- David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds -- all dead.
- Donald Trump -- still alive, and somehow elected President of the United States of America.
- Terrorist attacks galore.
- Cops still killing black dudes.
- Whitewashing is still alive and well.
If you don't like reading, here's a handy video. It took me way too long to make this so you better enjoy it.
20. THE INVITATION
Don't read anything about THE INVITATION. Don't watch the trailer. Don't read the reviews. Just watch it. Whether you like it or not, you probably won't forget this film and its final shot.
19. THE SHALLOWS
Just that picture alone makes me feel all kinds of NOPE. It's the best shark film since JAWS, which is faint praise because, really, what other shark film is good besides JAWS? DEEP BLUE SEA? Which was not exactly a work of art, and I say that as a fan of that movie's idiotic charm. THE SHALLOWS is a solid genre film with a good performance from Blake Lively, but she's unfortunately overstaged by her co-star, Steven Seagull. The race for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar is already over.
18. KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
Stop-motion animation is a dying genre, but Laika Entertainment is fighting hard to prevent that from happening. Their latest film is set in ancient Japan, and features fantastic creatures, gorgeous animation and cinematography, and an original story that doesn't pander to just the young kids. So naturally no one went to see it. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.
17. 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
This spin-off came out of nowhere, and surprised a lot of people by being a crafty little thriller with great performances. The ending is "cute" and of course leaves room for more spin-offs/sequels/what-have-yous, but the first 2/3 of the movie is reaaaaaally good.
16. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
It's a sad-white-people movie. Casey Affleck gives his career-best performance, and may win his first Oscar. It's not higher on my list because there's another sad-white-people movie that I prefer over this.
Because of last year's #oscarsowhite campaign, this film may go on to win all the awards to make up for it. Which wouldn't be a bad thing, because this is a good movie, probably even a great one. But I think it's being overpraised just a little bit due to its subject matter -- a gay black man growing up in an environment with hyper-masculine expectations. This is #1 on a lot of critics' lists, and it will definitely show up in the Oscars. I just like 14 other films more.
14. OTHER PEOPLE
The other sad-white-people movie I previously mentioned, and fittingly titled. Jesse Plemons is a revelation here, and he is playing a character who is a polar opposite of Landry from FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. You know what makes a subject like cancer go down easier? Some laughter. Yes I'm all about cancer comedies. They're my jam. 50/50, OTHER PEOPLE... uh... is there more? I'm sure there's more. Anyway, if you want to laugh and cry for an hour and half, this should be your jam as well.
13. DON'T BREATHE
Imagine if Daredevil didn't fight crime, and instead was holed up in the bad side of Detroit, hiding some twisted secrets. Would you want to mess with him? Well these idiots did. They kinda deserve what's coming to them. Actually, who's the villain here?
12. THE WAILING
Mix THE EXORCIST with MEMORIES OF MURDER, and add the always-welcome presence of Hwang Jeong-min and you get this finely concocted stew. The film methodically explores the clash of different religions and the xenophobic attitudes prevalent in Korea, all while being a damn good horror flick.
11. THE NICE GUYS
It's a shame this was largely ignored by the movie-going public, because it probably means we will never get a sequel, or even a spin-off with the Holly March character. Who knew Ryan Gosling was such a skilled physical comedian? Forget dramas and romcoms, stick to these kinds of movies Ryan! It's your gift! And his chemistry with Russell Crowe is second only to the one he shares with... you know... that one girl... she shows up later on the list.
10. THE LOBSTER
What lengths would you go to be with someone? What if you weren't sure you loved that someone? Would you go to the same lengths just so that you wouldn't be single anymore? Would you change your mind if you were to be turned into a lobster upon staying single? Is this the weirdest romcom ever made? (no, it's not a romcom)
9. THE HANDMAIDEN
How is Park Chan-wook so good at this filmmaking thing? Has anyone compared him to Hitchcock yet? Because he's the Korean Hitchcock. Yeah, I'm sure that's an original thing to say.
ARRIVAL is so good that it made me appreciate Amy Adams. Seriously, she's great here. The movie actually did justice to the short-story by Ted Chiang, which could not have been easy. I can't believe I'm saying this, but now I can't wait to see BLADE RUNNER 2049, strictly based on director Denis Villeneuve's involvement.
7. TRAIN TO BUSAN
This is what Guillermo del Toro said about TRAIN TO BUSAN:
TRAIN TO BUSAN is a muscular, zero fat, action horror. One of the very best ever made in this sub genre.— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) December 13, 2016
Are you going to disagree with him?
6. TOO LATE
Shot on 35mm. Every scene is in one take. Shown out of order. This director is trying really hard to be Tarantino, but I can't hate on him because instead of just dreaming about copying Tarantino (like me), he actually went ahead and made a film (by copying Tarantino). And he actually shot it on film, and only showed in theaters still equipped with 35mm projectors. Ballsy.
5. SING STREET
Stop what you're doing and go watch SING STREET on Netflix right now. You won't regret it.
4. GREEN ROOM
How do you top BLUE RUIN? I guess if you have the filmmaking chops of Jeremy Saulnier, it comes easy. If he can make these movies every couple of years for the rest of my life, I would die happy. But I bet the big studios will come calling real soon, if they haven't already. He's just too talented to go unnoticed. And RIP Anton, you've left too soon.
3. HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories about troubled boys, and this is one of the best. It's funny, heartwarming, and has an awesome soundtrack. (It has the best birthday song ever!)
2. SWISS ARMY MAN
Everyone describes this as "the farting corpse movie" but it's so much more than that. It's a farting corpse movie with heart, dammit! It's clever, profound, creative, hilarious, and surprisingly sweet. Have an open mind and look past the farting corpse. HIS BONER IS A COMPASS YOU GUYS.
1. LA LA LAND
I knew from the first scene on the L.A. freeway that I would love this film. And is there a better on-screen couple right now than Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone? Their singing and dancing aren't as great as Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds (RIP), but they're good enough and their chemistry once again is off-the-charts. And the whole soundtrack is amazing. If not for MOONLIGHT, this will sweep the Oscars.