2016 has been all over the board in film- many disappointments, many surprises, and now it’s time to forget all of the bad films and just focus on the ones that spoke to us. Film is an art that allows people to connect, listen to stories, and learn about characters, and sometimes, even learn about ourselves. We asked our staff and coworkers this week to send in their favorite ten films of 2016, and using an algorithm, combined the lists into one Top 10 that takes into account everybody’s vote for every movie. What follows is the official Media Services Top 10 Films of 2016…
#10. Captain America: Civil War
Kicking off our list is the 13th film in Marvel’s powerhouse series, and the last film in Marvel’s Captain America trilogy. This superhero epic pits all of Marvel’s best on-screen characters against each other in a battle between former allies: Captain America and Iron Man. The split in the team comes after the governments of the world create an accord that requires all superheros to register their abilities to the government, and work for them instead of themselves. See the movie to find out what happens from there, but raise your expectations, because this is no mere superhero film- the characters and the story that brings them together and then tears them apart is the driving force of this movie and will hold your interest for it’s almost 150 minute run-time.
#9: Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek Beyond is the third Trek film since JJ Abrams breathed new life into the classic and iconic franchise- this time directed by the same man who made The Fast and the Furious franchise great: Justin Lin. Characters such as Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura and many others return in this movie, which takes place after the crew of the Enterprise get trapped on an alien world, and must unite with each other and other alien forces to defeat Krall and save the galaxy. This film dives deeper into the supporting characters, and gives them much more heart than the original series or films ever could- by the end of this film, maybe the smaller characters in the story will be your new favorites!
#8: Rogue One: A Star Trek Story
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes in at our number 8 spot, and is also the 8th film released in the Star Wars franchise. This film marks the first time in over a decade in which the audience gets to visit the era before the original trilogy, and the second film released after Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm. This story follows Jyn Erso, daughter of the man who designed the Death Star, as she and a ragtag group of Rebels must steal the Death Star plans for the rebel alliance if they will ever hope to have a chance in defeated the Imperial forces. Do they do it? You’ll have to watch this film… or read the opening crawl of A New Hope to find out!
#7: The Handmaiden
Based off of the book by Sarah Waters (titled Fingersmith) and directed by Chan-wook Park (the man behind the Vengeance trilogy, most known for it’s film Oldboy), this movie is about two women who are trying to get out of their respective relationships. By defrauding the people around them, these two women do whatever it takes to get away from the men in their lives so that they can be together, with each other. Even with this limited release, The Handmaiden managed to reach a wide range of people who all adored the film for it’s direction, performances and story, making this film one that even though you might have to go out of your way to see, is one what will be worth whatever effort it takes to see it.
#6: Finding Dory
Finding Dory is the sequel to Pixar’s 2003 instant classic, Finding Nemo. In this tale, apparent from the title, Dory goes missing, and it’s up to Marlin and Nemo to find her. With the help of some friends she hasn’t seen since she was younger, she discovers that even though her memory is lost, that she can still find out who she once was, and find out what happened to the family she forgot she had. Pixar shows us that whether it’s an original idea like Inside Out, Wall-E, or Up, or a sequel like Toy Story 3, Pixar can do no wrong, and Finding Dory follows that theme of greatness as well.
#5: Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange proves once again, as if Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man weren’t proof enough already, that Marvel can take any strange idea, and make it into a fun money-printing machine. In this film, we follow Stephen Strange, an accomplished yet arrogant surgeon who, after a fateful car crash, loses his ability to use his hands. Since he can find no help with Western medicine, he heads East to Asia to try to find a way to heal himself; stumbling across a temple where magic is used to provide strength, he begins practicing the mystic arts which allows him to become a better person to those close to him, and a hero to everyone else. In this day and age, seeing all of the Marvel movies is just part of life- and they’re not going to slow down or stop anytime soon. Buckle up!
#4: Kubo and the Two Strings
Kubo and the Two Strings marks the fourth film for now beloved stop-motion animation studio Laika (Coraline, ParaNorma, Box Trolls). In this film, we follow Kubo, a young boy who possesses a magical guitar that he uses to tell the legend of the land- one that was passed down from his mother, and is the story of his father. When he and his town are attacked, he must locate a magical suit of armor that his father once wore, in order to defeat the spirit that has come to haunt him. The animation is beautiful and the story is just as impressive, Kubo is definitely an animated film you should not miss.
Zootopia is the 6th film Disney Animation Studios has released since the revitalization, the others being Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero 6. In this film, we follow conman Nick Wilde and bunny police officer Judy Hopps as they attempt to uncover the disappearance of an otter. While doing so, they come across a much larger conspiracy which involves many animals all across Zootopia who are losing control and attacking others. This film has surprisingly political themes and undertones that will go ever kids’ heads, but will make the movie experience for adults much more meaningful than, say, Norm of the North. Disney has taken up 5 of our 10 spots on this list for a reason, and that reason is quality.
Moonlight garnered an incredible amount of attention for an independent film for a few reasons, but the biggest reason was the word-of-mouth advertisement that praised this film as being one of the best and most beautiful films of the year. Our story follows Chiron as he grows up, first as a kid, then as a teenager, and finally as a young man, struggling to find others who accept him for who he is, and therefore, struggling to accept himself. Over the course of the film, Chiron must try to discover that no matter what other people think of him, it’s what he thinks of himself, and the pride he has in who he is, that makes him strongest. However, if he makes this discovery, he might not make it until it’s too late, and you’ll have to watch the film to see where his path leads him. Just see the movie, you won’t regret it. The characters are fantastically written and performed, and the direction is mesmerizing, which is why this film is our runner-up for Best Film of the Year!
This film came out of nowhere, and destroyed the box office in the first quarter of 2016, becoming the highest grossing R-rated film in history. Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, who, after he is tortured and left for dead, must become a superhero in order to get revenge, fix his face, and win his girlfriend back; this crude and fun action-comedy is nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes. Yes, the same Golden Globes that categorized The Martian as a comedy, but still… it’s a big deal. This film by far had the most votes on our staff’s Top 10 lists, and there’s no shame in that since this film was extremely popular, and beloved as well.
Well, there you have it! The Media Services Top 10 Films of 2016. Do you agree with this list? Which ones would you swap out to make the list better? Let us know! Thank you for reading, and we’re looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for us all.
/BS, and the rest of the Media Services team