Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Brian's Top 50 Films of 2016

I must admit halfway through the year I brazenly sulked, thinking, comparatively speaking, 2016 hadn’t thus far came close to the cinematic riches 2015 brought. But by year’s end, compiling recommendations both big and small, from across the globe, my list began to populate exponentially and suddenly I found myself ashamed of my lack of faith just months prior. I suppose it's true that each and every year is a fabulous year for cinema if you take the time to seek it out. This year’s list runs a spectacular gamut from activism to escapism, corpse erections to food truck findings, jazz to punk rock, superficiality to spirituality, but most of all — human connection.


50. A Bigger Splash (Guadagnino)

49. The Club (Larraín)

48. Givertaker (Gandersman)

47. The Love Witch (Biller)

46. The Lobster (Lanthimos)

45. Louder Than Bombs (Trier)

44. No Home Movie (Akerman)

43. Aferim! (Jude)

42. Dheepan (Audiard)

Two Sides of China Documentary Double-Header

41. Hooligan Sparrow (Wang) / Paths of the Soul (Yang)

40. Swiss Army Man (Kwan, Scheinert)

39. Finding Dory (Stanton, MacLane)

38. Elle (Verhoeven)

37. Spa Night (Ahn)

Films About Filmmakers Three-Way Tie

36. De Palma (Baumvach, Paltrow 2015) / Jia Zhangke, a Guy From Fenyang (Salles) / Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny (Black, Bernstein)

35. Take Me to the River (Sobel)

34. City of Gold (Gabbert)

33. Cosmos (Zulawski)

32. Sunset Song (Davies)

31. Morris from America (Hartigan)

30. The Handmaiden (Chan-wook)

29. Born to Be Blue (Budreau)

28. La La Land (Chazelle)

27. The Birth of a Nation (Parker)

26. The Treasure (Porumboiu)


25. The Invitation (Kusama)

24. The Neon Demon (Refn)

23. Christine (Campos)

22. Men Go to Battle (Treitz)

21. Embrace of the Serpent (Guerra)

20. 20th Century Women (Mills)

19. Everybody Wants Some!! (Linklater)

18. Miss Stevens (Hart)

17. The Witch (Eggers)

16. Jackie (Larraín)

15. Naz & Maalik (Dockendorf)

14. The Edge of Seventeen (Craig)

13. Green Room (Saulnier)

12. The Fits (Holmer)

11. Manchester by the Sea (Lonegran)

10. American Honey (Arnold)

9. Mountains May Depart (Zhangke)

8. Henry Gamble's Birthday Party (Cone)

7. Paterson (Jarmusch)

6. Cemetery of Splendor (Weerasethakul)

5. Moonlight (Jenkins)

4. Silence (Scorsese)

3. Knight of Cups (Malick)

2. Blue Jay (Lehmann)

1. Certain Women (Reichardt)


Movies Formerly on the List: These are films that were previously on the list during earlier iterations but ultimately didn’t make the final cut. All are certainly worthy of your time and are also recommended. Last Days in the Desert (García), Rams (Hákonarson), Tikkun (Sivan), Under the Shadow (Anvari), Lion (Davis), Arrival (Villeneuve), Hell or High Water (Mackenzie), Francofonia (Sokurov), O.J.: Made in America (Edelman), and Joshy (Baena).

Blindspots: For a variety of reasons there are dozens of movies I desperately wanted to watch but was unable to see before publishing my list. Last year I drug this out until March and didn’t want to repeat that. Three weeks into 2017 I’ve already seen 80+ films but there’s still much I’ve yet to have the pleasure of experiencing. There are films that will be opening in my hometown in the weeks ahead such as The Salesman (Farhadi), Neruda (Larraín), Julieta (Almodóvar), Toni Erdmann (Ade), and I Am Not Your Negro (Peck). Films that I missed while they were playing here Demon (Wrona) and Our Little Sister (Koreeda). Movies I didn’t find time for, be it from my local library such as Indignation (Schamus), The Innocents (Fontaine), The Last Man on the Moon (Craig), Love & Friendship (Stillman) or many titles available via streaming like Aquarius (Filho), Ixcanul (Bustamante), The Wailing (Hong-jin), Other People (Kelly), Little Men (Sachs), The Childhood of a Leader (Corbet), The Measure of a Man (Brizé), The Phenom (Buschel), My Golden Days (Desplechin), SPL II: A Time for Consequences (Pou-soi), Closet Monster (Dunn), and Neon Bull (Mascaro). Lastly, a slate of movies that both didn’t play here nor were easily available for home viewing including Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (Malick), Kaili Blues (Gan), Tower (Maitland), Cameraperson (Johnson), The Alchemist Cookbook (Potrykus), The Illinois Parables (Stratman), Krisha (Shults), Happy Hour (Hamaguchi), The Ornithologist (Rodrigues), Right Now, Wrong Then (Sang-soo), Fire at Sea (Rosi), and Creepy (Kurosawa). This is a long list but also serves a purpose for me personally of films I will need to catch up to in the months ahead.

If you’d like to comment, share your own favorites, champion or ridicule mine, feel free to leave a comment here on the blog, or get at yours truly, the Big Bad Bionic Boy Brian, via the RtW Twitter or Facebook. Be well.