Let’s face it, the majority of the blockbuster movies this year ranged from “meh, it was ok” to “pretty disappointing.” However, that didn’t stop it from being a very good year for movies and this year delivered! Of course I wasn’t able to see every movie that came out this year, but from what I have seen, these are my picks for the best movies of the year.
10. Manchester By The Sea
This was a heart-wrenching and very realistic look at loss, how people deal with loss in different ways, learning how to move on, and realizing things happen that may be impossible to overcome for some people. Casey Affleck gives the male performance of the year. His performance isn’t a loud performance. It’s very subdued and subtle. It’s very raw and real. This movie is not for everyone. It really isn’t an “entertaining movie.” It’s a very real look at humanity.
9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
There are a lot of problems with Rogue One. The characters are bland and boring, there’s no real emotional impact to the movie, and it is the most “fan serivicy” Star Wars movie that sometimes puts too much fan service in that can distract from the real story, but it’s still a very entertaining movie. The third act alone makes up for the missteps of the rest of the movie. The incredible action sequences are some of the best of the series. The shots from the ground during the battle sequences are incredible, and the space battles are thrilling and exciting. Let’s also not forget the incredible Darth Vader scene.
8. The Jungle Book
The thing to me that makes this movie more amazing each time you think of it is the fact they didn’t film one frame in an actual jungle. It was all shot in a studio. The CGI is gorgeous to look at. The child actor Neel Sethi gives one of the best child performances of the year. His performance is especially elevated when you remember he was basically acting to nothing the entire time. Every creature was added in afterward and when he’s still this good, that is definitely saying something. It’s a charming and heartwarming tale for everyone.
7. Don’t Breathe
The best horror movie of the year. Don’t Breathe was a breath of fresh air (pun intended). Finally a movie that respects the horror genre and doesn’t rely on stupid loud noises and fake jumps. The suspense in the movie is earned. Scene by scene the suspense builds. Horror isn’t about how many times it makes you jump, it’s about feeling uneasy, feeling that weight at the bottom of your stomach. Don’t Breathe delivers on all levels. It has great characters and a very intriguing story. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
The best animated movie of the year. Zootopia is proof that Disney is still the leading studio in animation. The animation is beautiful, the story is great, and the voice acting fits each character perfectly. It also hits on important issues facing the world today. The movie does a very good job at tackling these issues and it has a great message for both kids and adults.
Deadpool was awesome. Everything in the movie just works perfectly. Ryan Reynolds is so good in the role. He understands the character so well and his comedic timing is on point throughout the entire movie. The movie is one of the best comic to screen adaptations ever. It understands the world and the comic so well. The balance of comedy and action is perfect and the action sequences are all incredibly well shot and exciting.
4. Captain America: Civil War
While the Marvel movies have fluctuated in quality, the Captain America movies each get better and better. Civil War delivered on all levels. The airport scene is one of the best scenes in any comic book movie. The movie contains a lot of different characters and each get their moment in that scene. The Russo brothers know the world so well and they are able to craft a well written and captivating story. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. are both very good in their roles and the movie ultimately is just a lot of fun.
3. 10 Cloverfield Lane
This was one of the biggest surprises of the year. Not only was it fantastic, but it came out of nowhere. There was no hint of this movie until 2 months before the release date. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a movie that captures you from the very start. It’s a very smart movie that doesn’t blow its load right at the start. It builds, dropping small and subtle hints here and there. The characters are all well realized. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is so good in her role. She has charisma and it’s so easy to get behind her and root for her. Her character has a really good arc from where she starts and where she eventually ends up. It’s one of the best character arcs of the year. John Goodman is mesmerizing in this movie. There is not a shred him in this role. It doesn’t feel like you are watching an actor, you see him as a real person and he is very very good. A very mysterious, and entertaining movie that builds scene by scene.
This was so hard to put this at number 2. I loved every inch of this movie. It’s one of the most engrossing and captivating movies I have seen in years. The movie has such a deep, emotional core running throughout the entire movie. The movie continually builds upon itself each scene. It’s not an “in your face” action, alien invasion movie, but rather a slow build that takes its time to tell its story. It cares about its plot and its characters. The movie is beautifully shot and gorgeous to look at. It’s some of the best cinematography of the year. Amy Adams is brilliant in the movie giving one of the best performances of her career. The music is also very good; haunting at times and also very touching. This was a deeply enriching movie with an amazing reveal that makes you rethink the entire movie.
1. La La Land
La La Land is why we go to movies. I was flip-flopping this and Arrival back and forth. Both movies could easily be number one, but ultimately it comes down to the pure joy and euphoria that La La Land brings. As a movie lover, La La Land is a reminder of classic Hollywood and how it has influenced movies today. It’s a glorious and enchanting movie that charms its audience. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have great chemistry together, with very strong performances from each, especially Emma Stone. Emma Stone gives the best performance of her career. For anyone who loves movies, this movie is sure to win you over.