For the past week, the entire /Film team has been bidding adieu to 2016 in style, publishing our personal lists counting down our favorite movies of the year. But those were just appetizers to the main event: the overall /Film top 15, where the personal lists of the entire staff are brought together to form one big list representing the site as a whole.
Blood was spilled. Tears were shed. Numbers were crunched. But we did it. This is the official, mathematically proven /Film Top 15 Films of 2016.
If you remember last year’s /Film Top 15, you may remember the system we used to determine the the list. Each writer (Ethan Anderton, David Chen, Jack Giroux, Jacob Hall, Angie Han, and Peter Sciretta) submitted their personal list of favorite 2016 movies. The film in each number one spot received 15 points, while the film in each number two spot received 14 points, and so on, with the film in each number fifteen spot receiving 1 point.
This system allows for a general consensus on which films were the most well-loved, while giving films that have passionate fans an edge against movies that everyone kind-of, sort-of liked. Any ties (of which there were two this year) were settled through a separate email discussion.
Once all of the ballots were turned in, there were 45 movies with at least one point. So before we get to the final list, here are the 30 runners-up, the movies that received votes but didn’t garner enough support to make the final list.
High-Rise: 1 point
A Bigger Splash: 2 points
The Giant’s Dream: 2 points
Hail, Caesar!: 3 points
Sausage Party: 3 points
Other People: 4 points
Loving: 5 points
Magicians: Life in the Impossible: 5 points
American Honey: 6 points
Christine: 6 points
Hell or High Water: 7 points
Indignation: 7 points
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: 7 points
Everybody Wants Some!!: 8 points
The Edge of Seventeen: 9 points
The Invitation: 9 points
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping: 9 points
Tower: 9 points
Kubo and the Two Strings: 10 points
Little Sister: 10 points
Zootopia: 10 points
Paterson: 11 points
Weiner: 11 points
The Witch: 11 points
Swiss Army Man: 12 points
Tickled: 12 points
Don’t Think Twice: 13 points
Jackie: 13 points
Love & Friendship: 13 points
The Nice Guys: 13 points
/Film’s Top 15 Movies of 2016
15. 20th Century Women
While writer/director Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women was present on only one /Film top 10 list, it was Jack Giroux’s favorite movie of the year, giving it just enough weight to break into the our group top 15.
“Each moment in this movie is full of life, with every emotion radiating off the screen. There’s a tremendous sense of joy to Mills’ film. The director has made a movie that celebrates moms, people as kindhearted as William (Billy Crudup), and the cool, honest adults from your teenage years, like Abbie, who weren’t bad tastemakers to be around.” -Jack Giroux
14. Captain America: Civil War
The best superhero movie of 2016 (and the only superhero movie present on this list), Captain America: Civil War continues fine-tuning and perfecting the Marvel Studios formula, delivering a combination of crowd-pleasing action, wonderful character beats, and unexpected emotion from unlikely sources.
“It’s insanely rewatchable, gives great introductions to characters like Black Panther and Spider-Man, and takes superhero confrontation to the next level in a third act that packs a serious punch in more ways than one.” -Ethan Anderton
13. 10 Cloverfield Lane
Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane opened in March 2016, so it’s a testament to the film’s tense storytelling and overwhelming sense of claustrophobic dread that we remember it so vividly (and so fondly) almost a year later.
“It’s full of endless suspense and has plenty of twists and turns right to the very end. John Goodman plays the perfect paranoid doomsday prepper while Mary Elizabeth Winstead proves that she just might be the next Sigourney Weaver.” -Ethan Anderton
12. Life, Animated
Of the documentaries on this list, Life, Animated is the more heartwarming and life-affirming of the two, telling the true story of Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who learned to communicate through Disney animated movies.
“This is one of the most moving documentaries I’ve ever seen … Documentary footage is cleverly juxtaposed with clips from various Disney movies, as well as some stunning original animation that brings Owen’s emotions to life. Believe me when I say you’ll laugh and cry.” -Ethan Anderton
11. Green Room
2016’s most vicious movie was also one of its best, a horror thriller that knows exactly when and where to plunge the knife…and how to twist the blade for maximum suffering.
“…director Jeremy Saulnier has shown that he’s a fan of old-school filmmaking and effects; you viscerally feel (and are sickened by) the impact of each stabbing and gunshot wound. Saulnier’s smart script and the way it ratchets up the tension had me clenching for the entire 95-minute runtime.” -David Chen
“Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room is the single most intense movie released this year, a horror film that drops you in a pot of water and increases the heat so slowly that you don’t realize how truly, powerfully fucked everything is until your skin has started melting off.” -Jacob Hall
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