Thursday, February 16, 2017

2016 Top 10

Last month, out of curiosity, I counted up the new releases I had seen and written about here, from the past six calendar years, 2011-16. From oldest to newest, the numbers per year are: 48, 34, 33, 30, 20, and 29, for a total of 194 and an average of 32.3. (This total excludes films seen at film festivals.)

48 seems like such an outrageous number now. I know there are a number of reasons why I haven't come close to that total since - finances, greater interest in older movies, less willing to pay for crap. I don't have any great observation to make out of this; I just wanted to do this for the sake of doing it. Anyway, here's my top ten:

10. Kubo and the Two Strings. A genuinely entertaining animated film with some remarkable stop-motion work. It didn't reinvent the wheel, but it didn't need to for it to please me.

9. The Witness. Maybe it's because I live in Queens and am so familiar with Kitty Genovese's neighborhood, but this document of her life, her death, and the search to discover how and why she died stayed with me a long time afterward.

8. Manchester by the Sea. A well-written story of guilt, rage and family, anchored by a fine performance by Casey Affleck.

7. Hell or High Water. Perhaps the sleeper hit of the year. I'm very glad this crime flick has gotten Oscar recognition; it's well deserved.

6. 20th Century Women. Annette Bening shines in this delightful, profound and witty ensemble, full of complicated, flawed, yet thoroughly human characters.

5. Sing Street. Young love and rock 'n' roll make for a potent combination in this fun and heartfelt story from Once director John Carney.

4. Loving. Jeff Nichols hits it out of the park with his depiction of the interracial couple who would let nothing stand in the way of their love, not even the law.

3. La La Land. Is it the best movie musical of all time? No. Is it the best one of 2016? Yes... and that's all that matters for now. Let history decide where it ranks among the greats.

2. Fences. Denzel. Viola. Denzel. Viola. Denzel. Viola. Nuff said!

1. Moonlight. Barry Jenkins' extraordinary film is a love story for the 21st century, one which expands and deepens the meaning of the word to embrace everybody who has felt different, against the grain, like an outsider, and tells them yes, even you are entitled to share in this basic human emotion... no matter what anyone else may think.

2015 top 10
2014 top 10
2013 top 10
2012 top 10
2011 top 10


  1. Okay. I will make an effort to see all of those films. You have convinced me.

  2. You still haven't seen LA LA LAND yet? What are you waiting for?

  3. Isn't Sing Street a delight? Also, have you watched Elle?

  4. I missed ELLE. I think my movie club friends saw it and liked it. I really dug SING STREET. I could relate to it a lot.


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