(with a couple bonus movies thrown in for good measure)
We here at Our Friends Said strive to be timely in our film coverage. Which is why much of the podcast is dedicated to David’s love of Ernst Lubitsch films from the 40s. It’s also why I waited until April to write up my favorite films of the previous year.
There’s probably not a lot I can say about this film that hasn’t been said (more eloquently) already. Barry Jenkins crafted a deeply moving, beautiful film with a wholly unique identity. Some of the best performances of the year, incredible cinematography, and deft storytelling combine to create a film that I think will prove to be one of the better remembered Best Picture winners.
Manchester by the Sea –
If you’ve heard about Manchester by the Sea, think you know what to expect, and suspect that you’ll probably like it – it’s probably what you’re expecting and you’ll probably like it. Genuinely touching throughout, the film proved to be an emotionally devastating look at loss that stuck with me for a while afterwards, but ultimately failed to measure up to Moonlight.
Hacksaw Ridge –
Yeah, I didn’t expect this movie to make the list either. But somehow Hacksaw Ridge avoided veering into the territory of sickly sweet clichés (the trailers at times made it seem like the film would consist solely of Andrew Garfield shaking his head and drawling, “I just can’t do what you ask of me” over and over again) and instead became my favorite underappreciated World War II movie since Fury. And call me crazy, but thanks to his performance in this film I’m willing to forgive Vince Vaughan for True Detective: Season 2.
Disney Animation continues to make better movies than Pixar.
Point #1: Zootopia is the most adorable film about -isms you will ever see. It teaches important lessons about race and xenophobia without being bogged down by its message or feeling preachy. And it was funny while doing it.
Point #2: This bunny is freaking cute as heck, folks:
Point #3: D’awwwww
Very important unnumbered point: Don’t go past, like, Page 2 in the Google Image results for “cute bunny Zootopia.” If there is one thing you take away from this blog post, let it be this.
La La Land –
I had Hell or High Water penciled in for this spot and made a last minute substitution. I have a love/hate relationship with La La Land for the same reasons I do the city that it’s a love letter to: At the end of the day it was a little more shallow than I would have liked, the music wasn’t as memorable as I had hoped, and Whiplash was ten times the film that this will ever be (alright, maybe not exactly the same reasons). But damn it if that opening number didn’t make me grin like an idiot.
The “I BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THIS” award goes to Eddie the Eagle. It’s a tale about a wannabe Olympic ski jumper that makes up for his … extreme lack of athleticism (it scores points for relatability)… with massive amounts of determination, grit, and what must be a supernaturally thick skull. Its greatest moments will make you want to stand up and cheer.
And the “MOST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK” award goes to Suicide Squad. It is a terrible film. And it’s not even broken in an interesting way. Heck, I spent the entirety of my time with it wishing for it to end. But what it lacks in being a good movie, it makes up for in making me want to talk about it every second of every goddamn day. If you were to add up all the time I spent talking about it with friends, bashing it on a certain podcast, or laughing way too hard at the shade The Lego Batman Movie slung its way – you’d probably end up with a better dollar to minute ratio than any other piece of entertainment from last year.