The Best and Worst of 2016 [u]

Updated on 20 Feb. 2017 to include three films viewed post-post.

Last year about this time, I bluntly stated “2015 was a terrible year for movies.”  Hence I named my end-of-year post “The Best and Mostly Worst of 2015.”  For some time I had thought that compared to the last, thankfully expired year of 2016, 2015 was practically a golden age of cinema.  That maybe 2016 in movies was analogous to the awful year it was in politics.  Actually compiling this list, however, makes me realize that 2016 wasn’t that much worse than 2015.  No film last year passed beyond an 8/10 rating; there were lots of so-so 6’s and ho-hum 7’s.  A fair number of good films, but the shining standouts went AWOL.   Just a kind of middling year.

So on to the list.  No need my normal note on home streaming; I saw all these films in the theater.  As usual, worst to first…

The Girl on the Train — 2/10 and Honours for Worst Movie of the Year

Suicide Squad — 2/10

Midnight Special — 2/10

The Meddler — 2/10

Lights Out — 2/10

Arrival — 3/10

Love and Friendship — 4/10

Everybody Wants Some!! — 4/10

Captain Fantastic — 4/10

Fences — 4/10

Deepwater Horizon — 4/10

Don’t Think Twice — 4/10

The Shallows — 4/10

The Witch — 5/10nerve-poster

Embrace of the Serpent — 5/10

Deadpool — 5/10

Elle — 5/10

Silence — 5/10

Moonlight — 5/10

Jackie — 6/10

20th Century Women — 6/10

The Accountant — 6/10

Ouija: Origin of Evil — 6/10swiss-army-man-poster

Hacksaw Ridge — 6/10

Lion — 6/10

The Lobster — 6/10

Swiss Army Man — 6/10

Nerve — 6/10

American Honey — 6/10.  This year’s Tangerine

A Bigger Splash — 7/10

Don’t Breathe — 7/10

Manchester by the Sea — 7/10

City of Gold — 7/10

The Nice Guys — 7/10

Hidden Figures — 7/10

Hunt for the Wilderpeople — 7/10

Café Society — 7/10

In Order of Disappearance — 7/10

10 Cloverfield Lane — 7/10

Hell or High Water — 7/10

Certain Women — 7/10

The Neon Demon — 7/10.  More on this one later.

Passengers — 7/10

Sully — 8/10

== TOP FIVE ==

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5. Nocturnal Animals — 8/10

4. The Founder — 8/10

3. Where to Invade Next — 8/10

2. La La Land — 8/10

1. Hail, Caesar! — 8/10 and Clearly the Best Movie of the Year.  Another grand victory for the Coens, yet swept under the rug.  Watch in a darkened theater, close to the big screen — or the nearest approximation thereof that you can muster.

* * *

That’s right, Top Five.  As I said, a middling movie year.  I just couldn’t see highlighting movies that would have been at Number 30 on the 2014 list as a Top Ten pick here, putting them on some sort of equal footing as the magnificent films of that year.


1) Not long ago (to the best of my recollection), films had to be released for at least two weeks in any given year to be eligible for Oscar consideration for that year; that time period has now been squeezed down to one week.  This means the trend of Oscar-contending films being released later in the following year at a theater near you has only gotten worse.  Foreign and independent films are the worst hit by this phenomenon.  Leviathan, for example, wasn’t available to watch locally until March 2015 — after the Oscars.  This is done to boost ticket sales for award-winning movies, but it’s annoying.

I mention this not because I want to go off on a rant, but to point out that I can’t wait until March or April to put out my yearly list.  There’s a good chance that I’ll be seeing more 2016 pictures in the months ahead; if so I’ll make a note of where they place on this list, and/or make an update.

2) As a corollary to point 1), it is widely accepted that any studio who wants a film to compete in awards season must release its movie in the final quarter of the year.  A summer release is iffy, though not ruled out entirely — but it would have to be a film that captured the year’s zeitgeist.  And anytime in the first half, no way.

Again, my main objective here is not to rant, though the release-date blues do get me down.  I mention it because Hail, Caesar!’s February release — and its studio’s opinion of it as reflected by that release — has more to do with its Oscar non-contention than anything to do with the quality of the picture.  As the best of the year, that’s a shame.  But then shame and the Oscars go hand in hand.


4 thoughts on “The Best and Worst of 2016 [u]

  1. Pingback: Film Brief: Silence | movies remark

  2. Pingback: Film Brief: 20th Century Women | movies remark

  3. Pingback: The Founder Makes It Big Time | movies remark

  4. Pingback: Film Brief: Nerve [u] | movies remark

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