My Own Damn Movie Awards for 2016

Here’s my own damn list of favorites for 2016…

Best Pictures of 2016

  1. Hell or High Water (Best Picture, Best Screenplay)
  2. Arrival (Best Sound)
  3. Moonlight (Best Director)
  4. Moana
  5. The Handmaiden
  6. Manchester by the Sea
  7. Rogue One (Best Visuals)
  8. Captain America: Civil War
  9. Swiss Army Man
  10. The Nice Guys

Notable others include Silence, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, The Edge of Seventeen, Don’t Breathe, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Witch, Nocturnal Animals, and Midnight Special.

Best Actresses of 2016

  1. Amy Adams – Arrival
  2. Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
  3. Kim Tae-Ri – The Handmaiden
  4. Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen
  5. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  6. Anya Taylor-Joy – The Witch
  7. Kim Min-Hee – The Handmaiden
  8. Viola Davis – Fences

Best Actors of 2016

  1. Chris Pine – Hell or High Water
  2. Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
  3. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
  4. Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
  5. Ryan Gosling – The Nice Guys
  6. Andrew Garfield – Silence
  7. Paul Dano – Swiss Army Man
  8. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals

Lots of great flicks this year. I honestly had a hard time getting the list under twenty. Some, though, were incredibly easy to push to the top. Let’s quickly go through some of the best.

The Handmaiden is just this wonderful puzzle box where every 20 minutes after you open a new part, it changes in positively surprising ways. A complex tale, for sure, but laid out in a most entertaining way. Sometimes gross, but always beautiful, it’s a must-see.

Moana starts somewhat procedurally and with typical archetypes, but then flips the script entirely. Everything about this movie makes me giddy. The story, the music, and the visual feast that Disney serves you, along with one mighty girl as the centerpiece, combine to make one of their best animated outtings of all time.

Considering the silence of Moonlight and the subtlety of its main character, Chiron, everything about this film is absolutely deafening. It’s lyrical, as if you’re watching a song. Directed so deliberately, there is just no way to ignore any moment. You will, without a doubt, walk away from the end with hope, smiling ear to ear, and soaked in its generous humanity.

Arrival is a very small, poignant, and touching story told on a very large stage. It’s also an outstanding movie. More importantly, though, it about finding common ground and embracing benevolence while rejecting fear. Sounds like lessons I’d hope we’d all love to master.

Just amazing stories all around, but one did shine brighter than the rest.

Hell or High Water is a contemporary Western, through and through. The horses are cars, the settings are desperate, and the cowboys are dying. Parallels are easily drawn between the past when the white man ripped away the Comanche’s homeland and the present with banks taking away farms, stores, and homes. It is truly a story of the 99 and the 1 and what happens when you put someone in the corner of a tight cage. Those someones, brothers who are wholly portrayed by Chris Pine and Ben Foster, are you anti-heroes and even with all of their flaws, you easily fall in love with them. This is a perfect screenplay about moral complexity, family, and survival. Entirely rich with detail and masterfully implemented, Hell or High Water is the best movie of 2016.

Not today

It’s been 24 hours of processing and, in that time, I’ve run the gamut of emotions. To my own disappointment, it’s mostly been dishearten and anger. I’m not a fun person to be around right now and the people closest to me would definitely agree. I’m sure I’ll have some apologizing to do to them in the next couple of days. It’s just hard.

In the past 24 hours, though, I’ve also discovered one thing I’m very thankful for. I’m thankful that my son is far too young to understand what has been going on. I’m thankful I didn’t have to wake up this morning, make his breakfast, and answer the questions he would inevitably have. Why bullying or belittling anyone isn’t a way to gain respect. Why hating and fearing people who may be different from you are not the values we should encourage or celebrate. Why racial, sexual, and cultural diversity isn’t something we want to run from, limit, or throw walls between. Or why sexual violence against women isn’t something that should be nominalized.

I would jump at the opportunity to answer my son if I needed to, but I’m thankful that won’t happen today and I entirely sympathize with and applaud all of the parents who had to. You’ll always be an example I can learn from. It’s just the people of this country just made it far too hard to justify any of those arguments. I so look forward to guiding my boy, instilling values, and teaching him about basic rights and wrongs. Just not today.

My Own Damn Movie Awards for 2015

Another year, another list of my favorites…

10 Best Pictures of 2015

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Best Picture, Best Sound)
  2. Ex Machina (Best Screenplay)
  3. The Revenant (Best Director, Best Visuals)
  4. Straight Outta Compton
  5. Sicario
  6. Slow West
  7. Brooklyn
  8. It Follows
  9. The Lobster
  10. Mad Max: Fury Road

Notable others include The Hateful Eight, The Martian, Creed, Spotlight, Bridge of Spies, Dope, Room, White God, The Big Short, and Carol.

Best Actress

  1. Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  2. Brie Larson – Room
  3. Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina
  4. Emily Blunt – Sicario
  5. Daisy Ridley – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  6. Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
  7. Rachel Weisz – The Lobster
  8. Rooney Mara – Carol

Best Actor

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  2. Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina
  3. Colin Farrell – The Lobster
  4. Corey Hawkins – Straight Outta Compton
  5. Domhnall Gleeson – Ex Machina
  6. Michael B. Jordan – Creed
  7. Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
  8. Michael Fassbender – Slow West

I thought Ex Machina was the movie to beat for a while, but there were a fair amount of flicks that caught me off guard in 2015. Dope was dope. Creed surprised. The Hateful Eight were a likable bunch. The good kind of strange could be found in The Lobster. Straight Outta Compton was a vital watch that’s full of substance. And every frame of The Revenant was shockingly breathtaking. Only one could come out on top, though.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens may be an obvious choice for anyone who knows me, but that shouldn’t take any weight away from this flick. Movies like this are why I go to the theater. Films are not an escape for me. I watch these to gain a clearer, more focus understanding of reality. They help me explore emotions and trigger thoughts that I might have forgotten about. I can watch movies and relive a joyful moment or reflect on something more critical. The Force Awakens lets me walk in an adult and walk out a child, infused with The Force, and boasting the biggest smile on my face. That’s worth something.

In a greater sense, the story of Star Wars is bigger than any one movie. It’s an event or a celebration. It’s a universe that bridges so many generations and together, now possibly with my own kid, we can explore that galaxy all over again. From my perspective, if a movie is able to do that, it’s a pretty damn good movie.

Grandma

Grandma passed away this week. She had just turned 99. She was always a part of our lives and was loved very much. I know she always told us how lucky she was to have us around, but we were the lucky ones for being able to have her for so very long. She was an awesome Grandma and, even with the small amount of time she had with Luke, was an awesome Great Grandma. My heart is broken and I miss her a lot.

Trip to LA

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Kara is ready for our trip to LA. Just me and the dog will be there tonight through Monday for a friend’s 40th bday and the final regular season Kings game, which is hopefully not their last game this season. Don’t let me down guys. #GoKingsGo