Staff Picks: Film Superlatives 2016

Staff - December 15, 2016

As the year 2016 comes to a close, we look back at the many films we watched in theaters. While most film publications will discuss the "best" films in terms of quality, we at the Moviegoer decided to instead provide some comedic and silly superlatives--in no particular ranking order--for some of the films we saw this year.

1. “Best” Movie Poster: Frank and Lola

First of all, the Frank and Lola poster automatically gets the #1 spot for showcasing the most delightful name in all of film (IMOGEN POOTS!) But everything in this poster deserves a shoutout: The blank stare between Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots; the title and tagline (“LOVE OBSESSION BETRAYAL REVENGE”) that reveal absolutely nothing and seem to have nothing to do with one another. Everything about this poster is strange and impenetrable and sort of perfect.

2. The movie you should watch so you can have a pick for every category at the Oscars (and look like you know what you’re talking about): La La Land

The universally-lauded film of the year, La La Land boasts a beautiful Old Hollywood aesthetic, great music, magnificent acting from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and fantastic direction from Damien Chazelle. It’s likely to be nominated in every category at the Oscars, so watch this film so you can act like you have an informed favorite for each award.

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3. Best movie to watch when you want to procrastinate your schoolwork: Arrival

Marketed as the thinking person’s sci-fi film of the year, Arrival lived up to its expectations, delivering a thought-provoking contemplation on the meaning of life by combining mathematics, linguistics, physics, and good old sci-fi. Watch this when you don’t want to do your homework but still want to feel like you’re not completely wasting the day away.

4. Best movie to watch under the influence: Doctor Strange

The visuals in Doctor Strange are trippy enough when you’re sober. Watch it under the influence, and it’s sure to be out-of-this-world.

(For our traditional review, see this, and for our discussion Doctor Strange's Marvel origins, check this out.)

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5. Best film to half-watch on cable: Jason Bourne

This newest installment in the Jason Bourne franchise is as forgettable and repetitive as the previous films. It’s ironic that for a film focusing on an amnesiac, it fails to provide new and original material, instead deciding on the same generic “twists” as before. We only recommend this film if you want some quality white noise while doing housework.

6. Best cooking shown in a film: Moonlight

Moonlight wowed us not just because of its dazzling cinematography and compelling story, but also due to a scene in which Andre Holland, playing a chef in a diner, prepares a fancy dish. We’ve never been so hungry in a movie theater this year.

7. Best Non-Human Character: Idris Elba in Zootopia, Jungle Book, Star Trek, and Finding Dory

Though he has always impressed us with his incredible acting talent, this year proved to be quite a success for Iris Elba. In this year alone, he has starred in four films, all of which in the top-billed films of the year! Funny enough, all of his roles this year have been playing non-human characters. Whatever characters Elba decides to play in the future, human or otherwise, we will be engaged.

8. Best Picture (that the Moviegoer panned): Hail, Caesar!

Our editor-in-chief, Brad Pettigrew, called Hail, Caesar! a “wholly unethical” and “utterly disposable” “joke,” filled not with homages but “wholesale plagiarism” and “heaped with praise from a delusional critic base,” “the Coenites most radical cells,” and “every idiot walking out with a confused grin and two thumbs up.” (You can hear more of his thoughts on the film in this podcast.) However, some of the other writers for this site did not experience such a strong negative reaction. Instead, they cited the film’s humor, cleverness, and overall entertainment as notable strengths. Though this film is not universally panned or acclaimed by our staff, it is still a worthwhile film to watch, whether it be for genuine or ironic entertainment.

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9. Most Unwanted Actor: Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts was considered quite a disappointment for many fans for many reasons. One detriment in particular was the sudden and unnecessary cameo by Johnny Depp towards the end of the film. His appearance ruined the nuance of the film not just because Depp is a distractingly recognizable actor, but also because the reveal of who his character is ruins the intrigue that this character represented. One possible consolation that could be made here is that Depp’s cameo is not the only let-down in this film.

10. Best Beastie Boys Music Video: Star Trek Beyond

The Beastie Boys’ heart-pumping, chart-topping 90s single “Sabotage” can be associated with many things--such as the hard rock genre and the 70s police procedural television shows the music video parodies--but few would think of interdimensional space travel. However, such an unlikely combination made for an engaging scene in Star Trek Beyond, the new instalment in the Star Trek franchise. Though this is the second time “Sabotage” has been used in Star Trek, its inclusion in Beyond was just as entertaining. For those of us who saw the film, it was hard for us to stop from singing along to such an iconic hip-hop anthem.

11. Best use of a film’s title in a movie: Jason Bourne

Of the few notable things in this film, Jason Bourne served as one form of unintentional entertainment: the absurd number of times Bourne’s name was repeated. It seemed that in almost every scene, some character would yell out his name incredulously, or point to his name on a computer screen. The number of name-drops in this film became so large that one could make a drinking game out of it, and quickly get plastered as a result.

Special Runner-up: Suicide Squad All that needs to be said for this nomination is the following quote by one of the main characters: “What are we… some kind of Suicide Squad”? We find that few things in life are this absurdly brilliant.