Determining my top movies of 2016 was quite hard. Not only were there so many movies to watch and choose from, but I tend to determine my top ten movies more on how they affect me. Unlike some of the other contributors, I base my top ten off of more of my own personal criteria. Does the movie entertain me? How did the actors perform? How many emotions did the movie make me feel? Did the movie speak to me or teach me something? (Did any of the movies help my overall film ball games? ;)) Unlike last year, I was able to see many films that aligned with these specific requirements. Here is my top ten of 2016!
Directors: Byron Howard and Rich Moore
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, and Idris Elba
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
Short Synopsis: A bunny determined to be cop, teams up with a con fox to solve a series of mysterious animal rage cases. Is it Nature or Conspiracy?
Once I saw this film I knew it was going to be in my top ten. Not only was it entertaining, but it captured my attention from beginning to end. What can possibly be better than seeing your favorite zoo animals living in a humanistic world. Every character stood out and kept true to their animal perceptions; which was especially unique because in most animated films you tend to be focused on just a few specific characters. I am really starting to enjoy Disney animation, because not only was this a kids movie but an adult movie as well which made it even easier for me to relate too. It told us viewers no matter how big or small or young or old you can accomplish anything you open your mind too. From the music, to the storyline, and the overall lessons of this film it has earned a spot on my top ten.
9. Deepwater Horizon
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russel, and Douglas Griffin
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
Short Synopsis: An off shore drilling rig explodes causing a huge oil spill. Based of events that occurred in 2010.
Stories based off true events are always hit or miss for me, obviously this one was a hit. One of the first reasons, was the characters and the actors playing them. Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russel did a fantastic job, the emotion and the energy behind their performances really kept me in the depth of the story. The action sequences of the different explosions and the effects around them were breathtaking, talk about bringing the heat. Also the story line while inevitably over dramatized really made you recall the events that occurred with BP and the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010. Of course you watch and think man human error really can cause the biggest of problems.
8. The Girl On The Train
Director: Tate Taylor
Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, and Rebecca Ferguson
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 43%
Short Synopsis: Woman on a train involves herself in the disappearance of another woman who has a weird connection to her own personal life. Alcohol, Adultery, and Murder!
Known for being a great book, this movie made my list because it kept me guessing the outcome. Emily Blunt is an excellent actress and throughout the film you truly see her many dimensions. Her range of emotion is incredible. This is one of the stories where things are not always as they seem, until it slaps you in the face. It showed me that you really do take a risk when you allow other people into your life, the closest to you may be the ones who hurt you the most.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., and Michael Trucco
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%
Short Synopsis: A deaf woman living in the country is hunted by a serial killer.
The problem with scary movies now a days is the lack of suspense. There is no better feeling than to have a build up sequence of events in scary story. This movie keeps the suspense up throughout the film. Its a constant view of predator versus the prey. Most interesting is the realism of the situation, like this could actually happen to you. To top it all off, the main character has to not only overcome an attacker but a disability that hinders her chance of survival greatly but also helps her in moments an average person would not think about. A Netflix Original movie, this movies makes my list purely on the believability factor, and how it made me not able to be in a house alone for a good week.
6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Alan Tudyk
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Short Synopsis: A prequel to Star Wars Episode IV, Rogue One is the story of the resistance gaining the plans to the Death Star.
After first viewing this movie, it was not going to make my list at all, but after letting it sit for a week, there were some stand out things that changed my mind. It may have even ranked higher on my list, if it were not for the first part of the movie. One, the reintroduction of original characters was brilliant, their timing and appearances just blended with the story and felt natural. Second, the overall timing of the plot in Star Wars universe was perfect and actually melded episode 3 and 4 together. Third, the new characters added their own mark in the universe, as well as opened up stories that you really would not have thought about. The special effects were breathtaking and I really ended up enjoying the overall story even though I never was a full Star Wars fan. I will say however that the last 45 to 50 minutes of the film really made me feel for those characters, there were deaths I wish did not happen. “I am one with the force, The Force is with me.”
5.Captain America : Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., and Scarlett Johansson
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Short Synopsis: The Avengers are put against each other, when disagreements and past events catch up with them thanks to terroristic actions.
Superhero’s, SuperHero’s, and Superhero’s… need I say more. This might as well been another Avengers Movie. The Marvel Universe is doing it all right. I loved that it was a Captain America Movie, but yet we got all of our other superhero favorites in it . We also got a peek at what to expect from the next big superhero movie, Spiderman. Like the other marvel movies it was exciting, action packed, and held a great story. It posed the question, how much involvement should these super beings have in crisis situations? As well as, had a villain that really demonstrated what revenge is and how planning and time can really do damage. Of all the Captain America films, this is the best. I felt like a little kid again especially watching the epic fight scene at the airport.
4. Finding Dory
Director: Andrew Stanton and Angus Maclane
Starring: Ellen Degeneres, Albert Brooks, and Ed O’Neill
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Short Synopsis: Sequel to Finding Nemo, Dory searches for her parents and discovers her lost memories while gaining friends along the way.
For me this was the best animated film of the year. It had all the feelings that Finding Nemo had and more. I remember telling the other contributors that this movie really completed the original story and tied things together in a natural way. The actors portrayed their characters perfectly and we were introduced to new characters, that were fun. I found the story line to be a bit stronger and more suspenseful, than its prequel. Overall the lesson to the movie is to never give up. After watching I felt happy, and empowered. Not to forget, I now have an obsession of otters and aquariums.
3. Midnight Special
Director: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, and Kirsten Dunst
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
Short Synopsis: A religious cult and the U.S. government search for a boy with special powers that transcend the view of our world.
Giving off a major Stranger Things vibe, this movie is a nicely paced science fiction film. It shows a nice mix of religion and science and how there can be many views to a situation. I really enjoyed this film because of the story line and it allowed me to form my own interpretation of what was going on. The casting for this film was great and there was not any extra dramatics thrown in. Also I loved the build up to the discovery, that there was a a gradual increase in the abilities of the boy the story focuses around. It showed me that sometimes you have to let people go or help them even when it doesn’t make sense.
2. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
Short Synopsis: A woman is held in bunker with two men because of chemical attack.
As I stated before, suspense is one thing that has been kind of lost in recent horror movies. This movie had the suspense, I expect from a horror movie. John Goodman also delivers probably the best performance of his career. The synopsis above gives a basic description of this story, but there are so many layers to this movie, you truly do not know what is going on in the world until the very end. It also shows the human reaction to being caged. It made me wonder, how would I act or respond? This was probably the only horror movie this year that gave me goosebumps.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Short Synopsis: A linguistics professor tries to interpret an alien language after mysterious visitors arrive.
The top movie on my list, Arrival was also a movie that kept you guessing throughout. It was visually stunning and the music composition to accompany just took you on a ride of its own. We all know Amy Adams is a brilliant actor, but this movie really set her apart from anything else she has ever done. There is a multitude of stories in this film, but you don’t really realize it till about half way through. Hell you don’t even get the full picture until the very end of the movie, which is fantastic, it was a full circle story. This was the only movie this year I felt I could watch over again, and it would not hinder my view point on it. I walked away with the lesson of sometimes even when we know the outcome of things whether good or bad, we know we have to take that journey.
So there we have it, my top ten movies of 2016! I saw a multitude of other movies that could have very easily made my list like:
The Finest Hours
Yhe ten that did make the list somehow really stuck with me, and for a multitude of personal feelings and reasons. Every one of those movies had a lesson in them for me. I carried with me a piece of those movies, and that ultimately tells me they are at the top of my list. Until next year, lets see who win the top spots of 2017!