I saw a lot of great movies in 2016 (the best so far being Arrival) but there are still too many I need to see before I can do a best-of list. So I was thinking of doing a “best of 2015 list,” since I spent 2016 catching up on all the movies I missed last year. But there’d be nothing interesting about my list, as it would be pretty similar to any film critic’s best of 2015 list. So I decided to do a unique list.
1. Memento (2000)
I’d seen Memento several times before, and it’s always been one of my favorite movies, but I rewatched it again this past year. I normally don’t rewatch movies often, but Memento is one of the rare films that rewards (and requires) repeat viewings.
2. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
I first saw Eyes Wide Shut around ten years ago when I was in high school, channel surfing late one night. I stumbled upon the movie knowing absolutely nothing about it. Let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep that night. In the years since, I’ve developed an appreciation of Stanley Kubrick and gained a newfound respect for this (his final) film. The scene at the party is still one of the tensest I’ve ever seen.
3. Mulholland Drive (2001)
I’d seen parts of this David Lynch film before, but I finally sat down to watch it the whole way through, and I’m still not sure I understand it all, but every second was captivating. A real mind-trip.
4. Idiocracy (2006)
Just barely making the 10-year cutoff, I watched this sci-fi comedy early in 2016, before realizing it would turn into a documentary later in the year.
5. JFK (1991)
I never got deep into the JFK assassination conspiracy theories before, which may have been due to the fact that I’d never seen this film. Now I’m convinced Oswald wasn’t working alone.
6. Being There (1979)
Another comedy that I didn’t realize would turn into a documentary in 2016.
7. Halloween (1978)
I’d seen all the parodies of Michael Myers and heard the famous score, but I’d never seen John Carpenter’s classic before because I was always afraid to watch horror movies when I was a kid. Over the past few years, however, I’ve become a huge fan of horror movies. Halloween was definitely good, but I wasn’t blown away by it, mostly because all the innovative things Carpenter did for the first time in this movie have been copied and ripped off thousands of times since—which is to the film’s credit. I kind of felt the same way about Die Hard, which I saw for the first time around five years ago. Mind-blowing for the time it was created and hugely inspirational, but less mind-blowing today.
8. Seconds (1966)
An interesting sci-fi thriller that felt like an expanded episode of The Twilight Zone.
9. Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)
Another one that just made the cutoff. This is a unique dark comedy set in an afterlife reserved for those who commit suicide. I have a soft spot for stories set in the afterlife (shout out to The Good Place).
10. Kafka (1991)
A Kafkaesque sci-fi film noir about Franz Kafka directed by Steven Soderbergh? On paper, this should be my favorite movie ever. But it just didn’t come together as well as I’d hoped. It was still worth seeing, though.
Thus concludes the top ten films (over ten years old) I saw in 2016. In 2017, in between watching newer releases, I will continue to dig through older films, searching for the next hidden gem.