Ten Best Movies of 2016
Well I have finally seen each and every movie I needed to see in order to make my determination of what I considered to be the ten best movies of 2016. It is not a list like most of the other critics' lists you have seen. There is no inclusion of "Moonlight," "La La Land," "Fences," "Manchester By the Sea" or "Arrival" Those movies did not appeal to my sense of entertainment.
I go to the movies to be entertained. I want to feel some emotion, learn something I didn't know, be inspired or be caught up in some magic. 2016 was a year sadly lacking in those aspects of entertainment product.
Still there were good movies to watch, and there were more than 10. "Mr. Church," "The Hollars," "Rogue One," "Bleed For This" and "Sing" were close competitors. But when it came down to it these ten rose above the crop. Here they are:
#10 Jackie - Natalie Portman gave the female performance of the year as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The film focuses on the assassination of her husband John and the aftermath of its affect on his legacy as shaped by her. We learn facts we did not know, such as the creation of the Camelot story, and we learn more about the woman behind the man. It is a beautifully, brilliant movie.
#9 Race - This movie was released in February and by the end of the year had basically been forgotten. Still I remember being awed by the story of Jesse Owens and his performance in the 1936 Olympics. He was the fastest man alive and a black American to boot. Stephen James brought him vividly to life. The title said it all.
#8 The Jungle Book - When I heard they were going to make an non-animated version of "The Jungle Book" my first thought was why. Seeing the finished product answered all my questions and give me good thoughts about the upcoming "Beauty and the Beast." Everything about the new "Jungle Book" was better and brighter including Bill Murray's vocal talents. It was true enchantment.
#7 Pete's Dragon - The same ideas for the making of "The Jungle Book" spilled over into the non-animated update of "Pete's Dragon." But this movie seemed to have even more heart than the original. It also had Bryce Dallas Howard who proved being Ron Howard's daughter did not get her her movie roles, her talent did. Even the Grinch's heart would grow watching this film.
#6 Deepwater Horizon - Like many other movies this year, this film told a true story about a tragic accident that occurred in the United States, well at least off shore. Mark Wahlberg was at his heroic best as the man at the center of the rescue on the offshore drilling rig that is going down in flames. Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson provided strong support in a movie that was exciting and impactful.
#5 The Accountant - Ben Affleck had his best role of the year in "The Accountant" in which he played a math savant who was also a killer for hire. It was a truly off beat movie but one that kept audiences glued to the screen to see what was going to happen next. Anna Kendricks and Jon Berenthal were also part of the mesmerizing cast.
#4 Hidden Figures - It still hasn't gone into wide release but "Hidden Figures" is a must see movie. Put it on your list right now. It tells the story of three black women who were instrumental in creating the success of the early NASA programs. They battled racial and gender prejudice and still made their mark. Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae shine, as does Kevin Costner in a supporting role.
#3 Sully - Tom Hanks is perfectly cast as the man who landed his plane on the Hudson River and saved all the passengers and crew. You might think you know everything about this incident and its operation but there are added bits of information that enhance the enjoyment and the suspense of the story. Every year needs a "heroic" film and "Sully" filled the bill this year.
#2 A Man Called Ove -Based on the international best seller by Fredrik Backman, this Swedish film won me over completely as it told the story of a widowed curmudgeon brought back into life by the love and action of his friends and neighbors. It is a movie you have to invest yourself in , in order to reap its rewards. Stick with it and you will have a heart warming adventure with an unlikely, and sometimes unlikable, leading man.
#1 Hacksaw Ridge - Director Mel Gibson showed his genius once again in this true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who rescued over seventy men in the World War II battle of Hacksaw Ridge. Andrew Garfield, in the best male performance of the year, plays Doss and he simply glows wth goodness. The film is hard to watch because of the war violence but it is worth seeing for its inspirational story of love for your fellow man.
So there they are, my choices plain and simple. Check some or all of them out. You will be entertained!
Jackie K Cooper