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Rob Goald’s Top 10 of 2016

Written by: FFT Webmaster | December 31st, 2016

2016 Top 10 by Rob Goald
2016 Top 10 by Rob Goald

2016 was a challenging year for the motion picture business and the place of movies in our society and its culture. While the formula of the tent- pole is stronger than ever (ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY. DOCTOR STRANGE, FINDING DORY) the independent film struggled to stay relevant, barely hanging in there. Here are ten reasons to go to the movies.

  1. Hell or High Water: Director David Mackenzie’s western is like “No Country For Old Men” in that it transcends the limits of genre with   a 21st Century sensibility. From a wonderful script by Taylor Sheridan, tight ensemble acting from Chris Pine and Ben Foster as bank robber- Robin Hoods and the great Jeff Bridge‘s as a sharp Texas Ranger ready to outwit some more bank robbers as a career -ending event.
  2. Moonlight: Director Barry Jenkins’film is a masterful and transformative view, in three phases, of a black gay boy from Miami changing before our eyes into a fractured and sad adult enduring a hard-scrabble life as a drug dealer.
  3. American Honey: Andrea Arnold’s. road movie presents life as an existential journey as homeless teens bond together in a surrogate family selling magazine subscriptions to the wealthy and middle class of The Bible Belt as they seek out meaning for their lives.
  4. Manchester by the Sea: Director –writer Kenneth Lonergan’s third feature revolves around a character played pitch-perfect by Casey Affleck as a disgruntled grieving loner and janitor who finds himself assigned by his brother’s last will with the care of his teenage nephew.
  5. Indignation Director/screenwriter and professor James Schamus adapts a Phillip Roth novel about a brilliant, working class Jewish kid (Logan Lerman) who escapes the Korean War by winning a scholarship to a strict Christian college in Ohio and allowing us to join his adventure vicariously.
  6. The Green Room: Director Jeremy Saulnier has punk rockers clashing with Neo-Nazi’s in this story which explains why we have a president- elect named Trump.
  7. Elle Dutch transgressive Paul Verhoeven relishes his power to shock and outrage those who think cinema should have limits. Isabelle Huppert is magnificent as a woman who loves to be raped.
  8. La La Land: Director-writer Damian Chazelle (“Whiplash”) creates a moody and wonderful retro movie event with this musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling from its bold first shot to its sentimental finale.
  9. Paterson: Auteur Jim Jarmusch’s zen-like portrait of a poet-bus driver named Paterson played as a blue collar worker by the up and coming Adam Driver without any visceral excitement.
  10.  Handmaiden: Auteur Park Chan-wook (“Old Boy”)creates a diabolical drama which pushes and pulls its audience into perversion by the third act.

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