Last year wasn’t a good year for movies. It seemed that every other weekend saw the release of a second-rate animated film, or of yet another superhero sequel. I still haven’t seen “Moana” (which, as it happens, garnered strong reviews) or “X-Men: Apocalypse” (which did not).
There were several bright spots, however. Most of them came late in the year, and by the usual troupe of go-to writers, actors, and directors. Robert Zemeckis teamed up with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard for “Allied,” a throwback to classics like “Casablanca.” (If only it was shot in black-and-white.) Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks worked together for the first time on “Sully,” one of the shorter – and better – movies of the year. Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington, Amy Adams, Jeff Bridges, Emma Stone, and Michael Keaton all showed up…some of them (the five-times-nominated Ms. Adams, for one) more than once!
Two trends revealed themselves as the nominations were announced: films starring minorities, and films based on actual events. “Hidden Figures” introduced us to the black women who worked, unheralded for many years, on NASA’s computing team, while “Loving” showed us what went down when a white man married to a black woman was told that he and his wife could not live in Virginia. Both movies took place in the same state, and around the same decade, and the events depicted in them really happened. Stylistically, however, they couldn’t be more different.
“Hidden Figures” and “Loving” each earned slots on my top ten list for the year. They are joined by eight other worthy films…three of which, like the two mentioned above, are based on actual events!
GringoPotpourri’s Top Ten Films of 2016: