I wasn’t thrilled with this years slate of films. A lot of the tentpole movies either bombed or were way too generic. That said, always some good films out there. I see them all, so you don’t have to. Without further adieu, here is my Top 118 movies of 2016!
THE TOP TEN (The elite films of 2016)
Everything it was supposed to be and more. The promise of the “pirated” trailer came true in almost every scene. Ryan Reynolds needed a hit to stay relevant. This was his moment and he nailed it. Deadpool floated around in the top two or three for the whole year, but I never wanted to put it number one. Why not? Sometimes an action comedy can be better than a musical or a drama.
2 LA LA LAND
A modern musical that actually embraces convention….despite being about that very distinction. Stone and Gosling once again have amazing chemistry. Smart, sad, and beautiful. I am not really into filmed musicals (I prefer the stage), but this one nailed it. After a few early “big musical” numbers that made me think it would be more of the same, the music really started to feel organic to the story. Great movie.
3 MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Amazingly a tear jerker one second and a quirky comedy the next. The transitions between the two were noticeable but not awkward. Casey Affleck adds a third Oscar to the family’s collection!
Smart Sci-Fi is always a welcome addition to the Oscar race. This one was heady, had twists, and some great acting and direction.
5 KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
Like Inside Out last year, Kubo is a beautiful drama dressed up as a children’s movie. Excellent animation and mood.
6 HELL OR HIGH WATER
Great start to finish, but Jeff Bridges stole every second of the film. Deserves a Best Picture nod.
7 HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
What could have been a total tearjerker came out as more of an Indie dramedy…which I love. The young boy playing opposite of Sam Neil was amazing. The dialogue in this film was perfect.
A true Disney classic. I am not as star struck by Lin-Manuel Miranda as Ryan is, so I thought it was the Rock that made this movie great.
A great performance piece translation of the Pulitzer Prize winning play. Viola Davis deserves an Oscar.
10 JUNGLE BOOK
This year’s Mad Max. A movie I totally prejudged unfairly. An instant classic.
THE EXCEPTIONAL (Films that were considered Top 10)
11 EYE IN THE SKY
An adult, morally complex movie that they don’t make very often anymore.
12 TRAIN TO BUSAN
One part Snowpiercer. One part Dawn of the Dead. What made it unique is that is had a sort of optimism to it despite the terror. I actually wanted these characters to survive which is usually the downfall of most horror movies.
Tom Hanks’ best live action movie since Saving Private Ryan. Excellent performance!
14 ROGUE ONE
Half a mediocre movie, half a brilliant classic that was better than anything ever done with Star Wars. Could have been great but missed that mark and has to settle for very good.
I liked this a lot more than Ryan did apparently…
16 THE NICE GUYS
Reminded me of LA Confidential if it were set in the 70s and was written by Shane Black.
17 DON’T BREATHE
Horror/suspense often requires you to suspend disbelief to keep the characters in peril, but this creepy film didn’t require that. Good solid thriller.
18 CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
When I first saw this movie, I thought it was amazing. But after thinking about the silly Zemo plotline, I realized I only liked the final battle sequences.
19 LIFE, ANIMATED
Sweet documentary about a deeply autistic child who finds the world through the magic of Disney animated films.
A series of short sequences featuring the same character over time played (in some cases) by different actors.
21 FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
I like the idea of the Potterverse more than I like the films so this one was always going to be a little lower. The third act though was really strong. The ultimate test is, I would like to see more of this character and time period.
22 DR STRANGE
Not a big fan of this character, but I like Benedict. That balanced out to me enjoying an origin film (which I don’t like) as much as I possibly could. I am afraid that Marvel is become TOO formulaic.
Another Dallas Buyer’s Club entry. All about the acting and the story is just there to give the actors something to say.
An excellent commentary on being a successful woman in a high pressure job.
Smart film by Daniel Radcliffe as an FBI agent investigation the skinheads. Somewhat timely.
26 HOLY HELL
Documentary about a creepy cult leader who operated in Austin! Eerie as hell!
What a douchebag! Amazing. Even before he impacted the 2016 election!
28 SAUSAGE PARTY
I love a movie that is both smart and stupid. This movie was close, but something kept it from getting all the way there. I wish I knew what that was. And yes…I might have ranked this next to Weiner on purpose.
29 DON’T THINK TWICE
The right blend of heart and comedy as the film tell the story of people struggling to make it.
30 CAPTAIN FANTASTIC
Nice quirky Indie movie that Ryan hated. I think he thought it was going to be a crossover between Civil War and the Fantastic Four.
A really cute start to a huge franchise.
THE ENJOYABLE (Films I am happy to say I saw, but not great…)
32 OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY
For a dumb harmless comedy, this had a lot of got moments. Bateman, Munn, and Miller were strong. Oddly Kate McKinnon was a little MEH in this one.
33 FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS
A sweet Emperor Has No Clothes film. Excellent performance by Hugh Grant.
34 WAR DOGS
A perfectly fine airplane movie. Only Jonah Hill’s performance made it even close to memorable.
35 CAFE SOCIETY
I like Woody Allen’s mood in film, but this one was kind of middle of the road for him.
36 FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK
Not as interesting as Takei, but if you like Leonard Nimoy, it is worth your time.
37 ZERO DAYS
Fascinating doc on cyber warfare and the attack on the Iranian nuclear program.
38 FINDING DORY
Not as good as the first but much more a Toy Story quality sequel rather than Monsters U or Cars 2.
Much better than the trailer. I do not understand the misogynistic hate for this. Kate McKinnon had a great year of performances and this was second only to her work on SNL.
40 OUR KIND OF TRAITOR
Airplane movie only. Good performances and settings.
41 MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
Interesting and quirky take on the X-Men,
42 THE WHITE HELMETS
These guys are the world’s real superheroes.
43 SUICIDE SQUAD
This year’s Fantastic Four. Much better than the brutal reviews. Margot Robbie was inspired. As good a comic performance as I’ve seen.
44 UNDER THE GUN
This documentary about guns made me mad.
45 GREEN ROOM
Legitimately scary and creepy without being over the top.
46 THE SHALLOWS
A fun summer thriller that surprised me a little.
47 MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
A Close Encounters for the modern age.
48 CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
A funny little comedy. Great chemistry between Kevin Hart and the Rock.
Key and Peele are funny even when the plot if kind of pointless.
50 THE LOBSTER
So bizarre. It played like an Indie Drama but was supposed to be funny. Amidst the quirkiness was a brilliant commentary on relationships, love, and loneliness.
51 EVERYBODY WANTS SOME
Utterly pointless but incredibly charming.
52 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
Misery meets scifi?
THE HARMLESS (Films I liked but were not worth recommending)
Dumb fun with some really great songs
54 MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Total popcorn movie. Worth the price of admission but total fluff. Loved Chris Pratt.
Great performances but the script dragged on. Could have made the film more compelling by alternating between the Lovings and the legal case more.
56 BAD MOMS
A fine Itunes rental on a Friday night. Mila Kunis is very likeable.
57 STAR TREK BEYOND
I like this cast a lot but the actual plot was pretty recycled.
Stone’s dishonesty with facts takes away from a serious subject. I wish this money had been made by someone else. I did cringe every time they mentioned Dell…
The music was good, but the plot felt stolen from the Muppets.
60 SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU
I love the Obamas, but the actors didn’t do much to live up to the real people.
61 MAGGIE’S PLAN
The kind of indie dramedy I like but it was kind of mediocre.
62 PETE’S DRAGON
Cute but unmemorable. Not bad but did not give me a razzle, dazzle day.
63 NEIGHBORS 2
Like Bad Moms, it was harmless fun.
64 KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES
Zach Galifianakis makes me laugh even in dumb comedies.
65 THE MEDDLER
Susan Sarandon and JK Simmons’ chemistry was compelling. JK can do no wrong for me.
66 SECRET LIFE OF PETS
Better than I thought. Extra laughs for our family because we have a tiny white dog named Gidget.
THE AIRPLANE MOVIES (Films worth watching on a plane)
67 MONEY MONSTER
Middle of the road. Clooney is likeable, but I don’t think Julia Roberts can act anymore…
The book was better but this was a nice bit of GCI.
Fairly Disney-esque but solid movie. Sudeikis was solid.
70 BROTHERS GRIMSBY
Gross and silly but fun to watch on iTunes.
71 NOW YOU SEE ME 2
About as good as the original. What made this one memorable was the AMAZING card scene in the computer lab! Ryan likes this way too much.
72 X-MEN APOCALYPSE
I liked this. Not the best X-film but much better than 42% RT.
73 WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT
Smart but with slow pacing. Enjoyed Fey, Freeman, and Billy Bob Thorton.
74 LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP
Witty and charming
75 LONDON HAS FALLEN
Decent action movie overall but an inspired action sequence at the beginning.
76 KUNG FU PANDA 3
This was pretty good. Why did they release this in January?
77 13 HOURS
Not bad for a Bay movie.
78 MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES
I laughed the whole time and then was ashamed.
79 JACK REACHER 2
The first Cruise movie I pay full price for in years and it is isn’t a fraction of the first Reacher fil,.
80 TRIPLE 9
A perfectly decent airplane movie.
81 THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
A total disappointment. Nowhere near the standard of Gone Girl..
This one was about the online dare game, right?
THE PAINFUL (Films that were not enjoyable)
A couple of funny musical numbers surrounded by pretty scenery and no plot.
84 HAIL CAESAR
Mediocre and weak by Cohen standards.
85 HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING
Did Tom Hanks need to be in this movie?
A really cool thing done by really dull people makes for a middle of the pack documentary.
87 PRESCRIPTION THUGS
Interesting material with an irreverent angle.
88 I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD
Interesting guy, but this falls into the “all I needed was a segment on 60 Minutes to get the story…”
89 FINEST HOURS
Good enough to pass the hours. Made me realize I’d like to see more from Casey Affleck.
90 LIGHTS OUT
Not sure why this got could enough review to entice me to watch it.
91 BATMAN: KILLING JOKE
The changes made from the source material were not smart ones.
92 THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON
A decent documentary on the Apollo program more than Gene Cernan.
93 EDDIE THE EAGLE
Rudy but without the charm of Sean Astin.
94 HOW TO BE SINGLE
Passable discount cinema rom com that I picked because it started 15 minutes earlier than the other movie I was considering. .
Not as good as the usual Kevin Costner mediocre thriller
96 ME BEFORE YOU
Felt like a marketing campaign for him
98 VINTAGE TOMORROWS
Fun visuals covering a subculture, but no narrative.
99 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
As silly as the title suggested
100 ANGRY BIRDS
Five years too late and still not funny.
101 NORM OF THE NORTH
Not as bad as the 8% RT score indicated…shoulda been 18% at least!
102 THE BOSS
Movies directed by Melissa McCarthy’s husband usually stink. He directed this one.
103 THE INFILTRATOR
Cranston even seemed to phone this one in.
104 THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT
Couldn’t get into it.
105 JASON BOURNE
Shaky, loud, and unnecessary.
106 INDEPENDENCE DAY 2
The premise was interesting but the execution was poor.
Dull content but visually compelling…and not just because of Margo Robbie.
108 CHICKEN PEOPLE
No angle to make an uninteresting subject interesting…
THE BOTTOM TEN (The real stinkers of 2016)
Kelsey Grammar should stick to playing Cranes instead of Storks….
110 HARDCORE HENRY
An interesting concept that would have been interesting as a 4 minute YouTube video.
111 SOMM: INTO THE BOTTLE
None of the charm of the original.
112 DIRTY GRANDPA
A comedy where you laugh at every line and still think the movie stinks.
113 GODS OF EGYPT
Neat concept. Terrible script.
114 THE WITCH
115 WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
Even when I agree with Michael Moore’s basic POV, I can’t stand watching him explain it.
116 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
The characters from a dumb movie just got dumber.
I both fell asleep AND left early.
118 BATMAN V SUPERMAN
A missed opportunity. It got worse in my estimation as the year went on. Was it REALLY the worst film of the year, even as it slid? Probably not, but you screw up Batman and Superman’s first big screen matchup, you get some shade thrown your way!