There are still lots of movies I want to see that came out in 2016 but haven’t had a chance to, or haven’t gotten around to yet, but here are my ten favorites out of what I’ve seen. And I’m just glad that there were some damn good movies that came out this year because holy shit was 2016 shitty. Jesus fucking Christ what an awful, awful year from hell.
Barry Jenkins’ film adaptation of the play written by Tarell Alvin McCraney is incredibly powerful stuff. It’s one of those movies you see popping up on everyone’s best-of lists and you wonder, “Is Moonlight really going to be that good?” Yes. The answer is yes. It’s stronger in parts than as a whole (some of it doesn’t congeal together from one segment to the next), but some moments of the film are so strikingly beautiful, or just so absolutely perfectly written that it more than makes up for some of its very, very minor shortcomings. Mahershala Ali’s performance, in particular, is the stuff that super-stardom is made of.
I’ve always been a sucker for movies where the setting of the action is a character unto itself… I think, of course, of the obvious example with Christmas playing a large role in Die Hard and in the original Lethal Weapon, the latter being written by The Nice Guys’ Shane Black. Then there’s the record-setting heatwave in something like Rear Window.
In Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, the setting of Los Angeles in the 1970s with an epic smog advisory takes on a life of its own. The city looks and feels grimy. You can almost feel the pollution sting your eyes and burn your lungs. “The birds can’t breathe,” claim the protesters. The smog doesn’t exist solely to cast the movie in a semi-sepia tone, it physically manifests the evil of the Detroit gangsters at the center of the plot. They don’t just kill with guns and fists and spread misery via threats of violence, they want to destroy the world by choking the life out of every living thing.