Top 10: Films of 2016
2016 was a great year for film, which made curating our end of the year best-of list all the more difficult. Well, as you may've guessed, we pushed through and came up with the top 10 films that resonated the most with us. Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings in the comments.
- 10: Hell or High Water
This film really surprised us. It's a heist movie with some heart. Sorta like a more lighthearted No Country For Old Men. The performances are on point, the story is well-crafted, and the pacing is suberb.
- 9: Green Room
Jeremy Saulnier is easily one of the myriad new writer/director talents to keep an eye on. With his third film, Green Room, Saulnier really kicks it up a notch, taking a simple premise and exploring it to its nail biting extremes.
- 8: Manchester by the Sea
This film justly earned its Oscar buzz for the performances alone. The climax of the film, a very emotional dialogue exchange between Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck, still brings us close to tears.
- 7: The Witch
Since the very first images of this film began to appear, we were hooked; we were counting down the days till it's release in February. We were glad to see that it lived up to the hype. This film is a Puritan's nightmare and is creepy as hell. Cut from the same cloth as something like The Shining with regard to weirdness, mood, and the fact that the director sought to make it as historically accurate as possible, going so far as to hand build the cabin the family lives in. Pretty Kubrickian indeed.
- 6: La La Land
Not sure just why everyone shit so hard on this when it came out. The direction and pacing was amongst some of the best we've seen all year. It's a story of fantasy and whimsy, heavily grounded in reality. The ending doesn't go for that happily-ever-after BS; instead, it calls back to classics like Roman Holiday for the big finish.
- 5: Hacksaw Ridge
We were (no pun intended) blown away by this one. To borrow from South Park, Mel Gibson is fucking crazy, but the bastard knows story structure.
- 4: Loving
Goddamn, this is a lovely heartbreaking film. Director Jeff Nichols was busy at work, busting out two amazing feature length films this year (Midnight Special only narrowly missed the list). With Loving, Nichols tells the true story of the Loving couple, an interracial couple in the throes of 1960s southern racism. The couple is essentially thrown from their town and told to not return for 25 years because they love one another; forced to take the case all the way to the supreme court, where they won. It truly is a touching and inspiring tale.
- 3: Paterson
Paterson is a beautiful poetic meditation on the quotidian. The film follows Adam Driver, a poet named Paterson who also lives in the town of Paterson, New Jersey, and his wife Golshifteh Farahani, an indecisive dreamer, as they go about their week. The film champions the everyday in such a beautiful way, it leaves you with a deeper appreciation for your own life and everything it consists of.
- 2: Arrival
Arrival was one of the biggest surprises this year. Based on the trailer, it could be judged as just another Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster that will probably be mediocre or awful, or, at least, that's how we felt. We put off seeing it initially, and boy was that a mistake. Arrival is a cerebral film that leaves you with some substance to chew on after it's all over.
- 1: Moonlight
Moonlight deserves every bit of credit and praise it's been given; it's a powerful, moving, lyrical masterpiece. We've never seen anything quite like it before.