Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Top 25 Favorite Movies of 2016

Well, 2016 is over and with movies this year, when movies were good, they were good and you could say the same thing about the bad movies (there will be a Top 25 of that as well). But this is about the good so let's get with the good. But before that, we have to get to the honorable mentions and films I did not see that I have heard good things about.

Here is what I have not seen yet:
* Embrace of the Serpent
* Fences
* Hidden Figures
* Jackie
* Manchester By The Sea
* Moonlight
* Nocturnal Animals
* Silence
* The Handmaiden

Now here are the honorable mentions in alphabetical order.

Kung Fu Panda 3
Kung Fu Panda 3

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The Conjuring 2

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The Mermaid

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The Wailing

And now without further ado....here is my Top 25.

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25. Batman: Return Of The Caped Crusaders
I remember the enjoyment of the 60s Batman series, no matter how hokey it was and this film celebrates that as we got Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar back to play there old roles (every other villain and good guy had long since passed away). There are many Easter Eggs for fans of the shows and the story for the most part is very good, where Batman gets kind of turned evil and Robin (as well as Catwoman) have to stop him. Now there are some very convenient crap that happens, but probably the reason it is so low is because I can admit that if people had not seen the 60s show or have no idea about it, they might not be a fan of this hokey Batman. Regardless, this was easily the best Batman film of 2016.

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24. Hush
A great horror film that I had to get talked into watching due to it not catching my interest for the most part and I'm glad they did. Basically, an aspiring writer who is deaf is stalked by a killer in a mask, who realizes she is deaf and since she lives in the middle of the woods, decides to mess with her before he goes for the kill. The film has an interesting idea and it works well with that. It is a film that was released on Netflix so if you have a Netflix account, you have no excuse to miss this very creepy film. Horror had a good year in 2016 and this is merely the first of several on the list. 

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23. Keanu
From the first trailer of this film, I could not wait to see this film and thankfully, it did not disappoint. Key and Peele are great as two suburban guys trying to act gangsta because they need to get their cute little kitten back who was stolen. The fact they get mistaken for two terrifying assassins and one of the two's love for George Michael (R.I.P.) music makes for great hilarity. This was actually a lot higher on the list because I left this film extremely happy, but upon reflection it is perfectly fine being at #23. 

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22. Popstar: Never Stop Stopping
Another comedy that makes this list as the Lonely Island (a comedy band led by Andy Samberg) makes a funny as hell mock documentary that goes after plenty of stuff that is known to pop culture (like TMZ). It does take time to get interesting, but it succeeds in doing that in a guy who is part of a band, but gets too big so he goes solo and ultimately realizes that he is better off being with his band. This show had a lot of cameos like Seal, Usher, Jimmy Fallon, and Mariah Carey that are important to the film. This will get compared to This Is Spinal Tap and despite not liking This Is Spinal Tap, the comparisons are well founded. 

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21. Ouija: Origin Of Evil
We have seen a rarity in this film as not only is this prequel better than the film before it, but it makes up for that film as that first film....SUCKED. Ouija: Origin Of Evil uses the Ouija board a lot better and in some ways, explains the origin of what happened with the ghosts in the original. You feel sorry for these characters that end up in this horrible situation, knowing that ultimately they are screwed if you saw the original. But then again, you don't need to see that first film and maybe even pretend that first film never existed. 

20. Zootopia
Okay, I know people are going to be mad that Zootopia is so low on my countdown, but for someone who got all this hype, I found the film a bit overrated. Now, I will admit that this is a great film that deserves some recognition, but I found myself at times bored with what was going on. I think what may have been the biggest crux that makes it this low was the ending reveal because I think they could have done better with the discrimination subplot. Still a great film that I can understand if it gets a lot of awards, but just not in my mind. 

A man and a woman dancing beside a rather bright streetlight, a city view stretches out behind them. The woman is wearing a bright yellow dress, her partner is wearing a with shirt and tie with dark pants.
19. La La Land
Speaking of movies that will be sweeping awards time, I did happen to see La La Land. So why is it so low? Is it overrated in my mind? Not really. I honestly cannot find a single thing wrong with this film, however I will honestly admit it that this type of film is not for me. Now despite my mom falling asleep in the middle of the film, I stayed awake and was awed by the lighting of this film as whoever did that deserves an award by itself. I know this will probably get a lot of Oscars and honestly, I am okay with that. 

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18. Deepwater Horizon
This is a film that I had no idea would be as great as it was. I mean, I knew all about the whole aftermath caused by that oil rig blowing up, but the story I did not know about was the rescue effort that happened on the rig itself and I wish I did. This film absolutely makes you feel sorry for so many people in this film and the whole emotion of escaping from the rig as well as the emotion afterwards as family members are wondering if their family member survived works so well. I found myself several times with my hand over my mouth seeing every bit of stuff with dread at times because they made it feel dreadful about what was coming.

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17. Don't Breathe
Again, horror was great this year as we had a film that put a situation where three burglars are trying to rob a blind guy of his money is turned upside down when you realize the blind guy is Stephen Lang and is a monster in his own ways. The fact that there is this horrible blind monster who may not see, but is better with his other senses is slowly creeping and you are dreading what he will do when he finds these two people (he killed one of the three rather immediately) because not only can he darken the place, but you can't truly 100% be safe outside of the house because the whole neighborhood this blind man lives in is abandoned and he is the only one there. 

Doctor Strange, wearing his traditional costume, including his red cloak coming out from a flowing energetic portal, and around him the world and New York turning around itself with the film's cast names above him and the film's title, credits and billing are underneath.
16. Doctor Strange
Marvel properties also had a great 2016 and here we finally got to see the majesty of the mystic would with Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect as a surgeon who gets an a car accident and loses use of his hands for surgery purposes so he has to find in the magical world ways to be useful in society. Now, I understand that they put an Irish woman as the Master instead of a Tibetan man and while that may piss some people off with accusations of white washing, remember that was more China having issues with Tibet and not on us. And I find Mordo more 3 dimensional better in the movie than he was in the comics. 

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15. 10 Cloverfield Lane
It is the first time ever I saw a film with Mary Elizabeth Winstead in that I liked. That in and of itself should show that this is good, but there is other stuff like the terrifying villain portrayed by John Goodman. Every time you see him, you never know when he is going to flip his lid and do something horrible. It is also the ultimate rock and a hard place where inside you deal with John Goodman and outside, you deal with a world that may be invaded by aliens. As the poster says, monsters come in many forms and sometimes the one that looks better may be the worst option of the two. 

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14. Finding Dory
This one actually truly shocked me that it was good because in every way, this seems like a pointless sequel that was only made for more money, but there actually is a great film that exists here. This is a film that made me feel sorry for Dory as you get her sad backstory. The octopus is the perfect partner for Dory through most of the film where they want to get out because he has been trying to escape for years, with always hilarious failures in the past. We also had more stupid birds and we almost have a sad ending that ends happily and...holy crap, I realized how much of a clone this film may be to the first one. But like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that works in the end. 

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13. Eye In The Sky
I would like to believe this is Alan Rickman's final film (ignore Alice Through The Looking Glass) as this film is a heart-pounding thriller about how far you are willing to go to get rid of a target with a drone. Basically, there is this meeting between wanted terrorists and suicide bombers are being prepared so normally you would make the drone strike, but there is a innocent little girl who is selling bread that might be in the blast radius. You know this not going to end well no matter what happens, but you always hope. Alan Rickman's second to last line is perfect and why I was kind of wishing this was his final film. 

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12. Arrival
It's a strange time where aliens not being treated as the bad guys or the heroes is rare. Here, the aliens are very important to the plot, but their end goals are a mystery and the major problem is on us being worried about their intentions, and maybe accidentally causing war when none was the alien's ambitions. You also get a great cast and some strange theories on time not being linear, which at times even confuses me (which is why it isnt higher). Ultimately, it is about trying to communicate with the aliens and trying to avoid was. Oh, and this film did get sad at time due to a certain death that happens really early on. 

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11. Green Room
I may have said this was a great year for horror film, but sadly this one is the best one that barely misses the Top 10 due to the last film I saw making the Top 5. And that is truly a shame because a few months after this film got released, the star Anton Yelchin sadly passed away in an accident at his home. If there is one horror film that puts you in complete dread the entire time with barely any time of calmness, it is this film that has a punk group in a situation where they are stuck in a green room because a murder occurred that they witnessed and now Neo-Nazis are trying to kill them to silence them. No one is safe in this film and we get a great villain performance by Patrick Stewart. Definitely a film to watch as a horror fan. 

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10. Hell or High Water
You know that I do love westerns, but it is rare for westerns to have a modern take and that is exactly what happened in Hell or High Water, a western that takes place in Western Texas of today. A mother dies and her place gets nearly taken by a bank so what do two adult sons who have no money do, but rob banks (of the same bank that tried to take the place of their late mother). Chris Pine and Ben Foster are great as two sympathetic robbers while Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham have great chemistry as two Texas Rangers who spend their time not at work, teasing each other over basically anything. I won't say anymore other than one death comes out of no where and it's impact is strong.

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9. Sausage Party
What Food Fight should have been instead of the poorly animated, poorly acted mess that it was. Sausage Party had tons of food jokes and tons of raunchy humor which makes sense if you know the people involved with this film. And yes, I do know how the filmmakers fucked over animators by not giving some credit when there was issues over pay and that is absolutely douchey of them. And yes, I know there are plenty of ethnic stereotype jokes. But overall, I couldn't stop laughing at the sure insanity of it all and yes, it is R Rated for a reason so please don't take your underage kids to it and if you do....blame your dumb ass. 

Official poster shows the titular hero Deadpool standing in front of the viewers, with hugging his hands, and donning his traditional black and red suit and mask, and the film's name, credits and billing below him.
8. Deadpool
And speaking of awesome R-Rated comedies, we have Deadpool, which took what we thought of the whole comic book movie genre (especially stuff in Marvel Comics) and turned it upside down. I knew that Ryan Reynolds would do great as Deadpool if given a true chance (which he wasn't in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and I am glad to see that my thoughts were proven correct and this film made the boat loads of money it did, despite Fox not understanding it. Now Deadpool is the new cash cow for Fox in their X-Men type universe and hopefully Deadpool 2 (with Cable) will be just as good. 

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7. Everybody Wants Some!!
Being someone who finds both Boyhood as well as Dazed and Confused a bit overrated, I was completely taken aback by how much I enjoyed this film by Richard Linklater. The great soundtrack and jokes from a cast from people who I have never heard of, makes for this tale of a college baseball team just trying to have fun on the off-season incredibly entertaining. And yes, one guy legit gets girls by admitting that he has an average sized penis (I cannot confirm or deny if that works). Frontiers are where you find them and this film proves that. 

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6. The Nice Guys
Really sad to see that this ultimately missed my Top 5 as the last film I saw made it instead because I really do love this comedy that mixes crime thriller with neo-noir, all the while taking place in the 70s. Russell Crowe perfectly pays a guy who gets paid to beat people up while Ryan Gosling perfectly plays a con artist private investigator who has a little girl at home to take care of after his wife died in a fire. And yes, one of my favorite actors Keith David is also in this film as a thug, which is awesome. A great soundtrack as well as the many twist and turns this film takes makes me wish I could put this in my Top 5, but alas....it just misses out. 

Official poster shows the Avengers team factions which led by Iron Man and Captain America, confronting each other by looking each other, with the film's slogan above them, and the film's title, credits, and release date below them.
5. Captain America: Civil War
Marvel proves once again that they are still way ahead of DC Comics when it comes to making theatrical films as just a few months after DC went all out (and failed) with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Marvel would show how doing comic book movies with a multitude of heroes fighting each other in this film. You were given reasons to like every character and given flaws for every character. The only flaw of this film is the man who is ultimately the villain, but ultimately this was not his story at all and the only thing he could do was partially play puppet master at times and leave to watch the fireworks. Oh and for the first time, Spiderman is done almost perfectly in his short appearances. 

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4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
This was that last film I saw that ultimately got into the Top 5 as while not as great as the Force Awakens, it is still an awesome Star Wars movie (and the first with zero Jedi). And let me try to say this so people like my parents don't get confused, this is not a sequel to The Force Awakens, this a one-off story that happened in between Episode III and Episode IV that reveals how the rebels got the plans for the Death Star. The CGI rendering for Grand Moff Tarken (whose actor has been dead for years) is terrifyingly uncanny in how good it is and it makes sense that the actions to get those plans comes at a heavy cost. One criticism is that well, the Death Star's planet destroying ray seems less effective as it was in Episode IV for some reason and slower with its destruction. 

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3. Kubo And The Two Strings
I'm going to make a huge spoiler warning here for my Top 3 picks: all of them are animated films. This film shows once again that a great stop motion animation film can almost always bring tears to my eyes. It is an incredible story about a boy whose magical shamisen makes him able to entertain the locals with his origami stories, when he doesnt get home before dark and the villains led by the boy's grandfather come after him. Along the way to defeat them is a monkey and a beetle soldier (whose real identities are important) and the story is as memorable as it is awe-inspiring. 

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2. Moana
This film made me feel the same way I felt with Frozen (which ironically also finished #2 that year) in moving me with its story, making me lost in its world, and having my ears enjoy its songs (favorite song is sung by a giant crab). Much like the Secret World of Walter Mitty, this film makes me want to go places outside of where I live (if I had the monetary and physical means to do so). Also this is one of the first Disney animated films where our female protagonist does not get forced with a love interest in the end. Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Auli'i Cravalho have great chemistry with each other and even the side characters are great like the chicken and the ocean itself. 

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1. The Little Prince
In several "Best of" lists, I am extremely surprised and disappointed to see this film being overlooked as not only does it mix stop motion with CGI greatly, but it does justice to the short story it is based on and the stuff added to it helps the story a lot. This was a story that I was read a lot by my mom as a little kid and to see this film gave me tears with how well they told the story. I cannot really begin to even explain what parts of this film I love. All I can do is just say how great it is and hope the only reason it is not on anyone's "Best of" lists is because it is on Netflix and most people didn't bother to see something that goes straight to Netflix. 

So those are my favorite films of 2016. Next, you get to see the films I hated in 2016 and since there were a lot of them, I am breaking from tradition and doing a Top 25 list of these because all of these films need to be skewered for how terrible they are. Stay Tuned....

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