Best Movies of 2016

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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.


This Is a Movie Review: Midnight Special

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Midnight Special

What if a cult’s prediction about a looming apocalyptic happening is correct? Midnight Special humors this premise, while also keeping the vibe mysterious and uncertain. Something will happen on March 6 involving supernaturally powered eight-year-old Alton, but nobody knows just what that something is. (Spoiler: The fact that it remains unknown means both nothing and everything.)

With Alton, his parents, and his dad’s friend on the run from the cult and federal agents, Midnight Special asserts itself as an indelible mix of eye-in-the-sky sci-fi and laconic chase movie. Director Jeff Nichols has earned auteur status; his influences (ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) are unmistakable, but his style is uniquely his own. There are not very many movies in which supernatural powers can be interpreted as meta trope awareness – Alton’s sense that the NSA agent played by Adam Driver (adorably all-business) is the guy he needs to talk to is basically a way of saying, “Okay, let’s move the story along.” There are elements that could make Midnight Special annoying or derivative, but it is so calm and its performances are so lived-in that it instead manages to be welcoming and challenging in a matter-of-fact way.