Believe it or not, 2016 is already almost halfway over. Now’s the perfect time to look back at some of the best movies of the year thus far. Here are my personal top ten picks:
10. 10 Cloverfield Lane:
I swear, it’s purely a coincidence that 10 Cloverfield Lane is placed at #10 on my list. Unlike its 2008 spiritual predecessor, this is much more than a big, bombastic action flick. It’s an intense thriller carried by great performances from the underrated Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the likable John Gallagher Jr., and the invaluable John Goodman (look out for a Bradley Cooper cameo as well). While the ending may divide some, 10 Cloverfield Lane will still give you a rush from start to finish.
9. Eddie the Eagle:
One of the best inspirational underdog stories of recent years, Eddie the Eagle isn’t without its fair share of familiar sports movie tropes. Yet, it soars above and beyond thanks to a sharp script and a lovable central character brought to life by rising star Taron Egerton. If you grew up with movies like Cool Runnings, Eddie the Eagle is guaranteed to win you over.
8. The Dark Horse:
On one hand, The Dark Horse is a traditional underdog story about a team of misfits and the coach who believed in them. On the other hand, it’s about so much more. This is an emotional true story that tackles mental illness, abusive homes, and second chances at life. There are many other movies out there that try to address these difficult subjects, but few know what they’re talking about. Every second of The Dark Horse, however, feels 100% genuine.
Once again, director Richard Linklater proves that movies don’t always need to rely on a three-act structure or overused tropes. Sometimes simply showing a person living their life is fascinating enough. In this outing, Linklater paints another wonderful picture of life with great humor, charm, and nostalgia. Let the good times roll!!
The year’s biggest box office surprise, Deadpool gave audiences exactly what they asked for: a hard-R superhero flick that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Ryan Reynolds owns the screen as the titular antihero, making us forget that X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern ever happened. Along the way, he takes no prisoners and pulls no punches, especially when it comes to breaking the fourth wall.
5. Finding Dory:
Unlike Zoolander 2 and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Finding Dory is one long-awaited sequel that doesn’t disappoint. While it doesn’t quite top the masterpiece that was Finding Nemo, this followup still overflows with charm, humor, and heart. At the center of everything is Ellen DeGeneres’ endlessly lovable Dory, who encompasses a powerful message regarding individuals with special needs and the spirit to overcome incredible obstacles.
4. Sing Street:
In addition to touching base on many of the hardships regarding growing up, Sing Street if full of humor, charm, and joy. What’s more, the film’s soundtrack doesn’t have a single false note. No two songs here sound the same, touching base on a wide range of styles and emotions. In short, I can’t possibly sing John Carney’s enchanting movie higher praise.
3. Captain America: Civil War:
In a year where Batman v Superman failed to live up to the hype, Captain America: Civil War demonstrated how a superhero crossover should be done. Wall-to-wall with clever humor, phenomenal action, strong character development, poignant drama, and relevant themes, this just might be the MCU’s finest outing yet. Plus, Tom Holland IS Spider-Man!
2. The Nice Guys:
Almost thirty years ago, Shane Black wrote the screenplay for Lethal Weapon, one of the greatest buddy cop movies ever made. The Nice Guys, which Black directed and co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi, is quite possibly the best buddy cop movie since the original Lethal Weapon. Russell Crowe is an enforcer who punches first and asks questions never. Ryan Gosling is a private eye who means well, but is about as competent as Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. As individuals, neither man is especially qualified to serve or protect. Together, though, they make for a winning onscreen duo in a hugely entertaining film.
Actually, I take it back. Zootopia is the best buddy cop movie since Lethal Weapon! It’s also the funniest, most imaginative, and even the most timely movie of 2016 so far. There’s a truly endearing message here about acceptance. In today’s PC world, it’s easy to assume racism no longer exists. Watching Zootopia, though, we’re reminded that prejudice comes in many different forms and nobody’s perfect. Understanding this is the first step towards making a better world and Zootopia encourages us all to keep moving forward as a society.
Other Honorable Mentions:
The Jungle Book
I’m sure there are a few others I missed. So be sure to check out The Green-Light for more of 2016’s best films.