Best of 2016 — Best and Worst in film
Today I continue my look at the best of 2016 with my favorite and least favorite films. In the next post I'll list my favorite film performances. But for now, here are my top 10 films and bottom five films from 2016. It was a year with a lot of good and entertaining films, but very few great films.
About: This documentary on Anthony Weiner's failed run for Mayor of New York City is like watching a car wreck. And like watching a car wreck, you can't take your eyes off it. For as charismatic and driven as he was in advocating the issues, he was just as self-destructive and boorish in his personal life. This documentary captures the man and the campaign, warts and all, and it's an incredible watch.
About: This is an adaptation of the stage play by August Wilson, directed by and starring Denzel Washington. It's not an easy film to watch, nor is it a feel-good story. But it's beautifully crafted and acted. Washington and his co-star, Viola Davis, should be reason enough that "Oscars So White" will be a thing of the past come February.
8. The Shallows
About: One of my all-time favorite films is "Jaws." There's an incredible sense of dread at times in that film, but also some rich characters and iconic moments. Dozens of shark films have come along since that was released, but none has come close to capturing that feel until "The Shallows." It's buoyed by an incredible performance from Blake Lively, too, and was my favorite film in a mediocre summer.
7. Hacksaw Ridge
About: Mel Gibson has been out of favor with Hollywood for a while, so it's easy to forget what a gifted filmmaker he can be. "Hacksaw Ridge," which tells the powerful story of a medic in World War II, is a reminder of how great a director he can be. It's a powerful film with some powerful performances, too.
6. Dr. Strange
About: There was a Marvel film this year that makes it into my Top 10, but not the one most people choose. I thought "Captain America: Civil War" was good until a terrible third act. I had no such qualms with "Dr. Strange," which I think is among the Top Three Marvel films. It's unconventional, but it's great.
5. Edge of 17
About: There's usually one or two movies a year that go under the radar that capture my heart. "Edge of 17" is that film for me. I loved the performances and the beauty and humor of the story. It was a near perfect film.
4. Light Between the Oceans
About: This is not an easy film to watch, in fact it's emotionally devastating. But it's incredibly powerful. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander are incredible in this film. It was another that slid under the radar, and that's a shame.
3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
About: It's not a perfect film, or the best "Star Wars" film, but it was the best epic of the year. I loved the rich performances and the epic story it told. It's engrossing and one of the best times I had at the movies this year.
About: This movie caught my by surprise. I didn't know what to expect, but I was completely drawn in and taken with the story. Amy Adams is incredible, as is the idea here. This is a movie that everyone should see.
1. La La Land
About: There's really only one choice to top this list. "La La Land" was, by far, the best movie I saw in 2016. In a year that underwhelmed, this film swung for the fences. It's beautiful, touching and poignant.
5. Alice Through The Looking Glass
About: I loved "Alice in Wonderland" and what Tim Burton and Johnny Depp did with that story. This follow up is as mediocre as the other was inspiring. A complete bore, and a total miss.
4. Gods of Egypt
About: Let's set aside the white washing in the casting, which is hideous, and focus on the laughable story and performances here. Not sure what they were going for, but this film was an expensive joke.
3. Yoga Hosers
About: There was a time when Kevin Smith making a movie made it a must-see event. This film, which got a scant release, shows how far away from that time we are. It's a vanity project for his daughter and Johnny Depp's daughter to star in, and it's awful.
2. Dirty Grandpa
About: Robert De Niro deserves better, and so do audiences. This was meant to be amusing, instead it's just sad and gross.
1. Independence Day: Resurgence
About: This was by far the worst film I saw this year. It actually made me angry. As a fan of the original, I was looking forward to this long-awaited sequel. But this did little but waste money and time, and tarnish the legacy of the original. Yuck.