The Hits and Sh*ts of: 2016

In a world where Donald Trump, a man who looks like a melted waxwork of a thumb, is voted as POTUS; Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman and Victoria Wood all pass away within the same year; and there are homophobic shootings in Florida, USA, I honestly didn’t think 2016 could get any worse.

Then I spent £23 on seeing Suicide Squad at IMAX at Leicester Square. Christ, it could get worse.

So to celebrate the movies that entertained me (and helped me forget the sixteen milliseconds that Jared Leto was in Suicide Squad) it only seems fair that I congratulate them. And then I rip into the worst movies of the year with all of the contempt, hatred and pure blood-lust that has been boiling inside me over the past 365 days.

Yeah, I’m coming for you, sh*tty movie where Oscar-winning actor, Kevin Spacey, plays a talking cat.

The Hits

Arrival

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When it comes to making an alien invasion film, it’s easy to grab a blaster and pop a cap in every single ET-lookin’ fellas’ ass. However, this is nothing like Alien (1979) and – luckily – it’s nothing like Independence Day: Resurgence.

Unsurprisingly, Amy Adams is excellent as the linguist who is relied upon to help communicate with the spacecraft. It’s emotional and full of suspense; a thinking-man’s sci-fi. If you need to feel like an adult, watch this.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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Director Taika Waititi not only has a hilarious last two syllables in his surname, but has seen huge critical acclaim with his recent films – including Boy and the recent surprise hit What We Do In The Shadows.

The talented filmmaker recruits a great cast (led by grumpy, old Sam Neill playing grumpy, old Uncle Hec. Where does he get these ideas?!) In a quirky, funny coming-of-age tale, Hec escapes with his nephew, Ricky, during a nationwide manhunt. Believe me – it’s a lot funnier than it sounds, okay?!

Kubo and the Two Strings

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Show of hands – who actually expected Kubo to be a crappy film after the likes of Coraline and ParaNorman? If you have your hand up, you put it down right now, you filthy, filthy liar.

Inspired by Japanese art and mythology, Laika’s latest feature film is nothing short of visually spectacular, with true meaning and – not gonna lie – enough to make the butchest, most-masculine of viewers weep.* But amongst all of the somber, Kubo is comical and the delivery of Matthew McConaughey is nothing short of incredible.

*FYI, don’t go thinking I’m calling myself butch or masculine. Bless you for thinking that.

Moonlight

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Remember when you first saw Boyhood and you lost it? Well, I hope you’ve found ‘it’, ’cause you’re about to lose it all over again in this heartbreaking tale of a young, black man – from childhood to adulthood – as he goes through the pain and turmoil of finding and losing love, all the while trying to understand his own sexuality in the not-so-forgiving mean streets of Miami.

Possibly one of the best films over the past few years, Moonlight is very dark and severe, yet has one light underlying message with warmth. And I will probably go knock over the Hollywood letters if Mahershala Ali isn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor at this year’s Academy Awards.

Zootropolis

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Or Zootopia if it’s released in the US, where they clearly have an understanding of wordplay and puns.

Firstly, we have to applaud the animators who – I’m sure – now have nothing but bloody stumps for fingers, having rendered every single blade of fur in this universe where humans don’t exist.

It was a big risk to assume that Disney’s usual audience of young, Let It Go-singing fans would be able to decipher the movie’s deep, complex message of difference, as well as following the crime-themed plot, but with some quick-fire zingers, hugely memorable characters and elephant nudity, it just became a hilarious 2016 classic.

The Sh*ts

Dirty Grandpa

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Look, all you’ve gotta do is take 80% gross-out humour and 20% sentimental message at the end. It’s that simple. It’s worked for so many films before, so Dirty Grandpa should do it with ease. Oh, good – Zac Efron has a stuffed bee stuck to his naked penis as he’s passed out on the beach. Aaaaaaand you’ve lost me.

The High School Musical heartthrob stars alongside Robert DeNiro in Dirty Grandpa, a film which – quite frankly – isn’t funny; mainly because it tries so hard to be crude and cheeky. Just like me at 2AM in a nightclub, it’s desperate and tries far too hard.

Mother’s Day

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Valentine’s Day was bad. New Year’s Eve sucked balls. But do not even get me started on the humiliating Mother’s Day. Great. You went and got me started, didn’t you?

When will Garry Marshall learn that throwing a dart at a calendar and picking the next upcoming public holiday to adapt into a feature-length film won’t work?! It’s a pity that this bland, clichéd waste of 120 minutes was Marshall’s final directorial feature, but it does mean we won’t have to wait with bated breath for National Rubber Duckie Day (2019) starring James Corden, Ed Helms and Nicole Kidman.

Nine Lives

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“Look, listen. Listen, listen, listen. How about we get the acclaimed actor, film director, producer and screenwriter, Kevin Spacey to – pass me the blunt – to star as a bench-pressing cat who – okay, one more puff – who, who is mates with Christopher Walken.

“And we’ll call him Mr. Fuzzypants. That’s a funny name, isn’t it? We’ll get about 90% of our laughs from that, right? RIGHT?! Now we’ve won Hollywood, who’s up for a game of beer pong? Movie-making’s easy”.

Suicide Squad

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When I first saw the trailer for Suicide Squad, I was either expecting a colourful, refreshing, stylistic explosion of humour and silliness, or a dark Nolan-esque spin on some of the lesser known Batman villains.

What I got was a messy mashup of the two, which – while features an incredible cast – is nothing but a poorly written story, forgettable characters (such as the blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Slipknot) and – most importantly – the superhero cliché of all clichés, a spooky beam in the sky.

Not even Queen Viola Davis could redeem this movie. And I’m blaming it mostly on Cara Delevingne’s weird, wobbly dance thing.

Warcraft: The Beginning

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I’ll admit that I never played Warcraft; I was too busy out making friends and pulling girls. I’m joking! I wasn’t doing that, either. Sigh. But I feel like even the most skilled of Warcraft players would struggle to keep up with whatever story this is, about, erm, a brother and his nephew and a horse and, erm, something else too.

At the end of the day, green monsters slash humans with swords and they do it back. There’s no need for any of this “deeply moving” dialogue and “motivational” speeches. And keeping true to fantasy films like Lord of the Rings, Warcraft lasted four hours.

Wait. What?! I just Googled it, and it lasted 100 minutes?! It felt like that and then a further eight days on top. I just find it cheeky that they call it “The Beginning” as if Universal Pictures think we want “The Middle” and “The End”.

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