Here are my favorite films from last year. Always takes me a bit to catch up and while I haven't watched everything I've wanted, I've seen enough. Strangely enough, ever movie nominated for Best Picture made my list. Anyways, as always, this is what are my favorite movies, not what I think are the best. If there is any overlap, so be it.
25. Bleed For This
I'm a sucker for boxing movies, and this movie does just enough, plus has two great performances at it's core, that I can't leave if off the list. Way too good of a movie for it to flop the way it did. Too bad, y'all missed out.
24. Midnight Special
Similar to Stranger Things, it channels Spielberg movies of the 80s better than most. While the ending left me wanting, the lead up did not, loved the mystery, the weirdness, the style. Great flick.
I have no idea why I find religious movies fascinating, maybe cause I've struggled with religion myself. I think this movie has some truly thought provoking and intense moments, if only it had stuck the landing. Also it's Scorcese, and does he make bad movies?
22. The Birth of a Nation
It's a shame with all the Nate Parker business, but I'm usually able to separate the man and the art. Which helps in a movie like this, which is very very good and very very raw. It's a shame this movie got buried, because it deserves an audience.
21. Patriots Day
Is it too soon? Probably, but it does tell a harrowing story of the tragic events of the Boston Marathon bombings with such quality and style reminiscent of Paul Greengrass. If only Greengrass directed this film, it could have been top 10 material possibly. But Peter Berg does work and he's the only one on this list twice, which should be noted.
20. Hacksaw Ridge
The beginning is so stereotypical and by the numbers, I nearly stopped watching. Which would have been a mistake since once we get to the war stuff, it's truly moving and intense and most importantly, damn heroic. And besides the fact Mel is probably a terrible human being, dude makes good movies.
It's basically Slumdog Millionaire 2, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. And the first half is very very very good, propped up by fantastic performance by a child actor, which is very rare. Should have used this kid for The Jungle Book. Anyways, the later half falters a bit but the total story is quite moving.
18. Deepwater Horizon
Maybe the most surprisingly good movie of the year. It's really great. The way Peter Berg gives us the people on the rig and make them feel like real people, loved that stuff. Really made me feel for them, connect with them, so when the disaster strikes, it hits like a sledgehammer. And the fire is truly terrifying. If only it didn't wobble a little in the ending, but that's nitpicking.
17. Nocturnal Animals
This might not be a good movie. It's kinda high trash. And yet I liked it. Found the style great, the performances great, the story full of pulp. Yes the movie is basically a woman reading a terrible book but I really dug it and it aged well for me.
It definitely feels more like a play on tape then a real movie, but the performances are just so good, especially Viola and Denzel, that you just can't help but sit and watch the hell out of this. Truly an acting clinic.
15. The Nice Guys
While I think it has tonal problems, I still dug how playful, how weird, how fun this movie was. Plus Crowe and Gosling have great chemistry and it's the kinda buddy movie they don't make no more.
14. 10 Cloverfield Lane
It's not a very good Cloverfield movie, but it's a very good trapped movie. Intense and mysterious, the movie kept me on edge. Maybe one of the best thrillers this whole year or any of the past few.
13. The Lobster
The main concept of this movie is ridiculous. Utter ridiculous. And yet, especially in the first half, I was all in. Farrell is great, the idea is clever, the movie is both funny and tragic and just so damn weird and fresh, I just can't.
12. Everybody Wants Some!
Linklater is the best. And this movie, which is basically us hanging out with these guys, who in the beginning are probably not people I would normally hang out with, won me over. There is no plot, and it doesn't matter. I loved it. I want some more. Get it? You get it.
11. Swiss Army Man
Lot's of great weird movies this year, and this might take the cake. Plus finally a Daniel Radcliffe performance I can get behind. It's batsh*t insane and I loved it. So much WTF, so much win.
10. Hidden Figures
A true crowd pleaser, it's so much better than The Help, it's not even funny. An important story to tell, it's well acted and really moving. It's also made for the masses. How can you hate on this movie? It's just hit all the right buttons, it feels like a top tier Disney movie without the pratfalls that entails.
9. Green Room
It's a simple story and it's told with perfect precision and execution. It's basically about a band who find themselves in the wrong place and the wrong time and gotta get out. And it just slays it. It's really hard to describe why it's so great, so just watch and you'll know
I didn't care for the trailers, but thank god the movie is so much better in the theater. Maybe one of the better comic book movies since Kick-Ass and the Nolan Batman Movies. And it's because it doesn't take itself to seriously, doesn't have just ridiculously stupid stakes and it is fun and funny and just weird enough.
7. Hell or Nigh Water
It's basically No Country For Old Men 2 and that's not a bad thing. It's not the kind of movie that really transcends. It's just very good at doing what it does and it knows what it is. Plus the acting is great and the screenplay is sharp. I think maybe people are over praising it, but that doesn't mean it's not a great movie. It is. It just is what it is, and that is, pretty damn good.
Maybe my favorite animated movie is some time. Which is so rare because I don't usually love animated movies anymore. I'm not a big Pixar guy. The other animated movies I've really liked recently would be Rango or Fantastic Mr. Fox. And now this. Plus the world building is great.
Split into 3 parts, the first part is so good that the other two struggle to keep up. Luckily they are also very good, and the ending is near perfect in it's understated execution. Filled with great performances, including the kids and the supporting characters, it's a quiet showcase that slowly knocks you out.
First off, the ending just floored me. It's so good that the rest of the movie could have been garbage and it still would have made my list. Luckily the rest of the movie is top notch. It takes what is a cool idea, gives us a different spin and isn't afraid to get intellectual. It's about language and interpretations and semantics and human nature. And it's amazing.
3. Manchester by the Sea
I was not looking forward to watching this movie. It looked like it would be rough. Luckily I was very wrong. It is able to have huge dramatic pieces with enough comedy sprinkled in so you don't slit your wrist. The central performance by Affleck is great, almost makes you forget that homeboy might not be right outside the screen. Anyways, it feels like the best Alexander Payne film not directed by the man. That's not a criticism, more like a big compliment.
2. La La Land
Haters gonna hate. And you can hate all you want, I love La La Land. I don't care what anyone says. I don't even like musicals and yet this won bowled me over. Loved the colors, loved the characters, loved the two central performances, loved the style and cinematography, loved that the movie let me escape into a dream world for it's run time. Love this movie.
1. O.J.: Made in America
Is it even a movie? That is up for debate, but it was screened in the theater and it's nominated for an Oscar so that's good enough for me. And probably one of the first times ever a doc made the top of my list. But this isn't any normal documentary. This is OJ. This is like 7 or 8 hours long of a trip down that rabbit hole. And it's fascinating and devastating and ridiculous and most importantly, incredible. Truly the best doc I've seen in years and an experience no one should miss.