Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Best & Worst Movies of 2016

I saw 73 movies last year. Of those, 50 were released in 2016. I saw fewer movies overall than in 2015—22 fewer first-run movies, in fact. On  my 1-10 scale, I awarded only four first-run films a perfect "10" in 2016. (This downward trend has continued over the past several years.)

Unfortunately, I missed many of the better films released at the end of 2016 due to sickness and other factors. I need to catch up on numerous 2016 films that fell through the cracks (see below).

The best movie I saw in 2016 was Kubo and the Two Strings. I saw it three times in the theater—an unbelievable rarity.

The rest of my “perfect 10” movies were Hail Caeser, Zootopia and Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Awarded 9/10 were Deadpool, Eye in the Sky, The Meddler, Sing Street, Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children, Denial and The Edge of Seventeen. 

WORST MOVIES OF 2016: The Lobster, Keanu, The Nice Guys.

VASTLY OVERRATED MOVIES OF 2016: Moonlight, Don’t Think Twice, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Arrival, Loving

BEST OLDER MOVIES I SAW IN 2016: Joy (2015), Noble (2014), Mud (2012), Wish You Were Here (1987), Patterns (1956), Home from the Hill (1960).

Moana (Viewed in 2017)
La La Land (Viewed in 2017)
20th Century Women
Rogue One (Viewed in 2017)
Fences (Viewed in 2017)
Manchester by the Sea
Jackie (Viewed in 2017)
Hacksaw Ridge 
Passengers (Viewed in 2017)
Why Him?
Little Men
The Witch
The Handmaiden
The Little Prince 
A Monster Calls
Kung Fu Panda 3
Wedding Doll
Hostile Border
The Great Gilly Hopkins
Miss Stevens
Generation Startup
The Good Neighbor 
Swallows and Amazons
The Fits
Toni Erdmann
A Bigger Splash
Mountains May Depart
Sunset Song
The Neon Demon
Our Little Sister

December 2016

With a plethora of high-quality offerings opening in December, my list of must-see movies was getting rather unwieldy. Unfortunately, a variety of factors prevented me from seeing a single one of the many films on that list. These included:
1. A massively heavy workload that ate up a lot of my free time, including weekends;
2. Television-related distractions;
3. Various other obligations;
4. Christmas vacation in Florida;
5. Sickness. I caught back-to-back head and chest colds—complete with a persistent, hacking cough—that kept me away from the theaters. I didn’t want to ruin anybody’s moviegoing experience, so I stayed home and watched TV. It’s Jan. 1 as I write this, and I still haven’t shaken this damned thing.
The month started off happily enough, with a lovely dinner (with Joan Manners) on Dec. 2 at Rao’s Restaurant, where I bid adieu to restaurant hostess and Speedboat swimsuit model Rupa Begum. She and her honey Andrew Gates were about to move to Las Vegas—best of luck to both of them!
December means holiday music, and keeping with tradition, I attended chorale performances featuring Rachel Aviles (in Burbank, Dec. 3) and Jenna Rose (in Beverly Hills, Dec. 7); both were typically delightful and engaging. Meanwhile, Joan and I caught Roy Zimmerman at the Coffee Gallery on Dec. 6.
On Dec. 20, I flew to Florida and hung out with the Steele family, as per tradition. I was back on Dec. 26, and (also by tradition) moving into the Newman household to dog-sit for them during their holiday excursion to Hawaii. TV: During the Florida trip, I binge-watched the excellent series Stranger Things; later, I started watching episodes of the comedy-drama anthology series Easy, also via Netflix. MUSIC: I finished drilling and grading lesser-known singles from 1971; highlights included “Talk it Over in the Morning” by Anne Murray, “Jennifer” by Bobby Sherman, “Carey” by Joni Mitchell and “No Good to Cry” by the Poppy Family. Next up, I will tackle 1979.
Here’s the only movie I saw in December:

ELLE (2016)—Director Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Total Recall) directs this French thriller starring 63-year-old Isabelle Huppert as a video-game company CEO who is brutally raped—and subsequently learns that her masked attacker might just be someone she knows. It’s a compelling movie with a couple of well-placed twists; not a perfect movie, but I liked how pretty much all of the characters were all flawed and uniquely human, rather than being purely heroic or perfect. Huppert gives a great performance. (8.5)