Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Slackers' Top 15 Films of 2016


What a year in film. I'd have to go back and really analyze the stats, but I feel like this was the broadest collection of titles ever featured for this segment. This year, we only had one film appear on all five lists. That seems pretty crazy to me! I know there were plenty of entries that some of us didn't get around to, but that still seems like a pretty uncommon feat - especially for a group that generally agrees on film so much. Still, there's so much good that can come from such an occurrence: the opportunity to highlight and talk about even more films. This year overall we had 40 different titles showcased in these posts, more than we've ever had in the past. I'm sure a big part of that trend has to do with our growing and evolving interests in certain types of movies, but a big part of that can also be chalked-up to the ever-increasing accessibility of movies. In every subsequent year, more films become visible thanks to social media marketing, and accessible thanks to online streaming platforms. In the past we were more limited to what happened to show in theaters near us; now so much more is at our fingertips. That's pretty awesome.

Over the last five days, each writer on this year's panel has unveiled their individual lists for their Top 15 Films of 2016. As I've said many times before, what's great about our site is that we do have five different writers active at the same time providing their own perspectives on film. This not only gives five separate views on film (hence more chances to connect with certain voices and opinions), but it gives us all kinds of data to then build into composite lists. And really, that's what we want to give: each of our personal opinions, but at the end of the day, a group of films that we, as a collective, most appreciated and enjoyed. It's two very different but equally important views on the matter. And what's nice about having the individual lists first is we don't have to have any discussion for our group list - we simply plug in the titles each of us selected, give weight (point values) to higher picks, and let the formula do the rest. There's no debate or arguing over what we want to showcase - the rankings are what they are.

This year, the most significant factor in this ranking was surely due to certain films that certain contributors did not get around to (Moonlight, Everybody Wants Some!!, Nocturnal Animals, Miss Sloane, etc.). It's hard to know how this list would turn out if we'd all seen "everything", but that's just how this business goes. We're never all going to see every movie that was released in a given year, so this never serves as anything more than a benchmark. We saw most of the films we "wanted" to see, and this is how our ranking of those films turned out. As we've all mentioned, none of the rankings on this site should ever serve as definitive, end-all lists; simply a quick peak at how we're feeling based on what we've seen in the moment. It's never perfect, but it's a fun study and still an eclectic grouping of titles.

Before we (finally) jump in, please note that no explanations were provided on specific titles below because everything on this list was featured on multiple individual lists over the last week. If you're interested in more information on each film, check out the last five posts on this site.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tracy's Top 15 Films of 2016

Damn. 2016. It started off as a total drag in the movie department. But, as the year went on I found myself wanting to go to the movies more and more. I still wasn’t able to see all of the movies that I wanted. Luckily, I have more than enough to put together a top 15 that I can be proud of. I view the world through emotions and that fact about me is exactly what drives me in the movies that I like and the formulation of this list. The movies that you see here all hit me in some important way and that’s why I’m compelled to place them here. You can argue about a movie’s execution of its themes and characters and technical work, but you can’t argue about how they make you feel.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Elisabeth's Top 15 Films of 2016

I’m not sure what to say about 2016. It was a rough year for me, personally. Some good things happened, of course, but overall it was a tough one to weather. I always find a little bit of comfort in going to the movies though, and they definitely played that role for me last year. It’s always nice to be able to escape from your own reality for a couple hours (even though half of the movies on my list aren’t exactly uplifting). Until recently though, I was struggling to keep a running list of my favorite films because so many of the ones I saw just did not do it for me (I’m looking at you, La La Land). But I was able to cram in a bunch over the past few months and suddenly my list fell into place and I felt pretty good about it. So without further ado, here are my favorites of 2016…

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Nathan's Top 15 Films of 2016

What a year. For both good and bad, whether personal or what was going on in the country, 2016 was the biggest year of my life. With all that was going on, last year was easily the least amount of time I devoted to watching movies. I still saw a lot of titles, but I crammed most of them in over the last two months. While my opinions haven’t had their usual time to marinate, most of what I’ve seen is still really fresh.

Before I get to my list, I will say that the main thing I took away from this year was how lazy major Hollywood productions have become. I’m talking summer blockbusters, franchise films, things like that. I know it’s not something that just came out of nowhere, but 2016 seemed to easily take the cake as one of the most underwhelming for big budget films. It’s almost like Hollywood developed an allergy to new ideas. Luckily there were plenty of fantastic independent films to pick up the slack this year and make this a fun list to compose.

So here it goes, my favorite films of 2016…

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Derek's Top 15 Films of 2016

Normally I use this space to round up some overall feelings I had on the year of cinema. For some reason, I’m not sure how to write about the cinematic year as a whole. I don’t think that reflects anything regarding the quality of filmmaking this year. I think there were standouts and disappointments, just no overarching theme for me. Anyway, rather than talk about how I don’t know how to talk about the year as a whole, I’ll get into my list of standouts. It's much easier to talk about the individual movies. Take a look after the jump.

Oh! I guess I should give some forewarning: many of my descriptions are spoiler filled.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Alex's Top 15 Films of 2016

What a year 2016 was. Sometimes inspiring, other times defeating, 2016 was nonetheless memorable. On one hand, we dealt with countless, notable celebrity deaths; far more significant losses than we should ever have to see in a single year. On the other, my Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in over 100 years. On one hand, Donald Trump became the leader of our country and has since done his best to run it into the ground. On the other, I got engaged to the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known. So a mixed bag, to say the least. But however you want to slice it (and for me, the pros still outweighed the cons), it was very notable. One that I will surely never forget.

Because of some of these experiences, there were many films that I think I'll always remember and associate with the year. In many ways, before we even knew there would be so much turmoil in the year ahead, the films being released were foreshadowing those notions. While the overall quality wasn't compromised, what stood out to me the most were the overarching somber tones that crowded the screens. I'm not saying there weren't positive adaptations, but many of the best films seemed very bleak - seriously, look back on the slate and see just how dispiriting it was. And really, maybe that was the perfect cherry to top off all that was 2016.

That all being said, there really were some great films to be seen, and plenty that I'm excited to talk about and share. When I first started writing my recap for 2016 (I cheated a bit and started composing it well before I saw all that the year had to offer), I was ready to note the same issues I had last year: plenty of "good" films but nowhere near enough "great" films. After a pretty lackluster spring and summer, it looked to be another down year in movies. However, after fully catching up on all of the year's offerings, I had to change my tune. I ended up feeling there were so many great selections. Of course there's always room for improvement, but I was thrilled nonetheless to re-write this paragraph with a positive spin. To offer praise and not lament the year at hand felt like a great mindset to have as we dive into these films.

So without further ado...