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Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) in “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.” Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Happy New Year, dear reader! I set out with the goal of picking my top five favorite movies of 2016 for this week’s post, but it was just too gosh darn difficult. I tried, I really did, but there were so many enjoyable movies this year! (And yeah yeah yeah, I could extend my list to 10 like most critics do, but I’m not going to, okay? Deal with it.)


So I gave myself a little leeway and decided on six movies that really got me going. I tried to provide a somewhat wide range of movies, movies that people of all ages and interests could enjoy, but at the end of the day they’re movies that I saw and liked so it definitely leans in a particular direction. Plus, it only accounts for movies I saw in the 2016 calendar year, so movies like “Fences” and “Jackie” that I have yet to see that are considered to be 2016 movies will not be included. I’m sure if I had seen them by now it would complicate my list even more. So here it is, in no particular order, my top six movies of 2016!



1) “Moonlight

It would be a little bit insane to not include this incredibly beautiful and moving film on any best of list, because it simply is the best. Everything about it, from the writing to the directing (shout-out to Barry Jenkins, who, if the world worked out in my favor, would be taking home an Oscar come February) to the acting all around, is completely brilliant. It’s certainly stuck with me the most out of any movie I saw this year. It’s also the one I’ve recommended the most. Basically, it’s awesome. And you should see it if you haven’t.


2) “Hunt For the Wilderpeople

Another movie from this year that you should definitely see that maybe hasn’t gotten as much attention as the Oscar-buzzy “Moonlight” is the delightful “Hunt For the Wilderpeople.” Equal parts hilarious and heartwarming, “Hunt For the Wilderpeople” tells the story of a young boy and his foster uncle making their way through the New Zealand brush. That might not sound entirely riveting, but trust me, it is. It’s a movie that everyone in your family can enjoy, as long as everyone in your family is cool and like cool things. Get into it.


3) “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Any movie that starts with the line “Ever since I was born, I was dope” is bound to be great and “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” doesn’t disappoint. The Lonely Island’s take on the popstar documentary genre is a pitch-perfect parody full of on point pop culture references and surprisingly great parody songs. It should be one of the biggest hits of the year, but it somehow slipped under the radar and faded into obscurity. Truly unfortunate. So watch it and then get all of your friends to watch it and right this wrong in 2017.


4) “Lion

Another wonderfully moving tale, this time based on the amazing true story of a young man using Google Earth to find the family he was separated from as a child. It has great performances from Dev Patel (who should be in everything, frankly) and Nicole Kidman as well as a child actor, Sunny Pawar, who can actually act! It’s a rare feat and a necessary one, as Pawar really carries the first hour of the movie. It’s also another good one for the whole family, since the power of family, both by blood and by choice, plays a significant role in the film.


5) “The Lobster

I already wrote a whole post about what I liked about “The Lobster,” so I won’t go into too much detail here. I will say, however, that it’s wonderfully weird and unexpected and surprisingly funny and while it might end up being an acquired taste for most, it’s worth giving a shot. So hey, give it a shot, y’know? What’s it going to hurt? It’s not like you’ll get turned into a animal if you do.


6) “La La Land

Another pick that isn’t all too surprising, “La La Land” is well on its way to at least some Oscar glory. And deservedly so, given it’s vibrant and exciting modern take on the classic musical movie of days past. In a year rife with darkness, this movie was full of light and fun and songs that will stay in your head for weeks after. If you love musicals like I do, then it’s definitely worth checking out.



So there you have it, my top six movies of 2016! Here’s to more great movies in 2017. Because hey, we’re definitely going to need something to get us through the next four years.


What do you think of my top six movies? Have a top six (or five or whatever number) of your own? Think I’m lame for not sticking to five? Well no one asked you! Except for me, right now, but that doesn’t matter. Share your thoughts in the comments. And, as you embark on this new year, remember…


Stay classy.