Here we go!
The best movies of 2016 in the humble opinion of EYG. Of course, you are welcome to disagree. Film is subjective and that is one of the best things about it. Two people may not have the same ideas about the exact same film. That is okay. It is awesome really.
So you are aware, just like in the Top 30 Worst Films, the weekly star ratings really mean nothing in my calculations for this list. There are 5 star movies that are behind films with a lower rating. If you can’t handle that… well, I guess you’ll just have to deal with it.
There were quite a few honorable mentions as this was the harder list to do. I had to drop several that I would have liked to see make the list. This was a great year for cinema overall, even if the blockbusters let us down.
Honorable Mentions: Resurrection of Jake the Snake, Miss Sloane, Allied, Nice Guys, Pee Wee’s Big Holiday, Kevin Hart: What Now?, The Little Prince, Finding Dory, Conjuring 2, Kung Fu Panda 3, Kubo and the Two Strings, I Am Not a Serial Killer, Weiner, The 13th
Top 30 Best Movie of 2016
#30. Don’t Think Twice. Keegan-Michael Key and his love letter to improv and improv groups. This was very enjoyable and funnier than most regular comedies.
#29. Manchester By the Sea. A lot of people have this much higher and, while I appreciated it, this film is a bit of a downer for me. Great (perhaps Oscar winning) performances, though.
#28. Sully. Great work from Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks telling the story about the “miracle on the Hudson.” Most interesting was the behind the scenes stuff that I didn’t know happened with Sully’s decision being called into question. Good stuff.
#27. Zootopia. The animated film with just as much for adults as there is for children. The themes of this film are very adult, including racism and drug use. Entertaining as well.
#26. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Not many people saw this, but it was really funny and had great music. Andy Samberg was really in his element here.
#25. Ouija: Origin of Evil. Still blows mu mind to see a Ouija movie on my Top 30 list. I would have laughed at anyone who would’ve told me that a Ouija sequel would be on this list. And yet, there it is. And it was good.
#24. Star Trek Beyond. A very solid film with the new Star Trek cast feeling like they are really coming into their own with these classic characters. Sad knowing that we will no longer have Chekov (Anton Yelchin) after this film.
#23. Lights Out. Another horror movie in the year of horror that was surprisingly good. There may have been some plot holes in Lights Out, but the rest of the movie kept you on the edge of your seat.
#22. Edge of Seventeen. Great coming of age movie starring a future star in Hailee Steinfeld. As a teacher, I really related to Woody Harrelson’s character. That was the thing about Edge of Seventeen. No matter who you were, you could relate to something.
#21. Hush. I watched this on Netflix because of a recommendation by Chris Stuckmann and I was really grateful because this is the type of film that I might not have seen otherwise. Hush was tense and suspenseful and I loved it.
#20. Batman: The Return of the Caped Crusader. This was a one-night in the theater show and I made sure I was there for it because I was excited about hearing Adam West and Burt Ward back as their iconic versions of Batman and Robin. And I laughed the whole night.
#19. Don’t Breathe. The best horror movie of the year saw a great performance by Stephen Lang, successfully making what seemed like a noble character that you would want to root for into a horrible man who you want to see get his comeuppance.
#18. Deepwater Horizon. This was a very big surprise to me. I did not like the trailer for this, but the film itself was full of action and suspense. One of the best disaster films in recent memory.
#17. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. What was a risky proposition seems to have paid off royally. This is the war story they always wanted to make. They put the wars in Star Wars. There could have been more character development, but, seeing the end, I understand why they didn’t.
#16. Hell or High Water. A modern day western with great characters and a tightly written story. Great performances from Ben Foster, Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges. This could have been a top 10 movie which shows you how strong the films are.
#15. La La Land. Again, this one is much higher on other people’s lists, but for me, it falls at #15. Greta music, performances and an ending that makes this feel real. One of the best musicals in recent memory.
#14. Moana. The top animated film of the year, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Beautiful animation, great music, and a simple but classic story helped Moana to be another huge hit for Disney.
#13. 10 Cloverfield Lane. Another film that was, for awhile, in the top 10, slipping to number 13. The surprise sequel set a brilliant tone of uneasiness and that was spurred on by an eerie performance by John Goodman. You never knew for sure what was going on with this guy until the very end.
#12. Eye in the Sky. More tension in this one than I expected. I am glad that this is Alan Rickman’s final performance (not counting Alice) because this film is worthy of him. A film that asks some challenging moral questions as well.
#11. Hacksaw Ridge. I tried to get this into the top ten, but I just couldn’t. This is a movie that I loved, but I will never watch again because of the rawness of that second half. I compared the feelings I had coming out of this film to the feelings I had coming out of 12 Years a Slave. Very emotionally powerful. Greta work from Mel Gibson.
#10. Elvis & Nixon. One of the great surprises of 2016, tells the true story about when Elvis Presley met Richard Nixon, trying to get Nixon to make him an under cover DEA agent to help save the country’s youth. Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon were just amazing as the two title characters and I was engulfed at the story.
#9. Arrival. The sci-fi film that makes you think. Arrival is a fantastic movie, but it is not your typical alien invasion film. Amy Adams is Oscar-worthy as our main character and Jeremy Renner is solid as her partner. The twist at the end is wonderful and catches you off guard although feels like it makes sense.
#8. Doctor Strange. This was one of those risky attempts by Marvel Studios, and they drove it home once again. The special effects of Dr. Strange is off the charts and make the world of multiverse available for the MCU. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast as Stephen Strange and the rest of the cast is wonderful as well. Another huge hit for Marvel.
#7. The Jungle Book. This was amazing when you consider that this was shot completely on a stage set. There was no real jungles or animals. You couldn’t tell. The CGI was spectacular. Plus, the story was great. The young actor as Mowgli was amazing especially since he did not have anything to act off of. The Jungle Book made a ton of money and it deserved it.
#6. Tickled. This documentary was mind blowing. I did not expect anything from it, but it was just completely compelling as it went from a silly story to something that was downright villainous. And it was real. Just great.
#5. Nocturnal Animals. About half way through Nocturnal Animals I was thinking that this could compete for the number one slot. The ending kind of dropped off at the time, but if I could revisit the film, I think I might like the ending more than I thought. Either way, this was a great film that was another one of the films that require you to think. That is great.
#4. Swiss Army Man. Probably the most original film of the year. It was also life-affirming. It was funny. It was charming. There were two amazing performances from the lead actors, especially from Daniel Radcliffe. I know this one was divisive as many people hated this film. Not for me. I loved it.
#3. Sing Street. Not enough people have seen Sing Street. It is on Netflix right now. Finish my list and go watch it. This is a great coming of age movie with a simple story of a boy trying to get a girl and starting a band. The film was about relationships, especially brothers and brothers or boyfriend-girlfriend or parents-children. Plus, there was some of the most catchy songs in any movie you will ever see.
#2. Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds fought for years to get this movie done and to do it right. Deadpool as a character was ruined in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and to do him right, was what Reynolds wanted. The promotion for this movie was perhaps the best ever. And then the movie was awesome.
and our best movie of the year….
#1. Captain America: Civil War
Marvel had been building to this for years. They had 13 movies to base this film on. And you could tell. This was a near perfect comic book movie. The Russo Brothers were able to mix in the huge cast of characters without losing the feel that this is a Captain America movie. Robert Downey Jr. made this special and Civil War would not have worked without him. We also got our first Black Panther and we brought Spider-man into the MCU. The airport scene is the best battle scene in any comic book movie and could be considered (arguably) the best fight scene in any movie. The film had devastating stakes without anyone dying. The film was immensely personal and was, actually, very small. The end with Cap vs. Iron Man was full of emotion and really put an exclamation point on this. Civil War is my favorite Marvel movie and is the #1 film of 2016.