Ralph Gives You His Best Films Of 2016

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This year was another stellar cycle of films. Some of the big blockbusters let us down, but the indies shined the brightest. The list you are about to read includes my personal favorite films of the year. No, these aren’t the most critically acclaimed, or most popular movies. That being said, I haven’t seen everything. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

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10. Hunt For The Wilderpeople: As a fellow New Zealand native (or Kiwi, as we say), I really appreciated how the film displayed my home country. Sam Neill and Julian Denninson delivered terrific, vibrant performances along with a terrific Directorial effort from Taika Waititi.

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9. Paterson: Paterson worked so well for me because it’s about two normal people living basic, mediocre lives. I connected with all of the characters easily because they have the characteristics of everyday people. The film doesn’t get boring and derivative due to it’s vibrant character moments, and sense of peace.

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8. Moana: Lin-Manuel-Miranda should be in debt to Disney. His songs in “Moana” set the foundation for the story and characters in such a magical way. From “Where You Are” to “You Know The Way”, Moana features one of the best soundtracks of 2016. Also, it’s story is really well thought out and abundantly clever. I don’t normally say this about animated films, but the voice acting really stood out. Obviously The Rock was a given to nail his character, but Auli’i Cravalho was wonderful as Moana and stole the show over The Rock in my opinion.

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7. The Nice Guys: It hurts me to put “The Nice Guys” so low on my top 10, but I seriously dug this movie. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe give some of their best performances in a long time. The both of them together worked so well, and were hilarious together. I had some of my biggest movie theater laughs of the year watching this movie. As well as the comedy, I liked what the story had to offer. The villains could’ve been developed more, but I loved this movie.

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6. Deadpool: In my view, this is the best comedy of the year. It’s been awhile since I have laughed more when watching a movie. When all said and done, “Deadpool” should be viewed as a Romantic-Comedy, because that’s what it is. It’s a story about Wade and Vanessa falling in love. Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson is absolutely perfect. He brought the acting chops, Deadpool’s classic one liners, and the heart that Wade has.

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5. Captain America: Civil War: Civil War told a serious, grounded story in a pretty crazy Marvel universe. This is still a Captain America movie, and he gets his time to shine. Chris Evans nails it as Cap, and the rest of the characters still get there moments. Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in particular was outstanding. We’ve seen him before, but never and serious and world weary as he shows in this movie. Ultimately, the film was beloved by everyone because it balances a fantastic story, and still has all the comic book moments. And yes, the new Spider-Man is fantastic.

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4. Swiss Army Man: The Daniels’ Directorial debut is not for everyone. It’s bizarre, outlandish, unorthodox, and very peculiar. I loved every minute of it. Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse, and absolutely steals the show. His character is funny, charming, and tells a whole lot of truth about us as a species. I liked how the film had a lot to say about the way humans live, and how we are very quick to judge others and feel self conscious. Not everyone will understand and appreciate “Swiss Army Man”, but for those who are willing to take a chance, you will not be disappointed.

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3. Arrival: Director Denis Villeneuve’s films are beloved by everyone because he challenges his audience and takes everything one step further than is needed. “Arrival” does all of that and more, in the Sci-Fi world. It was so breathtaking seeing a Alien movie that isn’t all explosions and bad writing (Looking at you, Independence Day: Resurgence). Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are absolutely fantastic in the film, and set the stage for a terrific ending. It’s story is so intelligent and intuitive. A must see.

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2. Sing Street: I gave two films perfect scores this year: “Sing Street”, and the next film on my list. There’s nothing that can be changed about this movie, because it’s perfect. The music is wonderful and memorable, it’s characters are well fleshed out and relatable. And yes, the music. Wow. I downloaded the soundtrack right away after watching the film for the first time because it is so memorable and vibrant. Director John Carney is three for three in my book so far, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. I’ll be first in line.

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1. La-La-Land: I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said about this film. It’s a masterpiece. All the credit must go to Director Damien Chazelle because of how complex some of the  scenes are. Especially the dance pieces, which are wonderful. The music is just jaw dropping to hear, and see the actors perform. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are amazing in this film, and deserve Oscar nominations. Especially Emma Stone. This is the best she’ve ever been. Of course it’s story matches the music. All of the storylines are well thought out, and incredibly heartbreaking.