2016 wasn’t a great year for mainstream movies, but some things did manage to rise above and provide us with solid entertainment. Plenty of things were happy surprises and there were a few hidden gems, including things not on this list like “Nerve,” “Money Monster” and [looks both ways] “Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition.” As with every year, I did not see everything (for those keeping track at home, my total was 87 films) and sure, lists like this are subjective…but mine is the only one that’s 100% correct. So without further ado, here are my Top 10 Best Films of 2016 (for the Ying to this Yang, click here for my Top 10 Worst films).
*links to reviews available by clicking titles
Honorable Mention: Southside with You
A very fun, very brisk little movie about the Obamas’ first date. I really enjoyed the script and performances here.
I always try to get a comedy on my Top 10 list and this underrated gem deserves its spot. The funniest film of 2016, this is so stupid that it is genius and features some incredible songs.
9.) Hail, Caesar!
This was at the top of my list for a majority of the year and is a great love-letter to old school Hollywood. It is my favorite Coen Brothers film and features a song-and-dance sequence with Channing Tatum that will make even the grumpiest Grinch smile.
8.) Nocturnal Animals
Gorgeous to look at and filled with fun, often darkly twisted performances, this is a layered film that has a lot to say and requires multiple viewings to figure out how its messages of love, revenge and violence blend together.
7.) The Accountant
I love this film, it bleeds cool. Whether it be the dry humor from Ben Affleck (who had an incredibly busy 2016 between this, “Batman v Superman” and “Live by Night”) or the badass cool guy performance from Jon Bernthal, this film is funny, entertaining, engaging and, above all else, fun.
6.) Rogue One
One of my favorite “Star Wars” films; it certainly includes my favorite scene from any of the films (you know which one I mean). I love me some stories about the beginnings of revolutions, so to see the start of the rebellion tie in so perfectly with “A New Hope” was both impressive and awesome.
Colorful, funny and shockingly topical, this was hands-down the best animated film of the year.
This film is depressing, darkly funny and just feels like real life. Lucas Hedges turns in probably my favorite performance of the year and the script balances so many emotions at once it’s quite brilliant.
A fantastic script and an amazing atmosphere make this neo-Western a thrilling watch, and one that gets better the more you think about it. Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges all turn in solid performances and this is one I have been telling people to check out since August.
2.) Sing Street
The only film I told people to check out more this year than “Hell or High Water” was this. Fantastic original songs, a great soundtrack and an excess amount of heart, I love this film. Loved it even more the second time I saw it. I implore you to check it out if you haven’t (it’s currently on Netflix); it can’t help but put you in a good mood.
And the best film of 2016 is…
1.) La La Land
For the second year in a row I didn’t see the best film of the year until the final week on the calendar. Sure, this may be a cliche choice given it being at the top of many other people’s lists, but I don’t care. “La La Land” features amazing songs, incredibly heartfelt performances and just a sense of hope and nostalgia that is impossible to put into words. It both knocked “Sing Street” from my number one spot here and as the 2016 film with the best musical numbers but I’m not complaining. This film loves everything I do (Los Angeles, movies, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) but also made me care about musicals and jazz. See this film. Then see it again. It will stick with me for a long while to come and was, by and far, the best film of 2016.
Thank you for reading my list of the best films of 2016 and here’s to another year of going to the movies in 2017!