A Decade of Films, 2016

I feel like I’m asymptotically approaching my “Best of 2019” list.  Which is good because I’m also asymptotically approaching having watched all of the films of 2019.

Let me explain: I still have to write this post. And then comes 2017 and 2018.  I should probably also do a retrospective of my 2019 ‘Most Anticipated’, which I didn’t actually post here but did post on Facebook.  And I could space my posts out more to give myself more time to finish up 2019 films, but my list of favorites is hovering around a nebulous nine, so it’s probably about time to throw in the towel.  Even though there are a few films I feel a sneaking suspicion I would love, but that I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to see for another few months (Here’s looking at you, Bacurau).  But it seems silly to push off my best of 2019 for months.  Even posting it end of January-ish (which it looks like I will be doing) is a bit ridiculous.
And so far as asymptotically approaching having watched all of the 2019 films that I want to see, in the way of all things, necessary titles keep getting added to the list.  Happily, my list of 32 remaining films to see has been whittled down to 24, but it’s still entirely possible there is something not on the list at all that I might consider the best film I’ve seen in my entire life.  It’s thoughts like these that drive me (a completionist)(is that a word?) mad.

Anywho, 2016. A good year for films, a bad year for life in general.
In that vein, I’m choosing 12 favorites. As always, in no particular order.

  • Rogue One: I liked this grimmer take on Star Wars.  Was genuinely invested in the ‘group of misfits’ that got pulled together.
  • Hacksaw Ridge: I don’t like Mel Gibson, but Andrew Garfield using a severed torso as a shield is always a fun time.
  • Moana: All of this movie is perfect.  Brave and Frozen get all of the credit for not having a main love interest, but I would pick Moana over either/both combined any day.
  • Zootopia: Yes, some of the real-world parallels don’t really hold up but -fun fact- it’s a kids movie.  The deeper meaning still gets to me and the fox is sexy.
  • Your Name: I would have missed this if a new (at the time) friend hadn’t turned me onto it.  Absolutely amazing anime. The director has a new 2019/2020 (depending on where you live) film, Weathering With You, which is (Grrr) on my need to watch list.
  • The Handmaiden: “Erotic psychological thriller” from South Korea. Sinister, sumptuous, and splendid.
  • Silence: A Scorsese passion project that is frankly a million times better than The Irishman. And not just because Adam Driver is in it. Perhaps in part because Adam Driver AND Andre Garfield are in it.  But also because it is a hard-hitting, emotionally taxing, historical epic that’s just extremely well done.
  • Hell or Highwater: The middle entry into the loose trilogy that also includes Sicario and Wind River.  There’s a pair of brothers and they’re robbing banks. That is, until Jeff Bridges catches up with them. It features one of the Hollywood Chrises (the second best Chris, actually) but the real standout is Gil Birmingham as Jeff Bridges’ partner.
  • Lion:  Never Give Up is a great samba.
    Just kidding.
    I mean, I’m not, it is a great samba, but the movie is beautiful. One of the few times I didn’t get mad at a film that relied really heavily on heartstring tugging.
  • A Silent Voice: Another anime entry, this time one that abuts heavy topics like bullying, isolation, and suicide.  A sweet story and I think I must have gotten invested, because I can remember yelling at the screen when I watched it.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings: Laika deserves way more credit for their offerings.  The house that brought you Coraline now presents Kubo and the Two Strings, a criminally underseen film.  A fantasy featuring musical magic, origami, a legendary suit of armor, a quest, and evil spirit, and a friendly monkey and beetle.  In other words, only the most necessary ingredients.
  • Elle: A French thriller from Verhoeven in which the CEO of a video game company (the inimitable Isabelle Huppert) tries to discover the identity of the man who raped her.  I appreciated this for being, not a portrayal of how women “react to rape” but a character study of the ways- both expected and unexpected- that rape effects one individual’s psyche, and how she moves forward (or not).

A striking 5/12 of these are animated, which is fun.

Honorable mentions: Deadpool, Nocturnal Animals, Train to Busan, The Founder, The Edge of 17, Jackie, Christine, My Life as a Zucchini.

Not yet seen: The Invisible Guest, Sing Street, Perfect Strangers, The Love Witch, The Salesman, Frantz, In This Corner of the World, Dancer.

There were some big films in 2016 that didn’t make it on to my favorites list or my recommendations.  You may have heard of them: La La Land, Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Manchester By the Sea.  They’re all interesting films and I would be remiss if I didn’t give some explanation as to why they don’t figure here.

I just pooped out around the hype about La La Land. It’s a good film, but for me was much more about prettiness than substance, kind of like candy fluff.

Hidden Figures is a white savior movie.

Moonlight is beautiful visually and emotionally but exceedingly taxing and a bit slow.

I’ve seen Manchester by the Sea described as white people sadness porn and that really sums it up. Casey Affleck, also not my favorite Boston-area resident.

Links Friday: Not So Much

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Again a pretty light Friday but at least it’s actually a Friday this time!
The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow and I went to the beach twice this week, as it’s the only reasonable place to be when the weather is over 80 degrees.  And I finished Middlemarch this morning.  Very exciting.

And say to my new beluga desktop background.

Late Links on a Sunday

Apologies for the spurious posting but really in a #sorrynotsorry kind of way because I’m in France living my busiest and #bestlife.
I’ll stop with the hashtags now because I’m quickly losing all self respect.

Playlist: Rocking Out (A Little)

The life of a superstar is all fast cars, drugs and rock and roll, right?
Well, if I were a superstar and could take my pick, it would probably be something more like fast horses, sparkling water… and still rock and roll.

Because rock and roll is pretty great, and probably my preferred genre at the moment. It makes you feel free and like getting up and dancing or just doing anything you feel. Which is a pretty appropriate soundtrack for the curtains closing on summer.

Speaking of rock and roll, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’s death was yesterday, so I was thinking about doing a playlist post for Elvis- but there is one fairly insurmountable stumbling block.

I only listen to Can’t Help Falling in Love. Very short playlist. Continue reading “Playlist: Rocking Out (A Little)”

Playlist: Long Sultry Summer

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The first of my anemone flowers started blooming yesterday, which means summer is drawing to a close. Or more accurately, that the end of summer is drawing to a beginning.

Summer isn’t really saying goodbye until the asters and goldenrod are in full swing.

My plane tickets have been bought- my ticket, really, because as of yet there is no return trip.  A one way trip to Charles de Gaulle.

And I may have watched the last film that I will watch that takes place in my city- the last one before I go. It was Gone Baby Gone.  I love it when films make detours to my hometown to find unsavory people, murder victims, and other desperate characters. My favorite movie trope.
And I’ve decided that Jared Leto and Casey Affleck share a category in my head- creepy and lanky white boy actors who seem to take themselves too artistically seriously and who I don’t want to meet.  Much as I admire Jared Leto’s ability to wear way too much Gucci at once. And much as I admire Casey Affleck’s… nothing really, never mind. Continue reading “Playlist: Long Sultry Summer”

Can I Just Talk About Movies For a Minute (or Twenty)?

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Firstly, a brief apology that my posting has fallen off (that said, one a day is a bit tricky to maintain- which is the same reason I haven’t taken my vitamins for maybe two months). I blame my “moving to France” preparations. And also I am so tickled that that’s a thing- the best kind of preparations to be making and complications to be having.
But it really does make me annoyed with the government- both governments, America’s and France’s. Anarchy!!!

Okay, I’m done.
You may remember that I did a post some not very long distance of time ago about the movies that were coming out this year, they’re various release dates, what I was excited to see and what not. Well, I foolishly assumed that that would cover my new and unseen film enthusiasm at least for a few months- until the films started popping up that I hadn’t yet heard much about.

It doesn’t seem to have even tided me over for a week. Continue reading “Can I Just Talk About Movies For a Minute (or Twenty)?”

My Favorite Sports Films: Dance

 

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Because dance is a sport.
Although I do realize that most of these films have other complex undertones that would disqualify them from being considered canonical sports films on a normal list.  But I don’t actually like sports films very much- if by that you mean just watching physical exertion and posturing- I’d much rather watch something with some art, psychological suspense, romance, or history to it. Continue reading “My Favorite Sports Films: Dance”