EDIT: I wrote 2017 not 2016. I apologize
Time for the eleven best movies of the year. As I must acknowledge I do consider a difference between the “best” movie and my “favorite” movie of the year. Also, my lack of La La Land is likely going to get me kicked out of the cool kids club. Oh, well.
It can be hard to separate a movie from the experience but a movie that is pure happiness released the week of the Pulse shooting in Orlando was the best medicine we could have hoped for. Finding Dory and Pixar proves that they are in it for the long haul as far as their sequels are concerned.
Disney is on a mission to repave the road for their princess line by infusing it with the life it needed. Moana has amazing music and a moving story that will make you laugh out loud and cry, sometimes at the same time.
9. The Witch
A Sundance darling that was so good that it got picked up for a million and a half the day the movie premiered. The Witch tells a disturbing story that doesn’t have any jump scares but gives you the uneasy feeling you’re watching something you shouldn’t be seeing.
8. Star Trek Beyond
After two false starts the revamped Star Trek series finally gets the great movie we all knew was in there. With a story that felt straight out of old school Trek and the way the plot split up the team into groups that were extremely entertaining (Spock/Bones), this feels like the fresh start that they’ve been angling for since 2009. It’s just a shame it took three tries to get it right.
Disney was on a roll this year and they started out strong with Zootopia, a movie that used talking animals to explain prejudice and racism in a way kids could truly understand. While a little heavy handed at times, Zootopia has something for the entire family to love.
The “smart science fiction” movie of the year, Arrival takes a story we know, alien invasion, and twists it to make it about the characters. The stunning lead performance by Amy Adams (combined with an amazing twist) will leave you speechless by the end.
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The next gamble that the all powerful Disney took on for the Star Wars franchise was to see if anyone would care about a movie that didn’t involve the Skywalker family. Despite the many rumors of problems and reshoots Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came together beautifully with an ending that leaves the audiences both devastated and cheering for more.
4. Captain America: Civil War
There is a reason people say “in Marvel we trust” because they can’t seem to really miss, at least not yet. While the comic book story of Civil War was not very good, Captain America: Civil War took the good parts and adapted them to the MCU. A story about interpersonal conflicts on a superhero scale that zooms in to reveal the heart of the matter was an even smaller grievance.
A small but important story told by two actors putting in Oscar worthy performances, Loving feels like the movie we need in these uncertain times. There aren’t any grand sweeping gestures or tearful begging in court, no cross burning or lynchings, just the story of two people who loved each other and how that love changed the laws of the land.
2. Kubo and the Two Strings
Laika has put out some of the best animated movie ever seen but can’t seem to reach box office success. That is heartbreaking considering how much love and care goes into these movies. Kubo and the Two Strings is heartbreaking and unafraid to go “dark” as Laika respects kids enough to know that they can handle it. A lot of people missed this August release but it is worth checking out now; it’s absolutely stunning.
The best movie of the year without a doubt. This is a movie that is going to matter in a decade or more as it looks at the story of a young man told in three parts. Moonlight is often beautiful as it watches its lead character grow, learn and finally accept just who he is. This is a movie that shows you a side of life you might not ever see and you’ll walk away feeling like you understand people of color more for it. There is a reason this movie is getting nominated and winning across the board, it deserves it.
What was the best movie you saw this year and why? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook. I’d love to know what everyone thought.