We may not agree on our best films of the year, but we can agree on one thing: 2016 has not been easy. Setting aside the most volatile election season in recent history, we’ve seen the passing away of an extraordinary number of cultural figures we hold dear. Instead of looking at 2016 as a room of darkening light, I choose to look at it as a room in which we’re still grasping for the switches. 2016 exposed me to a number of extraordinary voices in the media – be it the movies, television, or the latest streaming giant – who not only had something to say, but said it beautifully. The need for content to satiate all the streaming beasts has opened the door for even more people than ever before. Yes, it makes it impossible to consume it all. More importantly: we’re hearing voices that have never had a chance to earn the spotlight. We’re finding light switches we never knew existed.
After Carrie Fisher died, Scott Wampler of Birth Movies Death wrote a beautiful essay arguing that because our supply of entertainment icons is rapidly diminishing, it’s more important than ever before to develop new ones. I use this quote as it’s both inspiring and sums up how the films of 2016 made me feel:
Artists of every stripe – writers, musicians, comedians, playwrights, illustrators, songwriters, filmmakers, you name it – should be working harder than ever to hone their craft. That creative thing people tell you you’re uncommonly good at? Spend some time focusing on it. Try and find a way to turn it into a job. Maybe you’ll become an expert. Maybe you’ll make a career out of it. Maybe you’ll turn out to be so good at it, it’ll be something you can do for the rest of your life (maybe it’ll be something you become famous for, if you’re the insane type who’d enjoy being famous), and in the process you’ll inspire a whole new generation of creatives, who – with any luck – will still have a world of their own to inspire when their time comes.
I agonized over the order of this list for a long time, and it only recently hit me why: I’ve been watching these movies with an open mind and absorbing what they have to say. And what these films have to say is going to hit you differently from moment to moment. There are scenes from Loving that will surge through me when we talk about race or even relationships, and I may or may not break into song about way-finding when I’m lost in traffic and questioning my purpose. The point is: all of these movies had something to say, and you can’t place an objective numerical value on meaning. For that reason, I’m going to call this year’s list my Sweet Sixteen of 2016. I originally did not put these in order, had some cool way to sum up why I did it that way, and then realized I was too visually OCD to let it happen. So here it is, in order but really in no particular order. The order will change from day to day, and really, that’s not the focus. The important thing is that 2016 brought us a great deal of voices we have to champion so that they can inspire the generations ahead of us.
1. The Lobster
People who know me know how much I read about the movies. I often joke that I read about way more movies than I ever actually see. It’s not just a joke defending me from seeming like a couch sore who attaches movie screens to his eyeballs, though – it’s just the truth. I may not read as many books as I would like, but I read way more than ever before. If online words were a diet, I would surely be overweight – or ripped – depending on how you view this kind of brain food. I consume the good stuff – the complex, shimmering critique that makes you see things in a while new way – and the stuff that would qualify as junk food – the trashy, far-too-comfortable-with-lack-of-privacy rumors that morph into full-blown stories.
But one unfortunate side effect of all this reading is that I’m rarely surprised. By the time a movie has arrived to theaters, I, unfortunately (I cannot blame anyone because I do make a conscious choice to read these things), feel as though I already know 70% of the movie. I know the basic plot. I know the actors. I often know if trouble brewed behind the scenes or if it scored higher than expected in test screenings. I know if the movie is a Sundance Darling or a Toronto Turd (I can always rely on the Toronto Film Festival to leak less-than-favorable reviews to movies I anticipate the most). It drives my girlfriend and my family crazy the way I will often (but not always!) avoid movies that did not get kind reviews. I do this, I tell them, because life and time is short so why waste it on something I know is not going to be good?
And so it goes. There’s very little surprise. And, as we all know in this box office environment in which just about every studio clings to comfort and predictability like a life float in raging unpredictable waters (they know they might get killed, but they’re at least going to look comfortable and confident while they do it), it’s harder than ever to be surprised. The same villains underwhelm us as the same cities get blown up. People arrive at a happy ending that slaps with a zero-logic stick.
So when I finally gave Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster a chance, I found myself immediately entranced. Yes, it’s odd as hell, but it’s odd in a way that makes total sense. It comments on how we proceed with dealing with courtship in the most unexpected way, and as much as you try and fight that part of your brain that says it’s all so twee, you can’t help but think Lanthimos is on to something.
The premise is simple and doled out slowly, without insulting your intelligence: David (Colin Farrell), a recently divorced man, checks into a hotel in which he is allowed 45 days to find a suitable partner. If he is unable to do so, he will become an animal of his choice. David asks to be a lobster, because he loves the ocean. The first inkling that you’re watching something special is when the hotel manager responds, “Oh, delightful. Everyone usually picks a dog. That’s why there are so many of them.”
Many will simply say, “It’s not for me,” and I totally respect that. This is a movie that operates the entire way through on a particular frequency that, if you cannot dial into it, it will seem boring and often times upsetting. But if you can? You will laugh. You will cringe. You will cackle at lines like “We’ll give them children. That usually helps.” This is a movie that never relents from its own twisted and yet clear-eyed perspective, all that while reminding us of how far we will go to be with someone who makes us feel both special and a little less alone in a big, confusing world.
2. Swiss Army Man
This movie had me at “Harry Potter as farting corpse”. As soon as I saw Paul Dano’s character riding Harry Potter across the ocean, powered only by his propulsive farts, I knew I had to see it. The fact that my peers were finding it to be unexpectedly deep and complex only made me more curious. Just how were they going to connect tooting dead bodies with deeper meaning? It had to be a magic trick of some kind.
A magic trick it is. I found myself highly amused by this film all the way until the moment when it finally turns over a couple more of its cards. We realize who we’ve really been spending all of our time with, and how the story we thought we knew has just been transformed into something completely different. Everything makes sense all the sudden, and for some people, it may be too dark. It may be too much. For me – it proved incredibly honest, like that friend who blurts out something you almost don’t hear, and it’s the most truthful thing they’ve said their whole life.
Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka The Daniels) have put together a movie that, to me, is really about all the times we are so much more bold and successful – and sometimes even more destructive – in our head than we ever are in real life. Our imaginations are sometimes firing on cylinders that our real life car never had a chance to be equipped with. It’s both an acknowledgement of how difficult it is to make those first steps to making deeply unsure things happen, but also inspires us to just push a little harder and do a little more.
The bus sequence (you’ll know it when you see it) is one for the ages, and it encapsulates everything this movie wants to say in just a few short minutes and flights of intense creativity. It definitely made me think more about the people around me, and it made me more understanding not just of my own moments of apprehensiveness, but of how many people around me feel the same way. This is a film that’s at once a cry for help and a call for empathy; we may never see anything like it for quite some time.
This is a movie that could have gone wrong in so, so many ways. In fact, even based on Disney’s own history, it probably should have. But they did the right thing from the get-go. They did their homework. They vetted every detail with the people they should have, and they made sure that while they had all the historical and cultural details in place, they told a compelling story from beginning to finish. The music – led by Hamilton superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer Mark Mancina, and Somoan artist Opetaia Foa’I – is not only simultaneously muscular and delicate, but each song is different and well-written enough that we’ll likely never get sick of it.
An interesting side-note I want to elaborate on: the first time I saw this movie, I saw it with a caption box. It didn’t detract from my experience, but there are things I evidently missed because my eyes were reading the dialogue as everything was happening on screen. The second time I saw it last week, however, we went to a theater that had no captioning of any sort. I actually saw this as an opportunity to really watch the animation and take in everything on the screen, especially since I knew the story and recognized much of the dialogue.
The weird thing is that I found myself even more emotionally involved in this movie. Which means, yes, I nearly cried more times than I’m willing to admit. The character animation in this film is so beautifully done and so expressive in just the right ways that you can’t help but get wrapped up in it. A toddler Moana is not only the cutest character I’ve seen onscreen all year (just edging out Baby Dory and Pete’s Dragon, Elliot), but watching her shield a terrified baby turtle with a leaf as he scurries from his nest across the dangerous sand into the ocean is a scene that says so much about a character while overwhelming with the cuteness.
The Moana team does this again and again throughout the entire film – show you captivating, evocative images that burn into your brain while also remembering to tell the story. Several moments in this film that remind me of Miyazaki’s films, a comparison that suggests this is an animation company not only in its (third or fourth) prime, but destined to keep their hot streak going.
4. Captain Fantastic
One of the most thoughtful, insightful, and brave films I saw all year, I have to applaud writer/director Matt Ross for never taking the easy way out. It would be easy to show just how wonderful life is like for this family that grew up together off the grid, in the beautiful (of course it’s beautiful!) Pacific Northwest. The kids – Bodevan, Kielyr, Vespyr, Rellian, Zaja and Nai – are incredibly eloquent and book smart. They know how to survive in the wild. They can think for themselves. They treat “interesting” as a swear word because saying it doesn’t actually let people know what you think about it (something I’ve truly taken to heart). They can, from a very young age, skillfully paraphrase what the Bill of Rights represents. But Ross shows the other side of it: that these kids are often lacking in social skills, and they are potentially missing out on opportunities that could get them far in life, such as going to an Ivy League college of their choice.
We learn very early on that the children have not seen their mother in three months, and that she has just committed suicide. There’s a funeral in New Mexico that the more “civilized” members of the family don’t want them to be present at. They go anyway. There is a heartbreaking moment about two-thirds of the way through when the father, Ben (Viggo Mortensen) realizes he just might be unintentionally endangering his kids. He leaves them with their grandparents, shaves his massive beard off and drives away, alone on the family bus. How his kids find their way back to him and the mission they choose to complete together is one of the most beautiful stretches of film I’ve seen all year. I’ll certainly never look at a toilet in the Sea-Tac Airport the same way again. In fact, I’ll be one standing there, staring at it with a dumb smile across my face.
I have a confession to make: I saw this movie after a long day of teaching, ate too much popcorn and drank too much diet soda (easy to judge that in January; we’ll see you next month), and found myself woozy halfway through this movie. I caught a second wind just before the “twist” (which is not the best word for it, but the first that comes to mind) and as it was happening, even as I didn’t fully understand what was going on, I knew something special was taking place. I grabbed at my head, looking for the hole where my mind was blown out. I also took a few deep breaths because it drove a point home that’s at once highly emotional and deeply inspirational.
All of this is to say that I suspect once I see it again, this film will move up as my clear #1 for 2016. I have heard from many sources that the second viewing is a completely different experience, especially since the “twist” recontextualizes everything. I found myself blown away with Denis Villeneuve’s elegant, patient pacing of the story, and I especially found myself enraptured with how Amy Adam’s character works to communicate with an alien race that “speaks” a language unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
It’s rare that movies are this smart, this thoughtful, and this artfully emotional all at once, wrapped up in a science fiction story with incredible, delicate acting and assured directing. Yes, we need more movies like this, but I consider it a miracle to savor that it exists at all.
Special note: any interview with screenwriter Eric Heisserer regarding this movie and how we adapted the Ted Chiang short story it’s based on, “Story of Your Life”, is a worthwhile read/listen. You’ll appreciate the struggle Heisserer had to wrestle this into a film and the incredible persistence it took to finally make someone like Villeneuve jump at it.
6. The Nice Guys
Ever since his comeback film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Shane Black has been a hot red dot on my radar. As I’ve learned about screenwriting over the years, his name looms large in screenwriting history in ways both good and bad. His screenplays are legendary both for how they did their own thing (his descriptions are often quoted; his dialogue often imitated), as well as for how he was often paid an uncommonly large amount of money for them, money that led him to do make some choices that drove him off the Hollywood radar for years.
I’m so glad he’s back. Emboldened by the success he had with Iron Man 3, Black somehow crafts a movie even more Blackian than usual. Ryan Gosling has never been funnier, and Russell Crowe has never been more endearing. I loved these two together, with all their hysterical one-liners and barely-contained situations they found themselves in. I loved telling people about this movie and all the wonderful little details that fill it – the visual gags (including my favorite of the year), the way that someone would get bumped and accidentally shoot an innocent bystander, or the 1970’s Los Angeles style and music that’s always there but never slowing the story. I’ll no doubt come back to this movie for its crackling dialogue and insane buddy-cop chemistry.
Hollywood: please keep Shane Black working. We all benefit.
7. Other People
This is a late addition to my list as I literally saw it a few days ago. But the impact was immediate. This is a stunning debut for writer/director Chris Kelly, who drew upon his own experience with his mom dying from cancer. What I found so impressive about this movie is that the cancer, while always a threat, is only part of the story. This is really about David (Jesse Plemons), and how his life is crumbling before he even moves in his family. He has to deal with the recent breakup of a long-term relationship, the struggles with his writing career, and then finally moving in with a dad who has still not accepted him being gay.
I’ve been a huge fan of Jesse Plemons since his days as Landry on Friday Night Lights, and while he’s been working with some heavy hitters since (Breaking Bad, Fargo, Paul Thomas Andersen, etc.) this is an incredible performance for how real and transparent it is. Matching him is Molly Shannon, putting on an especially brave performance that never goes for the cliché but always goes for the heart. Definitely worth checking out.
8. Sing Street
There’s not much that I can say that’s already been said about this fantastic movie. The songs are as catchy and memorable as anything you’ll see in a movie. I want to point in particular to Meredith Borders of Birth Movies Death and her fantastic essay on how the movie leads the way for how we can continue to make great art and survive the next four years.
I almost want to say this is a movie you HAVE to see on as big a screen possible, and that I fear will lose some of its hypnotic power once it finds its way to streaming screens in the near future. This is the most patient and (no pun intended) loving movie I’ve seen all year. Writer/director Jeff Nichols is so much more interested in the domestic, in the spaces between us as we work our way through things that seem to be far bigger challenges than we feel we can handle. The Loving’s are determined to be married in a place that does not allow them, but they are more committed to each other than they are to any specific cause. They are not out there for attention; only the right to build their family and lead their lives.
There are so many quiet, gorgeous details throughout the film, but when Nichols has every right to go bigger and louder – in particular when the Loving’s case has gone all the way up to the Supreme Court and the whole nation is involved – he keeps the focus on their simple life out in the country, with Mr. Loving working on his cars as the kids run around, Mrs. Loving watching over it all. Everyone can understand what they cherish, and it’s so much easier to see and understand than any eloquent speech or epic widescreen shot could sell. Nichols allows his powerhouse actors Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton to lead the way, and it results in a film that lets the story breathe and just be. It’s some of the most beautiful work you’ll see all year.
10. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The Lonely Island boys have done it again. Anytime they have spoofed or done something incredibly ridiculous, they’ve always matched it with serious craft and understanding of genre. Look at any of their songs and music videos – they ape the genre they’re going for spectacularly, creating a legitimately catchy song while they’re singing about something completely ridiculous (see, “Jack Sparrow”, “I Just Had Sex”, “Dick in a Box”).
While the obvious inspiration for Popstar is Justin Beiber, there are just enough targets throughout the film to make it more about pop music itself. Like their songs, it does a great job of spoofing the lifestyle of these popstars while actually telling a compelling story. That’s much harder to do than you would expect. Even harder? Writing a soundtrack full of highly memorable songs that amount to a whole batch of earworms: “I’m So Humble”, “Equal Rights”, “Turn Up the Beef”, “Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)”, “Mona Lisa”, “Ibitha”, “Sick Glenda”, and “Incredible Thoughts”. I still find myself laughing every other day about “Finest Girl”, which sounds so wrong and spectacularly dirty while also being the catchiest thing on the radio all year.
11. Edge of Seventeen
Early on the filmmaking process, Edge of Seventeen writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig had a chance to work with the legendary James L. Brooks. When she was asked in an interview the impact Brooks had on her, this is what she said:
“And the other thing Jim said, and this was absolutely life-altering, was “The first and most important thing you have to answer is, what is this movie saying about life?” That’s number one. That was such a big deal because I had spent plenty of time with producers who would say “Okay, what’s happening on page 15 and then we need a set piece…” and doing that whole thing. To just have somebody say to me, “What do you care about?” That you want to write about? What matters to you that you want to say? It was “Oh my God, oh my God. Thank you! Thank you!” It sent me back to why I wanted to write in the first place.”
Some films knock you back with their specific details. It’s as if they had videotaped a portion of your life and re-created it for the big screen. This happened with this hilarious yet completely honest movie. There were times I just sat in shock at how I had heard that specific line of dialogue or seen that specific moment happen in my own life. I was never a teenage girl in the circumstances Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) was in, but I can understand where she’s coming from. Even more importantly, I can better understand the people in my own personal life after seeing this movie. What Fremon Craig has to say is so specific and yet so universal all at once that it feels as if you’re being let into an Empathy Club (they have blankets, yes they do). It’s not mistake as Brooks has always been known for the empathy he shows towards all of his own characters, something that clearly rubbed off on Fremon Craig’s miracle of a debut film. I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.
12. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Writer/director Taika Waititi absolutely killed it with his 2014 stunner of What We Do in the Shadows, which skillfully combined deep, dark laughs with surprisingly empathetic emotions. Who knew we could relate so much to vampires of various centuries? Waititi applies his skill at making you care about the margins of society in showing us two great characters in Herc (Sam Neill) and Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), who find themselves on a great adventure in the wilds of New Zealand while a manhunt goes after them. This movie is a charmer that’s always willing to play the emotions true; you’ll find yourself rooting for Herc and Ricky, even as they’re literally running their car off the rails to a difficult conclusion.
If this buddy movie is an indication of the kind of buddy movie we may get with Waititi’s Thor: Ragnorak in November, then Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may have some serious competition for Most Delightful Marvel Release of 2017.
13. Kubo and the Two Strings
While I found Laika’s The Boxtrolls to be a bit lacking in complexity (it was meant to be a children’s tale, after all), I found myself completely taken with their character models. They made “attention to detail” the bare minimum and not just a lofty goal. Each character had incredibly distinct figures – from razor sharp chins to skin with various splotches of color. This time, with Kubo and the Two Strings, they’ve taken that attention to detail even further while fusing it with a story that feels timeless. They are aping myths just as they are creating new ones. You can tell when a story has completely emboldened an animation team, and while Laika always puts forth great effort, this has to be their finest hour yet.
14. Green Room
There is not a more intense movie I saw this year. The premise is simple: a young punk band is going on a road trip tour, piling in and out of their beat-up van, and arrive at a small venue full of Neo-Nazi skinheads. Everything’s fine until they accidentally witness a murder backstage they’re not supposed to.
If you’ve ever applied hell-bent pressure to claustrophobia, you’ll get an idea of the way this movie plays out. Thankfully and painfully, the characters stuck are people we can empathize with. And as the screws of horror are tightened, it becomes almost unbearable. I love movies where the situation seems completely doomed and there is somehow a survivor – spoiler alert – and the solutions are both genius and almost accidental, making it a far-fetched situation even more harrowingly realistic.
Also: you’ll learn how poorly machetes and doors mix together.
I wasn’t sure we would ever get this movie. Ryan Reynolds has been teasing this film for years, and even when the teaser took Comic-Con by storm before a movie was ever announced, I still didn’t believe it would happen. Well, it did. And it’s just as gleefully inappropriate as we all wanted it to be. I appreciate Tim Miller and his team keeping the stakes of the film small (All these destroyed major cities can take a break, don’t you think?) and personal, and for letting Deadpool’s freak flag fly from scene to scene to scene. This is one of the funnest movies to have going on in the background (The Work Horse Bar in Austin’s North Loop has great taste!) and holds up great on repeats. Here’s hoping they are able to take it a step freakier with the upcoming sequel.
16. Maggie’s Plan
Seeing a film available for the first time at Redbox has a way of tempering your expectations. Still, I couldn’t pass it up with the impressive cast it boasted. I’m glad I didn’t. This is a film that explores some pretty adult concepts that you don’t often see in the movies, as well as sliding some thought-provoking moments underneath the door. Director Rebecca Miller is able to take a romantic comedy premise and wring all the real life wisdom out of it. Also: if you’ve ever wanted to see a man who looks like a viking (Travis Kimmel) go crazy about the potential success of a private pickle business, then this is your jam.
HONORABLE MENTIONS – These are all films that gave me some kind of special experience watching it – made me laugh myself silly, showed me how to wring tension out of the most minimal of elements, or provoked thoughts and ideas I’d never considered, for example – and thus deserve special mention.
I’ve always been a fan of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (who hasn’t?) and while this movie goes for lots of easy laughs, it also stacks it with a murder’s row of a cast just having fun and sews it all up with a surprisingly emotional story. If there’s anything that 2016 has taught me, it’s that adding a nice, relatable story as an anchor makes a mile-a-minute comedies last just enough longer.
This is a movie that sneaks up on you. The premise seems simple, with Susan Sarandon’s character filling all the film’s white spaces with her constant conversation, questions, and gentle prying into everyone’s life. But everything changes when Susan goes silent. It only happens a few times in the movie, but when it does it says everything. And it will hit you hard.
While this may go down in history as the film that revealed Lake Bell can pull off quite the British accent, I found this to be a nice twist on modern romantic comedies. Also: you’ve seen Rory Kinnear as a serious, powerful actor in many things, but have you seen him as a hilarious perv with no boundaries? This film gives you the chance. It’s so hard to make a romantic comedy these days that doesn’t feel like something dated from ten years ago, but writer Tess Morris manages to make it feel fresh and inviting.
10 Cloverfield Lane
All the way until the last WTF scene, this movie was high on my list. I found the tension incredible, the performances skillfully nuanced, and the story just chugged along with just the right amount of electricity. It’s not easy to create a captivating story out of three actors and one location, but director Dan Tratchenberg manages to pull it off. I understand the marketing reasons behind the last scene, which somewhat artlessly ties the story into the Cloverfield Lane franchise, but it put a serious dent in something special.
As you may have heard, Disney Animation is firing on all cylinders these days. Zootopia is just the latest proof. This is a film that’s endlessly inventive on top of trying (and somewhat succeeding) in reaching for some compelling themes. The writing on this film is particular sharp, especially with its many setups and payoffs, and the vocal chemistry among the cast is top-notch.
I found the relationship between Pete and his dragon Elliot to be completely believable and enchanting. While the story is simple, it is patiently and thoughtfully told from start to finish. Elliot himself is a spectacular creation, toeing that line between something unbearably cute and acceptably dangerous.
This is the most intense dinner party I’ve ever seen, and the entire film is a master-class in how to twist tension out of a simple premise. I may not have known the whole story until the very end, but the entire time left my breathless. Definitely a movie to watch in the dark with some friends and drinks that you can knock over placed very, very far away.
I know this is much more of a 2015 film, but I finally saw it over the summer on the plane ride home from Australia. Thanks to the Sony hacks, this film perhaps had more bad press than it could summit, all of which had nothing to do with the actual film itself. Sorkin makes an incredible decision in dividing the movie into the three acts at the specific points in time he does. Even if there is disagreement about the historical accuracy of some elements, it is clear that Sorkin is trying to say something and he does so expertly. I was not sold beforehand on Michael Fassbender as Jobs, but it may be the best I’ve seen him. Seth Rogen and Kate Winslet also provide outstanding support as the two people in Jobs’ life who can stand up to him.
I dismissed this film at the outset simply because it seemed like Kevin Hart was not only putting himself in a lot of movies, but that they were frustrating mediocre at best. I gave this movie a spin and found myself surprised in all kinds of delightful ways. Dwayne Johnson gives a pretty incredible performance as a giant, soft-hearted nerd in an action hero’s body. Hart matches him every step of the way, and they make a great team that you inevitably root for. I still find myself thinking about a key scene in which Jason Bateman plays the high school bully who has come back to haunt Johnson. The way Johnson plays the entire scene is so unexpectedly poignant that I hope they show it on his Oscar reel when he wins a gold statue one day.
I never understood what they could possibly do with this sequel until I saw it. It’s possibly even funnier than the first and offers up some interesting food for thought on top of a pretty great performance from Zac Efron. Also: try to pronounce “sorority” five times fast after seeing this movie.
As someone who’s a big fan of Andrew Stanton, I winced at the idea of him going back to Pixar (after the commercial failure of live-action John Carter) to make a sequel to his biggest hit. I couldn’t tell if he did it to save his career or because he truly had a story. Only time can tell, but I imagine it’s a little bit of both. There are parts that seem rushed and uninspired, but the core story of Dory and her finding her parents is as strong and heartfelt as anything Stanton has done. It also inspired probably my favorite blog post of this past year.
Reminder: I am not an actual film critic, so I’m always quite late to catch up with movies. As a result, there are plenty of films of 2016 I have yet to see, but intend to: Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, La La Land, Fences, Silence, the list goes on. Here’s to 2017: may it be a great one!