Now that 2016 is behind us, it’s time for me to reveal my favorite Movies of 2016. On a global level, the year 2016 will go down in history as a difficult one, where we lost a lot of talented people and there seemed to be an overall negativity in the air (thanks in part to the general election here in the U.S). On a personal level, 2016 was not only difficult, but sorrowful, as I lost my father to cancer. My dad loved movies, and every time we got together, we would discuss the films we had recently seen. Dad got sick early in the year, so we didn’t get to have our usual movie pow-wows.
My top movies are always of the blockbuster, superhero, scifi/fantasy variety, with some comedies sprinkled in, because I like to rewatch movies, so I tend to pick more uplifting titles as “favorites” — therefore, I’m not saying my list is of the “best” movies, they are just the ones I enjoyed the most and will likely rewatch to my heart’s content.
My dad, on the other hand, liked the more serious dramas, and over the past decade, he has pretty much been disappointed in most of the Oscar contenders. I’d imagine this year he’d have felt the same way, and would likely not have agreed with my Top 10, but I do feel that he’d have loved Elvis & Nixon (one of my Honorable Mentions).
As always, there will be plenty of other “Best Of 2016” lists being published here at Geeks Of Doom in the coming days that will take a more analytical look at 2016’s films, and will likely include more serious dramas. But for now, with me, you’ll get more fun picks than anything else.
With that, here’s a list of my Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2016, along with Honorable Mentions.
Note – I really don’t like to “rank” the movies, so don’t take any stock in the ordering.
Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp reprise their brief roles from director Kevin Smith’s 2014 horror film Tusk for this horror-comedy spin-off. Yoga Hosers centers solely on the Colleens, two 15-year-old Canadian convenience store clerks hoping to score an invite to a senior party. But instead of a good time, they end up having to fight Nazi monsters. The film got negative reviews, but I have to say, I loved the fuck out of it. That’s right, you can quote me. “I loved the fuck out it.” – Empress Eve, Geeks Of Doom. The movie opens with the Colleens jamming on a cover of Anthrax’s “I Am The Man.” Umm, that’s really all this movie needed to do to rope me in. Throw in a story about two disaffected teenage girls, and that would have been enough of a story for me. The whole horror element that shows the girls kicking ass was just the cherry on top. Harley Quinn Smith (daughter of Kevin Smith, who plays the tiny monsters) and Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Johnny Depp, who reprises his role from Tusk) are young and still learning the ropes, but it’s endearing to see them follow in their famous parents’ footsteps, and with Smith, she’s playing a clerk, much like the role that jumpstarted her filmmaker father’s career. I would totally get behind a Colleens sequel.
Star Trek Beyond
The J.J. Abrams rebooted Star Trek universe gets a third film, which sees the crew of the USS Enterprise return for a new adventure, which takes place in year three of their five-year mission of deep space exploration. Shit gets real quickly and the crew gets divided up on a planet that’s inside an uncharted nebula. Another enjoyable addition to the franchise, this movie is the first posthumous release for Anton Yelchin, the actor who played Ensign Chekov who died in an accident in June 2016. Star Trek Beyond is dedicated to Yelchin, and also includes a tribute to Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock actor who passed away during pre-production of this sequel.
I love Disney films, so I figured I’d like Zootopia, but it really surprised me with how good it as both an animated feature and as a mystery-adventure. The film follows Judy Hopps, Zootopia’s first bunny police officer. Though she graduated with top honors, she’s relegated to giving out parking tickets because of her small stature and her designation as “prey” — the police force is filled with large predators. But she’s determined to make a difference and prove herself, which leads her on a dangerous investigation. Ginnifer Goodwin voices Judy, while Jason Bateman voices Nick, a con-artist fox who gets involved in Judy’s mission.
Holy shit, this movie was 100 percent, hands-down, the funniest fucking movie of the year. Sausage Party is an R-rated animated comedy that anthropomorphizes food, much like Disney and other big-name animation studios do with animals and inanimate objects. Here, the talking food and other grocery store items live an idyllic life at a supermarket awaiting their turn in the Great Beyond — the world outside the store’s doors. What they don’t realize is what actually happens when they’re taken home by humans — that’s when Sausage Party morphs into a horror movie; well, a humorous one, a least. But then it’s back to full-on comedy and a fight for survival. Seth Rogen (who I love), who co-wrote the story and script, voices a sausage named Frank, whose goal in life is to make it out of his packaging so he can finally physically unite with this girlfriend Brenda, a buxom hot dog bun voiced by Kristin Wiig. The voice cast is fill with great comedic talent — Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, and more. Sausage Party deserves to win the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Seriously.
I have yet to come across a person who’s seen Deadpool who doesn’t like this movie. Ryan Reynolds IS Wade Wilson aka Deadpool in a film that finally gives us the character the way he’s meant to be (unlike what we saw in X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Reynolds is perfect as the wisecracking masked mercenary, and the action is fantastic. Here, we get the origins of the character and his relationship with his true love Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). I not only saw this movie for Valentine’s Day, but I also received a personal Valentine FROM Deadpool himself. That’s right, we have a connection. Deadpool has everything you’d want from it – action, humor, romance, and heart. FOX took this Marvel property and did it up right.
Captain America: Civil War
Marvel Studios has given us a great Steve Rogers/Captain America in Chris Evans, and each of the films makes a great story even without the superhero elements. Civil War, though, kind of honed in on Captain America’s action — it definitely has the feel of a Cap movie, but it’s an ensemble picture that sees Iron Man and his crew taking up a lot of the scenes, making it an Avengers pic minus Hulk and Thor. In this one, Captain America and Iron Man go head-to-head after the UN decides to impose restrictions on The Avengers team. Seeing our favorite superheroes kick the crap out of each other is really disturbing, but you just can’t look away. For the record, I’m Team Cap.
10 Cloverfield Lane
10 Cloverfield Lane came out of nowhere early 2016, and is meant to be a “Cloverfield” story in the J.J. Abrams-produced universe. Full disclosure: I know its director Dan Trachtenberg; I’ve been to his house, pet his dogs, sat in lines each year at San Diego Comic-Con with him. But that’s not why 10 Cloverfield Lane makes my list of favorite movies of 2016. No, it makes it because it’s a captivating scifi-psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. And John Goodman is fantastic in it. Now, I knew my buddy Dan was a talented guy, but as I was watching this film, I was like, shit, this motherfucker (and I say that lovingly) is talented! I am so proud of him, and totally thrilled that I get to add his film to my list of favorites. (My mom is proud of him, too.) Oh, and let me just say it here, if I haven’t written this publicly already (I’ve been saying this for a long time now) — Dan is going to end up directing a Star Wars movie, just wait and see.
Rush: Time Stand Still
When I speak about the band Rush, I have to preface it by revealing that Rush is my favorite band of all time. With that, it’s no surprise that their new documentary Time Stand Still made it on my list of favorite movies of 2016, especially since it chronicles the legendary group’s final large-scale tour and includes performances, interviews, and a look at the fans. That’s right, this was a farewell, and it was a heartbreaking one. With two-thirds of the Canadian rock trio’s line-up suffering from the physical effects of aging, the members decided to call it quits and go out on top, and on top they did after a successful, storied 40-plus-year career. I was in tears watching some of this documentary, especially the parts where the band members talk about how in their hearts and minds they don’t want it to end. But much like a professional athlete must retire due to physical constraints, they say, so must the hard-rock road dogs of Rush. Freeze this moment a little bit longer….
Another hit from Marvel came this Fall (on my birthday weekend!) with Doctor Strange, starring one Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant, yet arrogant surgeon who gets taken down many notches after an auto accident renders his hands useless. He then embarks on a mystical Batman Begins-like journey to the Far East to regain use of his hands, and ends up becoming a Sorcerer Supreme! The casting of Cumberbatch as the lead was a brilliant one, and the visuals are trippy. The part where Doctor Strange meets Dormammu in space — awesome. Biggest scene-stealer: Doctor Strange’s Cloak of Levitation.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The George Lucas-less Lucasfilm looks to be on roll now with the release of their second kick-ass live-action Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The events of the film take place just before those of the original 1977 movie (now referred to as A New Hope), and show us just how a group of rebels managed to obtain the plans to the Death Star. Darth Vader has a major role in this one, and there’s several other familiar faces, too. Rogue One is a film I can watch repeatedly, and any Star Wars fan will likely feel the same way.
– Elvis & Nixon: Michael Shannon stars as Elvis Presley during his comeback period in this captivating and humorous film that highlights the king of rock and roll’s historic meeting with then-U.S. President Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey).
– Ghostbusters: The all-female reboot was met with a lot of hostility, but I enjoyed it and thought the leads — all of whom are excellent comedic actors — did the franchise justice.
– Bad Moms: This well-done comedy centers on a group of high-stressed moms — a subject matter a lot of today’s mom’s can relate to — was hilarious. Mila Kunas proves she can carry a film, while Kathryn Hahn steals every scene.
The Boss: I find Melissa McCarthy to be funny as hell, and she lives up to her reputation in this comedy.
– Secret Life of Pets: This heartwarming animated feature goes behind the scenes of how pets live while their human companions are away.
– Neighbors 2: Sorority House: I love Seth Rogen, so I was delighted that this comedy sequel was actually good.
I got to see all of this year’s blockbusters, as well as a lot of the smaller ones (and some real serious indies as well), but there were some that interested me that I didn’t get to watch that I thought I would enjoy, like Finding Dory, Moana, The Witch, Hidden Figures, and O.J.: Made in America. So, to be fair and to give a little perspective, I wanted to mention those here.
I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow writers at Geeks Of Doom pick for their favorite movies of 2016, as well as what you, dear readers, think. Let us know!
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