2016 was a terrible year, I mean a God-fucking-awful year—personally, professionally, and politically. But cinematically? Not really, and I kind of wish everyone would stop acting like one year's slack summer season, redeemed by a relatively strong arthouse presence, was the end of the damned world. If for nothing else, because the end of the world came for some us in the form of an absolutely obliterated career, a deeply uncertain future, and what amounts to a full-on midlife crisis at age 34—and, if that wasn't enough (it was enough), the destruction of our hope for others' futures, too, thanks to a legion of scrawny Nazis, sexless Internet trolls, blacklunged Vicodin addicts, actual-literal traitors to the United States, and (let us not forget) a whole lot of feckless morons, as well, who considered themselves too pure for electoral politics. Wanna fight about it? I just saw John Wick: Chapter 2, my blood's pumping nicely, and odds are I'm in way better shape, especially if you're one of those insufferable purity-leftists, since at least Nazis do sometimes bother to lift.
Anyway, it wasn't nearly as bad a year for film as 2015, which I still think must be the weakest since I started paying attention. 2016, by contrast, was simply okay—but at least it produced a Top Ten that doesn't look like a complete joke. (Okay, fine, it's my Top Ten, so it'll always look a little bit like a joke.)
10. FINDING DORY (8/10)
9. THE NICE GUYS (9/10)
8. THE NEON DEMON (9/10)
7. LA LA LAND (9/10)
6. THE SHALLOWS (9/10)
5. HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE (10/10)
4. SILENCE (10/10)
3. BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (10/10)
2. SWISS ARMY MAN (10/10)
1. MOANA (10/10)
I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling, but I'm happy to finally get to read your top 10 list! It's something I've been looking forward to for some time.ReplyDelete
That said, you're still a madman when it comes to Batman v. Superman (I don't mind you liking it, but do you have to like it SO hard?), though I respect you sticking to your guns. That's by far your best quality as a reviewer.
Everything else on this list I agree with, though I haven't seen Silence of The Neon Demon. I'm very happy to see Swiss Army Man, The Shallows, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople get their due, and that La La Land is the only best picture nom on there.
That said, it should never have won Best Picture. And it didn't. Did you watch that fiasco? Captivating.
I never watch the Oscars, but I heard. Bummer for La La Land. Moonlight's nice, though, I guess I can't be too annoyed. It's not like it was up against any of my higher-ranked favorites.Delete
I suppose I wish I had better reasons for loving BvS, but I don't. I just adore the sheer pomposity of it. It feels so right.
And man, I hate to admit it, but I really fell down on my Best Picture nominees this year. I think I watched fewer than half. But is there the slightest actual likelihood that Manchester By the Sea or Hidden Figures would've muscled its way into this list? OK, just going by Gibson's past performance, it is slightly possible that Hacksaw Ridge could have.
I genuinely thought La La Land was the best of the movies, but this way is better for everyone, because it would have cracked under the pressure of Best Picture.Delete
And no way Manchester by the Sea or Hidden Figures would have cracked your top ten. The former is some pure white nonsense Oscarbait and the latter is an inelegant, cartoony biopic. I haven't seen Hacksaw Ridge, so i can't speak to that.
Yeah, Tim said something to that effect, too, but I don't know if I agree. I mean, it's probably coming anyway, but a Best Picture win would've boosted the likelihood of a neo-old-school-musical wave, and it's not like La La Land couldn't be improved upon--much in the same way that the Oscar-winning An American In Paris is not as good as Singin' In the Rain or Kiss Me Kate.Delete
You biggest crime is not liking The Nice Guys enough. It's impossible to overrate that movie.ReplyDelete
I also don't get the BvS love. I mean, I really wanted to like it, so I get where you're coming from. I thought that the movie was wonderfully cast and capably acted. There were elements of stories that I remember with love or at least fondness (Dark Knight Returns, Death of Superman and the pre-introduction of Darkseid). And yet the movie manages to somehow be less than the sum of its parts. It's not quite as colourless as its predecessor, but not by much. I liked the frightened, angry Batman that we started with, but I didn't buy Batman the murder-machine that we were given. It manages to make me more interested in Wonder Woman as a spy in backless outfits than as a super hero. It pretty much excised its co-lead and its heroine from the entire middle of the film. Mind you, it was better than Suicide Squad.
The remix of Death of Superman, TDKR, and--I dunno, Rock of Ages?--is actually one of the things I really dug about it. It hits the highlights, I guess, and hits just the right tone doing it. For me, anyway. It obviously has its flaws.Delete
I'll go on record as saying that Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor has grown on me completely, though.
But we can agree that Suicide Squad is a wash. I can't believe it's getting a spin-off. Let me rephrase: I can't believe David Ayer is being allowed to do it. In what possible way did he demonstrate a facility with Harley Quinn in that movie, or the material generally, that would lead one to think he was at all suited to an adaptation of Gotham City Sirens? Plus, if I want a cinematic version of Batman villains done right (for a certain brand of "right," anyway) I'll just watch Gotham.
Okay, I'll give it this: the Nice Guys is maybe the most effortlessly likeable movie on this list, except maybe Hunt For the Wilderpeople. (Swiss Army Man, you know, requires significant buy-in, given that its co-lead is a farting corpse.)
I guess I just feel like any one of those stories (excepting Death of Superman, which is essentially just a brawl. You'd need to tack on Reign of the Supermen or something) would have made a good movie in its own right. Remember how the 90s Batman movies tried to cram too many story points and too many villains into one film? That's what we saw with BvS.Delete
I actually enjoyed Eisenberg's Luthor the whole time. They had him hit the 'manic' thing a little bit hard, but he connects in exactly the way a modern evil genius tycoon should these days. Rather than the staid industrialists of old, these days our evil geniuses have to be Zuckerbergian. Quirky, cruel and unable to connect with actual humans.
It's especially mind-boggling that Ayer got the Sirens movie when he or people acting on his behalf trashed Warner Brothers pretty hard for what Suicide Squad ended up as. Maybe something that's a little more 'street' and a little less superheroic will work better for him. After all, stuff like Street Kings was good, and End of Watch was excellent. But then again, Mind you, I have my doubts that you can make a Harley Quinn movie without the Joker, and based on what happened with Suicide Squad I don't think that Ayer can use the Joker in a supporting role very effectively.
I didn't see as many movies as I normally do this year. I just always felt busy or something. Plus they turned half the parking stalls at my local theatre into some sort of adult recreation facility, sort of like a licensed arcade, I gather. As an old person, that's not really my scene, and now it's annoying to go to the movies. Still, if I had a Top 10, I'd put Passengers on it around the bottom. The ending was on the weak side, but it was the tale of isolation on a slower-than-light interstellar voyage that I didn't know I needed until I saw it.
BvS didn't feel overstuffed to me, at least not in a bad way; but that's probably because it's three hours long, which, admittedly, is the double-edged sword of all time.Delete
I will always have a tiny bit of fondness for Ayer, because he wrote Training Day, which is staight-up fantastic. But yeah, the Joker stuff in SS is terribly, terribly integrated into the film, even though it's arguably (very arguably) the highlight of it.
Didn't get to see Passengers. I suspect it's better than the same director's Alan Turing movie, anyway, even though I actually liked The Imitation Game more than most, for all its egregious milquetoastity. It looked pretty well-heeled, if nothing else.
I'd probably be at the theaters more often if I were still in South Carolina. The neighborhood theater here in Squirrel Hill turned out to be semi-garbage. It's not because they try to split the difference between mass appeal and arthouse/boring cinema--I actually appreciate that, even though they could definitely stand to be more thoughtful in their selection of which particular arthouse/boring movies to show. Rather, it's because it just kind of sucks, physically, notably in regards to their radically insufficient soundproofing.
Meanwhile, if it's not playing there, and if it's something only I'm interested in (e.g., a movie about Christian missionaries in Japan, or Keanu Reeves killing strangers so he doesn't kill the ones he loves), then I'm stuck with a ~6 mile roundtrip run to the AMC, which isn't the biggest deal, but naturally makes me a little bit more selective.
I wonder what BvS would have been like with a more disciplined script and a 140-minute runtime? I was a film that I enjoyed the pieces of, but where certain choices and the structure of the film just missed with me. And my wife hated it because they took Superman pretty much out of the whole middle section of the movie.ReplyDelete
When Passengers comes to your streaming service of choice, I'd be interested in hearing what you think about it. I suspect that you'd largely agree with me, but I always enjoy your work.
Poor soundproofing is a bane of old theatres. They'll upgrade the speakers before they fix the walls, so you'll be watching something quiet and psychological, and yet be assaulted through the walls by Michael Bay's latest misinterpretation of characters that were glorious in the 80s. That's the upside to Alberta: It's like Tokyo in that nothing is older than 35 years.
That said, my Yinz alergy makes it difficult for me to truly understand the horror that you must be experiencing. Not only that, but I suspect I'm barred from entry. Not only have I been pretty critical of Russia, but I suspect I might be on a terrorist watchlist. Would you consider it to be a terroristic threat if someone were to say that they would 'rain destruction down upon the United States until such time and the USAF is disbanded and placed back under the aegis of the US Army'?
Who's raining? The RCAF? And their ten planes?Delete
...You know, jingoism was more fun when Obama was around. At this rate, Canada might actually get invaded. (And your distaste for the Russian menace is legendary, old friend.)
Anyway, I don't know how you get to a more disciplined script in BvS, given the starting ingredients. (You can take out the Darkseid stuff, and the DCEU advertising crap, but that only cuts a few minutes.) You probably don't need all of Superman's missteps/scandals to get to where you need everyone to be, but then Lois has absolutely nothing to do. (One could argue that's a better adaptation...)
Ah well. I always knew it was going to be my guilty pleasure. Actually, at this point, I'm kind of wondering if the DC movies will collapse--I think Suicide Squad burned bridges that BvS didn't. It already happened with the Sony Spider-Man films, and it's not like they didn't have all these grandiose plans, too, right up until the moment they pulled the plug.
Oh, speaking of Transformers: I really liked when the Last Knight trailer played in front of Silence in my theater. Yeah, I'm sure the audience overlap there is HUGE.