It’s here. It’s now. The ten worst films I saw and the ten best. It should be noted that I haven’t seen La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Collateral Beauty, Passengers, Fences, or Billy Lynn. I’m pretty sure Billy Lynn and Collateral Beauty (going off of what everyone’s saying) would’ve made my “Worst” list. But alas, I don’t have the endurance anymore to go to movies I know I’m going to hate. So, here’s what’s left…
10) Ghostbusters – The cinematic embodiment of the social justice warrior crusade, telling us that we have to like what they, the world, has decided is best for us. The result was a movie that everyone watched and went, “Wait, why do Ghostbusters have to be women now? Why can’t they just be men and women?” Because men in 2016 are bad, that’s why.
9) Batman vs. Superman – So pretentious in its writing and directing that it gave you aches in places you didn’t now you could ache. After the 17th flashback to either Batman or Superman’s past, I wondered if the movie even cared about the present. How a movie with the two most popular superhero characters of all time could be so boring is a question aliens will debate one day when they take over our planet in 2512.
8) The Accountant – I didn’t see a more nonsensical movie all year. He’s OCD. He’s a contract killer. No, wait, he’s an accountant. No, he’s a consultant for companies. No, his dad taught him kung-fu. What’s the plot again? The government needs to find him RIGHT AWAY because he’s living somewhere and not bothering anybody? And he launders money.
7) High-Rise – A beautifully shot film without even 10 minutes spent on a screenplay, this film felt like Ben Wheatley stumbled onto the set and started making up things as he went along. Get a screenwriter, Ben. You’re a stud filmmaker but you can’t do it on your own.
6) Money Monster – An idea plucked out of the early 2000s given the treatment of 1990s film, attempting to rip off the chaos of the 1970s. After it was all said and done, it became a 2016 disaster, a bunch of old people who’ve lost touch with what audiences want. I’m all for adult fare, but you need to know what adults actually want.
5) The Witch – Holy Moses this was the most overrated piece of garbage of the year. I thought I was about to watch something amazing. Instead I witnessed a pretentious period piece with a bunch of well-costumed actors stumbling around a photograph-friendly farm. Another director who’s never learned how to tell a story. Wonderful.
4) Midnight Special – One thing that drives me batty is when reviewers give a bad film a good grade cause doing otherwise would fuck with the narrative. Jeff Nichols is supposed to be this up-and-coming filmmaker and this was supposed to be his break into the mainstream, his “early Steven Spielberg” film. Instead, it was a wandering mess that never committed to anything concrete, choosing instead to imply a whole lot of nothing, leaving us wondering what the point of the movie was when it was over. It’s okay to write screenplays that make sense. And it’s okay to say a movie sucked even when it doesn’t fit the narrative.
3) A Hologram For a King – This movie was the most bizarre thing I saw all year. It felt like something directed by Siri. Yes, I’m talking about the Artificially Intelligent concierge on your phone. Tom Hanks technically gave a performance, though I have a strong suspicion that he Skyped in his scenes standing in front of a green screen, which were then digital inserted into the film. If that doesn’t sell you, maybe the plot where nothing happens for 120 minutes will win you over.
2) Eddie the Eagle – Easily the worst performance of the year. I want you to go to the nearest mirror and make the goofiest smile-face you can think of. That was the actor’s, in this movie, entire performance. The writer also forgot to leave the 80s, as this screenplay seems to have been written immediately after a binge-watch of every 80s comedy ever made.
1) Sully – Was this the worst movie of the year? Probably not. Was it the most pointless movie of the year? Definitely. Sully and Billy Lynn (of which I read the book) are an example of what happens when you try to make a movie without a single dramatic beat. Drama is the essence of entertainment, something the makers of this film either don’t know or, worse, ignored.
10) Central Intelligence – Before you castrate me for liking this film, a film I’m sure you haven’t seen, let me add some perspective to the conversation. I don’t like Kevin Hart at all. I detest nearly every film he’s in. That Ride Along flick is garbage. Central Intelligence, however, not only gives us the best chemistry between two actors in any movie this year, but it’s a surprisingly good screenplay. Nothing flashy. Stays close to all the beats you’re supposed to hit. Yet it manages to stay ahead of the reader/viewer. Biggest surprise all year as I expected this to suck.
9) Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru – I promise you there isn’t a film you’ll see this year that will make you squirm more than this one. It’s on Netflix and all I ask is that you watch the opening scene. I promise you won’t be able to look away. You’ll ask, out loud, “Does this really happen?” It does. Welcome to the cult of Tony Robbins.
8) Kubo and the Two Strings – This movie isn’t perfect. Before seeing it, I heard people marveling at how a “simple story could be so good.” But Kubo isn’t simple at all. Actually, it has some of the more complex and hard-to-follow world building I’ve encountered this year. Despite that, it’s a beautiful film to watch and listen to, and comes together in such a satisfying way in the end.
7) Zootopia – There wasn’t a movie in 2016 that made you feel happier to be alive than this one. That damn rabbit is so freaking cute.
6) Deadpool – The superhero genre needed to be disrupted. Deadpool charged towards the wall Hollywood tried to put up in front of it, broke through, and gave us the biggest box office surprise of 2016. It also reinforced the notion that nothing ever gets made by accident in this town. There has to be at least one person who will stop at nothing to get their movie made. Deadpool had four of those people and we’re the beneficiaries of their drive.
5) Weiner – I know, I know. Another documentary, Carson? Really? Just watch this film. You’ve never met anyone who can’t get out of their own way the way Anthony Weiner can’t get out of his own way. What a freaking weirdo. What’s so strange is that when he’s out in public speaking about issues and policies, he’s captivating. Then he gets home and all bets are off. The x-factor about this movie is the weird way in which it will later influence the 2016 presidential election.
4) Hunt for the Wilderpeople – This movie makes me want to move to New Zealand. I loved the main character. I loved the relationship between the main character and the stepfather. I loved how you had no idea what was going to happen next. This movie makes you feel good about life in a different way than say, Zootopia, but does the job nonetheless.
3) Eye in the Sky – I never thought I’d like a movie about drones so much. But let me put this not so delicately. This is the movie The Hurt Locker could’ve been if it had a screenplay. They actually thought this thing through, and, as a result, we get the most tension-filled movie of the year.
2) Swiss Army Man – The best movie score of the year accompanies the trippiest movie of the year. This movie is not for everyone, but it’s the only movie that I saw all year that took REAL ARTISTIC CHANCES and those chances actually paid off. It’s weird, it’s unsettling, it’s funny, it’s awkward, but most of all, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
1) Don’t Think Twice – This is the only movie I saw all year that genuinely affected me on an emotional level. Sure, part of that is because it’s about the “artist’s journey” which is so relatable to me. But the character development is better than any other screenplay this year by miles. And like any good movie, it keeps getting better as it goes on. If you’re an artist, you will want to see this movie. It’s perfect.