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Hi there! I'm Sam, I'm 18, and I love film, television, and music! Hope to write more and show what I have to offer to my readers.

What a year. What a year. This year has brought along with it many films, as well as other events that have either been heartwarming or heartbreaking, filled with either happiness or sadness. This year, I have had the fortune of going to theaters ten times and seeing seven films. This is my list of the top films of this year. First things first: I have unfortunately not seen Rogue One yet. I have been planning to, but due to the craziness I experienced over the holidays, I've been unable to get my tickets. When I finally see it, I will add it to the list, quite possibly, but it will most likely be tied with one of the other films on this list. Now, please remember that this is my opinion, so if you don't agree with me, deal with it. So, without further ado, here's the list:

10. Zootopia

Life isn't some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and all your insipid dreams magically come true. So let it go.

Now this was a film I unfortunately did not see in theaters, waiting until it came out on Redbox. I wanted to see it really bad, however, but I was unsuccessful. When I finally did watch it, it was a film I couldn't help but love. It was a film that reminded me quite a bit of the last film I'd truly been able to relate to, the last one being Tangled. This film, which happened to make over $1 billion, has become one of my favorites from the studio, in no small part thanks to the great performances of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, and Jenny Slate, the plot written by Jared Bush and Phil Johnston, the direction by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, and the song Try Everything by Shakira, which always helps me to feel good whenever I listen to it.

9. X-Men Apocalypse

Everything they've built will fall! And from the ashes of their world, we'll build a better one!

This is my first very likely divisive film choice for my top films list, and I assure you, it won't be my last. This film was the third I saw in theaters this year and was my fifth trip there, as well. I saw it the day after my last day of eleventh grade, and both my friend and I loved it. We particularly enjoyed the performances from the main cast, including those of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Josh Helman, the visuals, and the plot by Simon Kinberg. I have to say that this is one of my top two films, along with Days of Future Past. I believe they could be interchangeable. Now, note that I mean ONLY X-Men films, and not spin-offs such as Origins and The Wolverine, or another one that will be mentioned later.

8. The Jungle Book

Are you alone out here? What are you doing so deep in the jungle? Don't you know what you are?... I know what you are. I know where you came from. Poor, sweet little cub. I'll keep you clossse. Let go of your fear now... and trussst in meee...

was one that caught me by surprise more so than many of the others on this list. I had believed it would be great, but not as much as it turned out to be. I have a lot of respect for director Jon Favreau, especially after such films as Elf and the first two Iron Man films. What caught me off-guard most had to be the visuals, which were more stunning than anything Disney has ever produced before. The scenery is perfectly rendered, and the animals are the most lifelike I have ever seen CGI achieve. Now, this list cannot be complete without the performances, with Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Giancarlo Esposito, Lupita Nyong'o, Christopher Walken, and Scarlett Johansson bringing life to the animals. But most of all, Neel Sethi was one who stole the show. A newcomer, he exceeded all expectations and gave one of the best child performances I've ever seen caught on film. It is thanks to this film, amongst others, that we will see other live-action adaptations of our favorites, with Jon Favreau already signed on to direct one of The Lion King along with this film's sequel. Unsurprisingly, it was highly successful, grossing over $966 million worldwide.

7. Star Trek Beyond

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.

The fourth film I saw in theaters this year, this is a film that I was very excited for, having seen the first in this area of the franchise back in 2009 in theaters and the second through Netflix. I have to admit that I have not been the greatest fan of either the or franchises, but I still happen to love them both, just not as much as some, obviously. Besides the performances, visuals, and the score by Michael Giacchino, what I really loved about the film was its tributes to elements of the original series, as well as how it dealt with the deaths of both Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, the latter of whom completed his scenes before his death. Between myself and my parents, whom I saw it with, no one loved it more than my father, who grew up watching the original series and still loves the franchise.

6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Yesterday, a wizard entered New York with a case. A case full of magical creatures. And unfortunately, some have escaped.

Now, while I mentioned earlier that I am not the biggest fan of either Star Trek or Star Wars, I am, however, a huge fan of all things -related. I started reading the books in second grade, and started watching the movies around late 2006 or early 2007, as the first one I saw in theaters was Order of the Phoenix. I had known of the companion book of the same name J.K. Rowling had written (which is based on a textbook used in the Harry Potter series by the students as a field guide for the creatures in the world around them) for quite some time when I heard a new film based in the franchise was in production, I was still genuinely surprised and completely excited. Now, after seeing the film, I can say that it blew me away. It allowed me to see a whole new world other than that of Harry Potter, one that was completely different. Muggles are now known as No-Majs (non-magics), and instead of a Minister of Magic and a Ministry of Mafic, there is a President in their place. Eddie Redmayne was the perfect Newt Scamander, and Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, and Colin Farrell help to round out a great cast. The creatures are as fantastic as the title might suggest, with my personal favorite being either the Niffler or the Thunderbird. Also, one of the best parts, in my opinion, is the surprise appearance by a specific actor, whose name I will not mention here. All-in-all, a great start to the five-part series.

5. Deadpool

Woo! Superhero landing! You know that's really hard on your knees. Totally impractical, they all do it.

Ahh. Here we are to our top five films. This was one I had to wait on to watch, finally doing so when it came on HBO. I remember when X-Men Origins: Wolverine came out and the amount of hate it received for what they did to Ryan Reynolds' Wade Wilson. Now, even as someone who didn't mind Origins as much as others, I will still admit that what they did to in that was completely unforgivable, and that was why I was so happy when the first teaser trailer dropped, showing us the Deadpool we all know, love, and deserve. The best parts of this film were the amount of the vulgarity they were able to stick into its 106-minute runtime, the truly unforgettable performance from , the Colossus we wanted all along, and the cameo from Stan Lee, which stole the show, as always. Thanks to the performance of this film (becoming the highest-grossing R-rated film ever, with over $783 million worldwide) we will be seeing a sequel in 2018, though helmed by a different director.

4. Doctor Strange

You're a man looking at the world through a keyhole. You've spent your life trying to widen it. Your work saved the lives of thousands. What if I told you that reality is one of many?

is currently the last film I succeeded in seeing in theaters. And boy, was it different. It was a film I did not expect from Marvel Studios, seeing as how most of their recent films all had to do with the actual Avengers in some way or another. I knew of the character well-enough, though, and wondered how they would create a film based on him. But Marvel was able to step up to the plate and create something we hadn't seen before. I've been a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch for a few years now, having watched his roles in The Hobbit Trilogy, Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness, and The Imitation Game. He gave this role his all, and I have to commend him for giving up his English accent. Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Mads Mikkelson round out his supporting cast, and they are well-accompanied by the musical score composed by Michael Giacchino, the direction by Scott Derrickson, and the visuals—my God, the visuals! This film includes some of the best visuals I have ever seen in a film, and not just in a film made by . Oh no. I mean in any film I have ever seen. The visuals during the time- and space-bending moments, especially in the Dark Dimension, were breathtaking. I do hope a sequel is made soon, because I believe there is still a lot of potential left for this character.

3. Suicide Squad

Worst. Heroes. Ever.

Now we come to this film. I'm sure there are many of you who will believe me to be crazy, and for all you know, I am. But there's also a such thing as opinion, and my opinion is that I loved Squad. I will admit it has some flaws, especially in the case of the character development, but I enjoyed every single moment both the times I saw it in theaters. Yes, that's right, I saw this film twice. It's one of the three films I saw twice. Now, back to the review. I loved a lot about the film, including the performances (especially Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jay Hernandez, and Jared Leto), the score by Steven Price, the soundtrack, visuals, direction by , and the psychological aspects found in the plot and found in the backstories of the truly established characters. This film sets up quite a lot for the rest of the Extended Universe, including Justice League and The Flash, the possible sequel, and the spin-offs we'll now be seeing for Will Smith's and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. Now, whether you liked the film or not, you have to admit, $745 million is a good amount for the film to make, especially considering the fact it was banned in China, a fate shared with Deadpool.

2. Captain America: Civil War

An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again. But one which crumbles from within? That's dead…forever.

The final two. Captain America: was another of the films I saw twice in theaters, and the second overall. I love all the films in the , and this helped me to maintain that standing. If there was someone who was able to express how I felt throughout the film, it would be my mom, who is known amongst my family for being quite expressive during films, talking during parts she shouldn't be, and whatnot. There was one such scene near the end of the film where she was most surprised, which, if you have seen the film, you know the one I am speaking of. I was constantly surprised by the film, something not many films can do anymore. As always, the performances were top-notch, with being on the top of his game as Steve Rogers/Captain America, and Robert Downey, Jr. maintaining his outstanding role as Tony Stank—I mean Stark. Sebastian Stan as is a welcome return, helped by the great performances of Anthony Mackie as Sam/Falcon, Don Cheadle as Rhodey/War Machine, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda/Scarlet Witch, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha/Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Clint/Hawkeye, Paul Bettany as Vision, and newcomers Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther, Daniel Brühl as Baron Zemo, and Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Additional elements such as the plot being well-crafted, the visuals being perfect, and the cameo by Stan Lee helped everything to hold together and make this one of my top three MCU films and second-favorite film of this year.

And now, without further ado…

1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Black and blue. Fight night. The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: God versus man; day versus night; Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!

Now, while Suicide Squad was already on this list, this is one many will likely want to scream at me and tell me I don't know what in the name of God a good movie might be. Well, then, as I said before: Deal with it. This is, as I also said before, my opinion. And yes, I did, in fact, love Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I found it to be amazing, and I saw it twice in theaters, being the first film I saw in theaters this year, as well. Many can disagree with me, and that's fine. I respect everyone's opinion, no matter what. Now, what made me love the film was the performances. as Bruce Wayne/ has become my favorite live-action version of the character thus far, and second of all-time, behind Kevin Conroy. Henry Cavill is my favorite modern Superman, and one of my favorites of all-time, alongside Christopher Reeve, Tim Daly, George Newbern, and Tom Welling. While many disliked Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Lex, I enjoyed it, feeling it gave tribute to Clancy Brown's performance as the character in the DC Animated Universe and beyond, and around the same as even Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey. He was perfectly psychotic. Amy Adams remains my favorite Lois Lane with her role in this film, and Gal Gadot proves that she is Wonder Woman even in her small role in the film. I found the motivations, unlike some, to be clear, and the plot to be well-thought, though not as much as some, obviously. The visuals were top-notch, and the fight scenes were grand spectacles, with the final battle between the Trinity and the resurrected Doomsday being my favorite scene in the whole film. I will say that this is my favorite film of the year without any kind of regret whatsoever. I'll admit I loved the extended version the most, however, despite my love for the theatrical edition. In conclusion, I loved this film, and I am ready for what is to come in the .

Honorable Mentions:

Of course, this year would not be complete without any honorable mentions. Those films are:

  • The Shallows
  • Finding Dory
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
  • The Divergent Series: Allegiant
  • Now You See Me 2
  • Warcraft
  • Batman: The Killing Joke

Movies of 2017:

Next year, there are going to be many films coming out. This is the list of films I hope to see. If you want to post anymore, post them in the comments section:

  • The Lego Batman Movie
  • The Great Wall
  • Logan**
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Power Rangers*
  • Ghost in the Shell*
  • The Fate of the Furious*
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2**
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales**
  • Wonder Woman**
  • Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Despicable Me 3
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming**
  • War for the Planet of the Apes**
  • Dunkirk**
  • The Dark Tower
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle**
  • Thor: Ragnarok**
  • Justice League**
  • Star Wars: Episode VIII**

* Maybe/I might see them, but that doesn't mean I want to as much as some

** Those I most want to see

In Memoriam:

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

— Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Life is only a prologue. Heaven is Chapter One.

— My Own Personal Quote

Unfortunately, there were many whom we lost this year, and it is here that I will pay tribute to those who have left us:

  • David Bowie
  • Alan Rickman
  • René Angélil
  • Glenn Frey
  • Abe Vigoda
  • Joe Alaskey
  • Maurice White
  • Tony Burton
  • George Kennedy
  • Nancy Reagan
  • Larry Drake
  • Ken Howard
  • Garry Shandling
  • Patty Duke
  • Doris Roberts
  • Chyna
  • Prince
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Anton Yelchin
  • Elie Wiesel
  • Noel Neill
  • Garry Marshall
  • Tim LaHaye
  • Kenny Baker
  • Gene Wilder
  • Bill Nunn
  • Arnold Palmer
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Robert Vaughn
  • Florence Henderson
  • Ron Glass
  • Sammy Lee
  • John Glenn
  • Alan Thicke
  • Henry Heimlich
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor
  • Richard Adams
  • George Michael
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Debbie Reynolds
  • William Christopher

Among many others.

May you all rest in peace, and may God bless your families. You will be remembered…always.


What is your favorite film of 2016?

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