It’s the beginning of 2017, which naturally means we’re looking back on 2016 and what topped our best of lists. First up – our top 10 movies.
You can watch, you can read, or do both.
10 Cloverfield Lane
A spiritual sequel to the 2008 film, this mash-up of a psychological thriller and alien invasion flick came out of nowhere. As in, the first preview dropped January 13 and the movie was released a mere two months later. John Goodman left Dan Connor and Fred Flintstone way behind as the truly creepy captor of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who was the audience’s surrogate as the film moved from kidnapping tale to War of The Worlds, 2016 style.
Most people didn’t have high expectations for this quiet little movie when it was widely released in February. Those were quickly blown away. Between the atmospheric, constantly-set-at-dusk creepiness, the imagery, the story and THAT GOAT, we got something that is in short order these days — a real scare.
If you haven’t seen Zootopia, you might be wondering why a talking animal film made a science fiction and fantasy site’s best of list. In addition to the fact that the animals talk (that’s pretty fantastical, right?), the entire film is an allegory about prejudices and stereotypes. Just like the best science fiction, it shows an other as commentary on us. It’s pretty darn funny, to boot.
Ryan Reynolds was perfect, the movie was hilarious, the action was great and, overall, it was 108 minutes of pure joy. The creative team boiled the character down to his essence, and it was unlike just about anything else on the big screen. Beyond that, Deadpool’s abundant fourth wall-breaking and risqué humor proved that superheroes movies most certainly do not need to follow a formula.
A Disney Princess movie we can get behind! The music is infectious (thank you, Lin-Manuel Miranda), The Rock continues to prove he can do almost everything (even sing!) and there’s no romance to speak of for Moana — which is surprisingly refreshing change of pace for this genre.
Kubo and the Two Strings
Monkey, brought to life by Charlize Theron’s dry delivery, was just one of the many delights in this fairy tale about family and destiny. Side note – in an age of Pixar and computer animation, how great is it to have such an excellent stop motion film being made? And even the manliest men how to get a little weepy at the end. Also, points for Regina Spektor’s cover of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” as one of the best songs on a soundtrack that year.
The trippy visuals were a true homage to Steve Ditko’s psychedelic early work – and a stoner’s dream (ahem). Overall, Marvel delivered another solid entry into its shared universe and set up another major hero to keep this world going strong. With its focus on battles of magic and the mind, it opened up exciting possibilities for other non-traditional franchises within the MCU.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Well, they went and did it. Disney proved that they COULD make a Star Wars movie not centered around the Skywalker family and it could be filled with the same heart and spirit as the rest of the franchise, while still forging its own identity. We got to meet a new cast of heroes, learn a few new favorite lines, and fall in love with a band new droid. And that final Vader scene. Whoa.
Captain America: Civil War
We still cannot believe we actually saw 10 superheroes – Spider-Man and Black Panther amongst them – battle it out on the big screen. It was every comic book fan fantasy’s fan come true, and finally brought Peter Parker into the world of Iron Man and Captain America. Oh, and the movie itself was actually pretty great, lofty expectations or not.
If you have not seen this movie, run, do not walk, to see it. It’s science fiction at its best – smart, provocative, moving, engaging. And the greatest marvel of all – it’s not based on a franchise. Here’s hoping to more originals like this in 2017.
So that’s OUR top 10. What were your favorites and why? Tell us — even if its the same movies but in a different order.