALREADY JESUS.
Anyway that’s it for 2016. I’m really going to try to write more, but until then, WATCH MOVIES.