With the end of the year just around the corner, I’ve been seeing a lot of Top 10-style lists, such as top 10 movies, top 10 books, or top ten TV shows, showing up on the internet. Since I really enjoying reading these lists (or watching them, if they’re on youtube), I figured I would share my personal top 10s for 2016. And since I don’t think I’ll be going to the movies again before the new year, it seemed safest to start with film.
Before I get to the list, I just want to give a few caveats. First off, there are plenty of great looking 2016 movies that I haven’t seen yet (looking at you Arrival!), so if your personal favorite is not on this list, that’s why. Also, this list is drawn from all of the movies I saw for the fist time in 2016. So while most of the items here are 2016 releases, a some are not. And thirdly, this is a countdown list! So the number one movie is the movie I personally enjoyed the most in 2016.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 movies of 2016.
10. JourneyQuest 3: The Pale Lady– The little movie that almost wasn’t. The third installment in the JourneyQuest franchise was funded on kickstarter by the skin of its teeth back at the beginning of 2016, and was released to backers just this past month. While JourneyQuest: The Pale Lady has production values far below any of the other entries on this list, the passion and energy the cast and creators bring to the screen is infectious. I love the sword and sorcery-esque world it take place in, and getting to follow our hapless cast of characters for another round. I just hope I don’t have to wait too long to see how that cliffhanger is resolved! For those new to JourneyQuest, start here.
9. Doctor Strange– Admittedly, this isn’t going to go down as my favorite Marvel movie (if your curious, it ranks directly in the middle), but I still felt like Doctor Strange did a great job of bringing magic to the MCU. Doctor Strange hosts an impressive cast, and even more impressive visuals. Overall, it was tons of fun to experience in the theaters. Perfect popcorn fare. For more of a review (including my thoughts on the whitewashing controversy) check out this post that I contributed to on Speculative Chic.
8. Finding Dory– Finding Nemo is one of Pixar’s best movies, and probably impossible to top. But even though Finding Dory will not be a classic for the ages, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a genuinely funny and moving film, with a top-talent voice acting, and beautiful story about parents and children. The short film, Piper, that accompanied it, was also too cute for words.
7. Psycho-Pass: The Movie– The anime Psycho-Pass was one of my top discoveries of 2016, but I was a little nervous about checking out the accompanying movie, as tie in movies to anime series can often feel like useless filler. But Psycho-Pass: The Movie doesn’t fall into this trap at all. Bringing our heroine, Akane, out of Japan, wonderfully widens the scope of the franchise, showing the audience just how dystopian this future can get. On top of that, the film provides some great character moments between the show’s two leads. I’ll even forgive the movie its crazy, awkward engrish! Highly recommended for fans of season one of the anime.
6. Sing Street– It can be argued that since Once, John Carney is basically making the same movie over and over again. And nothing could make me happier. His films about musicians creating art and finding love never fail to sweep me up and take me away. Sing Street, which is a fantastic coming of age story on top of being a great movie about music, is filled with catchy tunes, and a likable and talented young cast. I can see why this little film got nominated for a Golden Globe.
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story– While not as enjoyable as The Force Awakens (one of my favorite movie of 2015), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story remains a movie I can see myself revisiting again and again. Thanks to the dedication of its talented cast and director, Rogue One really changes how you look at the original Star Wars. That and this tense, more adult Star War movie, proves that not all prequels need to be a let down. For more of my thoughts, check out this post on Speculative Chic.
4. Moana– While I never had a “Disney Princess” phase, Disney movies (especially those involving princesses) will always remain near and dear to my heart. Much like Frozen, Moana takes everything I loved about Disney movies as a child, and updates them for a new era. The voice work is fantastic, the music is wonderful, and the CGI shows that the animation industry is continuing to develop and improve its technique, decades after Toy Story. I share more thoughts on Moana here– I’m the second review down.
3. Captain America: Civil War– This is the movie that I’m sure will be at the tip-top of many top 10 lists, and I can see why. Captain America: Civil War effectively builds on the personalities and tensions that have formed over several years worth of Marvel movies, delivering a nuanced character-focused piece with all of the big, explosion-filled action set pieces you’d expect from a summer tent pole movie. Captain America: Civil War manages to both kick off phase 3 of the MCU, and finish of the Captain America movies in a way that is an absolute joy to watch.
2. Deadpool– There are some movies that get better the more than you think about them, and that’s 100% true for Deadpool (as well as my number 1!). Many people like to look at Deadpool and see it as a victory for R-rated superhero movies, but I feel like only doing that really undercuts the film. Deadpool isn’t just a good R-rated superhero movie. Deadpool is a movie that is firing on all cylinders. Its a successful comedy movie, AND a successful action movie, AND a successful love story, AND a successful horror film (during the Weapon X scenes). Deadpool is a movie that slides from genre to genre with unbelievable skill, but you barely notice it because you’re too busy laughing at Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool 2 is one of those movies that I am looking forward, but also fearing. I honestly have no idea how they can pull off this tricky balancing act again.
1. Zootopia– Speaking of movies that can easily navigates between multiple genres, let’s talk about Zootopia, my favorite movie of 2016. Zootopia was the first movie I saw in theaters in 2016, and boy did it start things off on a great note. Zootopia manages to succeed on everything it attempts to do, which is pretty impressive, because it attempts to do a lot. Zootopia is a masterfully made animated tale, filled with rich worldbuildng and gorgeous animation. Zootopia also succeeds as a detective story, chock full of real world commentary. But the reason why I loved Zootopia the most is because of the strength of it’s characters, and just how much you care for them by the end. I dearly hope that Disney ends up putting out a Zootopia 2, because I so desperately want to spend more time in this wonderful world with these amazing characters.
Honorable Mentions: Bad Moms, Naruto: The Last
So, those are my top ten! I’m curious to see how they line up with everyone else’s!