Best Of 2016: Top 10 Films You Didn’t See This Year

In order to qualify for this list, the film must have made less than 10M at the box office. So, these are mostly “indie” films that didn’t get a wide enough theatrical release, or were forgotten about at the cinema, but all of them should have been seen because they are excellent movies.

10) The Invitation- Domestic Box Office: 231K
I don’t want to say much about this film, because as I pointed out in my review, this film works best if you know nothing about it going in. You practically have to blind watch this, and remind yourself that the payoff is having seen it through till the end. It can be a bit talky near the top, but the payoff was definitely there for me.

9) Little Men- Domestic Box Office: 104K
A Sundance hit, I’m surprised it did so poorly in theatrical release. It’s a lovely film, featuring two breakthrough performances by kids, and deals with a topic that kids often deal with, but from both the perspective of the kids, and the parents.

8) The Little Prince- Domestic Box Office: 1.3M
A lovely, well animated film that absolutely deserved a wide theatrical release. I feel bad that this film got shoved onto Netflix, because I think that killed its Oscar chances. Everyone went apeshit for Kubo and the Two Strings (which is animated in the same style), but I think The Little Prince is the better movie. It has more emotional weight, if that’s even possible, than Kubo.

7) Miss Stevens- Domestic Box Office: 4,611
This movie made only 4K at the box office. Wow. Lily Rabe turns in a fantastic performance. I can understand why this film was overlooked, but thank god for streaming services like Netflix where you can now go out and see it. It’s a great film that has that “been there before” feel to the plot, but avoids any of the tropes associated with that plot.

6) Sing Street- Domestic Box Office: 3.2M
The little Irish musical that could. From John Carney, who last gave us the terrific Mark Ruffalo film Begin Again, comes a story about a boy who wants to impress a girl, so he starts a rock band, despite not knowing how. He ends up realizing he’s pretty good at being in a band. The music is really good, and Carney directs all his films as a continuous love letter to music itself.

5) Morris From America- Domestic Box Office- 91K
Despite having Craig Robinson, and good reviews, this Sundance hit couldn’t even get 100K at the box office. It’s a shame. Morris tells the story of a young African-American boy transplanted to Germany, despite his dream of becoming a famous rapper. He deals with the culture clash, and falls in love with a very free-spirited girl. Robinson does an excellent job playing his father, showing he has a lot more depth in him than he’s let on previously.

4) Captain Fantastic- Domestic Box Office- 5.8M
This is probably the film you’ve caught up on at Redbox. You passed it over in theatres, saw that Viggo Mortensen was getting some awards attention, and figured you’d catch up on it. It’s an excellent film, and I do hope that Mortensen gets an Oscar nomination for his work. I wouldn’t mind if the film itself was recognized too. It’s that good.

3) The Fundamentals Of Caring- Domestic Box Office- None.
For some reason, Netflix didn’t even give this terrific Paul Rudd film a qualifying run. I’m only including this because it was intended to be a theatrical release, considering how the film debuted at Sundance. I think Netflix did this film a disservice by not dropping it in at least one theatre, because Paul Rudd delivers one of his best performances. I could have also included Hush, which did not receive a theatrical release, but I’m not sure it was intended for a theatrical release. I can understand why Hush needed Netflix to succeed, but I think The Fundamentals of Caring had enough going for it to warrant a theatrical go.

2) Demolition- Domestic Box Office- 1.9M
This film FLOPPED at the box office, and I don’t know why. I guess critics were divided on the film, and that scared people away? Jake Gyllenhaal is absolutely fantastic in this film, as a man grieving over his wife’s death, and the film features an excellent supporting turn by Judah Lewis as a foul-mouthed youth struggling with his own sexual identity. Naomi Watts is also really good as his mother. I wish more people had seen this film.

1) Hunt For The Wilderpeople- Domestic Box Office- 5.2M
All things considered, this film had a decent theatrical run. It’s a small film starring Sam Neill that worked through word of mouth up to 5M. It could have made so much more, but that’s a decent run all things considered. I love this film because they don’t really make films like this. It is unique in its execution, and Neill hasn’t been this good in quite some time.

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