Last year I wrote a post called At The Movies | Films I Watched In 2015 and had so much fun with it that I decided to repeat the idea. I love movies but up until that point, I had never done any “year in review”-type posts regarding the movies I watched: I only did that sort of thing for books.
So it’s fun to put together a post like this, one that recaps a different interest of mine and helps me to remember what it was that I saw in any given year. Also, it provides a way for me to quickly jot down my thoughts on all the movies I haven’t yet gotten around to reviewing, which is… um, most of them! Oops.
Anyway, here are all the movies I saw last year, in order.
P.S. I’ve included my favorite songs for just about all of the movies listed below. I hope you have fun listening!
I meant to watch this after reading the book but I’m actually very glad that I did it the other way around! Now that I’m familiar with the characters and care about their story arcs, making my way through that intimidatingly loooong book should be much easier!
Listen to: “Stars”
OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS. THIS MOVIE WAS SO BAD. I went to see this with one of my friends and to this day I still don’t know whether or not it was a date, but I do remember the two of us looking at each other about halfway through the movie and having a quick whispered discussion about if we should leave. So we did. And hung out and ate froyo instead.
We saw this movie at the indie theater so the tickets were ridiculously expensive for two broke college students but oh my god, the movie was terrible. I thought it was a children’s movie but it ended up being a horribly depressing stop-motion animation film about a middle-aged man and his sexual hang-ups and I felt so, so, so bad for asking my friend to go see it with me.
Listen to: N/A
matt shepard is a friend of mine
I attended the Midwestern Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (or MBLGTACC for short!) last winter and this was screened right before we got to meet Matthew’s mom, Judy Shepard. This movie had already left me feeling emotionally drained and her speech was very moving. I need to watch more LGBTQ+ documentaries!
Listen to: N/A
batman v superman
My Wonder Woman Unleashed professor actually invited me + another student from her class to come see this with her! The movie was in desperate need of A) editing and B) more colors but otherwise, it was a pretty solid story. And Wonder Woman’s first appearance on the silver screen, ahhh! Oh, and THAT ENDING SCENE? I’m still freaking out about that. Super excited to see Wonder Woman this summer!
Listen to: “Is She With You?”
I watched this movie during my Intro to the Short Story class’s unit on magical realism and it utterly blew my mind. I’ve seen it a couple times since then and is now one of my fantasy favorites. The costuming, cinematography, music, storytelling, EVERYTHING is just gorgeous. I’M EMOTIONAL. Plus, its message is extremely anti-fascist which made it the perfect movie to watch in 2016.
Listen to: “The Fairy & The Labyrinth”
captain america: civil war
Although I didn’t love this one as much as I did the previous two Captain America films, it was still a pretty great movie. I’m curious to see what they do with the character from here, especially since the movie ended so differently than the storyline from the comics. Also, this movie made me obsessed with Black Panther. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
Listen to: “Cap’s Promise”
This is a super cute movie about two elderly lesbians who escape their nursing home and go on a road trip to get married in Canada! (It was made in the early 2000s, so marriage equality wasn’t legal here yet.) Ahhh, this movie was so ridiculous and happy and adorable.
Listen to: N/A
I spent the summer taking extra classes so I decided to take advantage of all the activities not offered during the school year, such as free movies in the park at night! Rent was screened during Iowa City Pride week, so Luísa (my roommate at the time) and I brought along a blanket and plenty of snacks and were immensely grateful they put subtitles on – her because English isn’t her first language and me because I’m not used to musicals. I now have even bigger crushes on Idina Menzel and Rosario Dawson than I did before, eee!
Listen to: “Light My Candle”
AHHHH MY CHILDHOOD. Luísa and I started crying like five minutes into the movie because #nostalgia! I hadn’t seen Finding Nemo in years but I remember really liking it so I was happy that this movie was just as much fun.
Listen to: “Fish Who Wander”
I had such high hopes for this movie. The book it was based on is one of my all-time favorites, so – however silly this might sound – I felt personally invested in the outcome. It wasn’t a bad movie, exactly. It just… didn’t have the same magic as the book. Didn’t even come close.
Listen to: “Sophie and the BFG”
The 2009 Royal Shakespeare Company version with David Tennant as the lead, to be more specific. During my summer Shakespeare course, I supplemented my reading (and extensive CliffsNotes-consulting) with various film adaptations. At more than three hours, it was a VERY long movie, but well worth it. I put on the subtitles because I couldn’t understand the accents and was pleased to discover that the dialogue was meticulously faithful to that of the original play, so I
Listen to: N/A
Watching this movie was the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon with my friend Jill! I barely even remember the original, but I’m all about diversity in stories so… let women have goofy movies and stop trying to police what they like!
P.S. Thank god I figured out I was gay years ago because if not, Kate McKinnon’s performance in this movie would have raised so many deep personal questions for me. Lmao.
Listen to: “Theme Song” [Walk The Moon version]
the incredible hulk
My new roommate, Bridget, and I have been watching all the Marvel and DC movies because she hasn’t seen very many of them and wanted to know more about comics. I, on the other hand, have seen many of them but did not watch in chronological order. This was one of the few Marvel movies I hadn’t seen! I truly don’t understand all the hate this movie receives. Like, it’s definitely not the BEST Marvel movie, but the storytelling and acting is decent? I prefer it to the Avengers movies, TBH.
Listen to: “Rocinha Favela”
fantastic beasts and where to find them
I honestly didn’t think there would ever be another Harry Potter film since it had been so long since the last one – and when I did hear that they were making a new one, I didn’t think it would be any good. Well, I was wrong. Fantastic Beasts was – dare I say? – BETTER than any of the other movies, with the possible exception of Deathly Hallow Part I.
Wonderful cast of characters, gorgeous music, amazing plot. This movie did a surprisingly good job of capturing how very puritanical America can be. (And was less successful in its attempts at racial allegories. Oh, J.K. Rowling.) It was also weirdly comforting to watch in the face of this election, I think?
Watching this movie during dead week was SUCH a good choice! It cheered me up and helped me to relax. It’s super cute and all the songs are so catchy! Ahhh, I get emotional every time I hear “Where You Are” because it’s so obvious that Moana’s family and village absolutely adore their little girl. OH MY FEELINGS.
Listen to: “I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)”
Bridget couldn’t believe I’d never seen this, so we watched it just a few days before winter break! Not my favorite Christmas movie, but it put me in a festive mood nevertheless. Plus, it was fun to pick out the scenes I recognized from all the reaction GIFs I’ve seen over the years!
Listen to: “Main Title / Somewhere In My Memory”
I love this movie more and more as time goes on. Yes, it’s a bit slow to start, but now I see that the plot very deliberately unfolds itself into a jaw-dropping conclusion. I spent the last ten minutes of it going “wait no the filmmakers won’t go THERE” and then “OH MY GOD THEY REALLY WENT THERE THEY REALLY DID THAT.” I can’t wait for Episode VIII later this year!
Listen to: “Guardians of the Whills Suite”
Now, out of all of these movies, which ones were my favorites? I’m splitting this into two parts: Movies made in 2016, and movies made before 2016.
The best made-in-2o16 movie I saw… is a tie between Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rogue One. Both were absolutely amazing! It’s kind of funny how much I love them now, because I initially was not interested in seeing Fantastic Beasts at all and expected Rogue One to be fun but… like, not that great? I don’t know.
My favorite movie that was made before 2016 is definitely Pan’s Labyrinth. I’d been meaning, vaguely, to watch it for a few years but it wasn’t at the top of my list or anything. I only wish I’d seen it earlier!
Aaaaand my favorite movie out of ANY that I watched in 2015? You guessed it, Pan’s Labyrinth! It’s a new all-time favorite in my life.
(Last year I also talked about the runner-up best movies, but I don’t think I am going to do that this year, if that’s all right.)
Tell me: What were the best movies that YOU saw in 2016? (And why?!)