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The 17 must-see movies of 2016

by The Frame

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Barry Jenkins is the director and writer of "Moonlight." David Bornfriend/A24

It's the time of year for lists and The Awards Show Show is no slouch. John Horn and Kyle Buchanan, co-hosts of The Awards Show Show podcast, have compiled a list of the 17 movies from 2016 they recommend.

We know that seems like an odd number, but they had three overlapping picks on their individual top 10 lists. Please note that the films are deliberately not ranked, but we start with the ones they both agree on.

THE 17 MUST-SEE MOVIES OF 2016

Moonlight (John & Kyle's pick)

Kyle Buchanan: “It’s one of the most dreamlike hypnotic experiences I’ve had in a movie theater this year.”

John Horn: “I think it is a labor of love, it is a great testament to the power of cinema.”

Zootopia (John & Kyle's pick)

John: “It’s a delightful movie just on its own terms but … I think 20 years from now, it will be seen as a very timely film, even though its about animals, that really described the American political condition in 2016.”

Disney's "Zootopia" scored big by managing to appeal to kids while still engaging adults.
Disney's "Zootopia" scored big by managing to appeal to kids while still engaging adults. Disney

20th Century Women (John & Kyle's pick)

Kyle: “It is full of warm, wise lines and moments and I can’t wait to watch this again with my family over the holidays.”

Arrival (John's pick)

John: “I think, as a parent, it’s incredibly moving ... 'Arrival' is to me, a great example of a movie that was very difficult to pull off in terms of tone, in terms of narrative, in terms of the complicated thing it was trying to say about language.”

Amy Adams stars in the new sci-fi film "Arrival" directed by Denis Villeneuve
Amy Adams stars in the new sci-fi film "Arrival" directed by Denis Villeneuve Paramount Pictures

The Lobster (John's pick)

John: “Let’s just say it’s the ultimate dating game — you have a very limited time to find your life’s partner and if you don’t you get turned into an animal. And if that doesn’t sound exciting, I don’t think I can sell it any more.”

Kyle: “It has perhaps the most sustained specific tone of any comedy this year and that is very deadpan.”

Fire at Sea (John's pick)

John: “There are moments of intimacy in this film that are unlike anything you’ve seen in a documentary.”

OJ: Made in America (John's pick)

John: “You think you know the story of OJ, but when you see this documentary, I think you’ll understand everything about the case and about race and about policing in a new light.”

OJ Simpson, from "OJ: Made in America"
OJ Simpson, from "OJ: Made in America" Mickey Osterreicher, Courtesy ESPN Films

Jackie (Kyle's pick)

Kyle: “It is more of an art movie than most people might be expecting … but that’s exactly what I liked about it.”

Little Men (Kyle's pick)

Kyle: "It’s this really wonderfully made, sensitive, delicate film … I sort of likened it to making a ship in a bottle and how particular you have to be to make it look like it was there all along.”

Michael Barbieri and Theo Taplitz in LITTLE MEN, a Magnolia Pictures release.
Michael Barbieri and Theo Taplitz in LITTLE MEN, a Magnolia Pictures release. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

A Bigger Splash (Kyle's pick)

Kyle: “It’s this sunny, sexy, duplicitous game played by these four people on vacation and the way it sort of escalates into a lot of places that I don’t think they expected.”

Mountains May Depart (Kyle's pick)

Kyle: “It’s basically about this young woman who’s torn between two men, and it seems like that’s all the film’s going to be about for the first 25 minutes — and then it takes these massive, confident leaps in time … I found it so incredible, so interesting, so unusual and ultimately touching.”

Loving (John's pick)

John: “It's exquisitely well made and it’s also the kind of movie that you don’t expect it to be.” 

Joel Edgerton plays Richard Loving and Ruth Negga plays Mildred Loving in the upcoming film, "Loving".
Joel Edgerton plays Richard Loving and Ruth Negga plays Mildred Loving in the upcoming film, "Loving". Courtesy Focus Features

Deadpool (John's pick)

John: “I have not had as much fun in a movie all year as I did in 'Deadpool.'”

La La Land (John's pick)

John:  “The degree of difficulty to this film is extraordinary … this is a movie that I hope reignites Hollywood’s interest in movie musicals.”

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in Damien Chazelle's upcoming musical "La La Land," which is one of many high-profile draws at the Telluride Film Festival.
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in Damien Chazelle's upcoming musical "La La Land," which is one of many high-profile draws at the Telluride Film Festival. Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

The Handmaiden (Kyle's pick)

Kyle: “I was so taken by every frame of this movie — the actors are fantastic, the production design and cinematography are fantastic — and I had a whole lot of fun with it.”

Krisha (Kyle's pick)

Kyle: “It is so stunning and real and deeply felt … I felt like I was watching my [own] family as I watched it.”

Sing Street (Kyle's pick)

Kyle: “You are guaranteed to have a good time with this film … I don’t think a film has made me smile more while watching it this year.”

To hear Kyle Buchanan and John Horn banter about these picks, click the play button at the top of this post. To get more of this content, subscribe to The Awards Show Show podcast on iTunes

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