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Fantastic Films From 2016


It’s been too long, my friend. The time flies faster than expected. We’re fixing that right now! Let’s do this!

If you haven’t already listened to it, I definitely recommend listening to the latest episode of the Taiiku Podcast where @impassionatek, @gokuffy, and I discuss our favorite movies of 2016.

This list here is slightly different from the list I had on the podcast. As someone that has trouble speaking and likes to really think about the words I’m using, hopefully this written list provides you with something a little extra.

Honorable Mentions

  • The Wailing
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Baskin
  • The Invitation
  • Green Room

5. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a fresh, whimsical take on the archetypal coming of age story. Ricky, a rebellious foster care child, gets lucky in finding the best foster care mom, but through unfortunate circumstances is left alone with her aloof, grumpy husband, Uncle Hec. When they go missing in the wilderness, the New Zealand police launch a manhunt to find them, thinking Hec kidnapped Ricky. Ricky and Hec’s characterizations are grounded and funny, providing a heartwarming adventure about familial bonding and taking responsibility for oneself.

4. Midnight Special

My knowledge of and experience with religions is quite lacking. However, even still, Midnight Special, a movie where faith is a central theme, is a gripping story of parental love and believing in that which is unknowable and beyond ourselves. The narrative follows Roy, a father that must protect his son from the FBI on a journey to GPS coordinates that his son, Alton, divined through supernatural powers. Midnight Special gracefully blends spirituality and science, crafting a story that can resonate with anyone. And it does this mostly through visuals, only using dialog when absolutely necessary.

3. Hidden Figures

There have been some real good movies about race in 2016, but certainly not enough. Hidden Figures is based on the true story of three black women in the 60’s who were instrumental to the space missions at NASA. The film is an exploration and celebration of race and gender in a society that overtly disparages everything that isn’t the white male — something that is no less relevant today: a powerful message that Hidden Figures executes on superbly. It’s not perfect, but that’s not important — representation is what matters.

2. The Autopsy of Jane Doe

I’ve seen several horror movies this past year and The Autopsy of Jane Doe stands atop that list. A father and son mortician team must perform an emergency autopsy on a pristine, unidentified corpse found buried in the basement of a murder site. The first half of the movie plays out like a procedural; the attention to detail and specificity brings the autopsy to life. As the father and son dig further into Jane Doe’s body, the mysteries of her death grow. Once the answers start to present themselves, a deeply upsetting horror takes hold and never lets go.

1. Train to Busan

There haven’t been any interesting zombie experiences lately — at least none that have crossed my path. Train to Busan changes that. It doesn’t do anything unique with zombies, but it executes on its premise exceptionally well. A divorced father defeatedly accepts to accompany his daughter on a train ride to Busan, where her mother lives. The pair are thrust into a zombie epidemic when a single infected person boards their train at the last second. What transpires is a heart-wrenching tale about self-interest, compassion, and sacrifice. Even during my re-watch, I couldn’t help but cry.

Go watch some movies; you deserve a break from the world. Also, don’t you ever forget that you’re wonderful! That’s important too!


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