I'm hardly a film buff, but I like watching movies. Every year, I watch 1-2 new movies a month, usually being entertained by most of them. I'm not a picky man. This calendar year, I watched eighteen movies that came out in 2016; I enjoyed eleven of them. Below is the list of the eleven films I enjoyed, in order of enjoyment. Enjoy.
If you care to revisit my opinions of past years of cinema, look no further:
01. The Lobster
[Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos]
Yes, this technically came out in 2015, but it didn't receive a U.S. release until 2016. Written and directed by the same mastermind who released the mindwarp Dogtooth, The Lobster is equally as bizarre and unique, albeit a bit more light-hearted and comical. Spoiler alert: you get to watch John C. Reilly have his hand pushed in a toaster. This is a near-perfect movie.
02. The Nice Guys
[Directed by Shane Black]
I think this is the only movie from 2016 that I watched twice, and rightfully so. Shane Black's noir detective comedy is delightful in plot, splendid in imagery, and laugh out loud funny. I think Ryan Gosling's character is drunk the entire film. This one would have been my favorite of the year if The Lobster didn't alter my entire reality and have me looking at strangers differently.
[Directed by Byron Howard & Rich Moore]
What a great animated film. Creating a new world where animals coexist, the metropolis of Zootopia showcases a bunny cop trying to save the day. From the jump, I found myself obsessed with the newly crafted reality. Jason Bateman as a fox is always a good move, and obviously the sloth steals the show. In 108 minutes, they did a hell of a job showing the different neighborhoods and ecosystems of various animals. If Pixar beats this in the Academy Awards, I'll throw things. Either way, Disney always wins.
04. The Jungle Book
[Directed by Jon Favreau]
As I previously mentioned, Disney dominated the box office this year, with the top four biggest films of the year, and five of the top ten. The Jungle Book was a near flawless adaptation, full of familiar names and lush scenery. Bill Murray as a loving bear and Christopher Walken as an insane orangutan? Say no more. A UK adaptation is arriving around the corner, and while I'll definitely check it out, I can't imagine it coming close to this instant classic.
05. Kubo & the Two Strings
[Directed by Travis Knight]
Laika is slowly becoming one of my favorite production houses. First, with Coraline and Paranorman and now with the mythical Kubo and the Two Strings. [Side note: I still need to watch Boxtrolls] Kubo was a much funnier film than originally anticipated, with Matthew McConaughey's beetle character more or less stealing the show. The epic journey comes and goes a bit too quickly, with plenty of content being pushed inside this epic fiasco. The creators could have brought on more audience tears at the end if sculpted more properly, but damnit did I have a good time watching this in the theater.
[Directed by Tim Miller]
Deadpool was significantly better than I expected. Such was the case for the film industry, as it was released back in February with plans to be an average raunchy R-rated superhero film. Instead, it dominated the box office, closing in on $800 million, making it the 7th biggest film of the year and the highest grossing R-rated film of all time. And hell yeah, because this movie is a total blast, front to back. Great origin story, great action scenes, and an incredible opening credit sequence.
07. Finding Dory
[Directed by Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane]
Years in the making, Finding Dory takes off where Finding Nemo left us back in 2003. Featuring plenty of new names and adventures, this movie is on par with its predecessor. I didn't find this one as enjoyable as either of Pixar's 2015 duo, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, but I still had a great time seeing this in 3D at the movie theater. The sea lions (Gerald in particular) might have been the best part of Finding Dory. Gerald even made a Twitter account.
08. Everybody Wants Some!
[Directed by Richard Linklater]
This might as well be Dazed and Confused 2.0, as Linklater shows us the life of baseball players during the weekend before beginning college. Plenty of 'bros being bros', but with 1980 mustaches and great music. This is a good Saturday afternoon movie, one I'm sure made Linklater nostalgic, and one that ended with some unexpected psychedelia. That being said, this is not anywhere near Linklater's finest.
[Directed by Peter Atencio]
I'm a sucker for all things Key & Peele. Throw in a calm-mannered suburbanite and a stoner and have them pretend to be gun-toting gangsters only to get a cat back, and I'm hooked. Plenty of laughs not too far from the stylings of Pineapple Express. This is a good movie to watch with a room full of people. I can't wait to see how Jordan Peele handles the horror genre in February with Get Out.
10. Green Room
[Directed by Jeremy Saulnier]
First and foremost, R.I.P. to Anton Yelchin. What a terrible accident. In one of his final films, Yelchin gets his arms mangled battling neo nazi underbellies with the girl from Arrested Development by his side. It's a popcorn needed bloodbath that had me screaming at the television screen in disgust and delight. This was a good one to watch back in October with the ghosts and ghouls haunting outside. I can't wait to see Guillermo Del Toro's Trollhunters, which Yelchin recorded a voice for prior to his death.
11. Kung Fu Panda 3
[Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni]
I watched this on a plane instead of taking a nap, so you know it's real. Jack Black and crew return for more kicking and punching and slap-happy jokes that I adore. This time around, we get a village of hysterical pandas, and a pretty great bad guy who loves jade. This isn't as great as the first or the second, but the trilogy is strong enough for me to not be mad at the franchise. Hopefully they don't ruin it with a fourth (they will).
REMAINING 2016 releases I watched that did nothing for me:
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates
The Purge: Election Year