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Mark’s Most Remarkable Films of 2016: Zootopia, Arrival & Sausage Party

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It’s time to look back through the movies of 2016 and, awards-show style, pick the most remarkable films in a variety of categories.   A couple rules: only films I’ve reviewed are qualified and only one film can be nominated for each category, for… reasons.  I’ll present you the nominations first, then the winners after, with a runner-up in every category.  See if you can guess.

Scariest

This has not been good a year for scary movies.  It just hasn’t.  The four nominees are pretty much the only thriller/horror films that came out at all.  Too bad really, I was just starting to appreciate the genre.  Still here they are, the nominees for Scariest Film:

Ouija  – for its slow burn, great wind-up and disturbing images

Don’t Breath – for its completely bad-ass blind man antagonist, death trap house and non-stop intensity

The Forest – for its very promising premise and eerie location

The Witch – for its hopelessness and despair and the torture of Puritans

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Funniest

My goodness I love a good comedy.  Humor can be bugger hard to do and there’ve been so many films that have tried and failed.  There have been some funny shows this year, though looking back there weren’t that many, which is too bad.   Many of the 2016 films had funny moments, but few were funny throughout.  These are the nominees for Funniest Film:

Office Christmas Party – for its wonderful cast, hilarious hijinx and intoxicant fueled frenzy just in time for the holidays

Sausage Party – for its crazy over-the-top sex and drug filled adventures of everyday objects

Popstar:  Never Stop Never Stopping – for its unexpectedly acerbic and enthusiastic deconstruction of music industry

Ratchet and Clank – for its silly but consistently funny 8 year old boy humor

Best Looking

2016 was a great year for visual movies.  It seems Hollywood knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that film is a visual medium, which is awesome.  Most of the films listed in this entire article looked good, but these below were what looked the best:

Fantastic  Beasts and Where to Find Them – for its amazing portrayal of imaginary animals and magical historic locations of New York

Warcraft – for its majestic rendering of the World of Warcraft and its characters

Independence Day:  Resurgence – for its amazing sense of scale and phenomenal set pieces

Finding Dory – for its gorgeously colored underwater landscapes and great character design

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Biggest Turd

There were some TERRIBLE films in 2016, it’s too bad that I’ve limited myself to only four entries per category.  I could hate on bad films all day but the thing that makes Biggest Turd is not just the poor quality of the film, it’s the amount of hype that goes into making it look good.  It’s not just that they’re bad, it’s that they raised expectations and then took a big shit on them.  These four were the worst of  the worst:

Norm of the North – for a lackluster, half-assed attempt at a kid’s movie.  Could have been good, animation was great, writing was the pits.

Inferno – for being the long anticipated third in the series that turns out to be boring and completely unconvincing.

Angry Birds –  for an uninspired premise from a video game past its prime, their colors and animation were as good as the writing was bad

The Huntsman:  Winter’s War:  for being vastly long, wasting Chris Hemsworth and putting all the good stuff in the trailer

Most Inaccurate Review

There are times when I get it wrong, usually about 50% if I’m being honest.  Generally I love films more than I ought to (if there’s a handsome man) or else I get caught up on a detail or two and HATE it.  I rely on other people’s feedback on these but these four were pretty blatant. Consider this my confessional:

Morgan – a solid film that didn’t deserve the mean things I said about it.  I didn’t like it, but it was much better than I let on.

Gods of Egypt – I loved watching this film, there were shirtless men and bright CGI colors.  This movie was trash of the most unwatchable sort but I ate it up.

Zoolander 2 – I wanted to like this film SO BAD because I loved the first one so much.  I loved it at the time but every time I remembered it, I liked it less and less.

Daddy’s Home – Mark Wahlberg can make anything watchable (koff koff Transformers: Age of Extinction).  I sat rapt watching this film, especially the garage exercise scene and I reviewed it with all the love in my heart.  I still remember it fondly but I’m assured it was a TERRIBLE film.

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Hottest Man

Sex sells.  And there just aren’t enough gorgeous men in film, but there definitely were some.  I love that and believe that sexy men are worthy of awards just for being them.   Every film in this category is a winner, but one must win.  Here are the sexiest films of 2016:

Assassin’s Creed – for shirtless Michael Fassbender though the entire second half

The Legend of Tarzan – for nearly naked Alexander Skarsgard throughout the film.

 Suicide Squad –  for Jay Hernandez as the breathtaking Diablo and also Jared Leto for making the Joker a deeply troubling character for me

Ghostbusters – for Chris Hemsworth as the ditsy male secretary who had pictures of saxophones.  The sexy dance at the end was worth the price of admission.

Best Animated

Okay full disclosure here, there were some amazing animated films this year and I didn’t want to decide between those and the live-action films that were also amazing.  I was sad to limit my nominations to only four as 2016 was an absolutely stellar year for animated movies:

Zootopia – for its terrific storytelling, carefully thought out world and truly likable characters

Moana – for its energetic and charismatic portrayal of interesting characters in an underrepresented mythology

Kubo and the Two Strings – for its unexpectedly gorgeous design, solid writing and originality

Kung Fu Panda 3 – for its funny dialogue, stunning color design and heartwarming relationships

Young Moana interacting with the Ocean.

Best Live Action

I’ve saved the best for last.  Live action movies have been off-the-charts.  There were so many movies I could have nominated and it’s been a treat to watch all of them.  Here are the nominees for the absolute BEST (live-action) films of 2016:

Arrival – for its suspense, beautiful design and intelligent plot.

Rogue One – for its perfect execution of a movie made for the world’s most unpleasable fanbase

10 Cloverfield Lane – for its nail-biting intensity, brilliant plotting unforgettable characters

Hardcore Henry – for its high paced, frenetic and above all unique style, the first of a genre

… and the WINNERS…..

For Scariest Picture:   The Witch.  

1452614308-the-witch-trailerOf course it was.  No contest.  It was the only legitimately scary movie this year and it Did. Not. Let. Up.   I will never forget Black Phillip and the possession scene was insane.   Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

Runner up:  Ouija, I guess.  It had a disturbing image or two.  Like I said, bad year for scary films.

For Funniest Picture:  Sausage Party

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This movie was so funny throughout.  And imaginative.  And dark.  I love gallows humor and the existential joke on this was wonderful.  Also, The Douche makes me laugh to this day.

Runner Up:  Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.  It was a very funny and clever film, you should watch it.

For Best Looking Picture:  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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The world was so detailed and believable.  The Fantastic Beasts were absolutely incredible.  This film had a richness of imagery that few do.

Runner up:  Warcraft, for its rendition of Azeroth which I found wonderful to behold.

For Biggest Turd:   The Huntsman: Winter’s War

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It might not have been the worst film this year but it was certainly close.  Huntsman wins because of the sheer unadulterated letdown it gave me.  I can’t remember the last time a trailer was so misleading.  

Runner Up:  Angry Birds.  Much less of a letdown but without question the worst film of the year.  You ought to be ashamed, Sony Pictures.

For Most Inaccurate Review:   Gods Of Egypt.

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Holy crap was I ever wrong about that one.  Just goes to show the power a shirtless man and some CGI has over me, I will watch it every time.  To everyone who saw this film on my recommendation, I am truly sorry.

Runner Up:  Daddy’s Home.   I can’t even watch that again, even WITH Mark Wahlberg.  Maybe if they released an edition where he NEVER wore a shirt….

Hottest Man:  Alexander Skarsgard in Legend of Tarzan.

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It’s not enough to have it, you have to show it.  And Mr. Skarsgard does both.  Apparently the CGI gorillas were terrible but I didn’t notice because I was busy looking at Tarzan whenever they were on the screen.  10/10 would watch again.

Runner up – Ghostbusters, because it’s also a good film.  I prefer ‘playing saxophone’ to ‘listening to saxophone’.

Best Animated Picture:  Zootopia.

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I loved this film.  It was such a lavish and carefully thought out world.  The plot was funny, the characters had such chemistry and I loved the design.  This was an incredibly hard one to pick over the others but it had to be done.  Zootopia wins.

Runner Up:  Kung Fu Panda 3.  Gorgeous and well written, I could not believe how good this was, especially seeing that it was the third in a series.

Best Live Action Picture:  Arrival.  

arrival-2016-uk-trailer-newI just can’t stop thinking about it.  I loved the Aliens and their amazing language.  I loved what happened and the way the story unfolds.  This movie more than any other has stayed with me longer than it could be expected to.

Runner up:  10 Cloverfield Lane.  What an amazing film, I would recommend it to anyone.  

Some Honorable Mentions:

There were some amazing movies I saw but was too lazy/busy to review.

Dr Strange – would have been runner of for Best Looking Picture.  I loved it so much I saw it twice in theaters and I want to go again.  That film has revitalized a genre.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople  – would have won Funniest Picture hands down.  It’s well written, well acted and there was one part I laughed so hard I was actually worried I’d pass out.  It still cracks me up.

Well that’s 2016 as I saw it.  Hope you enjoyed and I wonder if you agree?   Stay tuned for my upcoming Most Anticipated Films of 2017.