From teenagers singing in a band in 1980s Ireland to the musical backdrop of Los Angeles, I brake down some of my favorite movies that have come out in 2016. While the year wasn’t exactly the best, especially with the summer movie season, it did give us some unexpected surprises that came out at the end of the year. And by far, this is probably the hardest list I had to come up with every time a great movie comes out. Here are the 10 best movies of the year, in my opinion.
Honorable Mentions: Manchester By the Sea, The Edge of Seventeen, Star Trek Beyond, Kubo and the Two Strings, Arrival, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Zootopia, Swiss Army Man, Don’t Breathe, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Eddie the Eagle, Hell or High Water, Deepwater Horizon, Moana
10) Patriots Day (Peter Berg)
Of the two movies Peter Berg directed 2016, Patriots Day was the one that affected me personally (Deepwater Horizon was also very good). Though very curious about if this was too early to do a film about the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, it didn’t feel over-the-top and makes for a constant drama about the aftermath of that terrible day. At the end of it all, it’s all about coming together to put an end to this chaotic time. Patriots Day is powerful, intense and emotionally effective. A great thriller while also paying tribute to the real heroes of that day.
9) Fences (Denzel Washington)
Even though this was just people having conversations for two hours, Fences was still engaging all the way through. This big-screen adaptation based on the late August Wilson’s play was a perfect translation that doesn’t feel repetitive. Makes me wanna check out the play myself. Fences was a truthful and powerful adaption of Wilson’s play with Denzel Washington’s direction, a great script and fantastic performances from Washington and Viola Davis, respectively.
8) Sing Street (John Carney)
A great movie that not enough people know about or saw. Knowing very little about Sing Street without watching any trailer, this ended up as a joyful drama about a boy starting a band to impress the girl. Director John Carney knows how to do a film surround the art of music and he should honestly continue that tradition. Sing Street might be his best in his filmography. A tremendous and heartfelt musical with great young talents and some of the catchiest music of the year. And I gotta give massive kudos to Jack Reynor not only giving a lively performance as Connor’s older brother, but he gives my favorite monologue of the year. Best Song: “Drive It Like You Stole It”
7) Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson)
It’s unsure if Mel Gibson’s back in Hollywood’s gracious hands, but after the war epic Hacksaw Ridge, he should be (for the time being). This is one of the best war films in recent years that I can think of. It’s a brutal and heroic story about Desmond Doss and his decision not to fire a weapon on the battlefield. With a phenomenal performance from Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge can’t be forgotten.
6) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Gareth Edwards)
Another year for a Star Wars film, another year that I’m probably gonna love it. Even though Rogue One has some flaws that shouldn’t be overlooked, the first standalone anthology film in the new series is still exciting about how the Rebels planned to steal the plans from the Death Star. As a fan of Star Wars, it exceeded into a spectacular and adventurous addition to the famous saga with one of the best endings of the year if I say so myself.
5) The Nice Guys (Shane Black)
Shane Black’s buddy comedy The Nice Guys is the most underrated movie of the year. It’s a total shame that nobody saw this during the summer because this was a brilliant original comedy that blew expectations. The chemistry between Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling’s Jackson Healy and Holland March were off the charts, Angourie Rice becoming a breakout star in the making, and it delivers on the 70s setting with perfect style.
4) The Jungle Book (Jon Favreau)
The Jungle Book is one of those rare movies that’s honestly better than its animated counterpart. This will likely not be on everybody’s best list, but Jon Faverau’s take on Rudyard Kipling’s book blew me away. A Disney remake that’s extraordinary and a surprise from the voice talents (Bill Murray, Idris Elba) to the most realistic visual effects ever. With the news of Favreau actually helming a live-action remake of The Lion King, how can’t I be excited about that? In my opinion, 2016’s The Jungle Book is the best Disney remake we have right now.
3) Deadpool (Tim Miller)
Now, this is how you do a superhero hero right. Deadpool became the first great movie of the year and it came out at the right time. This was one of my most anticipated movies of the year but hesitate that it won’t live up to the hype that was the fantastic marketing. But this was a surprise. After years of finally getting the “Merch with a Mouth” to the big screen, Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds made this character come to life. Probably the best adaptation of any superhero. Very funny and meta filled comic book movie that worked. Thank you, Mr. Reynolds, for being in a great superhero movie for once.
2) Captain America: Civil War (Anthony and Joe Russo)
For a comic book movie that could’ve easily lack interest because of how many characters are involved in here, it doesn’t fail one bit. Captain America: Civil War is the best way to begin Phase 3 for the MCU. Every movie in the Captain America series consistently gets better with each passing movie. The most ambitious and legendary film in the MCU as it shows the conflict between two of its greatest heroes: Captain America and Iron Man. The airport sequences alone is quite possibly the best scene in any movie this year. And we finally got Spider-Man in the MCU! And Tom Holland was perfect in every scene he’s in.
1) La La Land (Damien Chazelle)
This is the reason why I love cinema. Everything about La La Land is magnificent. Although musicals don’t grab my attention, this is one of the most astonishing and engaging musicals to ever come out. Damien Chazlle impressed me with 2014’s Whiplash (my second favorite movie that year), but he masterfully crafted the most memorable movie in recent memory. Carried with amazing directing, great performances from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and fantastic music throughout, La La Land is beyond spectacular of a love story taken place in Los Angeles.