The 'Year of Weird': A Countdown of Our Favorite Little Movies of 2016

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The 'Year of Weird': A Countdown of Our Favorite Little Movies of 2016

By Scott Pukos
[email protected]

Welcome to one of my favorite posts to write: My list of favorite movies I saw at The Little this year. It’s fun to look back at the year, but it’s also great for starting conversations! So let’s hear it. What are some of your favorite films of the year?

The countdown:

10. (tie) Oasis: Supersonic and Nuts!

This was an incredible year for documentaries - there was superb storytelling and innovation nearly every month with The Little’s One Take Doc series. Huge shout-out to Linda Moroney for bringing these important, fascinating, and in some cases, funny films to The Little.

Speaking of funny, Nuts!  and Oasis: Supersonic were easily among the most entertaining movies of the year (in any genre). Nuts!  told the story of a clever con man that convinced millions he could cure male impotence with a ... um ... positively nuts transplant. The way Penny Lane unraveled Dr. John R. Brinkley’s story was creative, and made me wish I thought to tell this story in such a fun fashion (the highest of compliments, I’d say).

Supersonic tells the tale of the Gallagher Brothers and their band Oasis. The anecdotes here are laugh-out-loud funny - these guys are just pure entertainment. Again, this film is presented in an innovative fashion that’s as thrilling as a Gallagher guitar solo. I immediately bought some Oasis records after watching.

I’ll also use this space to remind you that the One Take Film Festival (OTFF) is coming in 2017. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@OTFF) and check out otff.org for more.

Want more doc fun? Check out the documentary episode of Movies and a Microphone here.

9. The Mermaid

Perhaps my number one Little night of the year was our Sushi Night promotion for The Mermaid. Our awesome neighbor Bubble Fusion has my favorite sushi in the city, and they helped pack theater 1 on this particular April evening. Also, sushi popcorn (e.g. popcorn on top of sushi) is surprisingly amazing.

As for the movie, this was by far one of the funniest and goofiest films of the year. While it’s been a great year for docs (and horror films which I’ll mention later), I officially deem 2016 the “year of weird.” The Mermaid, Swiss Army Man (Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie FTW!), and a notable other one on this list lead the way in the weird parade. I fully embrace this trend of making movies like this! Less superheroes, more mermaids! #TeamMermaid

Hear The Little's Mermaid podcast episode here.

8. Under The Shadow

Real horror (a mother and daughter living in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war) meets supernatural terror (a Babadook-like presence). The only movie this year where I can recall hearing a real, actual scream in the theater.

7. The Invitation

A tense build-up to an explosive surprise, The Invitation mixes elements of drama and horror with supreme skill. I was completely enthralled (with a sizable pit in my stomach) watching the first three quarters knowing something was bound to go horribly wrong. And that last quarter of the movie? It’ll cause you to grip the hand of the person next to you, and not let go.

As noted by City’s Adam Lubitow in his review, the final shot of this film is perfectly chilling.

6. The Lobster

While I don’t have The Lobster listed as my favorite movie of the year, I feel it’s the film that defines the year. What does that mean? It means when I look back at 2016, The Lobster will be the first movie I think of. Why? Well, first off, it’s leading the pack in the “year of weird.” I mean, we got really weird with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in Yorgos Lanthimos’ drama. Like, super weird.

The premise is one of my favorite topics to bring up at parties: If you pick any animal to turn into, what would it be? My answer is still bald eagle (super patriotic and the ability to FLY). Also, interesting: What’s the worst animal? The deep, thought-provoking answer is human, but the correct answer is obviously silverfish.

Listen to our Lobster podcast here.

5. Tickled

At the surface it’s a documentary about competitive tickling, but that’s really not what it’s about at all. It’s the best journalism movie of the year, and features the most diabolical film villain of 2016. We’d venture into spoiler territory if I say more, but this one gets surprisingly dark.  If you did a word cloud on Tickled reviews, I feel “jaw-dropping” would pop up prominently.

4. Don’t Think Twice

You will have the urge to try improv comedy after this one. The improv scenes in Mike Birbiglia’s film are very, very funny, but this one is ultimately more of a drama. It’s an intimate look at failure, jealousy, loss and more. Plus, it features an immensely likable cast.

Listen here to our LIVE podcast.

3. Manchester By The Sea

You will feel things after this one! The story has levels of sadness and grief that are unbearable, especially since all the characters, the dialogue, everything, seems so real and human. The reviews are correct, the acting is top-notch. The tears will probably flow during Manchester, but there are plenty of humorous moments too. This movie will stick with me for a while.

2. Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Pure joy. That’s what I felt watching this one. The story: A boy and his foster father (Sam Neil) become subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded in the New Zealand wilderness. It’s sweet, sad, funny, and thrilling. Seek it out, I’ll wait.

1. Sing Street

I adore Sing Street so much. A teen in a new school in 1980s Ireland wants to impress the cool girl so he asks her to be in his band’s music video. She agrees! Except he doesn’t actually have a band...yet. That’s a super simplified synopsis for a truly wonderful film. The music is rocking - it WILL get stuck in your head.  The film is profound too - my biggest smile after a film concluded was when the credits started rolling after Sing Street. It made me want to start a band, and rebel against the man.

Sometimes you just need to “drive it like you stole it.”