Films in 2016: December

Happy New Year! 2016 was quite a year, to say the least, especially in the last month. But on the movie-watching front, December was a good month filled with some great movies to top off the year. Half the films I watched were catch up for the 52 Films by Women project since I fell behind a bit over the summer, but fortunately, I was able to complete it before the year’s end. I really enjoyed watching more women-directed films in the past year, and I’ll make a conscious effort to seek out more of them in 2017. Anyway, I’ll post my film year in review (plus my choices for this year’s Blind Spots series) in the next couple of days. So for now, let’s look at all of what I watched in the last month of 2016…

New-to-Me: 33

Re-Watched: 2

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 1
  • 1940s – 3
  • 1950s – 2
  • 1960s – 2
  • 1970s – 6
  • 1980s – 3
  • 1990s – 2
  • 2000s – 3
  • 2010s – 11

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. Since You Went Away (1944)
  2. Maggie’s Plan (2015)
  3. Mr. Soft Touch (1949)
  4. Arrowsmith (1931)
  5. Mustang (2015)
  6. The Trip to Bountiful (1985)
  7. Money Monster (2016)
  8. Life Partners (2014)
  9. Moonlight (2016)
  10. In the Mood for Love (2000)
  11. Girlhood (2014)
  12. Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
  13. A Special Day (1977)
  14. Boy’s Don’t Cry (1999)
  15. Fast Time at Ridgemont High (1982)
  16. Holy Smoke (1999)
  17. The Night Porter (1974)
  18. My Brilliant Career (1979)
  19. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
  20. Nocturnal Animals (2016)
  21. Susan Slept Here (1954)
  22. Experiment Perilous (1944)
  23. Period of Adjustment (1962)
  24. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
  25. La La Land (2016)
  26. Christmas in the Clouds (2001)
  27. A Carol for Another Christmas (1964)
  28. Old Yeller (1957)
  29. The Fits (2015)
  30. Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
  31. Fish Tank (2009)
  32. Love & Anarchy (1973)
  33. Trafic (1971)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight (2016), directed by Barry Jenkins

I still have a number of 2016 films to catch up on, but I can’t imagine any other movie in the past year topping Moonlight as my favorite. It’s a tender coming-of-age story told in three defining chapters of a young man’s life, following his ups and downs as he explores his sexuality. The film is perfectly crafted across the board, from the score, cinematography, direction, and to the entire cast (seriously, everyone is excellent, I can’t even single out one or two actors). I didn’t know too much about Moonlight going into it and only watched the trailer once a few months ago, so the film really blew me away in the sense that it felt like no other movie I had seen before. It’s such an empathetic movie, and it came out at just the right time. I hope we see more movies made with as much empathy as Moonlight in the future.

A Special Day (1977)

A Special Day (1977), directed by Ettore Scola

This movie had pretty much been on my watchlist since I saw Marriage, Italian Style earlier in the year, which also stars one of cinema’s greatest screen teams, Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren. I had heard that A Special Day was one of the pair’s best outings together, and I have to agree after seeing it. Both actors play against the glamourous type of roles their best remembered for, with Loren playing a conservative housewife and Mastroianni playing a homosexual radio broadcaster. As the title suggests, the film unfolds over the course of one day, the one in which Benito Mussolini and the city of Rome welcomed Adolf Hitler. A Special Day is more focused on the personal struggles of Loren and Mastroianni, neighbors in an apartment building who explore ideas such as sexism, homophobia, and fascism. The two actors give one of the best performances in their careers and make the film even more compelling than it already is. It’s definitely a film that still feels relevant today, especially considering what’s been going on in the world within the past couple of months.

La La Land (2016)

La La Land (2016), directed by Damien Chazelle

This movie is filled with classic film references, so I knew I’d enjoy La La Land going into it, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s vibrant and colorful like Jacques Demy’s films, but it also has an underlying cynicism to it in the way of It’s Always Fair Weather (a severely underrated musical, which director Damien Chazelle has included in his TCM Guest Programmer line-up for the channel later this month). It’s not a perfect movie, but it didn’t fail to make my heart swell as I watched it. If anything, I hope this movie helps revitalize the musical genre.

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), directed by Susan Seidelman

As I mentioned earlier in the post, half of my month was filled with films directed by women, and I actually did enjoy a lot of them. My favorite of what I watched in December was Desperately Seeking Susan, which I ended up enjoying more than I expected. It’s such a fun movie (and filled with some great, over-the-top ’80s style), showing how a bored, suburban housewife’s fascination with a mysterious woman she reads about in the personals section of the newspaper gets her mistaken for the woman in question.

In the Mood for Love (2000)

In the Mood for Love (2000), directed by Wong Kar-wai

I posted my last entry for the 2016 Blind Spots series a few days ago on In the Mood for Love, not only one of my favorite films of the month but also of this series. My thoughts on the film can be found here.

2 thoughts on “Films in 2016: December

  1. I’ve only seen three movies from your list this time around: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Old Yeller, and Rogue One. What did you think of Fast Times?

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