BW/DR Staff Picks: The Best Films of 2016

Kelsey Ford, Senior Editor:

1. Atlanta
Breaking the rules, probably, because this is television, but it is by far the work I have thought about the most, talked about the most, laughed about the most, and returned to the most, from 2016.

2. Manchester by the Sea
I’ve already said so much of what there is to be said, but let me add: Michelle Williams.

3. Moonlight
I remember the silence in the theater after this movie ended. That’s how I still feel about this movie.

4. Tickled
If you haven’t seen this documentary, I mean, jesus. It manages to be The Jinx but with a tickling competition.

5. Don’t Think Twice
An overall lightweight film, but I still sobbed the whole way home, so.

6. 10 Cloverfield Lane
This is what all blockbusters should be. And, jesus, Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

7. Everybody Wants Some!!
Probably the most fun I had in a theater this entire year. I think it’s going to be very fun to watch Glen Powell’s career.

8. Louder Than Bombs
I walked into this with high expectations, and even those expectations were shattered. This movie is so good, so heartbreaking, so strange, so funny. If you haven’t seen it yet, please, do yourself a favor.

Andrew Root, Senior Editor:

1. The VVItch
I can’t count how many times I’ve watched this masterpiece. By rights, I should be sick of it, but I could watch this slow-burn horror film again right now. I put it on last night to help me fall asleep. I have it on when I’m washing the dishes. I can watch it causally or intently, and there isn’t a single thing about the production or execution that doesn’t fill me with delight. I eagerly await a sequel, the entirety of which is Thomasin testing out her new powers and hanging out with her new friends. I also highly recommend Olivia Collette’s excellent piece on how the music of the film functions.

2. Arrival
I believe I wrote an article about this movie. This was one of about 15 angles you can look at this film from.

3. Hail, Caesar!
This film is what happens when you get all your talented friends together and let them show off their tricks. Its madcap energy and smart, nuanced tone (especially in its treatment of stupidity) is confident film making at its best. Plus, Alden Ehrenreich…have mercy.

4. Sing Street
This is the movie you watch when you want to feel like anything is possible.

5. Come Together (Wes Anderson’s H&M Commercial)
What’s captured in this short is how much hard work goes into a magical moment. I love how determined Conductor Ralph (Adrien Brody) and Assistant Porter Fritz (Peter Serafinowicz) are to provide a sense of home and warmth among the varied passengers—especially the unaccompanied minor—even if all they have to work with are paper snowflakes and chocolate-flavored hot beverage with whipped topping.

Lauren Wilford, Senior Editor:

I spent much more of 2016 catching up with older films than keeping up with new ones, so my top ten is just the top 50% of all the 2016 films I saw. Nonetheless, I liked these.

1. The Lobster
2. The Witch
3. Arrival
4. The Innocents
5. The Neon Demon
6. Green Room
7. Love & Friendship
8. Swiss Army Man
9. The Fits
10. Moonlight

Chad Perman, Editor-in-Chief:

1. La La Land
2. Manchester by the Sea
3. Arrival
4. Hell or High Water
5. Sing Street
6. Krisha
7. Swiss Army Man
8. Moana
9. The Nice Guys
10. Blue Jay
11. Pete’s Dragon
12. Hail, Caesar!
13. The Witch
14. Don’t Think Twice
15. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
16. Kubo & The Two Strings
17. Love & Friendship
18. Weiner
19. Everybody Wants Some!!
20. Morris in America

Karina Wolf, Contributing Editor:

Elle – “she bought a gun the way other women buy perfume”
OJ: Made In America
A Bigger Splash – a poisonous quartet on a perfect island
Sing Street
One More Time With Feeling – portrait of a battered monument
20th Century Women
Hail, Caesar!
Hell Or High Water
Absolutely Fabulous – shouldn’t admit this publicly but it made me cry (laughing)

Fran Hoepfner, Contributing Editor:

1. The Handmaiden
2. Jackie
3. Moonlight
4. Little Men
5. Hell Or High Water
6. American Honey
7. Everybody Wants Some!!
8. Weiner
9. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
10. Sing Street

Elisabeth Geier, Associate Editor

The Four Best Films I Saw in 2016

Beautiful, haunting, at times hard to watch, at time so seductive you want to jump into the screen and breathe in every color, every shoulder movement, every puff of smoke. An essential film.

Sing Street
Somebody on some podcast said “watch this movie” so I did without knowing anything about it, and I was charmed from the very first scene, and after it ended I looked it up and found out it was from the director of Once, which makes sense because a) Irish b) pop music c) romance and d) the way fantasy helps us survive reality. One of the most purely uplifting (without being corny) films I can recall.

Other People
A small, impactful movie full of lovely, funny, quiet performances. I never thought I’d laugh at a cancer patient planning her burial or sob to Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” but here we are.

I saw Ghostbusters 2016 with the Blood Moon Coven, a group of female friends I met through nerd shit several years ago and convene with on Slack every day. In July, we gathered IRL and rolled into a Ghostbusters matinee in matching, emoji-printed sweatshirts. By far the best movie theater experience of my year. The movie isn’t perfect, but I love it a lot. It delivers genuine laughs, a few good jump scares, and four of the funniest actors/comedians working today. In a year when America made it very clear how they feel about a powerful woman, watching four bad-ass ladies shoot a screaming man-baby in the crotch is what I NEED.

The Four Best TV Shows About Depression (and Other Stuff) in 2016

Bojack Horseman
The underwater episode is my absolute favorite media anything I consumed all year. It is a visual poem; a long-form joke; a perfect episode of television.)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
The Sexy French Depression Song = anthem

The perfect six-episode series for your Sunday hangover binge

Lady Dynamite
Maria Bamford for President of My Life

Christopher Fraser, Operations Manager:

Oh man. I was really bad at watching films this year. But I really liked The Program, Stephen Frears’s film about the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Ben Foster’s terrifyingly unhinged in it—it plays more like a thriller than an account of real events. Generally, though, I was watching films to cheer myself up in what has (in many ways) been a fairly garbage year. So I really liked The Nice Guys, Zootopia, Paddington and The Night Before—they’re not necessarily quote-unquote movie-critic “good” (though The Nice Guys really is), but they put a smile on my face and that can make a huge difference when it seems like the world is going to hell. Those last two weren’t released in 2016, but I can count the number of times I saw a film in a movie theater this year on one hand. Like I said: garbage.

Zosha Millman, Copy Editor:

1. Lemonade

1. La La Land

1. Jackie

1. The Handmaiden

1. Deadpool

1. Moonlight

1. 10 Cloverfield Lane

1. Personal Shopper

1. Arrival

1. The Nice Guys

1. The Witch