2016 – The Year in Review – The Year in Films & TV

In 2016, I watched only a paltry 9 films in the theaters. I know, it’s pretty lame, for someone who claims to love movies so much.

But times have changed! People watch films on their phones, on a train, waiting in the airport for their flight to board, etc. Several neat streaming services came into their own this year. HBO Now, Mubi, and FilmStruck, to name a few. I watched some great stuff (and some of my favorite films of the year) via such services.

I have modified my tradition of separating films into lists defined by when they were released and instead offer a list of 16 films that I tremendously enjoyed viewing for the very first time in the year 2016.

Will Oldham, Daniel London and Lucy in Old Joy
  1. Old Joy
  2. Silence
  3. Wendy and Lucy
  4. Saving Private Ryan
  5. Bill Cunningham New York
  6. Phoenix
  7. The Witch
  8. The Sunset Limited
  9. Woyzeck
  10. 99 Homes
  11. River of Grass
  12. Omohide poro poro (Only Yesterday) in Japanese with English subtitles
  13. Training Day
  14. Song of the Sea
  15. The Invitation
  16. Psychohydrography


Regular = movie watched on a TV or other device
BOLD = denotes theatrical viewing
Italic = denotes a “mini series” or “television movie”
Underlined = denotes a short film (30 minutes or less)

Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, and River of Grass are all Kelly Reichardt films which were shown as a part of a themed retrospective on Mubi. In 2016, her new film, Certain Women, hit limited distribution in theaters however I didn’t manage to catch it. Seeing so many of her films in short succession has given me a new appreciation for the form of narrative storytelling that allows the viewer to simply experience the characters having interactions with one another. Old Joy takes the cake for best film I saw for the first time in 2016. Two friends whose lives have diverged over time reunite for a camping trip into the Columbia Gorge. A spare, simple, elegiac film that touches on the truest hopes and pains of a deep friendship. I found it moving amidst a year of failed relationships amongst a few of my dearest friends.

Andrew Garfield and Yôsuke Kubozuka in Silence

Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating passion project Silence was released in NY and LA in time for Oscar consideration on 12/23/16 and I made a concerted effort to go and see it. My showing was in a screening lounge at The Landmark in Los Angeles on that date. One couple walked out in the middle of the film. The guy returned for his big gulp of soda a few minutes later. I stayed. I was blown away.

Edward Burns, Giovanni Ribisi, Adam Goldberg, Tom Sizemore, and Barry Pepper in Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan was a first-time viewing for me in 2016. An incredible film that has informed and inspired practically every other war film since. Amazing. Utterly amazing.

Bill Cunningham crosses the street after taking photos during New York Fashion Week in the Manhattan borough of New York
Bill Cunningham. 1929-2016. RIP.

Bill  Cunningham passed away in 2016 and after his death, Mubi presented the documentary Bill Cunningham New York ~ wait for the interview where the filmmaker starts to ask personal questions. It’s a true moment of revelation.

Klaus Kinski in Woyzeck

Another retrospective that I very much enjoyed watching was of many of Werner Herzog’s films, also shown on Mubi. His collaborations with Klaus Kinski remain the stuff of legend for filmmakers. Woyzeck is perhaps their best joint effort. Kinski is the madman who was never tamed nor cured. Their working relationship ended after Cobra Verde.

Below is a complete, alphabetized list of all 109 Films, Short Films, TV miniseries, and shows I took in throughout 2016:


Regular = movie watched on a TV or other device
BOLD = denotes theatrical viewing
Italic = denotes a “mini series” or “television movie”
Underlined = denotes a short film (30 minutes or less)

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  2. 99 Homes
  3. America (2013)
  4. American History X
  5. Anomalisa
  6. Arrival
  7. Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt
  8. Bernie
  9. Bill Cunningham New York
  10. The Black Stallion
  11. Burn After Reading
  12. Captain America: Civil War
  13. The Comb
  14. The Conjuring
  15. The Crossing Guard
  16. The Decline of Western Civilization
  17. The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years
  18. The Decline of Western Civilization Part III
  19. Die Hard
  20. Documentary Now! Season 1
  21. Elf
  22. Extraordinary Tales
  23. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (in 70MM)
  24. Finding Dory
  25. Futurama: Bender’s Big Score
  26. Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs
  27. Futurama: Bender’s Game
  28. Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder
  29. Galaxy Quest
  30. Game of Thrones: Season 6
  31. The Great Dictator
  32. The Grinch
  33. The Hateful Eight
  34. The Heartbreak Kid
  35. Home Alone
  36. An Honest Liar
  37. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  38. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
  39. Indecent Proposal
  40. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  41. The Invitation
  42. It’s Such a Beautiful Day
  43. The Jungle Book (2016)
  44. Jupiter Ascending
  45. Kentucky Fried Movie
  46. Kung Fu Panda
  47. The Ladykillers (2004)
  48. The LEGO Movie
  49. Liar Liar
  50. The Little Prince
  51. Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro (Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro) English Dub
  52. Mad Max: Fury Road
  53. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
  54. Mad Max 3: Beyond ThunderDome
  55. Making a Murderer
  56. Master of None: Season 1
  57. Meeks Cutoff
  58. Moonrise Kingdom
  59. The Muppet Christmas Carol
  60. My Side of the Mountain
  61. Sin Dios ni Santa María (Neither God Nor Santa Maria)
  62. The Night Of (Season 1)
  63. Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu the Vampyre)
  64. Old Joy
  65. Omoide no Mânî (When Marnie was There) English Dub
  66. Omohide poro poro (Only Yesterday) in Japanese with English subtitles
  67. Peaky Blinders (Season 1)
  68. The Peanuts Movie
  69. Phoenix
  70. Pitch Perfect 2
  71. Psychohydrography
  72. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  73. Ratatouille
  74. Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies
  75. River of Grass
  76. Rocket Man
  77. Rome: Season 1
  78. The Room (with Rifftrax!)
  79. Saving Private Ryan
  80. The Secret of Kells
  81. Sen to Chihiro no kakimakushi (Spirited Away) English Dub
  82. A Serious Man
  83. Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
  84. Silence
  85. Song of the Sea
  86. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
  87. SpongeBob SquarePants: the Movie
  88. SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge out of Water
  89. Spy
  90. Star Trek Beyond
  91. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  92. Stranger Things: Season 1
  93. The Sunset Limited
  94. Swiss Army Man
  95. Tectonics
  96. Training Day
  97. The Two Sights
  98. Up
  99. Velvet Goldmine
  100. Vulgar Fractions
  101. Wendy and Lucy
  102. Westworld: Season 1
  103. When Harry Met Sally
  104. The Witch
  105. World of Tomorrow
  106. Woyzeck
  107. Wrong
  108. X-Men: Apocalypse
  109. Zootopia

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