best and worst films of 2016

The Best & Worst Movies in 2016!

Another movie year done, and while many of us are happy to say goodbye to 2016, the year did deliver a selection of films worth watching, as well as a few duds to avoid. Out of the 73 movies I saw this year at the theater, I scored 15 films at four stars or higher, and 10 at one star or less. Here are my picks for the best and worst films of 2016, along with a few honorable and dishonorable mentions.

Best 5
1: The Little Prince
The Little Prince (2016)As an allegory for the more impactful moments in our lives—loss, love, death, childhood and growing up—The Little Prince perfectly hits its mark without ever becoming too preachy or too ambiguous. This is artful but not artsy-fartsy, and while some segments may be a little slow for younger audiences, the time developing the story’s characters and themes is well spent, and pays off during the closing moments of the film.
2: Fences
Fences (2016)With some films, you just know they’re going to be a slam-dunk. Fences, written by August Wilson, premiered on Broadway on March 26th, 1987. It starred James Earl Jones and Mary Alice, and won a bunch of Tony awards. In 2010 the play was revived with Denzel Washington in the lead role, and once again won a bunch of Tony awards. It’s a great play, a great screenplay, and you’ve got some of the best actors today playing parts they know like the back of their hands.
3: Arrival
Arrival (2016)This is the kind of film that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled by. As I unpacked Dr. Louise Banks’ journey, the power of this film continued to hit me. The choices she makes given the knowledge she receives are truly epic, and you’ll ask yourself if you could do the same.
4: Sing Street
Sing Street (2016)Twenty minutes into this film, I was grinning from ear to ear, and I didn’t stop until about an hour after it was finished. Sing Street tapped into my love of 80’s music, my creative spirit, and nostalgia for my teenage years. It got under my skin, and transported me to a simpler time; I freaking loved it!
5: Sully
Sully (2016)This is the kind of story that unabashedly honors its heroes, and gives credit where credit is due. As each fascinating step in this event is viewed from all angles, it’s the people involved at every stage that are honored. From Sully (Tom Hanks) and his copilot, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), to the professional flight crew, ferry-boat captains, Coast Guard and even the passengers. This is the kind of film that will restore your faith in humanity.
Honorable Mentions: The BFG, The Lobster, The Magnificent Seven, Manchester by the Sea, Zootopia, Eye in the Sky
Worst 5
1: Exposed
Exposed 2016This “film” is a horrible blend of murder mystery and fantastical crisis of faith drama. Religious spiritual beliefs manifest as strange albinos that look like they crawled out of 1998’s Dark City, in search of a sequel (or at least a better movie).
2: The Brothers Grimsby
The Brothers Grimsby (2016)To say The Brothers Grimsby is crude is an understatement. It’s also quite stupid and frequently doesn’t make any sense. The brief moments of action are incomprehensible, and the film’s political incorrectness isn’t clever, just blatant and obnoxious.
3: Norm of the North
Norm of the North (2016)How did this thing get into theaters? A bargain DVD bin is too good for this awful film. It’s cheaply animated, poorly written, and doesn’t make any sense. It’s barely cognizant of its own ecocentric message, and even makes a ham fisted jab at income inequality. The characters are one-note over the top caricatures, and the film frequently leaps between sappy melodrama and idiotic dance routines.
4: Hardcore Henry
Hardcore Henry (2016)Hardcore Henry is a thoroughly unpleasant experience from beginning to end. A no-holds-barred, motion sickness inducing garbage fire of a film. It’s gimmick (shot entirely first-person) soon lives out its welcome once it becomes clear there’s no plot, and not a single character worth caring about.
5: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)Okay, this film is awful! Lots of sound and CGI fury, signifying dumbness. Things happen, other things happen, and there’s little to no connecting tissue binding events together. The action is lazily arranged, and its living breathing stars seem lost amidst the noise and mayhem. Not that I expected much from Megan Fox anyway, but Laura Linney looked positively confused by everything going on around her.
Dishonorable Mentions: The Boss, The 5th Wave, Gods of Egypt, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Independence Day: Resurgence

These are my lists and your lists will likely be different. Each to their own as they say. If you agree or disagree, feel free to comment. I would just ask you keep any talk about 2016’s movie’s respectful and polite. Many thanks for your time.

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