The 10 Best Movies (I Watched) in 2016

junglebook2016It’s Oscar season, which means there’s a metric ton of movies — probably good ones — that came out at the tail end of 2016 I didn’t get the chance to see. (Arrival, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Hacksaw Ridge, etc.)

But I did my best. What follows is the definitive list of the 10 movies that came out in 2016 that I watched with my entire face and accompanying brain, ranked objectively by goodness.

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Rogue One is Something Special


About halfway through Rogue One, I found myself taking a mental tally, going over the characters I’d met, the events that had already unfolded and the threads and arcs that had been set up, and wondering, flatly, whether or not I loved the film or merely liked it to that point.

While that may seem like a criticism on the surface, it’s really just a testament to the sort of layered, multifaceted film Gareth Edwards has given us here.

Halfway through this movie, I stopped seeing the characters as heroes on the page or screen and started reacting to them emotionally as if they were people – real people I was witnessing endure in the face of overwhelming odds. Despite the film’s flaws — and there are some — it is the characters who push this entry in the Star Wars canon from simply good into the realm of great.

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Why Kole and Linn Don’t, You Know, Bang


I’ve come across numerous threads — on reddit and beyond — wherein readers have asked fellow Fantasy fans to recommend series either with or (usually) without gratuitous amounts of romance, or, for lack of a better term (and because it’s funnier) banging.

Naturally, this caused me to sit back and wonder where Valley of Embers fit on the scale of romance-full to romance-less, and everything that comes along with that. I realized pretty quickly that Embers is fairly romance-less, and I thought it was strange that I had to think about it for more than an instant in the first place, seeing as I wrote the damn thing.

So, after some thinking, allow me to try to explain why my two co-leads (a man and a woman) do not become romantically involved in the core narrative of the story.

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That Movie You Like That Made a Ton of Money Is a Failure: Here’s Why


I kind of hated Suicide Squad. 

So, that’s a little something about me and my movie tastes, but it’s beside the point. The merciless critic bashing on the new run of DC movies—particularly Batman v. Superman and the aforementioned Squad—and the misguided fan backlash toward said critics has really started to grate on me for one reason above all others: audiences have no idea what makes a movie successful, and they have no idea what constitutes a cinematic failure.

In brief, I’m going to try to explain why that movie you may have liked—but which, contrary to various ill-advised petitions—was not well-liked by the majority, is being called a failure even as it rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars.

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