Top 10 Movies of 2016

The Chronicle film staff's overall winners of the year


La La Land

It's always a scramble, these end-of-year things that people love to argue over: an attempt to distill a year in cinema to lists. I've long loathed the task, and I especially began to hate it this year, when my short list grew longer and longer, and there were a dozen films I hadn't even seen yet. But a conversation with senior film critic (and my mentor) Marjorie Baumgarten turned me around. "It's just a moment in time," she said, "take it with a grain of salt, and move on. Life's too short."

Marge knows how to cut to the quick, as amply evidenced in her body of work here at the Chronicle. Her astute analysis and beautifully written reviews were a template on how I structured my own. But it takes a village, as they say. Steve Davis' gift for transforming a bad film into a hilarious review showed me that there is a silver lining to even the most wretched assignments. Marc Savlov's turn of phrase and encyclopedic knowledge of (mostly) everything spurred me to do the research. Kimberley Jones' acerbic wit and clear, unique voice, helped me find my own. I love being a part of this pentagrammic cadre, and really proud of our cumulative list below. But I'm particularly delighted with the individual lists, as I can see everyone's personalities coming through loud and clear in the choices they've made. It might have not been a great year for other things, but it was a stellar year for movies. We've made these lists, and now we move on, inexorably but optimistically, to the future.

The Austin Chronicle's Top 10 Films of 2016

1) La La Land

2) Moonlight

3) TIE: The Handmaiden
Manchester by the Sea

5) American Honey

6) Tower

7) The Lobster

8) TIE: Green Room
Aquarius

10) Captain Fantastic

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Top 10s
Robert Faires' Top 10 (+1) Theatre Riches of 2017
Robert Faires' Top 10 (+1) Theatre Riches of 2017
From monsters to mountains, wolves to wild horses, the year came alive with figures boldly created onstage

Robert Faires, Dec. 29, 2017

Robert Faires' Top 10 Dance and Classical Treasures of 2017
Robert Faires' Top 10 Dance and Classical Treasures of 2017
Much outstanding new dance and music this year took its cue from the world around us and pressing social issues

Robert Faires, Dec. 29, 2017

More by Josh Kupecki
Don't Leave Home
A strange trip to the Emerald Isle

Sept. 14, 2018

The Predator
The Predator needs an editor

Sept. 14, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10s, La La Land, Moonlight, The Handmaiden, Manchester by the Sea, American Honey, Tower, The Lobster, Green Room, Aquarius, Captain Fantastic

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle