Best Ten Movies of 2016!

#10. Suspense tie/honorable mentions: Sully and Deep Water Horizon, solid performances by all.
#9 Certain Women: Kelly Reichardt does it her way
#8. Sing Street: Coming of age cutie.
#7. My Name is Doris: Sally Field still has the chops and tight ropes perfectly an elder woman trying to remain relevant in modern society.
#6. Christine Super dark, but PLEASE, Academy, lend me your ear for Rebecca Hall!
#5. La La Land: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, an oxymoron- realistic optimism.
#4. The Bigger Splash: Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton at their finest.
#3. Moonlight: Gorgeous story, gorgeous music.
#2. Toni Erdman: Best comedy I’ve seen in years, hands down.
And the number one movie of the year 2106 goes to:
#1. Manchester By the Sea: Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams owned these parts. Well worth with sadness!

Manchester by the Sea, Sweet Glorious Sadness

I stick by my stance of amore` for this film, in spite of people I’ve talked to, who comment, “But it’s so sad!”

What can I say, even in a sunny Floridian December, you can’t help but feel a little melancholy (re. John Lennon’s “So this Is Christmas”). Trust me, I’m not maudlin about anything, other than I won’t be with my son on Christmas, BUT I do appreciate some sap when it is expertly acted.

Broken record here in how much I like Michelle Williams (singing her praises most recently in a recent blog about “Certain Women”). I don’t think she’ll get the reward she deserves for this as there are too many other political contenders, BUT she certainly deserves it.

Fortunately the star of the movie, capitals S-T-A-R, Casey Affleck did win the Critics Award just last night for his portrayal of a broken man (no spoilers as promised). Just get thee to a movie theater and witness acting genius. And might I add a girlish comment that I actually liked his demure Joaquin Pheonix-esque aceptance speech. Make no mistake, this guy’s got some real demons to be able to dive this deep. Let’s just hope he can stay afloat and not do self-harm (aka Hoffman, Ledger, etc.).

The teenager in the movie also won a critic’s award last night, though I didn’t tune in in time to see this presentation. Lucas Hedges was a natural and has that Ron Howard with a nasty steroid reaction edge.

Manchester By the Sea’s screenwriter/director is Kenneth Lonergan who wrote another movie “You Can Count on Me” I’ll be seeking out. YCCOM came out in 2000 before my film infatuation began, but with Linney, Ruffalo and Broderick in it, I’m ashamed I did not know of it. Broderick, by the way, makes a cameo appearance in Manchester By the Sea and the packed house at Burns Court’s reaction was cute, a collective titter, of “oh, how sweet, Matthew Broderick”.

Go see this film and you’ll be shouting Casey Affleck when they announce the nominees for best actor in the next award show.

Certain Women: Beginning, Middle and En-?

I thought I was a big fan of Kelly Reichardt, yet after looking at her IMDB page, I realize this is a false claim based on only 3 films: her BEGINNING film “River of Grass” (looking to buy this, it’s a keeper, will explain below), her MIDDLE film “Wendy and Lucy” and her latest (EN-?), “Certain Women” last night at Burns Court in Sarasota.

First, her first:) RIVER OF GRASS is bar none, the penultimate Florida film. It’s funny, subversive and is so right on with the kookiness of all that Florida is, that I honestly don’t think any other movie could top it. Why it didn’t gain traction for a re-do with bigger celebrities and bigger budget is beyond me. In fact, it’s so timeless, it could be re-done today. It’s what Caddy Shack is to golf courses.

Her middle film, WENDY AND LUCY was very different. Akin to an uninhibited middle schooler (aka RIVER OF GRASS)
[or me at 52 after a large coffee on email..sometimes stepping over the (tacitly marked) line…]
who takes a high schooler nose dive into moody introspection, came her middle film WENDY AND LUCY. I don’t think I fully appreciated this quiet descent at the time, but looking back, the film had a memorable milieu and considering how many films I’ve seen, is saying something. And for dog lovers, which I am not, I’m sure it would resonate more. In addition, Michelle Williams, a terrific actress, was stellar as a homeless person.

The latest Reichardt invention CERTAIN WOMEN (screenplay/director based on stories by Maile Meloy) was even more quiet than “Wendy and Lucy”‘s Malick-like quiet mixed with Ackerman’s redundancy:

I didn’t mind this either, especially after a very chatty work day; my only need was a satisfying ending. But as Jimmy Olsen once lamented in an old Superman episode, “Oh, nobody got the money.”

Once again, Michelle Williams does fantastic work (biased here of course, loved her in Blue Valentine, and saw her live on Broadway with Jeff Daniels in “Blackbird”). Williams’ range and evocative facial expressions is of DeCaprio’s Revenant caliber. Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart were equally great as a miserable small town lawyers, and a relative newbie, Lily Gladstone was tremendous as a ranch hand.

I can’t say who didn’t get the money to be true to my no spoilers. If you need quiet, love Montana and great cinematography, you will be cinematically nourished. For me, once I finish the novel Nicotine by Nell Zink, Truman’s bio by McCullough, I may hunt down Maile Meloy’s short stories to see if there’s more to be mined.