THE PUYDAS – 2016’s Best Films

Go narcissism for creating a lower than budget award post as if it carries any real weight, but what they hey, my blog is like my room!

Wow, what a year for movies. I think I had a little over 30 films with perfect scores, so getting this list down was not easy. But I’ve finally done it. Now, it’s time to share my thoughts. Once again, remember that this is all opinion based. Some of these you may share my love, others, you may not. We are all entitled to our opinions. Now it’s time to voice mine. This is THE PUYDAS 2016!!! My pick for my favorite films of the year!

Before we get with the countdown, here’s a few honorable mentions, which I’ll litter across this post.

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 #10 – MOONLIGHT

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Probably going to end up being a Best Picture nominee at the Oscars, and for damn good reasons. This story about a young black kid who grows up in a harsh neighborhood to become a teenager and later a man and all the important things in his life, it’s a beautiful tale full of tender and even challenging scenes. While initially I thought that the character of Chiron, in all three aspects of his life, was a boring person because he barely says or does anything in the movie, it soon hit me that he says everything he needs to through his silence. The only time he really does speak is during the more powerful moments of his life and only with people he seems to trust. From the writing, to the directing, to the acting, it truly is the story of a lifetime.

#9 – NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

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A movie that is so messed up, it stayed with me and I mean that in the best possible way. This story featuring three plot-lines, all involving Amy Adams’ character Susan in the present day as a miserable artist and wife who receives a manuscript from her first husband, flashbacks to when she was married to him, and enacted scenes from the manuscript that detail a violent and sad life of a father that might have some metaphorical connection to real life. It’s a disturbing story with some incredible performances, especially from Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. If you like movies that leave a nasty taste in your mouth that leaves you thinking, then this one is right up your alley. Personally, I loved the crap out of this flick.

#8 – ZOOTOPIA

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My pick for the best animated film of the year, Disney has created one of the more powerful and challenging stories that you can tell them: racism. The story of a small town rabbit becomes the first of her kind to become a police officer is given the worst assignments. But when her moment comes to do some real police work, she has to crack the case in X-amount of time, or she’ll be fired, all the while working with a egotistical fox. This movie is utterly enjoyable from start to finish and is wonderfully told, never shying away from either great comedy, or harsh emotional moments. I don’t care if you’re a kid or an adult, this film is far more adult than most adult films are. Disney continues to be a champion for great movies.

#7 – A MONSTER CALLS

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Despite that PG-13 rating, I think this is meant to be a hardcore kids movie. Yes, there’s some scary, disturbing, dark, even some violent moments. But this story about a young boy who is trying to deal with the idea that his mother is still very sick with a terminal illness that has so many treatments that don’t seem to ever work, is one of the most powerful. Career bests by both Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver, and a welcomed launch pad for young Lewis McDougall, this film will bring a tear to your eye, but it’s still a story about the complexities of the human heart, and strength in times of great sadness.

#6 – CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

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There have been a lot of films this year that felt like they spoke to me in a unique way. And what a unique film to be speaking to me. This story is about a widowed father whom he and his wife decided to raise their children far away from the modern world and raise them in the wilds, but still educating them through books. But the mother passes away and her parents want to bury the body and keep her husband away, instead of respecting her dying wishes to be cremated with her husband and children by her side. It’s definitely a quirky film, but it’s incredibly funny and even mind-blowing. But at its center is a big ole middle finger to what is perceived to be normal and that there are different avenues of life that can be lived. It’s an incredible film that shouldn’t be missed.

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We’re halfway there (ohhh OHHHH!!! ……. Bon Jovi anyone? No? Reference for one? Alrighty then, I’ll take an order of the awkward silence with a side of quiet judgment), so before we get to my top 5 favorite films, another set of honorable mentions.

Let’s move on to the top 5!

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#5 – DEEPWATER HORIZON and PATRIOTS DAY

Yeah, this is kind of a cheat, but there’s two things to keep in mind. 1) Both films have the same director, the same writer, and the same star, and are both seeking to pull out an emotional response out of the audience. 2) This is my blog and I’ll do whatever that hell I want with it, so nyeh nyeh! From the very moment DEEPWATER’s action takes off, it is pure chaos and destruction and I swear that I was choking up nearly throughout the entire thing. This is probably because my girlfriend suffered a mini stroke the night before, so I was still a bit tender from the experience. But that doesn’t take away from the rage I felt toward the corporation that made such an irresponsible decision that lead to the worst environmental disaster in American history, or the admiration I felt for the brave men and women that struggled to survive. And PATRIOTS DAY is no worse, giving us the faces of those affected and those that sought justice. I felt anger toward those that hurt so many in the Boston Marathon Bombing for such thin reasons, and I felt grateful that they were brought to justice, and my heart went out to those that lost something. You will feel proud to be an American.

#4 – SING STREET

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Remember when I said that there were a lot of films that I related to? Well, this one is the longest running one and only holds more significance as of late. I saw this movie three times in theatres and I wish I’d seen it more. SING STREET is about an Irish teenage boy struggling to get by in a new Catholic school full of bullies and harsh priests, while falling head over heels for a model. In order to win her favor, he starts up a band with some local kids and with her help making music videos to their music, they learn to grow up and chase their dreams. It’s a wonderfully fun love letter to coming-of-age films and 80’s rock. It’s not a musical, but the music is so integral to the story that it feels like a character in itself. But more than that, this film speaks to me because… yeah, my girlfriend is an aspiring model who loves music, so it reminds me of her a lot. I think it was the first Blu-Ray that I bought from this list and I am still a proud owner of this simple, but excellent masterpiece. High recommendation for any and all.

#3 – PETE’S DRAGON

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Now we get into the most controversial picks, I’m sure. But keep in mind folks, I don’t go in for technical achievements or amazing new film techniques, I go in to feel something, and PETE’S DRAGON accomplished all that and more. The story of a young boy who lost his parents in a tragic car accident, but is protected and raised by a giant friendly green dragon is probably one of the most touching movies I saw all year. And for those of you that don’t know, I’m a sucker for adoption/reunification stories. This is because I’m also adopted, and the adoption of a little kid will always make me emotional. Bryce Dallas Howard knocked it out of the park, young Oaks Fegley carried the film superbly, and it’s always great to see young Oona Laurence. I cried, I laughed, I loved it.

#2 – LION

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I really debated putting PETE’S DRAGON and LION together in the same #2 slot, but ultimately, I chose LION for #2 because PETE’S DRAGON is a fictional story, whereas LION is real. Following the real life events of young Indian boy Saroo who is separated from his family and eventually found his way to an Australian family where he grew up in a loving household, but eventually became eager to find his real family after discovering Google Earth, even at the cost of his relationships. It’s a truly heartfelt story that anyone can get a kick out of, and once again, I relate to this story of a late 20’s young man who goes out and looks for a mother he barely remembers to get closure for a horrible set of circumstances. It’s one of the most touching adoption/reunification stories I’ve ever seen and I cried like a baby.

One last time, here’s the last of the honorable mentions before I hit the #1 pick. from me.

Well kids, it was a big and fun year at the cinemas. This year will bring many surprises, I’m sure, but let’s put the pretty pink bow-tie on this present to… er, well, I have no idea who. But this is my pick for my favorite film of 2016!

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#1 – TALLULAH

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Yeah, yeah, I’m sure there’s a lot of shock going around with this choice. Why this movie? Why not the many other great movies that I mentioned above? Well… you ever have that one movie that came along at just the right time? That movie that on any other day, under any other circumstances, wouldn’t be anything special or memorable, but because these are the circumstances of your personal life, and it’s this day that it came to you… it’s a movie that winds up doing so much? Yeah, this is that movie for me.

I won’t bore anyone with the details, but late 2015, I had an incident where I did what I thought was a good thing. I took pride in what I did and I felt good about it. But then one thing led to another and it turned out doing what I did caused more harm in the end, right up to even the police making me feel like a bad guy. But everyone that knows the details knows that I’m not. And despite my self-confidence taking a beating, and the platitudes from friends and family helping as much as platitudes usually do… Well, this film hit every single beat that it could possibly have with this. A story about a young homeless woman comes across a despicable mother who neglects and barely cares about her infant daughter. Unable to leave the poor thing with this drunken bitch, she takes the baby into her care. She seeks out the mother of her boyfriend that abandoned her and passes off the baby as theirs, asking for shelter.

So I won’t say that my issues were nearly as dramatic (almost…) as this, and I’ll be the first to tell you that if I set aside my personal feelings for this movie, I could pinpoint the many flaws that I refuse to acknowledge, but this movie was like someone sat down next to me and told me that they understand what I’m going through. That they went through a similar experience and… that made me feel better. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this. By this point, a year passed since my crap, but this film helped me pick myself up and move on, accepting what happened, but no longer dwelling on it as the greatest tragedy. In so doing, I am now much happier with who I am.

I’ve always believed that great art is meant to challenge your preconceptions. To make you think and feel. To reaffirm and strengthen what you believe in, to offer you a new perspective that you hadn’t considered, and maybe, if the art is that good, it might change you for the better. I know full well that this movie wasn’t made for me, and this movie’s intention probably wasn’t to have this effect on anyone, but this is what I’ve taken away from it. This may not be the best movie of the year, or the most enjoyable, but it is the most meaningful to me.

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Thanks for reading and sticking with me through this crazy year. Let’s see what 2017 has in store. Just keep this year away from our celebrities, am I right?

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