How many films have you seen this year? How many of those have you really, truly loved?
I think I’ve watched roughly 700+ feature films in 2016. And some 800+ short films. That’s not a brag, just a part of the job. There are still a handful of films from this year I have not seen too. I may or may not get to them in 2017.
While thinking of my favorite films of the year, trying to remember each film is tough. I only keep so many notes for work and don’t track my “for pleasure” viewing. My favorites are films I think about often because they made me look at life and the world differently.
Below are a few of those films. They all have left a mark on me. They are all great stories with skilled filmmaking. They are all films I know I’ll revisit in the future.
So in no particular order, my favorite films of 2016:
OJ: Made in America – If you have asked me what good film to see recently, you’ve probably heard me talk at length about this documentary. This ESPN “30-for-30” documentary is by far the best of their series. Director Ezra Edelman has crafted one of the most in-depth and powerful documentaries about race relations, class struggle, media, celebrity and American culture I have ever seen, all told through the lens of OJ Simpson. The film is epic with a running time of almost eight hours. But believe me, those hours will fly by and you’ll be totally engrossed in the ideas and conversation this documentary creates.
Moonlight – Berry Jenkins masterfully directs a story of a black man’s self-discovery, from childhood to adulthood, in Miami through three chapters. It’s a truly beautiful film. One of the most compassionate and thoughtful films I’ve seen in a long time. I won’t spoil any of the moments I love and so will leave it at that. Please, please, please seek it out.
Arrival – I’ve already posted my thoughts on this film here on the blog before. I’m ready to see this on the big screen again.
Gleason – When I saw this film at Sundance, I cried and cried and cried some more. An intimate story about love, caring for a loved-one for better or worse and becoming a parent. Watching the trailer alone makes me tear up and feel. so. many. feelings.
Weiner – You may be tired of politics after this year, but if you haven’t seen this documentary yet I urge you to watch it. This Sundance Grand Jury winner goes behind-the-scenes of the Anthony Weiner mayoral campaign in New York City. The quiet moments between Anthony and Huma speak louder than words. A great look at how (social) media and politics mix.
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World – Werner Herzog returned with two documentaries this year (the other being Into The Infero). I’m a fan of both films, but I’m highlighting Lo and Behold here because the ideas of how technology and the internet has shaped our culture and lives is mind-blowing to think about. And because Herzog always keeps a sense of humor, even in the darkest of moments.
Have you seen any of the films above? What have you missed? What are some of your favorite films from 2016? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Cheers to 2017!