List: The Reel Deal Staff Pick Their Favorite Movies of 2016

With 2016 out of the way, we here at the Reel Deal thought it would be the perfect time to round up the movie team and to find out what their favorite films of 2016 were. Without further adieu, here are our staff’s picks for their favorite 2016 films:

Troi Watts: Zootopia

My favorite movie from 2016 is Zootopia. I fell in love with this Disney hit during the first five minutes! I don’t think I could actually get tired of Zootopia. In a world populated by animals of all kinds, the usually peaceful city of Zootopia is thrown into panic when predators start going “savage” and wild. It’s up to new police officer Judy Hopps to save the day! I specifically loved how Zootopia is a fresh, creative story. 2016 was plagued with reboots and sequels; it’s nice to have something new!

Although the movie is conveying some deep messages about our society, it’s funny, adventurous, and consistently engaging. Judy Hopps’s unwavering positivity and the wittiness of friend/captive Nick Wilde make for sly, constant humor. Those social messages are also integrated into the plot so well that they are not overpowering nor preachy. It’s thought-provoking and another part of the movie’s appeal. Overall, Zootopia is a must-watch movie from 2016!

Quentin Basnaw: Arrival

Now, I’m not a connoisseur of movies; I like to think I am but I have not seen every movie that has been released this year. That being said I have gone to the movies more this year than I have any other year I’ve been alive, so I have quite a few movies to pick from to choose what I believe is the best, or at least my favorite of the year.

My favorite movie this year was by far Arrival. It was beautifully shot, perfectly paced and with having little action to speak of, had me gripping my seat in suspense hoping that everything would work out well for not only our heroes but everyone on Earth. The movie is about scientists that try to communicate with aliens come who are visiting Earth. This movie  beautifully shows that language is how people should solve problems and not create them and come to a better understanding not just with the visitors that come to our world, but among us as a species. The acting is top-notch and the special effects and music are fantastic. If you haven’t seen it yet, please see it when it comes out on DVD or ever hits Netflix. You won’t regret it!

Andrew Haas: Zootopia

Looking back on 2016, I was surprised to see how many movies I enjoyed. In fact, I had a very hard time trying to contemplate which movie I enjoyed the most out of all. At first it was a tie between two animated features, Zootopia and Kubo and the Two Strings. While Kubo was a wonderful film with breathtaking stop motion, I have to admit that when reflecting upon the year it came out and the powerful themes it conveyed, I ultimately had to go with Zootopia.

This is by far one of the most surprising and smartest films to ever come out of Walt Disney Animation Studios. I went into the film expecting a decent time killer before Moana. But little did I know how much planning and effort went into what could’ve been a silly kids film. Many viewings later, I still love the characters, the animation, the creativity of the world, and most importantly, the allegories and message on prejudice and tolerance. In a year as chaotic as 2016, this film could not have come out at a more perfect time. That’s what pushes Zootopia into being my favorite of the year, though Kubo still comes in a very close second.

Anthony Miglieri: The Lobster

While there are still a few highly anticipated films from 2016 that I have sadly not yet gotten a chance to catch up with, there was one film that captured my imagination like few others did: Yorgos Yanthimos’s The Lobster. Even if the movie itself was not widely seen, many moviegoers have in way or another caught wind of its bizarre plot: in a dystopian future, single people are forced to find a romantic mate within a set period of time, or are turned into animals. As strange as this premise sounds (and is), it is really only the jumping off point for writer/director Yanthimos and his cast, as they continue to ramp up the odd, quirky, and disturbing air up through the final frames. By the time The Lobster ends, viewers might be left scratching their heads, throwing their hands up in indignation, or (as I was), pondering what exactly this film has to say. This film lampoons the absurdity that us humans often resort to when attempting to make sense of romance, and despite its sometimes cold exterior, this film truly does have compassion for our antics.

Since this movie is so odd and difficult to describe, I have used a bit of math to explain it to those who haven’t seen it: think the quirky, self-aware style of Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums) mixed with the uncomfortably precise human observation of Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa, Being John Malkovich), and you might have something like Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster. Then again, my friend who loves both Anderson and Kaufman absolutely hated this film, so there’s that too. For me though, there is a sense of beauty, spontaneity, and hilarity to The Lobster that makes it stand above any other new movie I saw in 2016.