I cried during at least seven movies in 2016...
by David Davila (some dude that loves movies)
There were seven different times when I saw a movie in 2016 and thought "Damn that's gonna win best picture!" Seven different times! There were also seven different times that I cried in the movie theatre like a little baby. Those two sets of seven have some overlap, and with that in mind it was pretty hard for me to put these wonderful movies in any kind of "best of" order this year. Sooooo for the first time EVER... I'm not putting them in order...
WATCH THESE MOVIES... CAUSE THEY'RE THE BEST OF 2016:
La La Land: Here's to the dreamers who dream. The story of "the one that got away" is one that hits very close to home to me, as does the inevitable question of "when is it time to give up on your dreams?" Those themes are strong in La La Land, as is the set design, cinematography, story-telling, and marvelous performances. In the final scene when fantasy and reality finally come face to face... I sobbed uncontrollably. I cried even more the second time. Bravo! La La Land is a masterpiece that will be celebrated for the next hundred years.
Moonlight: I've never seen a movie like Moonlight in my life. Something so specific, yet so true to real life that everyone can identify with it. A three part story that examines a man in three very pivotal moments that changed the course of his life, Moonlight succeeds where many stories fail, in the honesty of life's unexpected moments.
20th Century Women: A fifty-five year old woman must contemplate what it means to be a man in order to save her son from himself. The take away being that there are a lot of feeling that a man will feel during this life, and strength is what it takes to endure those feelings. I was bawling as the credits rolled. This is the only movie I was rooting for for Best Picture that did not get a nomination unfortunately. It deserved one, and both Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig were snubbed as well!
Manchester by the Sea: A reclusive, and easily agitated man must return to his hometown to take care of his nephew when his brother dies. It's terribly sad... and that's just the first ten minutes. Would you believe me if I said that it gets worse and worse and worse from there? This is the saddest movie I've seen in probably twenty years and I cried for a good third of the movie and spent a week in a deep depression afterwards. The celebrated playwright, Kenneth Lonergan uses film to go to places that the theatre does not allow him to go. It's astonishing, breath-taking, and tragic.
Arrival: If you knew how your life would end would you live it anyway? The "If/Then" question at the center of this sci-fi art-house hybrid is one that we all ponder in our lives. Amy Adams is remarkable, as is everything about this film, from beginning to end and back again. Yes... I cried like a baby... again.
Hell or High Water: Two brothers decide to rob some small town banks in the ultimate act of revenge imaginable. This is as much a movie about West Texas small town life after big corporations sucked the money out of main street, as it is about what it takes to join the predator class and get rich in America.
Hidden Figures: A wonderful, feel-good, female-empowering true story about the women who helped get a man into outer space. I laughed, I cried, and I cheered! This is a movie we'll be watching over and over every time it plays on cable for the rest of our lives.
Sing Street: If you wanna do something in life just do it. That's the idea behind this Irish film in the great tradition of Once and The Commitments, this movie takes a bunch of low-down underdogs and turns them into rock gods!
Birth of a Nation: A retelling of the historic slave uprising of Nate Turner and company. The movie succeeds at drawing direct comparisons to current trends in police brutality that make one realize that the time of slavery is not as far away as one would like to imagine. Of course I cried in this one too.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The only blockbuster on my list, Fantastic Beasts took me on a journey that I did not expect. What a wonderful movie about saving the planet and stopping hatred. This is the type of movie we all need in our lives right now. Furthermore, this screenplay was written by J.K. Rowling herself, which makes me wish the studios had let her write all of the previous films.