Thursday, December 15, 2016
FAVORITE MOVIES OF 2016
I see movies. I tell you about the movies. Agree. Don't agree. But one thing we can ALL agree on is: my neighbors are super loud meth addicts. (Unrelated.)
1) LA LA LAND
Ryan Gosling, who plays a jazz pianist and Emma Stone, an aspiring actress star as two hot people trying to make it in this crazy City of Angels. Fun fact: When I was 22 and just off the proverbial bus with my horrifically posed, Texas headshots (one in which I was wearing Palazzo pants,) I met a beautifully poetic jazz pianist! We dated for six months before he got a job on an Alaskan cruise ship and left me for an Inuit woman. I bring this up because I didn't just love La La Land…I lived it! (Except substitute the wacky best friend for the ingénue and change the outcome.) I loved this film, not just because of its homage to Singin' in the Rain (among other 30s/40s/50s musicals) but because it had this strange and perfect mix of hope and melancholy - two words that describe Los Angeles in a nutshell. It kind of lives in this purple (which is smog, by the way) light by which Angelinos are perpetually confused and enamored. And the opening number is the best I've seen in years!
A stunning, gentle story told in three parts about a boy/man from a Miami hood navigating the world and his identity. Fun fact: I was once a boy from a Miami hood. Wait, that's not true. But I really enjoyed this film and highly recommend it. Plus, I just love the word moonlight. Say it. Moon. Light. You can't not feel calm when you utter that. Unless you're, by nature, a highly anxious person. Then you probably need Valium.
A bunny (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) wants to go against "type" and become a cop in the crazy big city. Some think Zootopia is L.A. I think it's New York. Hey, maybe it's my hometown of Waco. No matter where it is, it's delightful. This film is so laugh-out-loud funny, I saw it in the theater twice. It doesn't hurt that one of my favorites, Jason Bateman, voices the sly fox. Good for all ages! (Note: I could have done without the Shakira songs. Let's all calm down with the Shakira business, people. She makes no sense.)
4) HELL OR HIGH WATER
I never thought a shoot-em-up film about bank heists would make my top five. Not because they can't be great films - it's just that I don't tend to enjoy the subject matter. This film proved me wrong. Jeff Bridges, who doesn't do his usual eating-while-talking-while-running-fingers-through-hair thing, is so good, you kinda can't believe it's not a documentary. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are excellent too. Two things make this movie a stand out. One) the dialogue is surprisingly funny. Two) The morality question posed - what will we do to save our family - is a poignant one.
5) LIFE, ANIMATED
This little documentary slipped in right under the radar. A man, who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at an early age, learns to communicate using Disney films. This really happened and the movie is truly inspiring, without being manipulative.