Here are my favorite movies of 2016. They are listed in no particular order and are by no means the only good movies I saw in 2016. There are still a few movies released this year that I need to see, but no guarantees that I'll get to see them before the New Year (e.g. Silence, Jackie, etc.). Overall, I think discussions of the irrelevance/demise of movies as an art form is largely overstated. Granted, there was a fair amount of franchise/sequel offerings, but (as you can see from the list below) there was an exceptional amount of really original stuff as well. There are a lot of really interesting filmmakers out there pushing the medium in interesting ways as well as transfers from other art forms (e.g. theater, advertising) making debuts. I look forward to what 2017 holds in store.
- Moonlight - Beautifully filmed, edited, and acted. I thought this was a nearly flawless movie. Reminded me of why I love movies and told a unique and poignant story.
- La La Land - Another movie that reminded me of why I love movies. Incredible music, story, acting, set design, directing, cinematography, etc. etc. Also, for the most part, really fun to watch with high re-watchability.
- Arrival - I am a huge Denis Villeneuve fan. I think his style and storytelling chops are impeccable. This movie was no exception. Some of the tropes are familiar from other sci-fi movies (e.g. Christopher Nolan's filmography), but I don't think those take away from how wonderful this movie was to see in theaters.
- Deadpool - A much needed breath of fresh air to what I think have been a series of stale movies from the Marvel universe. Ryan Reynolds is great in this and the movie is a ton of fun.
- 10 Cloverfield Lane - I have followed Dan Trachtenberg's career since the Totally Rad Show days. It warms my heart to see him finally pursue his directorial ambitions. Not to mention the fact that he made an incredibly tense and riveting thriller.
- Everybody Wants Some!! - I am an unapologetic Richard Linklater fanboy and loved his take on the first few days of college. His movies are about conversation and they always feel like a slice of reality. I'm always amazed how unforced he can make any aspect of every day life appear on the big screen.
- Sausage Party - An extremely clever and subversive animated movie. I've not been a huge fan of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's previous collaborations (This is the End and The Interview), but this movie was fantastic.
- Manchester By The Sea - Casey Affleck gives an incredible performance here. This movie reminds me a lot of previous David O. Russell films. It's more about the richness of the characters and the worlds they inhabit than plot. The plot in this movie is very good, but I didn't find it very special. The writing, acting, and depth of characters really stood out to me in this film.
- Rogue One - I wasn't a fan of Episode VII. This movie reminded me of why I loved Star Wars to begin with. Lots of great Easter eggs to boot.
- O.J.: Made in America - This is more than a movie. Incredibly important, timely, and a must-watch for all Americans.
Honorable Mention: Hell or High Water, Weiner