When looking at great years for movies, 2016 was one of the best! You had quirky comedies, intense thrillers, war epics and a surprisingly great modern musical. It was a great year to go to the cinema.
In preparation for the end of 2017 with my ‘Top 10 Best” and “Top 10 Worst” of 2017, I will be counting down the best and worst of 2016.
As always, I have some honourable mentions to give out to some excellent movies. Although these were amazing movies, they just didn’t make my top 10 list.
Zootopia: Yet another Walt Disney classic, ‘Zootopia’ managed to exceed my expectations and become one of the funniest and most charming animated movies I’ve seen in years.
10 Cloverfield Lane: It may not be the sequel to ‘Cloverfield’ that many were hoping it was going to be, but this is an excellent isolated thriller that manages to be as terrifying as it is intriguing.
Moonlight: This coming-of-age drama chronicling an African American boy’s journey into manhood is unlike anything else out there. It will take your breath away.
The Jungle Book: This gorgeous live-action adaptation of the Disney classic is easily the best live-action adaptation yet. The CGI is stunning.
Deadpool: The infamous comic-book anti-hero was given the treatment he deserved in this excellent comic-book movie for adults.
The Edge of Seventeen: Yet another great coming-of-age movie for 2016, this was a mature yet hilarious look into high school life.
Rogue One (A Star Wars Story): This Star Wars spin-off had a lot of pressure building up to its release, but thankfully it was an excellent addition to the series. The Vietnam war feeling of it makes it a different kind of Star Wars movie.
Moana: Walt Disney had a great year with yet another beautifully animated musical. I was so surprised by how much I actually loved this movie.
Manchester by the Sea: Perhaps the most serious and depressing movie of 2016, ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is a movie that you will think about long after the credits roll.
Swiss Army Man: This was easily the weirdest movie to come out in 2016 and it was a joy to watch. Just saying, Daniel Radcliff is a farting corpse, that should intrigue you, to say the least.
Nocturnal Animals: An artsy psychological thriller that managed to be one of the best-acted movies of 2016. The story within a story aspect of the movie is amazingly gripping.
Now, let’s begin.
10. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
To start off the list, we are heading over to New Zealand with one of the funniest comedies of the decade. ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ was one of the biggest surprises of last year for many as it seemed to come out of nowhere. It was hilarious, charming and it even had a heartwarming and poignant message behind it. Although many people know director Taika Waititi now due to his latest effort being ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, this wasn’t his first movie and was definitely his third masterpiece. His use of dry humour works so well here and the chemistry between Sam Neil and Julian Dennison is amazing. Basically, it’s just a damn good movie and it has become a staple of the genre.
9. Sing Street
A movie that has already appeared on my ‘Top 10 Musicals’ list, this Irish based, modern-musical/coming-of-age movie was the most underrated movie of 2016. Following a teenage boy who forms a band to impress an aspiring model, this quirky gem has a story that is both original and cliched, but it is strong enough for those cliches to make sense. With a great use of the 80s setting, ‘Sing Street’ has the music and fashion of the era being used to perfection and they become a character on their own. So if you want to watch the most underrated movie of 2016, then I definitely recommend watching this Irish gem.
8. Hell or High Water
What is basically a western set in modern Texas, ‘Hell or High Water’ was yet another big surprise of 2016. To start off, the script for this movie was one of the best scripts of 2016. The realism of both the dialogue and the way the action unfolds, make this a movie that feels real. It feels like this is really happening and because of this realism, you really get a better understanding of the movie. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are also at their best as the two brothers who are pulling off a series of heists. Their character arcs are magnificent and they are compelling to watch. To put it plainly, this is a magnificent movie that shows you what would really happen in a situation like this.
The movie that took Martin Scorsese decades to make, ‘Silence’ ended up being an overlooked movie, despite the talent in front and behind the camera. This could be due to its three-hour runtime and the controversial subject matter that it is focusing on. It follows a couple of Jesuit priests in 17th century Japan, who attempt to locate their mentor who has apparently committed apostasy and is now against Catholicism. What really makes this a masterpiece is its willingness to show us the horrible truth of the time period. With the murdering of innocent Catholics at the hand of the Japenese, this was a horrible time to be alive and ‘Silence’ takes seemingly normal people and puts them through horrible situation after horrible situation which ends up changing them quite dramatically whole by the end. Many call this Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus and I can see why.
6. Everybody Wants Some
As you can tell with some of these top 10 lists, I really love Richard Linklater movies. His dialogue driven movies that are almost about nothing end up being the most interesting of the year. This spiritual sequel to the brilliant ‘Dazed and Confused’ follows a College Freshman in the few days leading up to his first class of College. What I loved about ‘Everybody Wants Some’ was how it changed how we see the typical “jock” character that we know from High School/College movies. It made us love these ‘jocks” as they tried to fit in and get used to the alcohol-driven lifestyle of College life. The characters are real, the dialogue is real and it’s one of the best College movies in years.
One of the great modern filmmakers is arguably Denis Villeneuve. Every movie he has made has been amazing and ‘Arrival’ proves that Denis is one of the best filmmakers of all time. This is a Sci-fi movie that will make you think during and long after the credits roll. I remember when the Acadamy Awards were on and this was one of the Best Picture nominees and someone who was watching it with me said: “Looks like a crappy movie where Amy Adams falls in love with an alien!” That person couldn’t be more wrong as this is not your typical Sci-fi movie. What we get here is a realistic depiction of what would happen if mysterious alien spacecrafts were to appear around the world and it’s mindblowing to watch.
4. Hacksaw Ridge
The movie that gave Mel Gibson the return to Hollywood he deserved was a war epic like no other. The aspect that made this a different kind of war movie was the protagonist played with perfection by Andrew Garfield (the second time he played the protagonist in an amazing movie for the year). Based on the real-life war hero who never fired a weapon in the Pacific theatre of war, Desmond Doss was a medic who had a rough time at boot camp due to his religious views and happened to become one of the biggest war heroes of WWII. I should also mention that this is the most violent war movie since ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and even gets more violent in parts. This is a movie that truly shows the horrors of war and one of the great war heroes of WWII. A truly magnificent movie.
3. Green Room
Yet another movie that has appeared on a previous top 10 list, ‘Green Room’ deserves the praise it got. This is one of the grittiest movies to come out this decade and easily the most horrific to come out in 2016. Due to the subject matter and terrifyingly realistic violence that makes this movie, this can be a tough watch. The idea of being stuck inside a green room inside a bar run by murderous neo-Nazis is truly terrifying. This original plot is why I love ‘Green Room’ so much. With an amazing cast (RIP Anton Yelchin), realistic characters and a plot like no other, this is a movie that may scare you, but you’ll love every minute of it.
2. La La Land
If you know me in person, then you definitely saw this coming. Where do I start? Should I talk about the amazing chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone? Or should I talk about how Damien Chazelle managed to make a modern-musical that happens to be both a love letter to the Golden Age of musicals and Los Angeles? From the opening musical number that takes place in a traffic jam to the beautiful epilogue that shows us what could have happened to these characters, ‘La La Land’ is a movie that deserves the praise and will become a timeless classic in the years to come. It’s truly mesmerizing to watch.
1. The Nice Guys
So, I know for a fact that many of you reading this haven’t seen or even heard about this movie. It still upsets me to how this masterpiece was overlooked by so many in 2016 like I don’t even know how it went under the radar. I have watched this movie five-times within the last twelve months and it manages to get better and funnier upon each viewing. The amazing chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe is one of the best partnerships I’ve ever seen in a movie. They manage to play off one another like it’s nothing and it makes you wish they worked together even more after this. I should also talk about how the setting of the 70s and the plot that revolves around a series of killings, the porn industry and a dangerous hitman, make this one of the greatest detective movies ever. It’s also better than most comedies these days due to the use of comedy that happens throughout. All of these things make ‘The Nice Guys’ the greatest movie of 2016 and is a movie I definitely recommend watching as soon as you can.
There it is, my top 10 movies of 2016 done and dusted. I hope you enjoyed reading this list and hopefully, there are a few movies that I’ve persuaded you into watching. As always if there is a movie that I’ve left off here that you think should have made the list, feel free to comment below. Thanks!