In the footsteps of the Top 50 Albums of the year post by Music Editor Ryan Gibbs, we’ve followed up with the Top 15 Movies of 2016 list. A diverse and eclectic year in film, it would seem that the cinema was one of the few places to catch a sense of reprieve as the rest of the world continued to make mistakes that will make histories throw books in the decades to come. From horror to intimate dramas to independent science fiction, there was no lack of quality when it came to the movie going experience this year, unless the only time you go to the movies are between June and August. In that case, apologies, because the blockbuster season was rather tedious this year.
As was the case with the aforementioned music post, we took a handful of writers who held different interests in different genres and had them rank their 20 favorite films of the year before tallying the points. It proved to be a fun experiment and once we’ll certainly continue in the years to come. Let us know what you think in the comments and make sure to let us know what your favorite films of 2016 were.
Certain Women – Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Warm, empathetic and hosting a remarkable break out turn by Lily Gladstone as a lonely ranch hand, Certain Women is one of Kelly Reichardt’s best in years. Completely invested in showing the mundanity of every day life and the beauty that can evolve from simplicity, Certain Women is so winsome because it understands the nuance of the in between moments in life. -Allyson Johnson
Our Little Sister – Hirokazu Koreeda
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s indisputably picturesque and delightful Our Little Sister is a film which unfolds as a breathlessly sincere gallivanting of souls in a tranquil seaside Japanese town. Kore-eda has come a long way from Maborosi and Still Walking, two masterpieces that envision the gloomy aftermath of death and the living’s obsession with it. Our Little Sister, however, is a little different. It’s about 3 adult sisters who, after attending the funeral of their estranged father, invite the man’s 14-year-old daughter (their stepsister) to live with them. Kore-eda understands the little insights that accompany our day-to-day lives, and because of that Our Little Sister is something that could have worked with a 10-hour run-time (and still manage to intrigue), but sitting at a respectable 2-hours you find that Kore-eda understnads how to distillate life’s small pleasures from its unexpected disruption.- Gary Shannon
Andrea Arnold’s AMERICAN HONEY is a road-trip without a destination; it’s a journey of self-discovery where nothing is really discovered. Set in the backroads, slums, and industrial backwaters of America that Hollywood likes to pretend doesn’t exist, the film follows Star (Sasha Lane), a sexually-abused teenager who runs away from home to join a roving magazine sales crew ruled by Krystal (Riley Keough), a cruel and icy matriarch. What little hope she has she places in Jake (Shia LaBeouf) Krystal’s cocksure second-in-command. But love is no salvation in this world, a lesson Star learns much too soon in this extravagant, over-long, indulgent, yet absolutely hypnotic ode to teenage misdirection. – Nathanael Hood
Chilly and stunningly shot, The Invitation isn’t just one of the best horror films of the year but one of the great films period. With cool exterior shots and a strong ensemble cast lead by the fearless Tammy Blanchard and vulnerable Logan Marshall Green, The Invitation and it’s under your skin creepiness is one of the under the radar gems of 2016. -Allyson Johnson
The strength of Jeff Nichols’s Midnight Special comes not simply from his science fiction homages, but from his warmth in capturing the vulnerable beauty shared between the love parents can give to their child. Beneath the surface, beyond the idea of the “other”, Midnight Special is a film about parental healing and learning how to do the unthinkable in being able to say goodbye to someone you love. -Allyson Johnson