Well I didn't get to see Silence or Fences but I still managed to change my Top 10 anyway. So here it is:
2016 Films Ranked
A simply stunning study of a poor young black man discovering his sexuality. Set in three stages, we see Chiron as a child, adolescent, and young adult and the three parts reflect and comment upon each other culminating in a final moment that carries the weight of all that came before it. Simply spectacular filmmaking.
2. Hail, Caesar!
The Coens are back with another masterpiece, this time a farce that explores questions of faith and good works; whether art has importance and meaning that justifies dedicating one's life to it. It's a very funny movie, but has at its center a heartfelt performance from Josh Brolin as a studio head tormented by his conscience.
3. La La Land
A delightful homage to the Hollywood musicals of old. Wonderful songs, a charismatic romantic pair, and a joyous attitude as two people struggle to follow their dreams.
Brilliant science fiction film about the importance of communicating with The Other - whether it be actual aliens or just the people across the street.
5. O.J.: Made In America
Technically counts as a film since it had an Oscar-qualifying run in New York. Still a phenomenal, detailed examination of not just the O.J. murder trial, but also the decades of history and racial strife that led up to it and turned it into what it was.
6. Manchester By The Sea
Sometimes grief is not something that is easy to let go, and Kenneth Lonergan's intimate script quietly observes a man with incredible pain in his heart struggling to deal with even more.
7. A Monster Calls
I saw this one just last night, and it left me a blubbering mess. I was on the verge of openly sobbing for basically the entire last half hour. It's another phenomenal exploration of grief, but this time a current, ongoing grief instead of one coming from the past.
8. Everybody Wants Some!!
A spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater's latest film sees a freshman arrive at college and start to explore what kind of person he can be.
Ok, so this is a third film about grief - 2016, huh? - but this one follows Jackie Kennedy closely as she struggles to cope with her husband's death and forge his legacy in the days immediately following his assassination. Natalie Portman turns in another stellar performance and I really hope there isn't anyone left out there who thinks she's not a great actress.
10. I Am Not Your Negro
Another of the three big documentaries on race for the year (with the O.J. doc above and Ava DuVernay's 13th on Netflix), I Am Not Your Negro uses the words of great African-American scholar James Baldwin to explain the pain and oppression felt by the black community in America and how it so easily curdles into rage. Samuel L. Jackson reads Baldwin's words, narrating in a soft and quiet mode that still carries an incredible amount of power. If I could, I would make every white person in America watch these three docs.