"Without love, what reason is there for anything?" What a year. Admittedly, it's always a challenge for me to put together a Top 10 list, just because there's never enough time to watch (and rewatch) everything. That said, I fell head-over-heels in love with a number of movies in 2016 and it was easy to put them on this list. I learned so much from my Favorite Films of 2016. Paterson taught me to love poetry (and write some of my own). La La Land reminded me that dancing is the key to life, and jazz is awesome. Captain Fantastic taught me to always seek the truth. Pete's Dragon reminded me that sometimes we must believe in magic. I'm invigorated by how much movies often affect me, and the more emotional I get, the more I love them.
More often than not a good soundtrack in a movie can be just as captivating as the visuals in which it accompanies. We live within the world of that film as we experience watching it, but a good soundtrack – composed score or curated list of songs – can allow us to reengage with the film on a purely auditory level sometimes even offering up an entirely new perspective. It's why this list is always such a joy to put together at the end of any year (review my previous soundtrack picks for the Best of 2014 and Best of 2013). Listed below are my Top 10 Soundtracks/Scores of 2016, and, as always, it's a fun list to put together. These are the scores and song lists I will surely be listening to in the coming months, the soundtracks that are every bit as memorable as the films themselves. (You can also find my Top 10 Films of 2016 here.) Enjoy!
It was another stellar year at the cinema, and don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise. While some are crying shouts that the cinema is dead the art form is doing all it can to prove otherwise, and it's easy to see how the industry is doing. Below are my Top 10 Films of 2016, but it could just have easily have been 10 completely different movies on this list. The impressive list of honorable mentions (found at the end) should give some credence to that. These are the 10 films, though, that moved me most of all, the films with which I most engaged, the films I believe the cinema community will be talking about for many years, beyond 2016.
"For the first time in my life… I feel close to something." It's time for another look back at all the movies of 2016. Our longtime friend the "Sleepy Skunk" has revealed his annual end-of-the-year recap video - the 2016 Movie Trailer Mashup - featuring footage from all the different movie trailers released throughout 2016 (including a few 2017 movies) edited together to good music. We already posted another mashup video for 2016, as it's that time of year when all of them start to arrive. This one has been in the works for a while, and it shows, as the editing and music make it an entertaining and inspiring experience. Fire this up below!
"One day, this will all feel like a dream. I promise…" Now that we're into the final month of 2016, it's time to start looking back at the year in movies. The next year end recap movie trailer mashup has arrived - this one made by Clark Zhu. It's titled "Moving Pictures 2016" and includes clips from over 260 movies that were released in 2016. Since he packs in so many, the video runs a good seven minutes but covers a number of different themes - from comedy to suspense to action to horror to love and pretty much everything else. It's a great reminder that there's some stellar movies this year, and to catch up with those you haven't seen.
"You shall ride eternal. Shiny, and chrome!" Looking back at 2015, it was an exceptional year for movies and if you don't feel the same way, you probably didn't see enough movies. I always struggle to put together a year end Top 10 list, mostly because there's so much I need to watch/rewatch and it's just not possible. This year I came up with a list of 12 movies from 2015, the last two added because I felt like they deserved a spot even though it was already full. These are the movies that I genuinely love the most, that connected with me and stayed with me throughout the entire year. Many of my favorites from 2015 are movies that, if you asked me about them at the beginning of the year, I would've admitted it's unlikely they'd end up here.
Another year comes to a close, another opportunity arises to reflect back on the best in film. As with any space of time, there were ups and downs in the film world throughout 2015. Many films brought with them huge levels of anticipation only to disappoint, some had small amounts of anticipation and completely blew us away. No one ever expects to make a bad film, and the best audience members never go into a film expecting – or wanting – to hate it. We all love movies. The varying levels with which we admire certain, specific films is what makes the entire art form as exciting as it is. The passion we all have for cinema is what keeps us scouring the theaters for the best the artists whose work we're experiencing have to offer.
"Ladies and gentlemen, come and dream with me." Just yesterday we featured a montage from the American Film Institute looking back at 120 years of film history. In fact, this year it will have been exactly 120 years since the Lumiérè brothers screened the first commercial film images. And since this year marks another decade milestone in filmmaking and cinema itself, the folks at Tandem Entertainment put together a little tribute to cinema, running through the magic of movies. What makes this a wonderful retrospective is the cutting back and forth between films and footage of characters in movie theaters. Watch!
Yes, we're done with our own year-end lists counting down our favorite films amongst other things as part of our yearly Looking Back series, but director James Gunn has chimed in with a late edition of his own favorite films of 2014. We'll cut him some slack since he was busy finishing and promoting Guardians of the Galaxy (#4 on my own Top 10 Films of 2014) to get his list in before the end of the year. The social media active Gunn took to Facebook to give fans a list of his top 12 Favorite Films of 2014. They include some of our favorites like Whiplash and The LEGO Movie, and a couple that we were surprised by too.
While there's no denying that 2014 was a good year for great filmmaking, it was also a little bit harder than recent years as we lost some monstrous talents from the big screen. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams both passed tragically and far too soon. The retired Bob Hoskins left this planet not long after he stepped away from acting, and Harold Ramis joined all the ghosts he busted 25 years ago. Though there will be tributes to those we lost at both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards coming up, we already have a fantastic tribute to some of the talents we lost last year who made cinema so wonderful.
Even though we're in 2015 now, there's still plenty to look back at in 2014. Another year end video that we just stumbled upon and wanted to feature is one called "2014: How We Used Slow Motion" made by The Nerdwriter YouTube channel. The video is simply a showcase of some of the best slow motion moments from movies of 2014, including some music videos and TV shows like "Sherlock" and "True Detective". Of course, there was a lot of impressive cinematography in 2014 (A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Birdman) and it's invigorating to see so much talent out there. That said, slow motion moments are always fun, and it's cool to see the technique used in different ways. The real winner is the Quicksilver scene from X-Men.
Just earlier today, we ran out last retrospective video looking back at the films of 2014, and today I'm chiming in with my final year-end list with my Top 10 Films of 2014. This year I had a hard time narrowing down my list, and I almost broke down and decided to do a Top 15, but I promised myself to be a little more disciplined to pick my absolute favorite films of the year. You can see how hard it was just by taking a glimpse at all the honorable mentions that could have made the list, and the ones that made the cut are a hodgepodge of indies, blockbusters, comedies, dramas and a couple more. So let's get to the actual list.