Friday, December 30, 2016

The Best & Worst of 2016

Can you believe it? It’s already time to look back at the year that was in film. Before we dive into my list of the worst films of the year, as I always do, let’s review any trends, successes and failures of the year.

First of all, video game movies… they can’t catch a break! There were four movies based on video games that were released in 2016. This was meant to be the year we finally got a GOOD video game movie! There was Ratchet & Clank, The Angry Birds Movie, Warcraft, and Assassin’s Creed. You’d think that out of four films, one would be guaranteed to be pretty good – especially since two of the films leant so well to the animated form. The awful Angry Birds Movie was the best-reviewed of the bunch, receiving a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ratchet & Clank, which I felt was actually the best video game movie I’d seen in a long time, received the lowest score at 17%. Does next year’s Tomb Raider reboot even stand a chance?
This was quite a franchise-heavy year with no less than 8 sequels, remakes and prequels in the Top 10 Highest-Grossing Films of the year (Zootopia and The Secret Life of Pets were the exceptions). There were a total of 40 sequels, prequels, and remakes in the theater this year – that’s nearly one every week! That’s not even counting all the movies based on previous material.

The summer season was also pretty rough with most films with a budget over $120 million bombing and only half a dozen movies (Bad Moms, Central Intelligence, Suicide Squad, The Secret Life of Pets, Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory) becoming legitimate hits, making more than double their budget (remember, there were well over 100 movies released between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, so 6 hits is not good). That said, 48% of the summer releases earned 70% positive or higher on Rotten Tomatoes, so there were a lot of good movies people were missing.

Race was coincidentally a recurring theme in a year full of racial conflict with Moonlight, Birth of a Nation, Free State of Jones, Race, Loving, O.J.: Made in America, and Hidden Figures all dealing with African American issues. Then there’s Gods of Egypt, which inexcusably whitewashed all its characters.

I could go on and on about box office records and other movie chatter, but let’s get to it.