Seems like I’m later than usual getting to this, but we’re still a few days out from the Oscars so I think I’m ok. Finished watching all the best picture nominees this week and have prepared my rankings of all the films I’ve seen this year. There were a lot of great movies this year, many of them went underseen. Thanks to Netflix and Amazon Instant you can see a lot of these at home as soon as immediately after you read this.
I’ll offer a little blurb with each film, and include the trailer so you can decide for yourself if you want to see it.
43. Love & Friendship: Whit Stilman does Jane Austen in a boring tale of class and relationship dynamics.
42. Sully: Completely pointless. Do you remember the Miracle On The Hudson? Then you can skip this one and not miss anything. Total waste of Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood’s talents.
41. Batman V Superman: Oy. What did we do to DC Comics to deserve such horrible claptrap? Two and a half hours of underwhelming action and boring exposition.
40. Ghostbusters: I’m not gonna cry “you destroyed my childhood!” on this one. It’s just not funny or scary or interesting enough to warrant watching.
39. The BFG: Didn’t think I would care for it, but Spielberg’s animated take on Roalde Dahl is pretty charming.
38. The VVitch: A horror movie with no scares, a period drama with no drama. Hardly anything makes sense in this bore.
37. Jackie: Natalie Portman is ok, if a little over-the-top at times. Voice sounds more like she’s doing Marilyn Monroe than Jackie Kennedy, but whatever.
36. Born To Be Blue: Ethan Hawks gives a good performance as jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.
35. Hail, Caesar!: Coen Brothers can still make some of the most interesting films in modern cinema. Sadly, this ode to old Hollywood wasn’t one of them.
34. Why Him?: Basically Meet The Parents with Bryan Cranston and James Franco. Some of the cameos are pretty good and Andy Devine is hilarious in a small role.
33. Office Christmas Party: If you’re a TJ Miller fan, this is a must-see. I personally love Jason Bateman and he’s solid here.
32. La La Land: Certain to win Best Picture at the awards show, despite not being particularly good. Personally, I think it would’ve worked better as a straightforward narrative instead of a musical.
31. Keanu: Key & Peele take on a buddy action film and it turns out uneven, but pretty funny. Will Forte as a drug-dealing neighbor made me laugh a lot.
30. Captain America Civil War: Spider-Man was cool, but I’m pretty much over the MCU at this point. Only Guardians Of The Galaxy is keeping me holding on.
29. Joshy: Dark comedy with Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), Nick Kroll, and Adam Pally. Uncomfortable laughter at its best.
28. Finding Dory: Good but can’t stand up to Finding Nemo.
27. Hacksaw Ridge: Took a bit too long o get to the war part, but once there it is insanely visceral. Would’ve been higher but the religious aspect was a bit too heavy handed for my taste.
26. Eye In The Sky: Aaron Paul as a drone pilot answering to orders from Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman. Interesting take on the hard decisions of war.
25. Nocturnal Animals: Jake Gylenhaal and Amy Adams in a good movie about the consequences of our actions.
24. The Green Room: Anton Yelchin leads a hardcore band in the Fight of their lives as they try to escape from a neo-Nazi concert venue.
23. Edge Of 17: Hailee Steinfeld holds her own against Woody Harrelson in this coming-of-age tale.
22. Popstar:Never Stop Never Stopping: Hilarious mockumentary from Lonely Island about rapper Conner4Real’s rise and fall in the music industry.
21. Hell Or High Water: Great story about brother bank robbers and Jeff Bridges as the law trying to bring them to justice. Film includes one of the great lines of all-time…”I asked for Dr Pepper! Only assholes drink Mr Pibb.”
20. Arrival: A little overrated in my book because I don’t think the story works as well as some others do. Still an interesting sci-fi idea and good performances from Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.
19. Rogue One: Way better than I’d anticipated. Would be higher if not for the horrible dialogue they gave to Darth Vader.
18. Swiss Army Man: A bizarre movie, but incredibly captivating. It looks amazing and the combo of Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe is one I could watch in anything.
17. Zootopia: Great story for kids and adults alike. Plus the sloth!
16. Silence: Scorsese’s films that deal most directly with religion can be hard to sit through, and this one is no different. Andrew Garfield is good in the lead, but Adam Driver give a great supporting performance.
15. Don’t Think Twice: I’m a big fan of Mike Birbiglia, and the cast he assembled for this one is really great. Special shout out to Chris Gethard.
14. The Handmaiden: Chan-Wook Park delivers some of the best camerawork I’ve seen in a long time with this intriguing tale of betrayal and love.
13. The Birth Of A Nation: Controversy surrounding the filmmaker disrupted the release of this film, which I consider a must-see. The Nat Turner uprising is an important moment in civil rights history.
12. Hidden Figures: Another important milestone in the battle for civil rights. NASA had a segregated workforce during the most exciting times in the space program’s history. Three women of color played important roles in the success of the American victory in the space race with the Soviets.
11. The Lobster: Colin Farrel is terrific in this odd, dark comedy from the director of Dogtooth. Set in a world where you must be matched with someone or suffer the consequence of being turned into an animal of your choosing.
10. Hunt For The Wilderpeople: A sweet New Zealand film about bonding and the importance of family. Sam Neill is great in this one.
9. In A Valley Of Violence: Ethan Hawks takes on some troublemakers in a small western town in this bloody picture from Ty Sheridan. John Travolta delivers a funny performance.
8. Fences: Denzel directs the film version of August Wilson’s beautiful play. Washington and Viola Davis are both superb-Davis should win the Oscar this year.
7. Lion: Uplifting tale of a young Indian boy who gets lost and ends up getting adopted by an Australian couple. His beginnings start to haunt him when he’s away at school and he searches for his birth mother.
6. Manchester By The Sea: Ken Lonergan has a knack for finding humor in the saddest parts of life. Manchester paints an accurate picture of New England life and the people that inhabit the area are well-represented. Great performances all around, especially from the teenager Lucas Hedges.
5. The Nice Guys: Ryan Gosling has strung together some really great roles over the past few years. Russell Crowe needed a comeback movie after a couple stinkers. Shane Black brought both up to the top of their potential in this noir comedy.
4. Sing Street: I will see any movie John Carney makes. Once and Begin Again are both brilliant musicals grounded in reality. This moves his formula to the 80’s in the U.K., and the whole thing comes together beautifully.
3. Everybody Wants Some!!: Richard Linklater’s comedy about a group of kids playing baseball at UT-Austin. Hilarious movie with a surprising turn from Glee’s Blake Jenner.
2. Moonlight: Everything good you’ve heard about this movie is true. It’s gorgeous to look at, the acting is great across the board, and the story is very relevant to our time.
1. Hello, My Name Is Doris: From beginning to end, HMNID is note-perfect. Sally Field is the best she’s been in years and Michael Showalter deserves more credit for his brilliant script.