February 19, 2017 by Vinnie Leduc
Our favorite movie of 2016 arrived earlier on the calendar than any other film mentioned here, but its nontraditional marketing campaign and witty storytelling made it the year’s most unforgettable film that we still can’t stop talking about. So, we’ll save the best for last and tip our hats to some of last year’s other fantastic motion pictures first.
2016 was another big year for sci-fi. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story expanded the blockbuster franchise’s cinematic universe in a reverent and darker way that pleased any fans still longing for a nostalgic fix after The Force Awakens the previous year. Denis Villeneuve, best known for Prisoners and Sicario, continued his hot streak with Arrival, a stellar Interstellar-like close encounter with a cerebral story and a stirringly haunting score.
The only superior score of 2016 belonged to the masterpiece La La Land, which also showcased arguably the finest acting, cinematography, editing, and design. Even if musicals and rom-coms aren’t your thing, there’s no denying the all-around Oscar excellence of La La Land.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe also had its own inner battle last year with Captain America: Civil War. The highest grossing movie worldwide last year, the third Steve Rogers adventure and thirteenth MCU motion picture was basically the movie everyone had hoped Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice would be.
Two other films under the same Disney/Marvel umbrella that wowed audiences in 2016 were Doctor Strange and The Jungle Book. Both motion pictures were pure movie magic and dazzled viewers with vibrant visual effects and heart-wrenching emotion.
Disney also struck gold in its bread-and-butter department with Zootopia. In an extremely strong year for animation in general, Zootopia’s social commentary on prejudice and stereotypes was a welcome additional layer on an otherwise gorgeous and immersive film. 2016 was such an incredible year for animated movies, but as for which was the best, we just HAD to choose the only one that managed to squeeze Breaking Bad references into a family flick!
The funniest movie of the year (maybe if you don’t count our top choice overall?) was also an animated one with plenty of social commentary… and double entendres. From the dirty minds of Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill, Sausage Party was the first ever R-rated CGI-animated film and went on to become the highest grossing R-rated animated film in history.
That brings us to the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time, but more importantly, the movie we loved the most in 2016. It’s gotta be the return of Deadpool, and most of the credit goes to co-producer and lead actor Ryan Reynolds. Not only was Wade Wilson the role Reynolds was born to play (and he absolutely nailed it, even picking up a Golden Globe nod for the career-defining performance), Deadpool was so much more.
Deadpool was redemption for Ryan Reynolds, who made this his pet project and persisted against the studio suits, after X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern. It’s a revolution for Marvel, 20th Century Fox, and the rest of Hollywood; they’ve finally learned that an appropriate and deserving R-rating won’t knee-cap your precious box office returns (Dear Deadpool, Thanks. Love, Logan). And the movie itself is simply awesome! You can’t ask for much more from an action-packed, hilarious, and emotional revenge tale that broke box office records and blockbuster rules along with the fourth wall. And the cherry on top? That excellent post-credits stinger, just the best of the year.
Deadpool is MediaStinger’s Movie of the Year 2016.
Honorable Mentions: Allied, Captain Fantastic, The Conjuring 2, Eye in the Sky, The Edge of Seventeen, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Finding Dory, The Green Room, Hell or High Water, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Moana, The Nice Guys, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, The Red Turtle, The Secret Life of Pets, Sing Street, Sully, Trolls, War Dogs, X-Men: Apocalypse