The Top Ten
After removing the layers and layers of bottom feeding comic book fantasies, bowel retching sequels, mindless comedies and overblown blockbuster trash catering to the mindless masses, 2016 still managed to turn out to be a decent year in film with thoughtful films that actually say something, inform and yet still managed to entertain. Manchester by the Sea is my top film of the year. It’s a strong painful and tragic tale of deep emotional guilt that somehow manages to still include some nice bits of humor. Casey Affleck’s performance is a knock out punch that, like Denzel Washington’s and Viola Davis’ performances in Fences, reveals multiple layers of emotions staying with you long after you leave the theater. For me, a masterpiece.
The other nine films on the list are in alphabetical order. A few thought about some of them. As I mentioned, Washington and Davis are both amazing, and frankly in the Best Actor category, I am glad I do not have to choose between Affleck or Denzel. Unlike some others, I am not ga-ga over La La Land. It’s the best musical to come out of Hollywood in years, but there are more important films on the list that deserve more attention. Lion, Moonlight, Jackie, Hidden Figures and Loving all powerfully, emotional, intelligent films reminding us of where we came from and that we do not need to go back there. Eye in the Sky is an intelligent thriller that Sidney Lumet would have been proud to have made back in the day. It’s a compelling and well balanced nail-biter.
I wish I had room on my Top Ten list to include Hell or High Water. Sadly, something had to go and that was selected. By Sidney Lumet is a must see documentary if you are a classic film lover. Woody Allen’s Café Society got ripped by some critics but I actually found it quite charming. Not classic Woody but definitely worth watching. The Congressman seems to be a little known film that came and went with no fanfare. It was knocked by most critics for being schmaltzy and not well directed, yet I found it a perfect film for these tumultuous times in America. Yes, its simplistic but there’s a sincerity that’s missing in many other works. The film captures the essence of what a good politician should be. One who listens and is not influenced by special interest. The Maine locales (Mohegan Island) are gorgeous and add to the film’s pleasure.
Manchester by the Sea (Film of the Year)
Eye in the Sky
La La Land
By Sidney Lumet
Hell or High Water
Janis: Little Girl Blue