Nicole M. Campbell is a KFI editrix. She thinks Courteney Cox was the prettiest Friend. This week, the Girl on Film gives us her hits, misses and other fun cinema superlatives from 2016.
We all know 2016 sucked. So it’s fitting my year-in-review is being published six weeks late.
I saw 212 movies last year. That's 36 fewer than 2015 but 79 more than 2014's total. If the movie train leaves Los Angeles at 5:20 p.m., what color shirt is the ticket taker wearing?
Here's the lowdown - I didn't think “Batman v Superman” was bad. I rewatched three childhood favorites (“Oh, God!,” “Ice Castles” and “Heaven Can Wait” - the Warren Beatty version) which were just as fun as I remember. I finally saw “Tribute to a Badman,” a Western with James Cagney and an even bigger James in my world - my grandpa McCallion.
I laughed at “Pee-Wee's Big Holiday.” I cried watching a swim documentary, “The Last Gold.” I thrilled at the confirmation that yes, Keanu Reeves is the world's worst best-known actor.
After last year's record total, I didn't think I had it in me to watch anything else. But there was plenty to comment on. Let's get to the goods!
Best Movie – “Lion.” This Oscar Best Picture nominee is the greatest advertisement for Google Earth. If you haven't seen this one, do yourself a solid. You will fall in love with the Indian boy (who had never acted before) in the film and the true story the film portrays. A roaring success! I'm sure that won't be the last cheesy wordplay I do in this blog.
Worst Movie – “Hail, Caesar!” was pretty horrible. But I'm giving it to “The Marriage of Maria Braun,” a German film from 1979. Any movie I don't finish is a bad one. The film was directed by the critically acclaimed Rainer Werner Fassbinder. After slogging through an hour, I wished I had spent the time with Michael Fassbender.
Best "How Had I Not Seen This Before?" Movie – “A Night at the Opera.” I am embarrassed to say I had never seen a Marx Brothers movie before 2016. Trust me when I say Groucho has some LOL lines!
Best Documentary – “Weiner.” Disgraced NY politician Anthony Weiner comes off as a real loser in this at-times-unbelievable doc. Thank god Huma came to her senses. She's better off with Hillary, even without the presidency.
Movie I Had The Lowest Expectations About Which Turned Out To Be Good – “The Age of Adaline.” Who knew a straight girl could be so interested watching something with Blake Lively in it?
Movie I Had The Lowest Expectations About Which Turned Out To Kinda Suck – “Loving.” It's no commentary on the importance of the story, about the couple at the center of the landmark case that decriminalized interracial marriages in the U.S. It's just the couple was very quiet and boring. That doesn't make for good movie watching.
Guilty Pleasure - Sadly, as last year, it's a sequel to "The Purge" franchise. This time, it was "The Purge: Election Year." I’ll let you think of your own joke.
Best Concept Movie – “Desierto.” The plot is simple: People from Mexico are trying to cross into the U.S. illegally and a vigilante (played by the always-creepily-good Javier Bardem lookalike, Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is unhappy about it. The suspense is intense!
Strangest Movie - This was tough. The documentary about people who have a romantic/sexual attraction to objects was fascinating. So was the documentary about the man in New York City who has spent his life stealing buses and subway trains, just because he loves public transit. (I can relate.) But I'm giving it to “Tickled,” a documentary that had me squirming, cringing and totally riveted.
Young Hottie Award - William Shatner in “Judgment at Nuremberg.” Just another reason to love Canada.
Fierce Fandom Award - Michael Shannon. He was in 10 movies that came out in 2016. I saw seven of them (“Nocturnal Animals,” “Loving,” “Frank & Lola,” “Complete Unknown,” “Midnight Special,” “Elvis & Nixon,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”) and one that came out in 2015 (“The Night Before.”) He's an excellent actor, always great to watch and I'm thrilled he got a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his work in "Nocturnal Animals."
Special Cinematic Shoutout - ESPN's "30 for 30" series. You can find these on Netflix. I watched about a dozen in 2016. The stories transcend any game. I loved the one about the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan feud, which gave a new meaning to the sports term "take a knee."
Top 10 (in no particular order)
The Mask You Live In (doc)
The Wave (foreign)
A Man Called Ove (up for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars)