Best Of 2016: My Top 30 Favorite Films (10-1)

Here it is. My top 10 list of the year and I believe I’m getting it in before the Oscar nominations are announced.

10) Hidden Figures
It just works on every level for me. It’s a feel good movie, based on a true story, and featuring three fantastic performances. I don’t know what else to say. I had all three actresses on my list. I also really loved The Help, and have seen that a few times since it came out. This is a film I would definitely watch again, and would definitely own.

9) Lion
This is a film that I didn’t expect to love as much as I did. As I was compiling my list, I kept finding myself unable to push it down any further than 9th. It really did captivate me, and even though its a heavy drama, it actually doesn’t feel quite as weighty as Manchester By The Sea or Moonlight. There’s something a bit more instantly watchable about Lion, even though it definitely deals with a serious topic. Perhaps its the happy ending? i don’t know, but as far as the “deep dramas” of 2016 go, Lion is the most rewatchable for me.

8) Moana
I AM MOANA! I’ve had the music from this movie stuck in my head for weeks. WEEKS. I am in love with Moana on a fundamental core level. I love the story, and how it showcases a culture that Disney hasn’t touched on before, and features a lead girl who doesn’t fall head over heels for a prince. On top of that, the MUSIC. Lin Manuel Miranda clearly made this film better by jumping in and writing songs.

7) Captain Fantastic
My top 10 is chock full of films I had no idea I would love as much as I did. I honestly didn’t even see Captain Fantastic until Viggo started picking up awards nominations. Then I was like, oh shit, that movie from July? Maybe I should have seen that. Yes. Yes I should have. I loved everything about this film, how it looked, how it was shot, how it was unpredictable, how all the kids were able to act, and how Viggo Mortensen was incredible without being all angry, dark, and serious. This is such a good film.

6) The Fundamentals Of Caring
For a while, this was my top film of the year. I didn’t see Demolition until August I believe, so The Fundamentals Of Caring came in and topped my list for two months, I believe taking the slot from Captain America Civil War. It’s interesting to see this at 6th, knowing I would see a few films I’d love even more than this. It’s a shame Netflix couldn’t get this into even a few theatres.

5) Demolition
I remember renting this, and thinking “Oh, this film didn’t do good, it’ll probably suck”, but then actually watching it going “Am I crazy?” because I was loving a film that was rejected by audiences, and divisive among critics. A 52% on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t great, but it’s not awful either. I loved Jake Gyllenhaal in this, but Judah Lewis really blew my mind. I’m happy to have this film on my list.

4) The Accountant
Yes, I thought Ben Affleck was miscast, but that didn’t stop me from totally appreciating the work that Gavin O’Connor did in crafting a puzzle on screen. I felt the payoff was totally there, every time a piece fell into place. It was brilliantly set up. Each scene made sense, then would call back to a scene earlier and something you may have missed, and it all just worked for me. I want to see this again, just so I can analyze it even more.

3) Hunt For The Wilderpeople
I had no idea I would love this film as much as I did. It was something I randomly decided on when it was streaming on Hulu (of all places), and I was floored. I had no idea what to expect. I had never seen a trailer. I didn’t even know Sam Neill was in it. He blew me away. I immediately recommended this to several people. It’s a great film.

2) Hell Or High Water
If we can get more westerns like this, it might just save an entire genre. Featuring a fantastic ensemble cast, one of the tightest screenplays of the year, and some fantastic scoring and cinematography, Hell Or High Water worked for me on every level. That’s why it’s so high on my list. I loved it. I bought it as a Christmas present for a family member. I’m sharing it with the world.

1) Arrival AND La La Land
I loved Arrival. It’s one of the best sci-fi films in years. I walked out of Arrival saying “That’s the Best Picture of the year.” I already named Amy Adams my favorite Best Actress. The film looks great and has a great score. It’s an incredibly smart film, like so many on my list. But, I also love La La Land. I loved La La Land so much I saw it in theatres twice, about two weeks apart fro each other. That’s highly unprecedented for me. I’ve never done that before. The last time I saw a film in theatres twice was Frozen, and it was a huge gap from November to February. This was about two weeks. La La Land is just so damn likeable, with some fantastic choreographed dance sequences, and terrific music. I kept sitting here going, which film is #1? How do I choose? Do I knock Arrival down just because I haven’t seen it twice? I literally cannot allow myself to move Arrival down. So then do I move La La Land down? I loved La La Land. I suppose, it’s important to note that I keep a running list, in a word doc, so technically, Arrival was #1 and La La Land was #2. But when I was actually writing this list, and I sat down to try and figure this out, I just kept thinking La La Land needed to be #1. It might be a cop out to have a tie at #1, but both of these films are my favorite films of the year for entirely different reasons. Hopefully, in a few minutes, both will get Best Picture nominations.

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