The Ten Best Movies of 2016
7. THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN – Who would have thought that the most fun I had in the theater would be a teenager coming of age film? Hailee Steinfeld is the real deal bringing brains and humor to a girl who can’t seem to find her happiness in school and has painted herself into her own perceived cliches of the world. Extremely funny and sweet, I’m excited to see what’s next for writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig.
6. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS – Tom Ford’s thriller stuck with me much longer than expected. As a family man, this was the most difficult horror movie to get through of the year. It only works because the nightmare of Jake Gyllenhaal’s family being abducted on a country road is a story within a story and not the film’s reality. How this horrific event parallels the author’s life cleverly creates an empathy that may otherwise go misunderstood. Aided by some great performances, the descriptive encounter is heightened through a bit of unusual surrealism.
5. HELL OR HIGH WATER – A fairly straight forward cops and robber film set in western civilization with a thick subtext about the effects of job loss, community, family, and foreclosures. HELL OR HIGH WATER reminds us a little of the Coen Brothers’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, showing all the humor and excitement in the little things coupled with some of the horrors of life. Chris Pine has never been better. Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Jeff Bridges and some great supporting roles round out one of the best casts of the year.
4. THE LOBSTER – I really struggled with the order of my last four films and they could be interchangeable depending what you are looking for. As a humorous and clever perspective on how people sometimes value relationships, THE LOBSTER is truly unique. Single people are taken to a hotel where they have 45 days to find a partner or be transformed into a beast of their choosing. Yes, you heard me correctly. The film provides insight, originality and heart by ironically trying to be void of any. It’s one of those films that makes me jealous that I didn’t come up with this brilliantly funny outlook.