And There Came The Best of 2016


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Here are my favorites in film, television and books from 2016. These are my favorites, listed in order of my liking. I make no claim that they are the best. I don’t say they are all tremendous works of art. I am not sure they would all make anyone else’s lists, Simply they touched me, amused me, entertained me and inspired me this year. As a friend of mine might quote: “This is just one man’s opinion.”

FILM

hell-or-high-water

  • Hell or High Water
    • This is a truly wonderful movie which showcases a breakout performance by Chris Pine. Touching, disturbing and surprisingly funny, this one ought to be nominated for a bunch of Academy Awards.
  • La La Land
    • Another film destined to be highly nominated, I can say that not many movies have ever made me feel as existentially good as La La Land. I love musicals. I love magic. I love this movie.
  • Hacksaw Ridge
    • Absolutely inspiring. It is terrific to see a movie about a hero who doesn’t resort to violence of any kind. It’s more terrific to know the story is true. What a great film.
  • Captain America: Civil War
    • This was the most fun I had at the movies all year. It was not perfect, but it was pretty darn close and the brilliant manner in which Spider-Man was portrayed forgives ALL sins. In the top five of all superhero movies, ever.
  • Arrival
    • Deep, powerful, heartfelt and stirring, Arrival features a tour-de-force performance by Amy Adams who has to be one of the best actors of her generation, right?
  • Honorable Mention: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
    • This movie didn’t work for everyone, granted, but it worked OVERTIME for me. (It must have, it beat out Star Trek Beyond for “honorable mention.”)

TELEVISION

this-is-us

  • This Is Us
    • My favorite show of the year. It should be yours, too. Smart, engrossing and emotional with a cast that is all but perfect, This Is Us is absolutely appointment viewing.
  • American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson
    • I knew how this story ended and yet I couldn’t look away. With performances that were riveting, a plot that was smart and dialogue that was sizzling, The People vs. OJ Simpson was one of the best things on tv this year.
  • Stranger Things
    • Admittedly late to the party for this one, we made up for it by bingeing the entire series in two nights. What a terrific wave of nostalgia balanced with edge-of-your-seat thrills. The perfect combination of Stephens Spielberg and King.
  • Westworld
    • We caught on to this one before the end of the season and WOW were we glad we did. Without question, Westworld showed me things I never thought I’d see on television and its twists and turns led to a real payoff. Loved it.
  • Pitch
    • Anyone watching This Is Us should be watching Pitch. Less complex but no less involving, Pitch comments on the price of fame while telling the story of what it takes to do what we love.
  • Honorable Mention: Timeless
    • Silly, fun stuff about time travel that might have been higher on the list except for a massive inconsistency in the first episode that the show has never solved!

BOOKS

born-to-run

  • Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
    • Yeah. Read this one. There is no ghost writer here. It’s just The Boss telling his remarkable story. If he’s pulling punches, I’d hate to see the full force of them land.
  • Star Trek: The Fifty Year Mission by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman
    • Frankly, I thought I knew just about everything about Star Trek. After reading this 2 volume book of memories told to the authors by the people involved with the Star Trek phenomenon, I stand very much corrected.
  • Moonglow by Michael Chabon
    • Michael Chabon is clearly a genius and, when I read him, I know that I am not understanding everything he’s putting on the page. But I understand enough to know that I love it.
  • End of Watch by Stephen King
    • The final book in the Gil Hodges trilogy, King completes his attempt at writing a “straight” detective story in fine form. Though he veers a bit into supernatural territory, I enjoyed each of these books and really loved the characters.
  • DC Comics: Rebirth written by Geoff Johns, illustrated by Ivan Reis, Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver and Phil Jimenez
    • This was my favorite comic book of the year. Beautifully illustrated by a team of top notch artists and lovingly (the correct word) written by one of the best in the business, DC Comics: Rebirth launches the stories of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest in a bright and hopeful direction.
  • Honorable Mention: Batman: A Celebration of the Classic Series by Robert Garcia and Joe Desris
    • The craziness that was Adam West and Burt Ward’s Batman tv series is documented in fine detail here. This book is fun to read, beautiful to look at and reminds us that Batman used to be all about the funny.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Movie Review, Movies, Television, Television Review, Watching Television

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