Here we are at the beginning of 2017! 2016 wasn’t the best year for most major Hollywood studios, but there were still some strong picks. Out of all the movies I saw this year, these are my ten favorites. Keep in mind that I haven’t seen every film that came out this year. Regardless, these all deserve to be on my top ten list. Here we go!
10. Finding Dory
Pixar once said they would never make a sequel unless they had a compelling reason to. Finding Dory may not be entirely necessary, but in one of the best years for animated films in recent memory, the fans benefit all the better from this movie’s existence. Besides Toy Story 2 & 3, Finding Dory is the best continuation of any of Pixar’s works. With great new characters and so many feels, Finding Dory proved to be a worthy film of one of the best animation studios working today. A-
9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars continues to make a comeback that will surely be remembered for decades to come. While Rogue One is not as great as The Force Awakens and you know how it ends going in, it is still filled with excellent acting, amazing action, top-notch CGI, a great story, and the second best Darth Vader scene ever! Even though you don’t know much about nearly all of the characters, you can still root for them to win the day. Even director Gareth Edwards can make a compelling movie. That alone makes Rogue One worth watching. A-
There are good ways to make a Deadpool game and there are bad ways. Director Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds chose a great way. Reynolds shines as one of the greatest comic book movie castings of all time. Deadpool may be a passion project, but it wouldn’t be as great as it is if the creative team didn’t have that passion for the source material in the first place. Packed to the brim with true Deadpool action and humor make this movie one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. Despite the film’s peculiar structure, which is why it isn’t higher on the list, Deadpool stands as one of the best superhero films of all time. A-
7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
This isn’t just a great Harry Potter prequel. It’s a great prequel period. With David Yates back in the director’s chair and J.K. Rowling making an impressive screenwriting debut, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them expands on the franchise by adding great new characters, a new villain with potential, and spectacular creatures. At first, I was heavily skeptical of splitting one book into five movies, but after seeing Fantastic Beasts twice, I am looking forward to what they do next. A-
I don’t love this movie as much as most people, but it is still one of Disney’s best movies of the decade so far. This is possibly the only animated film that came out this year that addresses current social issues, and the writers did it in such a great way that makes kids and adults alike enjoy it. Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde make up one of the best movie duos in recent memory because it shows that beings who are historically enemies can be friends if they look past each other’s differences. What better way comprises a friendship? This movie was great! A
5. La La Land
I have enjoyed almost every movie musical I have seen, so it’s no surprise that I loved La La Land. Ryan Gosling is a great actor, and I adore Emma Stone. They were both great in everything they did in this movie from their acting, singing, and dancing. Gosling and Stone’s romance is interesting and their characters are strong yet flawed. If you hear a movie is a musical and think it’s nothing but songs, that is only Les Misérables from four years ago. The long, uncut shots that usually accompany the music in this movie make the singing feel more authentic. More movie musicals should aspire to be like La La Land. A
4. Kubo and the Two Strings
Why didn’t more people see this movie? It is great! The narrative is the best kind there is—smooth and focused on a singular objective. Kubo is one of the best heroes in film of the entire year. He loses everything, and yet he still goes on to face and conquer his enemies without fear. If you have not seen Kubo and the Two Strings yet, which odds are, you haven’t, go out, rent it, and enjoy the next 102 minutes. A+
Yet another criminally underrated animated film. Unlike Kubo and the Two Strings, a lot of people have seen Moana, but more people should be seeing it.
We have had just over a dozen films featuring different Disney princesses. Everyone has their favorite for their own reasons, but Moana is the best princess the animation giant has ever created. She is fearless, determined, smart, driven, and will stop at nothing to save her people, even if it means facing the greatest dangers of the ocean. Unlike most princess, Moana is not saved by the main man in the end. She is very active in the climax and saves the day in the end. She makes her own movie Disney’s best of the decade so far, and that’s the center of any great movie—the characters. A+
2. Captain America: Civil War
I love the shit out of this movie! Directors Anthony and Joe Russo hit all of the major filmmaking prospects just right to deliver one of the best superhero films of all time. Every Avenger except for Thor and the Hulk may be in this movie, but this is the continuation of Captain America’s story arc first and foremost as Chris Evans takes the lead in his best run as Cap to date. The different sides of Tony and Steve are depicted so well you don’t know who to root for until the end, every character got their own chances to shine in their own ways, the various side plots are balanced in the best way possible, the action is the most exhilarating in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, and we saw the best portrayal of Peter Parker and Spider-Man in a live-action film ever. The Russo brothers defied all expectations with Captain America: Civil War and proved themselves to be worthy of the director’s chairs for Avengers: Infinity War.
This is unlike any other alien movie you have ever seen. The aliens are not even here to invade; they are here to teach. Arrival is one of the best and smartest movies I have ever seen. Yes, it is slow, but the movie benefits from this, because it adds to the suspense as to why the aliens are here and what they want. The way this movie explores the concept of teaching a language to a different species is so clever and different. The movie goes even beyond that and explores how humans and aliens perceive time. All the critics were saying Arrival was great, but I was not prepared for just how great it is. A+
Thank you for reading my top ten list! Look out for my Bottom Ten Films of 2016, which lists my three least favorite films of the year that I didn’t hate, as well as seven films that I truly hated. Follow me on FaceBook and Twitter to stay updated for the list, as well as all of my future content! If you want to know more about me and my life, follow me on Instagram!
“If you don’t deal with your shadows, you are condemned to repeat the same mistake over and over, as a human being or as a society.”-Denis Villeneuve, director of Arrival