Well, you all know what this post is about.
A brief intro: Most years, I agonize over my top ten list to the bitter end, and then for a while after, too. This largely has to do with volume. I don’t tend to see all of the movies that I want or need to in a given year before compiling my picks for what is “best,” which means lots of revisions on the back end. 2016 is different. In 2016, I saw what I wanted to see and needed to see prior to my critics’ group votes (for BOFCA and OFCS), so what you’ll see here, if you have seen my BOFCA ballot online, remains mostly unchanged, with two small tweaks.
The first is the removal of Paterson, a movie I loved but which I cannot articulate my feelings on. I don’t know why it worked on me. It did. I’m not even sure it’s an especially deep film, just a very sincere, warm film, and that’s kind of what we all need right now. It has been replaced by Elle, a movie I have much more to say about.
The second is the (surely more controversial) removal of Manchester by the Sea, which I really liked but not quite as much as most of what remains on the list, and also not quite as much as Julieta, a film that has grown on me day by day since I first saw it.
But it’s all sort of irrelevant, because hey, it took me time, but I finally figured out the right answer to the big question: What are the ten best movies I saw in 2016? Note that the following films, and honorable mentions, are all correct, and if anyone disagrees, they are wrong (especially on the subject of La La Land, a film I only mention here because I want to end my 2016 by taking one last shot at its most overpraised release).
10. The Handmaiden
9. The Witch
8. The Fits
5. Toni Erdmann
3. Certain Women
Honorable mentions: Kate Plays Christine, Paterson, Swiss Army Man, Manchester by the Sea, Julieta