2016. The year that will forever go down in history as (one of) the worst. But, let’s stay positive here, folks. 2016 brought us plenty of good stuff. And a lot of that stuff was in the form of motion pictures. This was a solid year for movies and what kind of pop culture aficionado would I be if I didn’t share my opinions on the subject with you?!
So, while Daria is busy moving in with her boyfriend, I am going to do just that.
Below, you will find my picks for the best movies of 2016! Now, I will be the first to admit, I have not seen nearly as many movies as I wanted/planned to this year, but these are my choices from what I did catch so far.
I am a huge horror movie fan. So, when I heard there was going to be a horror film starring Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat AND Patrick Stewart, I knew I had to see it! This movie did not disappoint. It is a scary movie like no other that takes place in the terrifyingly real and entirely unsettling world of neo-Nazi punk music. Director Jeremy Saulnier also wrote Blue Ruin if that gives you any indication of what this movie could look like… I won’t say more than that, but I will highly recommend this insane (and super gory) ride of a movie.
Stream the movie over on Amazon Prime.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Another horror pick. This movie was shrouded in mystery, and that is the best way to view it. I went in knowing only that it took place in the same universe as Cloverfield (which is honestly one of my favorite movies) and stars John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I was sold already, but was totally blown away and this movie kept me guessing all the way up until the very end. It features an incredibly creepy and unhinged performance by John Goodman and ever since seeing her in Final Destination 3, I’ve been a huge Mary Elizabeth Winstead fan. This movie was a roller-coaster of suspense and I loved every minute of it.
Ok, one more horror movie because this one cannot be ignored. The Witch is one of those slow-burn scary movies, but when it wants to, will make you jump out of your seat. Set in 1600’s New England, the story follows a family trying to survive on their own in a small cottage bordering the woods. When their youngest child goes missing, the family comes apart at the seams and that’s just the beginning… This movie is so effectively chilling and ends with such a huge twist that definitely makes it one of my favorite of the genre!
The Witch can be streamed through Amazon Prime.
This is a weird movie. And that is my favorite thing about it. Set in the future in a city where those who are not in a relationship must pair off to avoid being turned into an animal of their choosing and released into the wild (yes, I am serious). This movie has an incredible cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux and John C. Reilly. We follow Colin Farrell’s character as he checks into a resort with 45 days to find a suitable partner and all sorts of awkward, tense moments ensue. The music in this film is so jarring, which only adds to the overall feeling of suspense and awe. I was shocked at how cold and bleak this look at relationships and coupling came off, but really blown away by the actors performances and the world the director, Yorgos Lanthimos created.
Stream The Lobster on Amazon Prime.
This is one of those heartfelt and bubbly, yet dramatic, family-centered indie movies that is exactly what you need on a cold, rainy night in. This movie is centered on Viggo Mortensen’s character and his six kids living in the wilderness in Washington. When the family receives some terrible news, they venture into the city for the first time and come up against some disapproval on their lifestyle from their relatives. The movie has it’s typical “fish out of water” moments, but takes it all further and shows the bond Viggo’s character has formed with his kids and how their lifestyle suits them, no matter what others think. I loved the child actors in this movie and thought it had a sweet message about family to wrap it all up.
I honestly knew very little about Jackie Kennedy before seeing this movie but have since become obsessed with reading more about her and the Kennedys in general thanks in part to Natalie Portman’s portrayal. The movie covers, in flashbacks, the few days after the assassination of JFK through Jackie’s eyes and is absolutely gorgeous. Portman is amazing as Jackie and her supporting cast members (including Greta Gerwig and Peter Sarsgaard) are equally as moving. It would not shock me at all to see Portman take home her second Oscar for this role which I think she embodied so well. The accent, as ridiculous as it may sound at first, is really spot-on and the movie plays out in such an effective way, leaving you feeling a little closer to knowing the real Jackie.
This was not your average cartoon! Right from the beginning, this movie stood out from other animated films and proved how different it was through to the end. Badass female protagonist, hilarious animal puns and jokes, a superstar gazelle named Gazelle voiced by Shakira! I love the world they created in Zootopia and visually it is as stunning as Disney has ever been. The voice acting is fantastic and the story that is part buddy cop, part mystery is a joy to watch unfold. Plus the overall message of the movie is a great lesson for kids and adults alike!
Stream it now on Netflix!
The Little Prince
This movie, which was given a worldwide release on Netflix in August, is such an incredible retelling of the classic Antoine de Saint-Exupéry tale of a little boy trying to make sense of the world around him and get back home. This adaptation is told through the eyes of a young girl first hearing the story (page by page) from her eccentric, if not dangerous, neighbor. The main frame of the movie is seen in CGI animation, while the sections of the Little Prince’s story are told in gorgeous stop-motion animation that looks like it is right out of the original book. The little girl’s mother is very strict and schedules her every minute to ensure she gets into the best school, has the best job, etc. Through her interactions with her neighbor and hearing more about this story, we follow the girl into her own imagination (or is it really happening?) as she goes in search of the Little Prince. I admit to tearing up once or twice while watching this movie and think it is a great watch for people of all ages!
The Little Prince can be streamed on Netflix.
The First Monday in May
I love a good fashion documentary and fans of The September Issue will absolutely love this in-depth look behind the scenes of the annual Met Gala. What The September Issue did for Grace Coddington, this movie does for Andrew Bolton, the Head Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. The doc focuses on the insane amount of work that goes into this glitzy event that brings fashion, art and celebrity together like nothing else. We see the planning, design process and even the seating chart drama of the 2015 “China: Through the Looking Glass” gala and then get some access into what this exclusive party actually looks like. It is an incredible peak behind the curtain of one of the year’s most secretive events and I loved every minute of it!
Watch The First Monday in May on Netflix.
Captain America: Civil War
This is an insanely unconventional choice, but I think this was my favorite movie of 2016…? I have been to every Marvel movie since Iron Man and have been loving the MCU, but felt a little slump after the major letdown that was Avengers: Age of Ultron. I was super nervous from the second this movie was announced, because I knew it would eventually lead to the breaking up of my favorite movie family, The Avengers! But I have now seen this movie three times and I love it more and more every time. The plot revolves around the implications and fallout from the Avengers’ battles and how the government basically wants them to operate under their command. Obviously, the whole team doesn’t agree thus the “Civil War” takes place. This movie, more than all the others surrounding this rag tag group of superheroes, seems to move at a natural pace. All character introductions seem organic and not forced. And I mean can we just talk about Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther for one damn second?! There is tons of the humor we have come to expect and love from these movies while also packing a ton of drama into the script as well. I do kind of wish that Cap/Sharon kiss didn’t happen, because Peggy’s corpse was barely in the ground, but what can you do? This gave me immense hope for the future of the MCU and now I am eagerly awaiting the next 36 movies they have planned out…
Captain America: Civil War is available on Netflix starting December 25th.
So there you have it. My favorite movies of 2016 (based on the ones I actually saw)! I have so many more on my list to see (most of which I am waiting to see at the annual AMC Best Picture Showcase in February) so let’s talk again next year! What were your favorite movies of the year? Which from my list do you love or hate?
Tune in tomorrow for my picks for the best TV shows & episodes of 2016!