2016 Year-in-Review

With the Oscars ceremony right around the corner, it felt like the right time for Movietown to look back at the 2016 year in films. We have put together a collection of films that we BOTH love, capturing what made 2016 the celluloid year that it was.

Matt’s Favorite – ARRIVAL


There are only a few things I love more than a great sci-fi flick. My wife, daughter, family & friends, beliefs. What’s beautiful about Arrival is not only that it’s a truly mind-blowing piece of science fiction, but its affirmation of our love for things that matter most, moments that affect our very core, & people who make us who we are. Director Villeneuve captures alien-life and linear time with a wonderment akin to a newborn first experiencing light. As a study of what makes life worth living and a thrilling story of discovery, Arrival is a fittingly timeless masterpiece. (Matt)

Cole’s Favorite – O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA


“O.J.: Made in America” has condensed years of faux-news coverage and dinner-table punditry into a comprehensive and provocative piece of journalism. It’s an examination of the media and its role in the TV age. It’s an examination of celebrity and celebrity culture. It’s an examination of justice and the American justice system. It’s an examination of race and how it relates to media, celebrity, justice, and more. As the documentary unfurls, the did-he-or-didn’t-he-do-it question takes a backseat, choosing instead to more prominently lay bare a justice system treating a black man as is typically reserved for rich white men. But, as O.J. sharply prophesied, “I’m not black. I’m O.J.” (Cole)


Best Movie to Watch with Your Dad – HELL OR HIGH WATER



Most Unlikely Comedic Duo – THE NICE GUYS



Best Darkly-Comic-Romantic-Sci-Fi-Drama-Adventure – THE LOBSTER


Set in the near future, this Kafka-esque tale follows single people who are forced to find a partner within 45 days or be transformed into an animal. With constant brutality and wit, “The Lobster” incisively satirizes western constructs of individualism, offering up a nearly literal dog-eat-dog world for its characters to meander within. (Cole)


“Weekend at Bernie’s” Award – SWISS ARMY MAN


A super funny, emotionally palpable, pulsingly optimistic, and singularly unique directorial debut about a stranded man (Dano) and his new friend…a dead body with magical powers (Radcliffe). A sort of hipster Castaway, with a bittersweet soundtrack, bundles of oddness and a wonderful snap back to reality. (Matt)


The “More Confirmation That Nazis Suck” Award – GREEN ROOM


Rest in Peace, Anton Yelchin.


Best Film You Probably Didn’t See – THE FITS


“The Fits” follows an 11 year-old tomboy who, after joining a dance team, witnesses other girls suffering very scary, unidentified ‘fits’. As the strange trauma takes on a rite-of-passage quality among her new friends, our protagonist is caught between group acceptance and individual choice, which the film explores with an eerie, transplanting tone. (Cole)


Best Film You Probably DID See – DOCTOR STRANGE



Best Horror Movie…With a Goat – THE WITCH



Best Alan Rickman Movie (RIP) – EYE IN THE SKY


A fly-on-the-wall view of the fascinating dichotomy between preconceived plans and momentary instincts within drone warfare. Stellar performances and direction put flesh on the often completely-cold combat footage we see on 24-hour news networks. Like a high-minded 90’s thriller mixed with political satire, its diligently paced and surprisingly engaging.  (Matt)


Tom Brady’s Favorite Movie – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA


This year’s Super Bowl champs also hosted its most devastating movie. “Manchester by the Sea” will bring a surprising amount of laughs for a drama of its intentions, but they‘re paired with an unthinkably heavy modern tragedy whose catharsis is far more honest than most movies are willing to admit. (Cole)


Jay-Z’s Least Favorite Movie – BEYONCE: LEMONADE


While MTV focuses on teenage mothers,Beyonce’s spearheading the next music video revolution. Set to her incomparable “Lemonade” album, its segmented form never hinders its thematic and emotional consistency (marital / social injustice). “La La Land, I’mma let you finish…but Beyonce had one of the best musicals of all time!” (Matt)


The “Watch-with-Your-Kids” Award – KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS



The Semi-Annual “Coen Bros. Made a Thing” Award – HAIL CAESAR



Best Coming-of-Age – MOONLIGHT


In three distinct acts, “Moonlight” chronicles the maturity of a young, good-hearted, gay black boy in Miami’s Liberty Square projects as he grows into a difficult adulthood of repressed sexuality and frustrated social conformity. Its emotional restraint leaves it pregnant with empathy, and its mix of lyricism and realism is both beautiful and powerful. (Cole)


Best Critique of America’s Relationship with Race that’s NOT About OJ13TH


13th will rock the way you view the American penal system and the black experience. Genius contextualization, it puts modern protest photos in black-and-white, starkly and effectively equating them to the all-too-distant 60s movement. An incisive, in-depth look at systemic racism, it’s more detailed and well-rounded than most straight-ahead journalism. (Matt)


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