THE MOVIE GUY: 2016’s Top 10

Published 8:55 pm Thursday, December 29, 2016

There are a lot of great movies scheduled for 2017, but before we rush forward into the new year, here’s a quick recap of the top films of 2016. Well, the top films in my opinion.

10 “Elle”

The only foreign film on my list, “Elle” is a difficult movie about a woman who tracks down the man who raped her. It’s obviously not for children, but Isabelle Huppert gives one of the year’s best performances in the lead role.

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9 “Fences”

Denzel Washington stars and directs this superb adaptation of August Wilson’s Tony Award winning play about a man dealing with race and unfulfilled dreams in 1950s America. My only knock on this superb drama is that the stage play doesn’t have enough cinematic elements to allow the movie to truly shine.

8 “Deadpool”

It’s easy to dismiss “Deadpool” as just another comic book movie, but Ryan Reynold’s passion project is a master class of writing and direction. Plus, for those who enjoy a good R rated comedy, it’s also the funniest movie of the year.

7 “Arrival”

This moody science fiction tale of a linguist trying to communicate with aliens who have arrived on earth has a great, cerebral story, solid visual effects and an Oscar-worthy performance by Amy Adams. I dearly hope that it starts a trend of serious science fiction films that are more interested in drama than ray gun battles.

6 “Lion”

A feel-good movie that’s flying under the radar, “Lion” is the story of a little, impoverished Indian boy who gets separated from his family. He’s eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Yet the lost boy, now a grown man, feels the need to somehow find his way back home.

5 “Moonlight”

Perhaps the breakout drama of the year, “Moonlight” is Barry Jenkins, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggles with race, poverty, drugs and homosexuality. The story is told in three chapters, using three different actors. Each one of them is utterly captivating.

4 “Nocturnal Animals”

This visually magnificent movie features a disturbing story, a haunting soundtrack and a cast full of great performances. This is only Tom Ford’s second movie, but he is proving to be a master of stylish and intriguing storytelling.

3 “Hell or High Water”

This new age Western follows two bank-robbing brothers who are looking to get even with the bank that’s threatening to foreclose on their family land. It features great performances and visuals. It’s simply one of the best dramas of the year.

2 “Manchester by the Sea”

A devastating tale of a man struggling with his own personal demons, who suddenly becomes the guardian of his nephew after his brother dies. This bleak story is notable for a trio of amazing performances by Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams. I expect all three to receive Oscar nominations for their work here.

1 “La La Land”

Easily my favorite film of the year, “La La Land” is musical that pays homage to old favorites like “Singing in the Rain,” while putting a modern twist on the movie musical. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make a great onscreen couple — who knew that they could sing and dance? Throw in my vote for the year’s best cinematography, production design, costumes, editing, musical score and original songs and you have the film that easily rises to the top of my Best Movies of 2016 list.

Honorable mention:

“The 13th,” “The Handmaiden,” “Jackie,”  “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Loving,” “Moana,” “Sing Street,” “Toni Erdmann” and “Weiner.”

As for the worst films of 2016, “Ben Hur,” “Nine Lives” or “Zoolander 2.”