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Old 02-25-2017, 12:21 PM   #1
Fartacus
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Default The Best Movies of 2016, sez Fartacus

I wanted to see The Lobster, but never could track it down. So, here tis, the list from the year that included the screaming highs of Peyton Manning going out with a Super Bowl win and the Cubs (THE CUBS!) winning the World Series to the shattering lows of the 2016 election and the demise of my good girl, Sophie:


1) OJ: Made in America Having just come off watching the miniseries of The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story (and loving it… especially John Travolta’s loopy portrayal of Robert Shapiro… all chin, fragile ego, smarm, and pout), this was a tremendous, well-considered, thorough documentary of 1) how OJ became The Juice with white America’s blessings (but with stipulations) 2) how The Juice wouldn’t taint his brand by being involved in “black” causes, 3) how the LAPD were in a 20+ year war with the black community and public perception, 4) how the case became a referendum on race and the LAPD, 5) how the black community (and the jury) embraced OJ, and 6) how OJ embraced the thug life image after the trials. Motive for the murders is a bit murky, but enough is there to not detract from the documentary. The one who comes across as the biggest creep is Carl Douglas, the Johnny Cochran acolyte, who laughs and brags about the trickery used by the defense to get a murderer off. Bastards like that are one of the main reasons I turned down law school.

2) Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead The rise and fall of the National Lampoon. It is as much Doug Kenney’s story as the magazine’s and his brilliance and tragedy are both on display. In high school and college my goal was to write for the National Lampoon, but I guess I didn’t realize the heyday was over by then. But I can trace the coming of age (so to speak) of my sense of humor there: the magazine, the Radio Hour, the movies (Animal House and Caddyshack), my comedy heroes (Belushi, Michael O’Donoghue, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis), and the original Saturday Night Live.

3) Arrival This is one of those movies that I knew I had to see from the second I saw the trailer. It was a more melancholy, thoughtful, cerebral film than I anticipated. The importance of the process of communication was really highlighted and, now, more than ever, blah de blah de blah…, but really – now more than ever the process of communication, intent, meaning, and information-sharing is needed. Plus, my second viewing hit me right after I had to put down my beloved Sophie and it made me ask myself the question: if I knew the painful outcome, would I still have brought her into my life? Absolutely, positively yes.

4) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story I’m reminded of Skyfall, where an old franchise gets a fresh perspective, without all the baggage (that The Force Awakens had to carry). It’s not as cartoony or as old-timey serial-like as the others and (even though that was the charm of the originals), it’s nice to see a more grown up version of the Star Wars universe. I think it’s certainly the best Star Wars movie since Episodes 4 & 5.

5) Nocturnal Animals David Lynchian noir with terrific performances by Michael Shannon and Aaron-Taylor Johnson, who are both menacing as all hell.

6) Hell or High Water A contemporary American Western that manages to tie in smart commentary about the 2008 banking crisis. A good crime movie needs a great bad guy and Ben Foster is just that – charismatic, a bit unhinged, loyal, and dangerous.

7) La La Land If it weren’t for the last few minutes of this film, it could have been my number one. With the exception of the opening number, which looked ad sounded like a fucking Mentos commercial, I was totally buying into its old fashioned Hollywood musical feel-goodery (even giving them a break on how weak some of the music was), just because, goddamnit, they were going to end up together and I was going to feel a gooey, fulfilled endorphin rush. I NEEDED that ending. And then came the ruined orgasm of an ending. I went from liking this movie, to hating it. Then I went to LOVING it (oh, they tricked me! LOL! Yay! What a wonderful movie!!). And then I went to “you gotta be fucking kidding me.” I expected, and deserved, a 13 Going On 30 ending, not a goddamn Brazil ending. That being said, the cinematography was glorious and everything about Emma Stone was magical.

8) Kubo and the Two Strings This is a movie that, from the trailer, I thought, “no thank you. I don’t need Matthew McConaughey drawling his way through a samurai role.” But it was much, much better than I expected. It was full of messages of empathy, kindness, and forgiveness told with sincerity and love, in a visually imaginative and stunning way. And Charlize Theron does wonderful voice work in this.

9) Deadpool The best comedy of the year.

10) Manchester By The Sea A morose, somber movie for a morose, somber year.


Upper class:
The Nice Guys Funny stuff.
Moonlight Mahershala Ali does a wonderful job as the fatherly drug lord figure.
Zootopia Bit preachy at times, but worthwhile.
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World Werner Herzog contemplates the rise of the internet and how we will all suffer.
Captain Fantastic A sad, funny movie about Viggo Mortensen raising his kids off the grid and trying to steal his wife’s corpse.
10 Cloverfield Lane For John Goodman’s creepy prepper who is passionate about board games.
The Girl On The Train Gotta admit, two of the main characters looked so much alike, I had trouble figuring out which was which, but aside from that, a solid thriller.

Middle Class:
31 For the Chilean Nazi murder dwarf. Rob Zombie films are my secret shame.
Jungle Book For the amazing special effects.
Keanu Just for a little more Key and Peele since the tv show ended.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Not for Eddie Redmayne’s mumbled, unintelligible dialog delivery, but for the sweet characters created by Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol.
Finding Dory Vastly inferior to Finding Nemo, which is one of my all-time favorite movies, but I remain loyal to the characters I love.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates The first half was very funny. The last half, not nearly as much. I did enjoy Aubrey Plaza giving a handjob to a lesbian in a sauna for concert tickets, though.
Hacksaw Ridge I told myself I wasn’t going to put a dime in Mel Gibson’s pocket, but I rented it anyhow. As a Quaker, I dug the story and the message, even though it was done in the usual heavy-handed martyrish Gibson style. The best parts were before the war and

Lower Class:
Everybody Wants Some Dazed and Confused goes to college. Meh.
Neighbors 2 Came for the giggity of Chloe Grace Moretz in a bikini, but ended up feeling creepy about it.
Suicide Squad Came for the giggity of Margot Robbie in hotpants and wasn’t disappointed. The rest of the movie was a steaming hot mess.
Captain America Civil War Who are all these goddamn superheroes? I needed a reference guide. And it’s 1,2,3,4… I don’t know what they were fighting for.

No Class
Office Christmas Party Biggest disappointment of the year. I even dragged my wife to this, saying, “It’ll be like Animal House, only at an office.” It was not. Even. It did contain one hilarious pratfall, but that was it. Too much maudlin shit about daddy issues



Favorite Actor
• Ben Foster, Hell or High Water
• Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
• Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool*
• John Goodman, 10 Cloverfield Lane
• Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
• Aaron-Taylor Johnson, Nocturnal Animals


Favorite Actress

• Emma Stone, La La Land
• Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train
• Amy Adams, Arrival
• Charlize Theron, Kubo and the Two Strings
• Michelle Williams, Manchester By The Sea


Movie Crush
• Alison Sudol, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them



Me-ow.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:27 PM   #2
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With the exception of Deadpool, I found 2016's movies less than memorable. TV is where it's at right now. Can't keep up.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rb. View Post
With the exception of Deadpool, I found 2016's movies less than memorable. TV is where it's at right now. Can't keep up.
You're absolutely right. Even though nominated for an Oscar because of a limited theater showing, OJ: Made In America was actually a 5 (?) part television documentary. And it beat the heck out of anything I saw in theaters.

The National Lampoon documentary was on Netflix. Not sure if it ever was in a theater.

I'm more excited about the Joan Crawford/Bette Davis short series coming up, the Archer noir season, and another season of Fargo than anything coming to theaters.

Although... that King Kong movie coming soon has the 9-year-old Fartlett in me doing a pee-pee dance of anticipation, if for nothing else, Tom Hiddleston taking on a giant water buffalo.



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Old 02-26-2017, 12:22 AM   #4
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Great list.

OJ: Made in America was brilliant, with several great performances. It was the first miniseries we've watched in many years.


Yes, you missed out by not seeing The Lobster--it was bizarre, but an interesting dystopia. (Warning as there is one implied but graphic animal abuse scene). Rent it when you can.

Should-see films from 2016:
1) Arrival
2) Nocturnal Animals
3) Hacksaw Ridge
4) Manchester by the Sea
5) Hidden Figures
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Old 02-26-2017, 12:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
I'm more excited about the Joan Crawford/Bette Davis short series coming up, the Archer noir season, and another season of Fargo than anything coming to theaters.
Mmhmm. Bette and Joan is sitting in my future recordings list for one week from tomorrow.
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Old 02-26-2017, 07:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dano View Post
Great list.

OJ: Made in America was brilliant, with several great performances. It was the first miniseries we've watched in many years.

I think you're thinking of the tv miniseries American Crime: The People vs OJ Simpson, which was the best tv series of the year, imo.

This is the 5-part documentary that is nominated for best documentary. MUCH more in-depth than the miniseries.
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Old 02-27-2017, 02:41 AM   #7
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Yep, you're right, I was referring to the Television show. The documentary won the Oscar.
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:06 AM   #8
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I don't get out to see a lot of films so most of the ones mentioned above are only names to me.

We did just watch Hidden Figures which I enjoyed a lot. The director took a number of historical liberties, but I enjoyed it just the same. Enough so that I bought the book as well.

Fantastic Beasts we enjoyed. I'd have liked it much better had it started as a novel first then a film, but I'll take what I can get. My only real complaint with it is that Rowling has a perspective of the way that Americans would behave that I find to be a bit off-kilter. Still good though. Newt Scamander was *supposed* to mumble. That is a part of his personality.

I personally enjoyed Rogue One more so than the last four films in the Star Wars franchise. I thought they were much closer to the feel of the original 1977 film.

I want to see Arrival, particularly with my wife who has had graduate level linguistics education. It looks interesting. Couldn't work it out to see it in the theater at the time.
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:06 AM   #9
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Hated the cock-up at the Oscars, but La La Land, that's what yo get for that fake-out ending.




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