By Laurie Coker
I am always perplexed this time of year when I hunker down and try to lay out a “best of” list. I scour over the names of films that I watched over the past nearly twelve months, and I peek at the lists created by other critics, even the ones in my hometown and still, I find the chore challenging and frustrating. It feels, sometimes, like the lists of the majority guide the choices others make, and I shy away from that if I can. As usual, there are films I have not seen before finalizing my list, Patriots Day and Hidden Figure, Silence, The Red Turtle and others that might not even make it into Austin area theaters.
- Moonlight –Accounts the story of one boy’s plight to survive the obstacles of life – chronicles him from boyhood to adult.
- La La Land – Cazelle’s is a truly inspiring throwback to old time movie musicals.
- 20th Century Women – This is a well-crafted tale of diverse and unique women and the cast is exceptional.
- Hell or High Water – Chronicles a pair of bank robbers who want to make banks pay (by robbing them) to prevent foreclosure on their ranch. Texas Rangers take up pursuit.
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople – This is a story similar to the animated feature UP and is an engaging adventure tale.
- Arrival – If aliens arrived on Earth, I hope the scenario plays out at least as well as this stunning representation.
- Deadpool – not on too many critics’ top ten, but Deadpool (rated R) makes an antihero the hero.
- Florence Foster Jenkins – Meryl Streep is delightful as a tone deaf music aficionado who thinks she can sing.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – I liked it – a lot! Star Wars fans should embrace this standalone addition to the franchise.
- Jungle Book – Superior animation makes this a must-see tale of a boy raised by wolves.
- Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
- Damien Cazelle – La La Land
- Mike Mills – 20th Century Woman
- Jon Favreau – Jungle Book
- Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
- Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals
- Denzel Washington – Fences
- Collin Ferrell – The Lobster
- Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
- Ryan Gosling – La La Land
- Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
- Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
- Adam Driver – Paterson
- Tom Hanks – Sully
- Joel Edgerton – Loving
- Rachel Weisz – Denial, The Lobster
- Rebecca Hall – Christine
- Emma Stone – La La Land
- Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
- Ruth Negga – Loving
- Amy Adams – Arrival, Nocturnal Animals
- Annette Benning – 20th Century Woman
- Sally Field – Hello My Name is Doris
- Susan Sarandon – The Meddler
- Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloan
Best Supporting Actor
- Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
- Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
- Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
- Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
- Stephen Henderson – Fences
Best Supporting Actress
- Viola Davis – Fences
- Naomi Harris – Moonlight
- Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
- Nicole Kidman – Lion
- Felicity Jones – A Monster Calls
Animated Feature Film
- Kubo and the Two Strings
- Finding Dory
Worst Movies of the Year
- Weiner-Dog – Dog gone horrible.
- My Fat Greek Wedding 2 – Seeing the sequel is worse than the nastiest divorce.
- The Shallows – Asininity puts this film in deep water.
- The Legend of Tarzan – Not even a chest pound or an ape-man holler – in this ridiculous flop!
- Nine Lives – Kevin Spacy, what were you thinking? A cat-astrophe of a film!
- Bad Moms – shame, shame on filmmakers! They need a time out.
- Why Him? – Why make such crap is the better question.
- Swiss Army Men – Bomb that needs to be bombed!
- Inferno – Good thing Tom Hanks made Sully this year because Inferno goes up in flames!
- Dirty Grandpa – Actually, I am thinking more like disgusting grandpa.