Josh Kupecki’s Top 10 Films of 2016

American Honey

1) La La Land

Pure, cinematic bliss; it evokes the same feelings as when you heard your favorite band for the first time.

2) Manchester by the Sea

Steeped with tragedy? Perhaps. But what Lonergan achieves here is so much more: an incomparable look at a human soul at wrest.

3) American Honey

Much like the fireworks these kids love to set off, Andrea Arnold's film explodes with a youthful exuberance that's been sorely lacking on the big screen.

4) The Lobster

Metaphors and sci-fi allusions aside, this is one of the most piquant discourses on love put to film.

5) The Handmaiden

Park is a virtuoso at the height of his talents in this sumptuous, romantic sleight of hand.

6) Aquarius

A captivating performance by Sonia Braga and a wonderful love letter to how the spaces we inhabit define us.

7) The Wailing

This South Korean supernatural thriller is a meal with so many disparate elements, it shouldn't work, but it will quickly become your favorite dish.

8) Christine

We will never know why she shot herself on live television, but Rebecca Hall's performance might be the closest we get.

9) Green Room

A brutal, visceral kick in the teeth. The perfect film to watch through your fingers.

10) Captain Fantastic

You had me at leftist survivalist Viggo Mortensen raising his six children in the deep woods of the Pacific Northwest. Viva Chomsky!

Captain Fantastic

Near Misses

High-Rise, Little Sister, Nocturnal Animals, Sing Street, Weiner

Most Overrated

Jackie, Deadpool, Everybody Wants Some!!

Most Underrated

The Shallows, Captain Fantastic, The Nice Guys

Wild Card

Season of the Witch: Two films this year offered widely varied but pitch-perfect depictions of Wiccan women. Robert Eggers' atmospheric 17th century folktale The Witch and Anna Biller's brilliant send-up of Seventies Satanism The Love Witch.

Acting Kudos (Male)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Adam Driver (Paterson), Colin Farrell (The Lobster)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic): It’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing the role of a father of six, raising his children in an elaborate, self-sufficient camp in a remote forest in the Pacific Northwest, curating a litter of free-thinkers and revolutionaries, only to have to venture out into the capitalist, consumerist nightmare of modern society. Mortensen displays fatherly patience, joyful defiance, and an underlying grief that is heartbreaking.

Acting Kudos (Female)

Sonia Braga (Aquarius), Samantha Robinson (The Love Witch), Sasha Lane (American Honey), Rebecca Hall (Christine), Emma Stone (La La Land)

Rebecca Hall (Christine): It is a rare and mesmerizing thing when an actor embodies a character so fully, so completely, that you lose track of reality. Hall plays Christine Chubbock with a kind of electric unease, and it is an indelible sight to behold.

Best Director

Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden), Anna Biller (The Love Witch)

Best Original Screenplay

Andrea Arnold (American Honey), Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou (The Lobster), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Eric Heisserer (Arrival), Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden), Whit Stillman (Love & Friendship)

TV Series/Event:

O.J.: Made in America: While this docuseries minutely dissects the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, it is the grounding of those events (and O.J.'s life) in the backdrop of race in America in the last quarter of the 20th century that makes it required viewing.

Worst Film

Dirty Grandpa: One of our most cherished actors in a role that he should have refused.

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More by Josh Kupecki
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