Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Movies of 2016

1. Labyrinth

Now, I don't generally post about movies that I see that are in a theater for some special reason, although I highly recommend you keep you eye out for things like that because seeing Singing in the Rain and Shawn of the Dead on the big screen is awesome. But Labyrinth was in the Tower Theater for no ordinary special reason. It was there because the legendary David Bowie died on January 10th. Seeing this in the theater was not something I was going to miss.

I'm writing this as of February 16th and I still haven't listened to any music other than Bowie.

2. Carol

Cate Blanchett is the Queen of Everything, so of course I was going to see this movie. It was a good one. And one that ended happily, to my surprise. Knowing the plot, I expected Carol to give up love to be able to have custody of her daughter, but she gave up the chance of custody for love. It's deplorable that that was even a choice she had to make, and it once again reaffirmed my deepest gratitude that I was not alive during the 50s, even though I'm not gay. Another great thing about this movie is that it's a good, happy, lesbian love story that, even though it was limited release, still appeared in theaters. That doesn't happen often.

Side note: Rooney Mara needs to do a Audrey Hepburn biopic.

3. Room

This is a movie that I had to kind of mentally prepare myself for before going into the theater. Brie Larson plays a woman who has been held prisoner for 6 or 7 years and has a 5 year old son. She does an amazing job of portraying the PTSD and other issues that anyone in her position would have and the little boy is crazy good at making you believe he is experiencing the world for the first time. Very powerful film.

4. The Revenant

An intense and entertaining movie that Leo will probably get an Oscar for. That's pretty much all I have to say about this movie apart from Tom Hardy and gross rape scene.

5. The Land

I couldn't find a poster for this one, so here's a still from the movie. An excellent Sundance choice, considering this was picked solely for the time and location of its playing. It's about 5 teenage boys who want to become professional skateboarders and fall into drug dealing. Sad things happen and it ends with one sacrificing his future to let the others out of the drug business. It's poignant and insightful and paints these kids who are criminals at the beginning of the movie in a sympathetic, yet realistic light. If you have the chance to watch this, I recommend that you do. 

6. Suited

Second of two Sundance movies this year. This one was a documentary that was also worth watching, but I did feel like it could have been shorter. It's about these two people who make suits and ended up kind of catering to the gender ambiguous/trans crowd. It'll be on HBO soon. I guess I should say that it was on HBO many months ago, since I won't be publishing this for another 11 months.

7. Hail, Caesar! 

Rarely do movies fill me with this kind of glee, but the Cohen Brothers have done it again. This movie was SO much fun, especially when we got to spend a few minutes watching Channing Tatum sing and dance a la Gene Kelley. I want Tatum to do more of that.

8. Deadpool

The opening weekend for this movie broke all sorts of records: highest grossing R rated movie, highest grossing opening weekend for Fox... okay, it broke just two records that I can think of. But the studio did not expect this movie to do as well as it did (and because of that, they're going to make a bunch of R-rated, fourth wall breaking, raunchy superhero movies that will fail to capture the magic of this film). I have seen Deadpool pop up in comics that I have read and I know his reputation, but I have never read one of his comics. He's been on my list, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I probably will now because I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and I want more. It was so very funny and it was very much time for a satirical superhero movie. Honestly, I probably liked this better than any of the Marvel films apart from the first Avengers and Winter Soldier.

I just spent a good 20 minutes watching clips and trailers of this movie. Good grief, I loved it.

9. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Nothing out of the ordinary, but I'd be a fan if they made a movie of Tina Fey playing on her phone while on the toilet.

10. Zootopia

This movie looked cute, but I did not expect to like this as much as I did. It had a cute message without being preachy and it was hilarious. What more could you ask for in a Disney movie?

11. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

This movie. Ugh, guys - THIS MOVIE! The only reason I was able to make it through the whole thing without falling asleep was because I saw it with my sister and we were making fun of it the whole time. Because it deserved to be made fun of the whole time. Except for Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was everything I wanted and more (except the main character). She was smart, she was badass, she was useful, and she was sexy without being sexualized, which is really surprising considering who the director is. I mean, look what he did with Lois Lane. Amy Adams could have been replaced by a pumpkin with a worried face painted on and absolutely nothing would have changed. Superman was a pile of morally ambiguous rocks. Lex Luthor was less evil genius and more stupid manic psychopath. Ben Affleck was pretty good as an old, weathered Batman, but I'd like to see him with Snyder NOT at the helm. Luckily he'll be directing himself soon enough.

12. Keanu

I love Key and Peele and I was very much looking forward to this movie. Like most comedies, it wasn't gold, but it was a solid laugh. I don't think anyone will be talking about this movie in the months to come, but it's a good one.

13. Captain America: Civil War

Objectively, this is probably one of Marvel's best, but I'm still too saturated with white male superheros to have loved it. I really enjoyed it, though. Ant-Man was fantastic in this and I actually am looking forward to Spider-Man after seeing him in this. Still mad at them for pushing Black Panther and Captain Marvel back, though. Black Panther was also great. Chadwick Boseman's occasional monotone voice was a bit distracting at times, but other than that I think he did a great job. I can't wait for that one.

14. The Nice Guys

There have been some great movies this year, but this movie is damn near perfect. This movie made me laugh my old man laugh, and that's usually reserved for bigger groups of hilarious people. I'm usually not a huge fan of either Crowe or Gosling, but they are both on point in this movie. Gosling needs to do comedy all the time, because he just about made me pee my pants. Of course, that had a lot to do with the near perfect writing and directing job of Shane Black. I need to rewatch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang to see which one is better, and I feel okay about that. Seriously, this movie. It was both Hilarious and poignant in multiple ways. I was so excited about this movie that I had to pull out my (work) laptop and write this up as soon as I got home. I usually save that until I've had a bit of space from a movie, but no. Not this one. I'd go and watch it again right now if it wasn't way past my bedtime. The year isn't even half way over, but I can say with a good amount of confidence that if you only see one movie in the theater this year, make it The Nice Guys.

15. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Writing this led to me watching a bunch of Lonely Island videos again, and few things make me happy like their songs make me happy. Predictably, this movie made me happy too. Go see it.

16. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

I might be one of the few people who liked this one better than the original. It probably helped that I saw this one first and the original a few days later. Either way, I'm owning both of them and I officially like Zac Effron. If my experiences with him and Channing Tatum have taught me anything, it's I'll fall for any hottie in a comedy, even if I really don't like that hottie before the comedy. 

17. Love and Friendship

I've never read the novella this movie is based on (Lady Susan), but I'm a sucker for anything with Jane Austen's name on it. I'm sure it was very liberally adapted, but it was still hilarious. I'll probably add this to my period drama section on my DVD shelf even though it's a period comedy. 

18. The Lobster

I was expecting to love this movie and I probably did, but I still don't know. If this movie was supposed to make me come away feeling weird and confused about my feelings, it did its job. There was a lot I liked about this movie but a lot I didn't. At least I think I didn't... Maybe this is what my sister and her husband felt like after watching Under the Skin before I had a chance to give them fair warning about what it was. 

19. Maggie's Plan 

Look at that cast. How is any movie not going to be amazing with that cast? Seriously, Maggie's Plan almost rivals The Nice Guys for my favorite movie of the year so far. It wasn't side splittingly hilarious, but it definitely was funny and I'm pretty sure I was smiling the whole time. It was cute and charming while being made up by three characters who aren't entirely likable. They were real and flawed and just so much fun. It's a romantic comedy turned on its head and I enjoyed every second.

20. Independence Day: Resurgence 

This movie was the worst.

21. Ghostbusters

I didn't like it as much as I wanted to (the third act and the needless cameos really took away from the film), but it was still a ton of fun. The scene where they're interviewing Chris Hemsworth's character had me keeled over crying. He needs to do lots more comedy. And Kate McKinnon is everything I've ever wanted.

22. Star Trek Beyond

I should say that I haven't been a huge fan of the new Star Trek movies. The first one was good for what it was, a Star Wars-ized version of Star Trek, and the second was just garbage. When I heard Simon Pegg was co-writing, I had high hopes for this one while still knowing that it wouldn't be the philosophical Star Trek that I know and love. It wasn't, but it was still the most Star Treky Star Trek of the three films. Plus it was fun. Definitely had some flaws (Uhura was criminally underused and do you really expect us to believe that Sulu would just put his arm around his husband instead of kissing him after not seeing him for how long??), but it was still entertaining and my favorite of the three so far. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to watch the new show on CBS to get my actual Star Trek fix.

23. Bad Moms

Kristin Bell and Kathryn Hahn are national treasures, so I'll see anything with them. The fact that this movie also happened to be hilarious is just an added bonus. 

24. Suicide Squad

If this movie were an object, it would be a poorly wrapped joint that someone had given up on and threw into the gutter. Had the person rolling said joint done it well it probably would have provided a good time to a few people, but as it is, it provided a good time for no one and now everyone on the street just passes by without taking notice. However it's not the dumpster fire that was Batman v Superman. 

Oh, and Jared Leto is the worst. I may say other things are the worst, but Leto is the actual one. 

25. Don't Think Twice

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The cast is perfect and it got near perfect reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I expected it to be the perfect comedy, but it wasn't either of those things. It was great, don't get me wrong, but I probably should have done my research before watching it. I went in expecting comedy and sat through a drama with a couple of chuckle moments. Which, I guess by Hollywood's standards, makes it a comedy, so maybe I shouldn't be complaining.

26. Bridget Jones's Baby

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Bridget Jones's Diary was delightful. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was less so. Bridget Jones's Baby goes back to its beautifully comedic roots. This movie was hilarious, heartwarming, and all-around perfect. I read an article about this movie, saying Bridget doesn't appeal to millennial women because millennial women don't need the man and the baby to be fulfilled, and it's true - I don't need a man and a baby to be fulfilled. Doesn't mean I didn't LOVE this movie. 

27. The Magnificent Seven

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I generally don't enjoy Westerns, but this was fun enough for a completely forgettable popcorn movie. I appreciated that four of the seven weren't white and that the three people that survive were all minorities. 

28. Ouija: Origin of Evil

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I'm always up for a good scary movie, and this was a good scary movie. Not as good as The Conjuring, but that's my gold standard for horror, so it's gonna take a lot to top it. 

29. Arrival

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Probably my favorite SciFi movie in a while, and maybe even my favorite first contact movie ever. This was SO good and such a unique and interesting plot. I loved all of it.

30. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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I don't love the Harry Potter movies so I wasn't crazy anxious to see this, but it was fun. I'll enjoy seeing the sequels well enough. Probably more than the Harry Potter movies.

31. Moana

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Disney really stepped up its game with this one. It was funny, heart warming, exciting, AND it had no love story. That's always my favorite thing about a princess movie. 

32. Rogue One

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This was an excellent Star Wars movie. Yeah, it was kind of distracting to see Peter Cushing as a CGI character, but I just had to suspend my disbelief a little more than usual and it was all good. The technology is definitely better than the last time I saw it used. The movie seemed super different from what was in the trailers and I'm very curious about how the original version was supposed to end (especially with Felicity Jones signing on for a possible sequel), but I thought this one ended just about as perfectly and as realistically as it could have. This was even more entertaining than Episode VII. Yes, VII was great, but it used a recycled plot and the stakes were SO high that it was hard to care about them. They also just didn't even try to make us care about the stakes. This one brought it down to a more individual level. That and my palms were sweating for the last 10 minutes even though I knew that the plans did, in fact, reach the Rebellion.  

33. La La Land (spoilers)

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Speaking of perfect endings... (spoilers)

This movie in no way had one and I'm still mad about it. It's been 3 days since I've seen it and I've been obsessing over it since then. This movie was charming and adorable and perfect and so unique and I loved it until that stupid ending. How did these two not end up together? She was gone for 4 freaking months! That doesn't mean you go off and marry someone else and have a baby and only five years later see the love of your life again when it's too late! Ugh. My friend and I complained afterwards and I told my mom the ending so she wouldn't be as mad as I was when she goes to see it. Cause I'm still mad.

January 4th and I'm still mad at that ending. I'm also mad that La La Land was the last movie I saw in theaters in 2016. What a crap way to top off a crap year.

Three fewer than last year and eight fewer than the year before. In fact, 33 is the fewest number of movies I've seen in the theater since I started doing this in 2012. What's wrong with me?!