Salty Popcorn Top 20 Movies of 2016

And so it is another fine movie year draws to a close. I present to you my . This year’s list is purely based on my own viewings and not the collaborative viewing of the Salty team. I wanted this to truly represent where I come from as a movie critic. If I look back on my last ten years as a movie reviewer and/ or critic I can see one thing has become the main focus for my cinematic maturity that is superior to all. I am no longer swayed by special effects and big explosions, big names no longer mean much to me, the one, and single most important element of a movie is STORY STORY STORY.

“If you build it they will come” so heard Mr Costner back in 1989 from FIELD OF DREAMS and for the love of god would the bean-counting producers of the world hear my cry “STORY STORY STORY.” If you build the story good the rest follows. It is at this point in my life that art-house cinema is starting to hold a much higher appeal as is foreign cinema. They have managed to hold a higher interest due to originality and not the incredibly repetitive movies-by-numbers Hollywood steers itself towards.

STATS:

Only five out of the twenty films are commercial movies. Roadshow came out in front as my best distributor for the year with 5/20 films. Entertainment One is right behind them with 4/20 and big love to Madman with 2/20 but it should be noted Madman hold the first and second positions in my list. And added love to Transmission Films with 2/20 also. It should also be noted this is my first TOP 20 that does not have a U.S. movie in the #1 position. Further to this list – if you would like to see our collaborative list for the TOP 20 WORST FILMS OF 2016 click HERE.

CONDITIONS:

Of my list this year the movie had to be something I viewed in a cinema in 2016. Both JACKIE and LION are not releasing until the first couple of weeks of 2017 but I saw them late in the year and they will both be counted towards the Oscars in 2017. These reviews will also be posted in the next few days. Click on the film title above the poster to be taken to the review for said film. Please note that this is by far the hardest Top 20 list I have ever written, the positions have all changed about a million times in the last month as I have been working on them. In the words of Connor MacLeod “There can be only one.”

Special Note Misses: I sadly missed MOANA before the end of the year and another I was desperate to see was LITTLE MEN. I also failed to catch THE NICE GUYS, MOONLIGHT, AMERICAN HONEY and MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. Plus a million more movies so the list is only from what I could see.

Without further ado please appreciate, hate, love, whinge, whine and judge me on my TOP 20 MOVIES OF 2016.

 

20) DEEPWATER HORIZON

My favourite action movie of the year.

Deepwater Horizon Movie Poster image

 

19) WIDE OPEN SKY

Best documentary for the year.

Wide Open Sky movie poster Image

 

18) JACKIE

Best performance of the year. I truly think Portman has the Oscar in the bag for this but I really want Emma Stone to win it for LA LA LAND.

Jackie Movie Poster image

 

17) BOYS IN THE TREES

A film I have supported from am Australian director I adore since before it was written. Love this movie and its star, Toby Wallace.

Boys in the Trees Movie Poster image

 

16) DEPARTURE

Best LGBTI movie of the year – a dark and remarkable story and performance from Lawther.

departure movie poster image

 

15) EDDIE THE EAGLE

One of the best feel good movies of the year. Egerton is superb.

Eddie the Eagle Movie Poster Image

 

14) LA LA LAND

Best old school musical and romance movie of the year. Gosling and Stone have the best chemistry of all time.

La La Land Movie Poster image

 

13) GREEN ROOM

Best violent movie of the year and such a clever art-house movie that demands to be seen even if it is for Anton Yelchin’s last performance or to see Captain Piccard be an evil monster.

Green Room Movie Poster image

 

12) SING STREET

Superb Irish movie that leaves you in an incredibly happy mood. 80s homage at its finest.

Sing Street Movie Poster image

 

11) GOLDSTONE

Australian cop movie and Western of the year. A masterpiece.

Goldstone Movie Poster image

 

10) CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

Can we go with hippy movie of the year? Maybe movie of the year about a family? Or we can just say Viggo and leave it at that.

Captain Fantastic Movie Poster image

 

9) MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

One of the best art-house science fiction movies of all time that needs to be a cult classic.

Midnight Special Mondo Movie Poster image

 

8) ROGUE ONE

Star Wars war movie, enough said.

Rogue One Movie Poster image

 

7) ARRIVAL

The best science fiction of the year and one of the most intelligent science fictions since 2001 (the movie, not the year).

Arrival Movie Poster image

 

6) LION

Australian movie and second most difficult tissue movie of the year. I openly sobbed but they weren’t sad tears.

Lion Movie Poster image

 

5) HELL OR HIGH WATER

Western of the year, a masterpiece of cinema.

Hell or High Water Movie Poster image

 

4) THE WITCH

Haunting, disturbing and phenomenally powerful – and my horror movie of 2016.

the witch australian movie poster image

 

3) LAND OF MINE

A joint Danish/ German movie that destroyed me. The saddest and one of the most brilliant movies of 2016 that has resonated with me since the beginning of the year.

Land of Mine Movie Poster Image

 

2) SWISS ARMY MAN

One of the most original movies ever made. The polar reactions to this film are incredible, it is love it or hate it and for me it was a cerebral magical fart film that is what movies are all about, the imagination. An odd twisted fantasy film that I loved. Also Radcliffe’s best performance since Harry.

Swiss Army Man Movie poster image

 

And drumroll……………..

 

1) HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

Bravo to Ricky Baker and Uncle. I have seen this a couple of times now and it is the best comedy of the year and now my favourite movie of the year. Every time I see a clip, watch the movie again or think about any of the scenes I just giggle. It’s a film with an hysterical story that never took itself serious and while I debated having a more serious, critical movie in the #1 I would be lying to you – I LOVE THIS MOVIE above all others for 2016.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople Movie Poster image

 

YOUR REVIEWER:

 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.