This 2016 list wasn’t supposed to take anywhere this long but unfortunately, look where we find ourselves. Its inching closer to the end of 2017 now so I shouldn’t finish it but I’m almost done so why not. Anywho, to switch things up, I’m going to write some of my recaps for each movie in bullet point form.
Now, here are the movies that came in at #20 – #11 on my complete movie list for 2016. Expect to see a couple Jake Gyllenhaal movies, a couple animated flicks and more.
20. Don’t Breathe
- Did a great job keeping the tension up because you never felt like the small group of intruders were safe and they really weren’t
- Stephen Lang played the blind villain more menacing than I expected
- Weird (and gross) twist in the third act but I thought it was an interesting addition to the story
- Left open the possibility for a sequel at the end but it would be better if there wasn’t one
- To sum it up: Great thriller that stayed interesting from start to finish
This was a very enjoyable, funny, goodhearted movie that didn’t drift though the generic ups and downs movies usually go through. Susan Sarandon was a great and upbeat watch for the viewer thanks to her motherly and helpful personality. Rose Byrne was great as always but the movie needed more of her (in my biased assessment of things). The other supporting characters around Sarandon did a solid job coming in and out of the story and doing their part. Lastly, I want to say that Sarandon’s character was a big giver and I wouldn’t mind for someone like her to come in my life who wanted to give me money, free rides to places or randomly buy me things like an iPad or something else expensive; I’m just saying.
18. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
I’m a Lonely Island fan so I was excited for them to pair up with Judd Apatow to make a movie about the music industry. The results were just about what I expected: hilarious! This constant laugh-out-loud mockumentary played like a long Lonely Island digital short but in a good way. The movie did a great job with how it joked about the music industry and some details within it and contained funny music videos by Connor4real (Andy Samberg). The cast, led by Samberg, were all funny as were the cameos. There were a bunch of them but all biased aside, the best one was from a scene stealing Justin Timberlake. If I had to pinpoint something I would have liked to see from this film, it would be to have seen more from the side characters. The Lonely Island members, who starred in the movie, were great but there were some other really funny characters I would have liked to see a little more from.
17. Nocturnal Animals
- Weird opening with the dancing naked fat women. I definitely had to go home and see what the meaning of it was
- Gyllenhaal was great as usual as was Amy Adams who has rose up as one of my favorite actresses
- Don’t try and trick me Movie by trying to make me believe that it’s possible for Adams and Armie Hammer could have a marriage that was going on 20 years. I don’t care if it’s just their characters in the movie, I’m not buying it. Hammer is like 31 and 12 years younger than her in real life. Jeez you could have said like 10 years or something somewhat believable
- This had one of those endings that leaves you scratching your head but upon doing some research afterwards, leaves you thinking it was great and impactful (or at least that’s how it left me feeling)
- I thought the movie was just good when I left the theater but I knew it didn’t know the whole story within it
- After doing research on all the goings-on within the plot, I found it to be better than I originally thought
- The movie played out slow even during some of the more grueling moments but once I fully got the movies message I thought what I saw was an example of some great movie making
- The whole idea of the story used for Edward’s (Gyllenhaal) book being a reflection of how he felt when his wife left him was a brilliant idea and portrayed as so
- To sum it up: To fully enjoy this movie I had to do some research but that was perfectly fine with me because it was worth it
16. Everybody Wants Some!!!
The structure of this movie is what caused me to really enjoy it. The movie doesn’t really have a typical movie plot where you go through all the stages of a story until you’re at the end. The plot was just watching a college baseball team live their lives the first weekend of the new collegiate school year. Sometimes you need to switch it up and watch a movie that is structured against the grain especially when it’s done well like this was. The only problem I have with the way the movie was done was that I kept thinking the movie was leading up to something big or “climatic” but it never really did so I was kind of let down by that. The structure also became a branching off point to really enjoy other aspects of the movie like the humor and the cast. The genuine chemistry between the cast was a big reason the movie was entertaining because if we were watching a bunch of so called “friends” or “teammates” or “acquaintances” hangout with other and it seems like they were forced to be around each other, then the movie is probably going to be unwatchable and definitely come off as unauthentic. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case. The standout from the cast was definitely my dude from ‘Scream Queens’, Glen Powell. He was hilarious on that show and was funny yet again in this movie.
- Starts with the same music that opened up Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’…just pointing it out
- During the first act of the movie, why were the little boys being all secretive when they were looking and commenting on each others…um….”Private parts”?
- I didn’t like that third act Chiron a.k.a. Black (Trevante Rhodes) didn’t look anything like the other two younger Chiron’s but I got over it once his personality and mannerisms lined up with what we seen from the character in his young years
- Rhodes did a great job with that tough task
- The directing was great as was the acting from the whole cast
- My favorite performance was Ashton Sanders and second act Chiron
- The slow pacing did bog the movie down at times but, at the same time, works to tell this personal story. It makes the movie seem realistic and not over-the-top just for the sake of dramatics
- The score was all over the place in terms of genres but it worked well because it matched the vibe of the scenes as well as where Chiron was in his life in the movie
- A great character study of someone who had a rough childhood that was effected by drugs all while figuring out his true identity and sexuality
- To sum it up: I still like ‘La La Land’ more
14. Hacksaw Ridge
- In the movie, when Desmond was a child, he hit his brother with a brick while they were fighting so that left me thinking that he was a little slow since he thought that was OK. Ordinary kids are stupid but not that stupid
- It was good to see Vince Vaughn come and still bring some funny this serious movie by cracking jokes on the soldiers
- The opening battle was just a teaser to how brutal the movie would get down the line. And I loved all of it
- It would have been nice to see Desmond (Andrew Garfield) get more hands-on medical training on screen instead of just showing him a book
- Most soft self found it real touching to see him go back and forth rescuing all those wounded soldiers
- It would have been nice to see the movie end with Desmond seeing his wife because the look on his face when seeing a loved one after that crazy experience would have been worth seeing but that would have also been a generic scene
- Sometimes you need generic though
- To sum it up: A great movie that portrayed a real life hero all while showing the brutality of war to enhance what he did and to entertain sick individuals like myself
13. Finding Dory
- The ‘Piper’ short film before the movie looked dumb to me at first but quickly turned out to be funny and…”cute” I guess
- Not as funny or memorable as ‘Finding Nemo’ but was still funny nonetheless and was a fun ride from start to finish
- Did a good job evoking emotions witch is typical for Pixar movies
- Hank (Ed O’Neill), the octopus, was my favorite of the newly added characters
- I kept cracking up at how he just kept appearing out of nowhere
- The entire cast gave great voice performances
- I liked how they still made Marlon and Nemo main characters but still had the focus on Dory
- Its a tough task doing that without overshadowing the supposed to be main character and the movie should be commended for that
- Good use of flashback scenes when it came to dealing with finding Dory’s parents
- Of course the animation was flawless
- To sum it up: Wasn’t as good as my first viewing of ‘Finding Nemo’ but it still was a great followup. It probably hurts that I’m not a child anymore too but Hey! what can you do
It took me two viewings to completely form my opinion on this movie. A lot of the times you gotta watch movies more than once before you form an opinion about it for a variety a different reasons (like you fell asleep during it the first time) that I’m not going to get off topic and discuss here right now. But back to ‘Zootopia’; I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s arguably more of an adult movie than it is a kids’ movie so that probably plays into why I enjoyed it so much. The topics it touched on were mature for the most part and many of the jokes were darker than I expected and I’m sure some went over a lot of kids’ heads. Like the opening with the play was a dark opener for a “kids” movie or was it me or was there a meth lab scene in the movie? But regardless, that blurriness in regards of the age group, it was in fact catering to, worked wonders for the movie. In terms of other elements of the story, I enjoyed watching the detective aspect of a story play out because it did it better than some actual live-action detective/thriller type of movies. I also enjoyed watching the symbolism of the movie play out. Seeing how the different animals were used to represent different real world social and cultural structures was unexpected but great. There was some blatant racism in there too but whatever. On the actual animated side of things, the visuals were great from the scenery down to the look of the animals. All that wasn’t helped by the 3D though because that was pointless.
This is a great movie because of that MAN!, Jake Gyllenhaal. Great script and supporting performances aside, if Gyllenhaal wasn’t in this movie, it would probably be just another solid but forgettable movie. To some it probably is that anyway but not for me. Gyllenhaal was able to use his sheer talent to bring the most out of his character and the script to make it the great movie I find it to be. It’s not Gyllenhaal’s best performance or anything but it’s still a great performance nonetheless. In regards to the story, I like how it told the story of how someone might not know how to normally or properly handle a trying time like the passing of a loved one. Not everyone reacts to things the same way and I felt that narrative was portrayed well in the movie. Also, there’s a hilarious dance montage in the movie too just FYI.
(Photo Credit: Sue Johnson – http://www.queenslogic.com/blog/2017/02/moonlight-movie-review.html; Matt Zoller Seitz – http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-meddler-2016; Joelle Monique – https://blackgirlnerds.com/disney-zootopia-release-party/)