Over the next month or so, the internet will be littered with “Best of 2016” lists. As of this writing, some lists are already published. It’s important to remember the other greats films that will be less popular or absent from these lists. It does not make these films any less valuable. How can you put a value on art? Give it a trophy? Get that talk out of here! 2016 has been a terrific year for films. Here is a small selection of films you should watch before finalizing your Best of 2016 list.
Eddie the Eagle
Eddie the Eagle is based on the true story of Eddie Edwards – A brave British ski jumper who against all odds, qualified for the 88′ Winter Olympics. Edwards is played by Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service). Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) reluctantly takes Edwards under his wing, because Edwards risked great injury while training himself on how to ski jump. Edwards was notorious in the 88′ Winter Olympics for nasty wipeouts due to poor form and lack of precision. This film breaks down the man behind the madness, and reveals a wonderful underdog story.
Egerton plays Edwards with an honesty that is rarely found in films. His innocence instantly puts the audience on his team. Peary is more of a wild card, so it’s a blast to watch these two characters interact. Eddie the Eagle is a feel good movie. Fans of the underdog will find much to celebrate in this film. If you need a good laugh and inspiration, check out this terrific film.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Taika Waititi is quickly becoming one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. He first made a splash in North America with Eagle vs Shark, and demolished the world of comedy with What We Do In The Shadows. Waititi delivers the goods on this heartfelt, comedy/drama film featuring a boy out of his element. The film opens with Ricky (Julian Dennison) being delivered to his latest foster parents: Hec (Sam Neill) and Bella (Tima Te Wiata). Ricky is a fish out of water because he’s a gangsta rapper wannabe, re-located to a remote part of New Zealand.
During a runaway attempt, Ricky and Hec get caught up in a miscommunication that triggers the authorities to begin a manhunt for the two. Waititi is refining his craft – constantly aware of when to deliver a comedic beat, and trusts the audience to take them on an emotional ride. Hunt for The Wilderpeople will make you laugh, and will make you cry. This is a must-see.
Nestor is one of those films that spans multiple genres, and sometimes it’s difficult to settle on which ones it falls under: sci-fi, drama, survival, horror, thriller? The film opens with a man waking up in the middle of a frozen lake covered in snow. He’s disoriented as he wanders the land. He searches the nearby lakehouses for signs of life, but there is not another human soul to be found. Is he the last man on Earth? Why is he all alone? There are questions asked in Nestor, many are left to speculation, which leads to some of the best discussions.
The remarkable accomplishment on display is that this is 100% a one-man show. Robinson shot the film, edited the film, acted in the film, wrote the screenplay, mixed the sound, and probably did his own catering! The events we witness in the film reflect the events that happen behind the camera. Many filmmakers employ static shots, so it’s surprising to discover that Robinson did the entire film all by himself. Shots are carefully composed and beautifully executed. Nestor is the kind of film that reflects each individual audience member. You get what you put into the film. It’s a carefully crafted film with much to chew on. Isn’t that why we’re here? Nestor is a unique experience that delivers in a big way. Gather your friends and check it out.
Swiss Army Man
Often described as the Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse film, Swiss Army Man has so much more to offer than body humor. Hank (Paul Dano) is at the end of his rope on a deserted island, when he spots a corpse wash ashore. Hank names the corpse, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) and the two of them form a unique friendship. The Daniels reveal much about themselves in this film: they love Jurassic Park, they love cheesy poofs, they are fearless, and they love each other very much. Love is the heart and soul of this film.
The Daniels challenge the audience to embrace their inner weird, and accept ourselves for who we are. Hank and Manny have their own social, sexual, and self-confidence hang-ups. Through their friendship they will help each other overcome these fears. Swiss Army Man is hysterical, and an emotional journey. Some may be turned off by the crude humor, but if you place your faith in the Daniels, you will likely have a wonderful time.
Dennis Hauck (Writer/Director) delivers witty banter, snappy dialogue, and LA noir that oozes off the screen. Samson (John Hawkes) is a detective on the lookout to find the men responsible for killing a young woman. Too Late is a non-linear narrative told in broken parts – edited beautifully to make for a badass crime drama. Arguably Hawkes’ finest performance, Too Late is a performance piece for all involved. It’s a story told in five scenes – shot on 35mm film, each scene shot on one reel of film. We’re going to be deliberately vague because this film has many twists and turns, and terrific performances all around. It’s one that must be experienced.