Saturday, December 31, 2016

DC Outlook's Top 10 Movies of 2016

Anthony Weiner & Huma Abedin (r) are featured in Weiner

2016 had its fair share of good (and not so good) movies. Ask me to grade the year as a whole, and I'd say a B-, which is better than average... but not by much. There wasn't a runaway winner for year's best; but I was able to find 10 films good exceptional enough to fill out our annual Top 10 list. Without further adieu, let the countdown begin.

10. Loving: Joel Edgerton & Ruth Negga prove "love knows no bounds" in Jeff Nichols' touching drama about Richard and Mildred Loving. Superb acting, against a simple (yet often traumatic) setting.

9. The First Monday in May: Andrew Rossi's stylish documentary takes us (deep) inside the fashion event of the/every year. Bonus: You don't need to own a subscription to GQ or Vogue to enjoy it.

8. Manchester by the Sea: Fantastic film (with moments of levity) but two tragedies are a lot to soak in (over 137 minutes.) Other than that, Oscar-worthy.

7. Deadpool: I was tempted to rank this higher, especially when you consider it was my second favorite movie of the year (behind Elvis & Nixon) but superhero tales have to be really special to crack the top five. Deadpool is, but the ending was a tiny bit disappointing. That said, we can't wait for a sequel.

6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Speaking of sequels (and prequels) Fantastic Beasts proves that even 48-year-old kids (yours truly) can be whisked away, if the stars align just right.

5. The Handmaiden: If Fantastic Beasts appealed to the kid in me, then Park Chan-wook's sexy thriller captured my naughtier side (brilliantly.) If Chan-wook isn't the best director in the business, he's pretty darn close.

4. Elvis & Nixon: Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey? Sold. And that's before you told me they'd be playing Elvis Presley & Richard Nixon respectively. Funny, well-acted and only 86 minutes long.

3. Hell or High Water: It may (only) be #3 on our list; but don't be surprised to see David Mackenzie's superb neo-western win a Red Apple for Best Film. It's that good. Reminds me of No Country for Old Men (with less violence.)

2. The Birth of a Nation: Hands down, the most powerful movie of 2016. In some ways, it's better than Weiner; but it's also difficult to watch (the truth hurts.) Nate Parker has a chance to win Best Actor and Director for the same film. Impressive.

1. Weiner: It's only fitting that in a (turbulent) election year, we recognize a political doc as our top movie of 2016. Quite possibly, the best documentary ever. Fascinating to watch.

Honorable mention goes to Deepwater Horizon, FencesHacksaw RidgeThe Legend of Tarzan (really) and Nocturnal Animals.