Here is my list of some of my favorite parts of different movies from 2016. I tried to stay away from most of the usual categories and do some that are different than most. Let me know if you have any comments and share with people what some of your picks would be. Enjoy!
‘La La Land’ is one of the most joyful, beautiful, and emotional movies that I have ever seen. The acting, music, story, dancing, and camera work are all a joy to beheld in what is sure to become a modern classic that harkens back to some of classic Hollywood’s best. Civil War was the perfect culmination of everything that Marvel fans have come to enjoy from this over a dozen movie large monolithic superhero franchise.
2nd The card heist – ‘Now You See Me 2’
In Civil War, after several exhilerating sequences we see all of our favorite characters clash in 17 minute long battle that comic book fans had only previously dreamed of seeing. Even if you didn’t like the rest of the movie, NYSM2’s card heist scene uses a lot of performance techniques and technical wizardry to show the horsemen’s skills in the coolest way ever. (Honorable mention to the Quicksilver mansion extraction from X-Men: Apocalypse, btw)
BEST MUSIC SCORE:
1st ‘La La Land’ by Justin Hurwitz
2nd ‘Eddie the Eagle’ by Matthew Margeson
Hurwitz’s score skillfully weaves tunes together throughout the movie that capture the emotion of that moment whether it is joy, sadness, romance, playfulness, or any number of feelings that would make even the most cynical viewer lover jazz by the end. In Eddie the Eagle, Margeson delivered a score that sounds like it came right from the 70s and is some of the most enjoyable and thematic scoring of this year.
1st Another Day of Sun – ‘La La Land’
2nd Drive It Like You Stole It – ‘Sing Street’
Another Day of Sun is happiness to my ears (though all of La La Land’s songs are brilliant). It’s background makes you want to get up and dance while the lyrics and passionate and full of promise to make this the perfect way to start this on screen musical or to start any new day. Likewise Drive It Like You Stole It feels like an old rock anthem. The song is rocking, energetic, and makes you want to sing along by the time the second verse rolls around.
1st Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in “A Lovely Night” – ‘La La Land’
2nd Channing Tatum and Ensemble in “No Dames” – ‘Hail, Caesar!’
All of the dancing in this movie is top notch (choreographed by Dancing with the Stars’ Mandy Moore), by this really shines in an unbroken scene of Gosling and Stone falling in love through tap dancing in front of a gorgeous backdrop of the Los Angeles evening. Tatum also delivered a show stopping number as he and his sailor buddies in a fake bar mourn their lack of romance that is his best dancing outside of the Step Up series.
BEST NEW ACTOR/ACTRESS:
1st Auli’i Cravalho as Moana – ‘Moana’
2nd Neel Sethi as Mowgli – ‘The Jungle Book’
Cravalho gave a heartfelt and realistic performance as the protagonist of Disney’s hit Moana that is able to hold up next to her powerhouse co-star Dwayne Johnson and the long history of favorite performances in Disney’s catalog. As the only live action performance, the young Sethi brought the timeless character of Mowgli to life was able to hold our attention in a computer generated world surrounded by animal co-stars.
1st Jim Rash – ‘Captain America: Civil War’
2nd Justin Beiber as himself – ‘Zoolander 2’
Community fan favorite Jim Rash returns with the directing Russo brothers to play basically the same character he did in Community, but this time set in the MCU trying to get on Tony Stark’s good side. As disappointing as Zoolander 2 was, what better way to start it off than killing off Justin Beiber.
BEST VOICE PERFORMANCE:
1st Alan Tudyk as K2S0 – ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’
2nd Dwayne Johnson as Maui – ‘Moana’
Tudyk has leant his voice to several popular movies in recent years, but this may be his best role yet as the helpful yet moderately sarcastic droid K2S0, who may have been the most fleshed and likable out character in the movie. Arguably Hollywood’s biggest star today, The Rock gives his first animated performance as the instant hit Maui and even graces us with a song (You’re Welcome) that is as representative of the character as it is of Johnson’s overall career.
1st The airport fight – ‘Captain America: Civil War’;
2nd Back in time Hong Kong fight – ‘Doctor Strange’
Once again the airport fight makes it onto this list because it is just that awesome. I doubt I will ever tire of watching these 12 heroes duke it out on the tarmac. This pick from Doctor Strange is one of the creative fight scenes in recent years and a very unique use for time travel.
1st ‘The Jungle Book’
2nd ‘Doctor Strange’
The Jungle Book is hands down the most life-like computer generated animals you’ve ever seen and the scenery looks fantastic as well. Marvel’s Doctor Strange takes us to the most mind bending worlds that we’ve seen in a superhero movie and features several moments that visually groundbreaking (particularly in 3D).
BEST USE OF TITLES
1st ’10 Cloverfield Lane’
10 Cloverfield Lane’s titles appear during the inciting incident of the car crash. Contrasting the audio and visual chaos, everything goes silent for a few moments to show the production credits in turn before the carnage returns just to go silent once again. It is the most jarring use of opening titles that I’ve ever seen. I was almost going to pick X-Men: Apocalypse for 2nd place, but Deadpool uses a unique way to show everything that this movie is about in a single frozen scene that is humorous, informative, visually impressive, and contrasts to the classic song heard alongside it.
1st “You’re a like a black Will Smith” – Central Intelligence
2nd “White people problems” – Nerve
So many good jokes this year (I didn’t purposefully choose two racially related jokes though). In Central Intelligence Dwayne Johnson is trying to compliment his friend played by Kevin Hart and tells him, after a few other examples, “You’re like a black Will Smith”. Nerve is a terrible movie overall with very few redeemable qualities, but it has a very funny moment when the main character’s mother is complaining on the phone about how much money her daughter is suddently making a black man going by mutters “White people problems”.
1st ‘Suicide Squad’;
If nothing else, Suicide Squad had a well done promotional group. One of their early memorable posters featured skulls that represented each of the main villains all cluttered together. It was a striking symbol for the type of movie that this should have been. Moonlight’s colorful main poster showed each of the 3 actors who play the protagonist making up parts of the same person presenting one of the most intriguing aspects of this acclaimed film.
1st Harley Quinn – ‘Suicide Squad’
2nd Mutant Wade Wilson – ‘Deadpool’
Another of the few things that worked in Suicide Squad was Harley Quinn’s look. Robbie looked perfect as this fan favorite character and the hair and makeup went a long way to make that happen. In another comic book iteration, Ryan Reynold’s Wade Wilson looks pretty disturbing in his mutated cancerous form (as TJ Miller makes pretty clear). So it is pretty obvious why he chooses to wear a mask.
1st Deadpool – ‘Deadpool’
2nd Black Panther ‘Captain America: Civil War’
Deadpool did so much right for the character, all starting with a comic book that is among the most flawless interpretations from a comic book. It looks practical, function, and 100% the outfit that fans were hoping for. Black Panther was brought to life in Civil War and stole the show (even in a movie staring Marvel veterans Cap and Iron Man). His costume was perfect as it looked formidable, malleable, and showed that he is truly the richest character in the Marvel universe.
2nd ’10 Cloverfield Lane’
Deadpool had some of the most creative marketing since 2011’s The Muppets. We saw a Valentine’s Day trailer, bold posters, odd tweets, and much more that told people everything they needed to know about the Merc with the Mouth’s solo movie.
1st The opening freeway musical number “Another Day of Sun” – ‘La La Land’
2nd Hugh Jackman skiing – ‘Eddie the Eagle’
La La Land opens with a skillfully shot major dance number set on a freeway that is an unbroken scene. It took tons of work from those involved, but in the cinema it looks really great and prepares you for the rest of this masterfully made movie. In Eddie the Eagle, Hugh Jackman shows that he is still super cool and his character is one of the best skiers around in a night shot of him lighting a cigarette and dashing down the hill in slow motion as he throws the cigarette away in slow motion.
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’
2nd ‘La La Land’
Rogue One features the best ending I have seen for a movie and is everything I had hoped for to conclude this Star Wars stand alone / prequel. Although people may disagree about the exact meaning, La La Land concludes on a literal high note that shows that this is a believable story about modern success and will leave audiences smiling to see this conclusion to Mia’s and Sebastian’s stories.
Some other great 2016 movies that I saw that weren’t mentioned were Zootopia, Star Trek Beyond, and Ghostbusters.