Best Songs of 2016

1 Comment


All songs on this list were released as singles in 2016, or 2015 but didn’t make an impact until 2016.

1. Kiiara – “Gold” – An ingenious production trick wins the top spot. The best music in the world rewires your brain.
2. Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom” – Beyoncé BUSTS out every emotion of the year.
3. Phantogram – “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” – I can feel myself dissolving in the despair.
4. Lady GaGa – “Perfect Illusion” – GaGa’s crying out in beautiful pain.
5. Kanye West – “Fade” – From another dimension.
6. Rag‘n’Bone Man – “Human” – The blues are alive and kicking.
7. Sia – “The Greatest” – Sia’s career is the soundtrack for perseverance.
8. Alessia Cara – “Scars to Your Beautiful” – What could have been an anodyne message piece instead infuses an influx of attitude.
9. Flume ft. Tove Lo – “Say It” – An airy, effervescent blast from 2016’s top DJ.
10. Childish Gambino – “Me and Your Mama” – Where did this burst of neo-P-Funk come from?!
11. Rae Sremmurd ft. Gucci Mane – “Black Beatles” – This sounds like nostalgia and the future.
12. Glass Animals – “Life Itself” – Alternative quirk’s top spot of the year.
13. Bishop Briggs – “River” – I need at least one lady rocker belting it out like this per annum.
14. Beyoncé – “Formation” – The production is so much more adventurous and more mature from Queen Bey than ever before.
15. BANKS – “Gemini Feed” – Icy and boopy, with attitude to spare.
16. Leonard Cohen – “You Want It Darker” – I’m vociferously nodding along to every declaration Mr. Cohen makes.
17. Kaleo – “Way Down We Go” – That title is sort of like musical onomatopoeia.
18. Highly Suspect – “My Name is Human” – These guys from Cape Cod ought to be rocking stadiums to their core.
19. Beck – “Wow” – Beck’s gonna keep uncovering these strange corners in the aural landscape.
20. Kongos – “Take It From Me” – These South African rockers are totally in control.
21. Tove Lo – “Cool Girl” – Tove keeps freaking up the airwaves.
22. A Tribe Called Quest – “We the People” – A necessary anthem.
23. Sia ft. Sean Paul – “Cheap Thrills” – Bounce along when you’re looking for fun.
24. Ariana Grande – “Into You” – Features the year’s most killer opening line
25. Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” – One of those great songs that defy natural analysis.

Best Movie Scenes of 2016

1 Comment


The Oscars were not that long ago, so I guess I better run down the best scenes of 2016.

A lot of great food scenes: dinners in Elle and 20th Century Women, plus the frobscottle feast in The BFG. Also, The Neon Demon stopped by a bar, but I don’t think they ate much.


The 2016 Jeff Malone Academy Awards

Leave a comment


If I were in charge of unilaterally selecting the Oscars, here is who would be recognized. Nominees are listed alphabetically, winners in bold.

Best Picture
Midnight Special
The Neon Demon
The Witch

Best Director
Robert Eggers, The Witch
Pablo Larraín, Jackie
Jeff Nichols, Midnight Special
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Nicolas Winding Refn, The Neon Demon

Lead Actor
Paul Dano, Swiss Army Man
John Goodman, 10 Cloverfield Lane
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals
Sam Neill, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Daniel Radcliffe, Swiss Army Man

Lead Actress
Mackenzie Davis, Always Shine
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch

Supporting Actor
Lucas Dawson, The Witch
Oscar Isaac, X-Men: Apocalypse
Keanu Reeves, The Neon Demon
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
Alex Wolff, Patriots Day

Supporting Actress
Khandi Alexander, Patriots Day
Ellie Grainger, The Witch
Greta Gerwig, Jackie
Alison Sudol, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Lulu Wilson, Ouija: Origin of Evil

Original Screenplay
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, The Lobster
Jeff Nichols, Midnight Special
Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, and Damien Chazelle, 10 Cloverfield Lane
Robert Eggers, The Witch
Jared Bush and Phil Johnston, Zootopia

Adapted Screenplay
Eric Heiserrer, Arrival
Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill, Doctor Strange
Luke Davies, Lion
Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Animated Feature

Bradford Young, Arrival
Stéphane Fontaine, Jackie
Seamus McGarvey, Nocturnal Animals
Flavio Martínez Labiano, The Shallows
Newton Thomas Sigel, X-Men: Apocalypse

Costume Design
Courtney Hoffman, Captain Fantastic
Sang-gyeong Jo, The Handmaiden
Erin Benach, The Neon Demon
Kym Barrett, The Nice Guys
Arianne Phillips, Nocturnal Animals

Film Editing
Joe Walker, Arrival
Michael Aller and Kirk M. Morri, Lights Out
Jennifer Lame, Manchester by the Sea
Joan Sobel, Nocturnal Animals
Louise Ford, The Witch

Makeup and Hairstyling
Doctor Strange
The Neon Demon
Nocturnal Animals
Star Trek: Beyond
X-Men: Apocalypse

Original Score
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Arrival
Michael Giacchino, Doctor Strange
Mica Levi, Jackie
Cliff Martinez, The Neon Demon
Abel Korzeniowski, Nocturnal Animals

Original Song
“Another Day of Sun,” written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, La La Land
“City of Stars,” written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, La La Land
“Drive It Like You Stole It,” written by Gary Clark, Sing Street
“Start a Fire,” written by Justin Hurwitz and John Legend, La La Land
“Waving Goodbye,” written by Sia Furler, The Neon Demon

Production Design
Don’t Breathe
The Handmaiden
La La Land
X-Men: Apocalypse

Sound Editing
Sylvain Bellemare, Arrival
Christopher Bonis, Don’t Breathe
Robert MacKenzie and Andy Wright, Hacksaw Ridge
Matthew Wood, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Alan Robert Murray and Bob Asman, Sully

Sound Mixing
Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye, Arrival
Csaba Major, Don’t Breathe
Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow, La La Land
Scott Harber, Nocturnal Animals
Michael B. Koff, Patriots Day

Visual Effects
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Swiss Army Man
X-Men: Apocalypse

Amanda Knox
I Am Not Your Negro
OJ: Made in America

Animated Short/Documentary Short/Live Action Short
I wish that shorts were more readily viewable theatrically or that these categories be seriously reconsidered.

Foreign Language Film
The Handmaiden
Toni Erdmann

Best TV Episodes of 2016

Leave a comment


Oh hey, guys. If you’re looking for a super awesome televisual playlist that satisfactorily captures 2016, here you go:

1. Atlanta – “Nobody Beats the Biebs”
2. Baskets – “Uncle Dad”
3. BoJack Horseman – “Fish Out of Water”
4. Atlanta – “B.A.N.”
5. The Chris Gethard Show – “One Man’s Trash”
6. Mr. Robot – “m4ster-s1ave.aes”
7. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story – “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”
8. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story – “The Race Card”
9. Black Mirror – “San Junipero”
10. Comedy Bang! Bang! – “Reggie Watts Wears a Purple and Yellow Quilted Sweatshirt”
11. Baskets – “Easter in Bakersfield”
12. Documentary Now! – “Juan Likes Rice and Chicken”
13. The Grinder – “For the People”
14. Man Seeking Woman – “Card”
15. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story – “A Jury in Jail”
16. New Girl – “Landing Gear”
17. Search Party – “The House of Uncanny Truths”
18. RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars – “Revenge of the Queens”
19. Better Call Saul – “Nailed”
20. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – “Kimmy Meets a Celebrity!”

Best Movies of 2016

Leave a comment

CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

This ranking was originally posted on News Cult in December 2016.

Yes, it’s another best movies of the year list, which you are reading perhaps because you know me personally. Or maybe you don’t know me in the flesh, but you follow my writing and want to keep up with my opinions regardless of how much you agree or disagree with them. Or it could be that you have stumbled upon this article by sheer happenstance. In that case, I shall do best to steer you straight.

Is this list more “right” than any other critic’s? It is certainly correct in the sense that it has come from a place of honesty. I feel enthusiastic about these films, and so I have decided to say to the world, “This is my interpretation. Perhaps you will feel the same.”


10. 10 Cloverfield Lane
An anthology-style cinematic universe grows into itself in its second chapter. Mary Elizabeth Winstead finds herself in a bunker under the iron fist of John Goodman, giving the performance of his career. A drum of acid is even scarier than the monsters supposedly outside. Our pulses adapt to the rhythm of the thrills.


Best TV Shows of 2016

Leave a comment

CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

This ranking was originally posted on News Cult in December 2016.

We are at the point in history when we must accept that even those whose job it is to watch TV cannot possibly keep up with all that the medium has to offer. The same thing happened long ago with literature, and we have made our peace with it in such a way that we are still able to make year-end best-of lists of books. Thus the value in continuing to do the same for the boob tube remains.

When other lists feature shows I haven’t been watching, I do not despair over the impossibility of watching everything. Instead, I express gratitude that I will never be bored. And when I include my own obscure and underappreciated selections, I treat those decisions with the utmost responsibility.

10. Rectify (Sundance)
Perhaps the most patient series of the 21st century, Rectify came to an end in 2016. Its conclusion is satisfying, which is unsurprising because it has always been consistently satisfying. The central question of former death row inmate Daniel Holden’s innocence or guilt is basically answered, even though the matter is not directly addressed, because this series is more about examining humanity than anything so simple as “answers.”