Now after last year’s pretty standard list of ‘Top 10 Favourite Movies’, I decided to take a step back in 2016, observe the situation, and realise that way of listing is incredibly boring. So, for my awards in 2016 I’ve decided to go the non-traditional route of making up my own categories, my own winners, and generally make this a little more interesting.
But first the boring stuff:
Top 10 Favourite Movies of 2016
And now onto the real awards. I’ve named each category after the episode title of a few specific TV series (won’t be hard to guess which), and each corresponds to something about movies in 2016. Usual disclaimer, there are still plenty of movies, particularly Oscar films, that I need to catch up on so these awards may alter somewhat in the future once I’m satisfied that I’ve seen everything worthwhile in 2016. Now without further ado, welcome to the first annual Batsie awards!
Meaning: The winner of Catwalk simply loves to flaunt their stuff. Basically the most beautiful film of the year and knows it.
And the Winner is: Kubo and the Two Strings. Part CGI, part stop-motion, but all stupidly beautiful, Kubo is what happens when Laika basically throws everything they have into a distinct style, ensuring that every single frame is a water-painting of stunning art and imagery. As good as Kung Fu Panda 3 ‘s cultural animation and La La Land‘s cinematography was, it just can’t come close to the clearly the most beautiful film of 2016.
Meaning: After a crushing career low, or dropping the career completely, the winner of Second Chance has proven that they can come back, better than ever and prove that they’ve still got what it takes.
And the Winner is: Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge. After spending 10 years away from the director’s chair, the controversial Mel Gibson has returned to direct one hell of a war movie. Granted, what he said to derail his career in the past should not be forgotten so quickly, but based purely on directing talent, Gibson proved comfortably that he still has it.
Meaning: For many directors, they don’t enter into the public eye until that one big film that gets everyone talking and finally interested in their filmography. Really should be called Post-Underdwellers, but this winner is that person in 2016 who piqued my interest strong enough to consider their previous works.
And the Winner is: David Mackenzie for Hell or High Water. Mackenzie had directed eight films before I finally even heard of one of them – and for that to be six-time Oscar nominated Hell or High Water, that’s quite an entrance. Considering the complete confidence and assurance he directs that movie, I’ve become highly invested in making my way back through his filmography to hopefully find a few hidden gems that live up to this stellar reveal.
Fear of Victory
Meaning: The winner of Fear of Victory is that one film that tried so damn hard to be awesome, but unfortunately had to stumble at the last hurdle. Not a mess, but far from what it should be.
And the Winner is: Batman: The Killing Joke. An animated adaption of one of Batman’s most revered stories with the vocal chords of Conroy and Hamill behind it? How the hell did this get so badly screwed up?! While the second half is a faithful recreation of the comic pages, the creative minds that be felt it necessary to tack on an incredibly unnecessary and poorly conceived first half hour that drags the entire movie down from the heights it could have reached to being simply OK. And that’s not OK.
Meaning: A director who has ascended is one that has elevated themselves from being either good or great to something else entirely. That director who you may have enjoyed their earlier films, but the latest was finally the one that blew you away.
And the Winner is: Denis Villeneuve for Arrival. I’d seen a solid amount of Villeneuve’s filmography before Arrival – I really liked Sicario, thought Prisoners was great, and was mildly intrigued by Enemy. That being said, none of that could prepare me for the fantastic trip that Arrival took me on. It was the film that elevated Villeneuve from a director I was just passingly interested in to a permanent must-watch fixture going forward.
Meaning: Disappearing Inque is to honour that one bloody amazing movie each year that nobody saw. Honestly I could give this a whole list on its own, but there’s always one each year that you wished would’ve had the legs at the cinemas it deserved.
And the Winner is: The Nice Guys. After making a paltry $36 million, its looking increasingly unlikely that this is going to be the new Lethal Weapon it so desperately wants to be. And that’s a damn shame (Black), because this movie is not only one of the funniest films of the year, but also does for 80s buddy cop movies what La La Land does for classic musicals. And both star Ryan Gosling. Coincidence?
Meaning: The Lost Soul award is dedicated to the ones who lost their way in 2016. Whether that be through bad decisions, iffy performances or bad directing gigs, this is to commemorate and support the one person who really needs to lift their game going into 2017.
And the Winner is: Ben Affleck for Batman V Superman (and apparently Live By Night). From Oscar-winning director to the star of one of 2016’s most disappointing pieces of crap in just a few years, Batfleck has not had a good year. The ‘sad Ben Affleck’ meme is enough to prove that, but couple it with apparently the first miss of his directing career in Live By Night as well as how poorly its performed at the box office, and you have one of the roughest years of his career since Gigli. The guy deserves better.
Meaning: That one guy who’s streak has just continued into the stratosphere with no sign of stopping. No problems, no stumbles, the winner of the Untouchable award has never broken their streak and 2016 was no different.
And the Winner is: Damien Chazelle for La La Land. Clearly not content to make one of my favourite movies of this decade, Chazelle selfishly decided to make another in this inevitable Best-Picture winning masterpiece. If he’s really as talented as he appears, I doubt we won’t be seeing the end of Mr Chazelle any time soon.
Ace in the hole
Meaning: Ace in the hole exists to support the often overlooked part of movie making. The one critical element that can make or break a film, but also the aspect that so few people consider: the score. The winner of Ace is the movie that delivered the most emotional, imaginative and catchiest score of the year.
And the Winner is: Andy Hull and Robert McDowell for Swiss Army Man. One of the few scores that I thought was so good that I dedicated an entire paragraph to it in my review, Hull and McDowell managed to create something that not only supported the weirdness that is the movie itself, but also stands completely on its own as a unique and inventive original score. Using a mixture of voices and drums, everything from their rendition of the Jurassic Park theme to a song called ‘Montage’ that literally sings about a montage, its a gloriously offbeat and eclectic score for an incredibly offbeat and eclectic movie.
Meaning: Ah, the blockbuster. The backbone of Hollywood movie-making, these movies have big budgets and big prospects to absorb their audience into a different fantastical world, and take them on an adventure. The winner of Joyride is a big-budget movie that I had the most fun in all year. Didn’t need to think, didn’t need to study the cinematography – all I needed to do was let go and be taken on a ride.
And the Winner is: Deadpool. Honestly, how could it be anything else. While it may not have been the biggest-budget blockbuster for 2016, it was easily the one I had the most fun in. Opening night, in a sold out IMAX screen surrounded by Deadpool fans was the absolute perfect location to just fall straight into this hilarious anti-hero movie. Three more viewings later, and its still one of the funniest and most entertaining movies in recent years. Hell f@cking yes.
Meaning: That one thing that just had to taint 2016 with bitter disappointment. Kept bursting its ugly head through to remind everyone that not every movie can be La La Land or Deadpool. Only applicable if its someone/something that’s pissed me off more than once in one year.
And the Winner is: The DCEU. What other franchise delivered not one but two stinkers this year? From the concrete milkshake of Batman V Superman to the almost broken Suicide Squad (which is now a *gag* Oscar nominated piece of sh*t), DC’s desperate attempt to catch up to Marvel painfully backfired in their face, and into the wallets everyone who made both these films around $800 million hits. As a genuinely huge DC fan (particularly of Batman, obviously), such a disappointing performance was a huge kick where it hurts. Please, oh god please, let 2017 be better than 2016.
What is reality?
Meaning: In honour of one of my personal favourite subgenres, the Puzzle film, What is reality? seeks to recognise the single biggest mind-screw of the year. Whether it be from an amazing twist, fascinating concepts or purely through a film’s structure, What is reality? is presented to that one special movie that blows my hair back and makes me pull out a Matrix ‘woah’.
And the Winner is: Arrival. While I’ll try to refrain from spoilers here, lets just say the direction Arrival takes in its final act and all the questions that direction presents really blew my mind. Not only is it beautifully seeded throughout the film (third time in and I was still picking up new hints), but the ideas and themes the movie tackles not only makes it an incredible think-piece, but gives you that feeling of awe in seeing a perfectly executed twist pay off.
Meaning: Mad Love is dedicated for that one movie that I seemed to fall in love with that no-one else did. Due to the extremely subjective nature of film critique, these come along occasionally, but Mad Love is especially for that film that sucked me into a trance, had me hooked on every word, and had all my friends just going ‘meh’.
And the Winner is: Swiss Army Man. Damn, I love this movie. After seeing it twice in the cinema within a week, I was gushing its praises to everyone I met, only for all the friends I saw it with simply to go ‘eh, it was alright’. Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse is not just alright. Its bloody amazing.
Meaning: That person who showed up, did something solid, and made me realise ‘hey, they still exist’. Maybe they’ve gone away for a while, or I simply hadn’t encountered them again until this year, but The Forgotten is dedicated to those who managed to creep back into my thoughts after time away from the spotlight.
And the Winner is: Ben Foster for Hell or High Water. My first thought when seeing the guy on the poster was, ‘hey, its that guy from… uh…’ The thought escaped me at the time, but I later realised I hadn’t seen ol’ Ben in a movie since X-Men: The Last Stand as Angel. Sure, he’s been in plenty since, but the bloke just managed to stay off my radar until he delivered a fantastic pseudo-deranged performance in High Water. So good job Ben. You’re worth thinking about again.
I am the night
Meaning: Its pretty simple. What was the best Batman movie of 2016? There were more to choose from than people may think.
And the Winner is: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. While Batsy may have appeared in two blockbusters this year, neither were any good so as usual the animated side of DC had to step up to deliver a Batman movie that was actually worth rooting for. And surprise, the Batman they delivered was the surfin’, shark-repellin’ campy Bats of the 1960s. Never seeing the show itself, I was amazed at how ridiculously entertaining this tale of two talented teammates turned out to be. Good job Adam West. 50 years after you stopped being Batman, you were in a better movie than current Batman.
Almost got ‘im
Meaning: Almost got ‘im is for that movie that was almost my favourite film of 2016. May have held the mantle for a period of time, only to be snubbed out at the last minute, Almost Got ‘im still commemorates an amazing movie, but one that was so close to being my favourite.
And the Winner is: Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Ever since I saw this film (twice) in May, it held the top spot on my list as the months rolled on. As the new year arrived, it still stood proudly as my favourite film of the year. That is, until I began to catch on the Oscar films I missed in mid-Janurary, and sadly Wilderpeople‘s pole position was taken by one special film. And that leads me to my final Batsie…
The Winning Edge
Meaning: Simply put, my #1 favourite movie of 2016. Its that simple.
And the Winner is: La La Land. Won’t be a shock to anyone paying attention, but while Wilderpeople captured my heart, La La Land captured my imagination. There was no such film this year that obsessed me so, hit the highest heights and just made me fall head over heels in love with it than La La Land did in 2016. And for that, I have to award it the Batsie for The Winning Edge, as my favourite film of 2016.
And that was my first annual Batsie awards! Filled with flops, surprises, shocks and joy, 2016 was a hell of a year and may stand out as the most highly contrasted year in recent memory from the highs to the lows. Let 2017 begin!