For the past few years, I have been telling myself not to fall into the “Oscar bait” trap of years passed. Every year, the same half-assed attempt to stop caring about the marketing of a movie, and to only make sound movie choices based on what looks / sounds good isn’t really as easy as it seems sometimes.

Who cares what the critics say?Who cares whether or not he or she has been in an “Academy Award Nominated” role or film?

Focus on the task at hand: moviegoing.

As 2016 comes to a close, I ponder all the poor moviegoing choices and wasted money. As a summer moviegoer, the choices were exceptionally thin. Even the “critically-acclaimed” (which says very little for most summer movie schedules) reviews on RottenTomatoes were full of falsities.

However, through much trial and error, I found many gems to love in 2016. Oddly enough, they were spaced across the 12-month continuum in a fairly balanced manner albeit most of March to April and June through July sucked… with extreme prejudice. As with all personal Top 10 movie lists I have made over the years, my choices are not EXACTLY as I order them all the time. Mood can rise a movie up, or mood can tear a movie down. Mood: it’s a bitch sometimes.

It really doesn’t matter.

The movies listed made my Top Ten of the year.

I do need to mention that, when this list was published, two more of my highly anticipated  “need-to-see” movies,  Fences or Silence, have yet to be seen.  My expectations are high for both. 

There were also a few close “post-10” choices that may have ranked higher on other polls. Just remember this: I don’t really care about other Top 10 lists. I know that I could have interchanged the 9 and 10 spots with a couple of other choices, but it didn’t happen this time. Get over it.

If I am diligent enough to follow through with one of my New Year’s resolutions of writing each day, you will probably notice that edits have been made. If you are actually wasting your time reading this makeshift movie review page, then I appreciate you.

Top Ten Movies of 2016 (according to me)

10. Hacksaw Ridge (Dir. Mel Gibson)

  • The war scenes make Saving Private Ryan look Disney-esque. This is a great comeback film for Mel Gibson. He is such a good director; it is unfortunate that he had to take a few steps backwards and out of Hollywood for a while.

 

9. The Nice Guys (Dir. Shane Black)

  • Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe have a good buddy-movie presence together. Crowe’s performance is his best since L.A. Confidential. Although Gosling’s acting is not much different than many of his other roles, he provides some pretty funny scenes.

 

8. Hell or High Water (Dir. David Mackenzie)

  •  This great, “Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque” modern-day Western (of sorts) is so good. Unless I am mistaken, Ben Foster’s performance in this movie went completely unrecognized in the Golden Globes Supporting Actor list. He is the glue in this story. Give him some props, award givers!

 

7. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Dir. Taika Waititi)

  • This was a fun, heartwarming tale told in Wes Anderson-y fashion. I am normally not a big Sam Neill fan, but he played this role to a ‘T’.

 

6. Deadpool (Dir. Tim Miller)

  • Ryan Reynolds has finally proven his star power with this Marvel antihero. I saw it 3 times in the theaters and enjoyed it a little more with each viewing.

 

5. Moonlight (Dir. Barry Jenkins)

  • This movie flew under my radar for a little while before I broke down and saw it. This story of finding one’s identity with very little positive guidance from others is beautifully shot and acted. This smaller film could reap big success when the awards are doled out.

 

4. Neon Demon (Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)

  • Many disagree with my love of this surreal and eerie look at the seedy underbelly of fame achieved through high-end modeling. If you can overlook some of the less-than-mediocre acting, you will be in for a mind-bending kaleidoscopic journey of one’s rapid rise and fall in this world.

 

3. Captain America: Civil War (Dir. Anthony and Joe Russo)

  • As a Marvel film, this guy reigns supreme right now. Under the direction of the talented Russo brothers, Captain America: Civil War has all the qualities of a great action film, let alone a crucial piece to the Avengers storyline. I saw it four times in theaters. Great fun!

 

2. La La Land (Dir. Damien Chazelle)

  • I actually went into this one with mixed expectations. I loved Chazelle’s film debut, Whiplash, but I am normally not a big fan of movie musicals. To be totally honest, I had very low expectations after the first 5 minute musical number, but the film redeemed itself and exceeded expectations considerably by the end. La La Land will probably win Best Picture accolades in at least one of the major awards ceremonies in January and/or February. Emma Stone should dominate the Best Actress category for her performance in the sappy fun homage to old Hollywood and the good ol’ fashioned love story.

 

1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dir. Gareth Edwards)

  • I can’t say enough good about this movie. I know that I am a Star Wars fan, which means that I may be slightly bias.  However, this movie really rejuvenates a brand that didn’t really need rejuvenation. It’s a side story. The kind of story that my friends and I would have aspired to create when we were playing with our Star Wars action figures of the early ’80s. The space battle sequences are absolutely fantastic. I can’t give anymore away EXCEPT the fact that I have seen this movie four times since it’s release on December 16. Actually, my first viewing was on December 15. It is now December 30. Just go see it…multiple times.

 

 

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