Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Best and Worst of 2016...so far


Once again, it's that time when all of us bloggers are scouring each other's sites to see what we all thought were the best and worst movies of the year that is ending. For me, I always include the disclaimer "...so far." The reason is simple. For at least the last decade, I've watched 100 movies released in any calendar year. However, it generally takes me 18 months to do so. That means, I'll likely hit that mark in June of 2017. At this point, I've usually seen about 30 films from the ending year. This year, I'm actually at 44, so I'm a ways ahead of schedule. Still, knowing I'm going to watch at least 60 more movies released in 2016 means I can't say this is my definitive list. I don't even know if any of the movies I'm going to mention in this post will make that list. If they do, they might not even be in the same order. Therefore, this is just the best and worst of what I've seen to this point. Let's get to it.


The Worst...so far


10. The Divergent Series: Allegiant - The Divergent franchise, or The Hunger Games Lite as I like to call it, limps to it's rather anti-climactic conclusion. The second one wasn't great, but certainly a better ending spot for the series than this heap of trash.


9. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - This is a painful inclusion since I've long been a Tim Burton apologist. Even I must admit, this film is convoluted, nonsensical, and often ignores its own rules. It wastes some wonderfully hammy performances by Eva Green and Terence Stamp. It just wastes Judi Dench, altogether.


8. London Has Fallen - Olympus Has Fallen was boring and repetitive. Its sequel is something far, far worse. And it's unnecessary, as well, since I don't think anyone was clamoring for another installment, nor did the story call for one.


7. How to Be Single - It's a girl-power comedy. Unfortunately, it fully buys into the recently emerging trope of depicting girl-power as women acting like men who are jackasses. Even more unfortunate than that, nothing funny happens. Another wonderful cast is given nothing to work with. Sigh.


6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Director Zack Snyder took all of the brooding done by the characters in his Watchmen and concentrated it in our two titular heroes for a two and a half hour mope-fest. Add in about 10,000 set-up moments for future DCEU movies that most people won't understand, and you get this mess. It's like a salad with a bunch of random ingredients that don't belong anywhere near a salad. Click here for my full review.


5. The Perfect Match - A rom-com built entirely on cliches performed by a cast unable to elevate the material even the slightest bit. There is not one original bone in its body. It tries to coast by on the good looks of its leading man, Terrenc J, but he can't act. On top of that, it never goes far enough in any one direction for us to cling onto even one aspect of it. Click here for my full review.


4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 - A rom-com built entirely on cliches performed by a cast unable to elevate the material even the slightest bit. There is not one original bone in its body. Didn't I just write that? Sadly, it applies just as much to this film. There are a couple things that make me rank these as worse than The Perfect Match. One is it rather purposely, and datedly, insists on portraying nearly every character as one Greek stereotype or another. Another reason is it has the audacity to be a unneeded sequel to a fourteen year-old movie.


3 Dirty Grandpa - Just when I thought the career of the legendary Robert De Niro has already hit rock bottom, he finds a way to dig a little deeper. Most who hate this movie start with the fact that it's a crass bromance. To be honest, crass bromances can be pretty good. When one is completely unfunny, and drags down an icon in the process, well, it's pretty damn horrible.


2. Warcraft - What in the name of boring Tolkien rip-offs is this? I know that it's based on the incredibly popular video game of the same name. Unfortunately, it appears you have to be someone who plays the game to have a clue what's going on, here. I've never played it and I was utterly lost trying to decipher what was playing out in front of me. This meant I didn't care about anything that happened. It doesn't help that I'm not convinced there's even one part of this movie that wasn't made on a computer. This includes all the actors. I mean, they wouldn't be in this on purpose, would they?


1. Meet the Blacks - It takes the "movin' on up" aesthetics of The Jeffersons, saturates it with about a million times that shows number of jokes about 'hood blacks v bougie blacks v white people (all stereotypes, of course), and tries to make it all into a spoof of The Purge franchise. It lacks both wit and humor and is a truly painful experience.


These movies really should be on my "Worst of" list. However, they were both so hilariously bad I spent the entire time I was watching them laughing uncontrollably. That's what makes them...

So Bad They're Awesome!!!

Independence Day: Resurgence - Every frame of this thing is just DUMB. Actually, it's BEYOND DUMB. Click here for my full review.


When the Bough Breaks - Imagine Fatal Attraction mixed with Basic Instinct, about a thousand skinemax flicks. Now remove the skin (mostly), and make it as absurd as possible. Yup, that's this movie. Click here for my full review.


This next batch of movies should have been good. Instead, they were the...

Most Disappointing


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - I did say I was a Burton apologist, didn't I? In other words, I was actually looking forward to this.

Jason Bourne - After the disaster that was The Bourne Legacy, Matt Damon returning to the franchise was going to be great, right? Wrong. It narrowly missed my "Worst of" list.


Everybody Wants Some!!! - I hated Boyhood, director Richard Linklater's critically-acclaimed film that came out before this one. Still, I drank the kool-aid you all kept feeding me. You kept telling me how great a coming of age movie this was. You lied. This started off kinda funny, but fizzled out as it meandered and eventually revealed itself to be completely pointless.


The Purge: Election Year - I loved The Purge: Anarchy. Understandably, I was pumped to see this one. Unlike the other movies in this section, I actually liked it. It just didn't measure up to my expectations.

Finally, let's talk about some good stuff.

The Best...so far


10. Finding Dory - Not quite as magical as Finding Nemo, but then again, almost nothing is. It's still a wonderful ride with another great performance from Ellen DeGeneres. It also helps this is a gorgeous film to look at.


9. The Jungle Book - This live-action version of the classic tale is a sight to behold. The prospect of talking animals in a live-action film is always a risky one, but they make it work, here. And it works wonderfully. They did it by sparing no expense, going beyond the bear necessities. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.


8. The Birth of a Nation - It's deeply flawed, but also deeply impactful. The story it tells needs to be told, and it does a good job of it. Nate Parker directs, stars, and co-writes with varying degrees of success. Sadly, he also brings all sorts of baggage to a topic with plenty of its own. Click here for my full review.


7. Green Room - A taut, gory horror/thriller with tension to spare. Patrick Stewart is more menacing than I've ever seen him and the whole thing makes your skin crawl - in a good way. A worthy follow-up to Blue Ruin, writer-director Jeremy Saulnier's previous effort. Click here for my full review.


6. Captain America: Civil War - To be blunt, this is the movie Batman v Superman wishes it were. It presents with two heroes on opposing sides of philosophical and ethical divide, loads it with set-ups for future movies in a much neater fashion, includes tons of great action, and even manages to make itself part of a conversation relevant to today's world. More than any of that, it's actually fun. Click here for my full review.

By the way, here is the part where I tell you that Disney has had an outstanding year. Civil War marks the third entry for The Mouse in my top 10. Now, add in the fact Zootopia and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story nearly made it, and I haven't even seen Moana, The BFG, Pete's Dragon, or Doctor Strange, yet. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.


5. Deadpool - An action-packed superhero flick that's irreverent, profane, clever, and really a spoof of other superhero flicks. This one just works for me on every level as I find it the wittiest, and most self-aware thing the genre has ever produced. Click here for my full review.


4. The Witch - This is easily the most atmospheric and creepy movie I've seen all year. That atmosphere suffocates our main character, and us, right along with her. This is true horror in the sense that it doesn't scare us the way other films seek to, but gets into our souls and creeps us out. Click here for my full review.


3. Fences - I just saw this last night, so maybe I'm still riding high off that emotion, but man what a movie. This movie is made up entirely of actors acting and doing a spectacular job of it. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis have meaty roles and ravenously sink their teeth into them. Their work here is nothing short of spectacular. By the way, this is part of big year for Washington, in my eyes, as The Magnificent Seven was a blast to watch and narrowly missed my top 10.


2. 10 Cloverfield Lane - While The Witch is the most atmospheric movie of 2016, this is the most claustrophobic. As viewers we'll feel confined to its small space while watching this spin-off of Cloverfield. The feeling intensifies because of the presence of an exceptionally creepy John Goodman. Even when the film breaks out of it's underground cellar setting, we still feel locked in by what's happening around us. Click here for my full review.


1. Arrival - Here, we have the antithesis of Independence Day: Resurgence. Both are about aliens coming to earth, but couldn't be more different films. In short, ID:R is a brainless string of explosions and lame jokes while Arrival is a heady meditation on time and world affairs. However, it's no mere movie for nerds, it draws us in and makes us care. Click here for my full review.

26 comments:

  1. Good list. I haven't seen Divergent: Allegiant and hopefully never will as the last film left a horrible taste in my mouth.

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    1. Yeah, don't bother with Allegiant. It's even worse than the previous entry.

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  2. I can't stand Boredom..I mean, Boyhood so I have no desire to see that flick by the same sirecor. I. Surprised La La Land is not on your list but I like what I see here for the best and will avoid the worst but may see Peculiar Children still. happy New Year!

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    1. I should have known better about Everybody Wants Some, but oh well. I haven't seen La La Land, yet. Soon, I hope.

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  3. Our top 10 lists will have three is common. I'll release mine at the end of January...after I've seen La La Land and Jackie. I've seen most of your worst picks, can't fault you for picking any of them, Dirty Grampa especially. I haven't even Meet the Blacks...and yeah. I don't want to.

    Have you heard te final Divergent movie will be a TV movie?

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    1. Cool. Can't wait to see your list. I will actually have a more definitive list some time much deeper into 2017, so we'll see how many of these make the cut.

      Um, no. I was hoping that was the last Divergent movie.

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  4. Arrival at #1 is pitch perfect...unless you've seen La La Land...then it should be at #2.

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    1. I have not seen LA LA Land, yet. Soon, I hope.

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  5. Love your lists! Somehow I've avoided most of the terrible 2016 movies, which isn't as great as I thought because sometimes it's kinda nice hating on terrible movies!

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    1. I have lots of fun hating on bad movies, lol.

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  6. I usually only do a Bottom 5 for bad movies, but I actually saw enough terribles ones to make a full on Top 10 when the time comes.

    I love your Best list! I will have some repeats of yours for sure.

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    1. That seems to be the story of the entire year. When it was good, it was damn good. When it was bad, it was really bad.

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  7. I like your lists. Particularly glad to see both How to be Single and Greek Wedding 2 make the worst list. Truly deserved. Also can't agree more about Meet the Blacks, but that was my fault, I think I read a wrong synopsis for it, not interested in Purge stuff in any case.
    And Everybody Wants Some: blah. Also well done you.

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    1. A wrong synopsis, lol. Sorry you got sucked into that one. Thanks.

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  8. I like your number one. I don't even remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 being released. I don't mind comedy stereotypes especially if the person involved has a genuine understanding and connection to them. But it has to be funny and original.

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    1. And that's the problem. It was not funny or original.

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  9. I liked Batman vs Superman way more than you did. But I have to rewatch that one because it was a late night screening and considering how awful Snyder's movies usually are, I probably wasn't lucid enough. I loved Everybody Wants Some, but I see why you didn't. I agree pretty much on everything else.

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    1. BvS was polarizing, and everyone else seems to love Everybody Wants Some, so I get it.

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  10. Nice work here. Arrival is such a strong film. I'm hoping to rewatch it this weekend. I still can't believe I haven't seen it twice. Lot to take away from that one.

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    1. Thanks. There is lots to take away from it. Need to re-watch it, myself. It has so much to offer.

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  11. 2016 was a terrible year for me in terms of regular cinema visits. From the ones I've seen I completely agree on your placement. Didn't hate Dirty Grandpa as much as the rest of the world but can see why it received its hate. Hoping for a more productive 2017

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    1. It was actually a really good year for me in terms of theater visits. More than that, I was able to get my hands on more movies during the year they were released thanks to Netflix, Hulu, then purchasing a Roku TV a few months back. As for Dirty Grandpa...ugh. Good luck in a more productive year for you.

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  12. Your post makes me want to skip Miss Peregrine, and watch Fences. I agree Everybody Wants Some was pointless and self-indulgent. Good soundtrack though.
    Arrival will probably be in my top 10. Still working my way through 2016. Films like Moonlight, La La Land and Elle are not out in my country until Feb or March.

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    1. Yeah, skip Miss Peregrine. Fences is the far better movie. Glad someone else agrees on Everybody Wants Some. I still need to see all three of the films you mentioned. My final top 10 won't be out until I do. By that time, a number of these may not be there.

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  13. So glad to see Green Room here.

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