Every year there are a scrumptious smorgasbord of amazing cinema—a buffet if you will. There’s so much to behold you have no clue where to start. However, every year there are a bounty of movies that are glanced over, maybe even given a whiff, but then are passed over for the dumplings at the other end of the table.
I am here to provide a list of those movies. Here, in alphabetical order, are the best movies of the year that society already forgot about.
Just kidding. Like you would read any further. Anyway, let’s get serious…
1. Beasts of No Nation
I can understand why the regular audience would shy away from this horrific, yet masterful piece of work. But the film industry itself? For shame! Aside from some deserved attention given to Idris Elba and a SAG ensemble nod, the industry and critics have largely ignored the film as a whole. Maybe because of its grim subject matter or the fact it solidifies Netflix as the HBO of movie studios. Regardless. This was a truly harrowing piece of work and it deserved more praise for its unrelenting brutality and illuminating truthfulness, along with masterful direction from Cary Fukunaga.
2. Black Mass
Another sort of dour movie the public kind of gave up on (its box office was expected to be much larger than what it closed with), with only Johnny Depp’s tremendous performance as a talking point. But the movie’s somber yet intriguing look at the many levels of crime over a wide breadth of different characters—all played fantastically by the likes of Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons—and over many years made it more deserving of attention.
The movie was a box-office smash. No surprises there. But what no one expected was how good it was going to be. Most of Disney’s live action princess movies have been a bust quality wise, but Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella was elegant, magical, and wondrous to look at thanks to otherworldly costumes and production design. Like Pride and Prejudice for the new generation . . . with fairy godmothers. But above all, it showed that with the right team live action Disney movies could be great movies as well as blockbuster hits. Sadly, critics and the film industry have left it in their carriage-driven dust. The only Oscar nomination we could have hoped for was
The fact this movie was able to come out during the summer and was still able to stand out among the biggest films of the year is a testament to its unique story and structure. Like a modern day Friday from the perspective of an inner-city nerd that isn’t afraid to be funny while also illuminating the danger of being a young black man in areas of this country. It’s a shame it didn’t get nominated in more comedy categories, but given how cool this movie is, I’m sure the filmmakers don’t give a fuck.
5. The Gift
This movie was blowing people’s minds for a multitude of reasons when it came out late summer. It’s acting, writings, its ending and as a directorial debut by Joel Edgerton. It is truly a masterful little thriller and at the very least should’ve warranted a Best Original Screenplay nod at a few of the awards ceremonies that’ve gone on. But it’s basically gone unnoticed all-around from both industry and on critics top ten lists, despite being one of the best reviewed movies of the year and making a splash at the box-office (for an independent film).
6. In the Heart of the Sea
Ron Howard’s newest film got butchered by critics and crumbled at the box-office thanks to a little movie involving laser swords or something. But anyone who really gives it a shot will find its immense visuals and (mostly) effective drama more than worth a watch, even if its final half isn’t as great as its first. Still, it didn’t deserve to be plummeted to the depths of the deepest ocean like Osama Bin Laden’s corpse.
7. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
For some reason this movie just didn’t click with people. It tanked at the box-office despite its attractive cast and late summer timeslot and got mediocre reviews from critics. But Guy Ritchie created a stylish, slick, funny, entertaining ride with some stellar camera work and great performances all-around. I hope the movie finds some love on video because Ritchie nailed a winning formula. Sadly, no one was biting.
8. Mr. Holmes
Given how popular Sherlock Holmes has become, terrific critical reviews, and a fantastic performance from the always fantastic Ian McKellen it’s a mystery why this movie hasn’t found a bigger audience. Most people I know haven’t even heard of it and it’s basically out of the Oscar discussion, even for McKellen. It’s a shame, given the unique perspective of combining tried-and-true Sherlock mystery formula with mental illness/character drama. A slow burn but a rewarding experience nonetheless.
9. Slow West
Of all the films on this list, this is the one you are most likely to have never heard of. A short, small-scale yet utterly interesting western starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee and the suddenly famous Ben Mendelsohn, this is a movie whittled down to the bare essentials of a simple story and interesting characters . Slow West is a unique, briskly-paced experience and a treat for anyone willing to hunt it down.
Despite a Golden Globe nod for Best Picture Musical or Comedy and for Melissa McCarthy, I can’t help but feel this movie hasn’t been getting the attention it deserved. Phenomenal reviews for an action comedy for its constantly funny script and lively pace as well as being a progressive stance for women area made for one of the biggest surprises of the year. Though the movie made a pretty penny ($100+ million domestically), it was still the lowest grossing film of the Paul Feig/McCarthy team-up and talks for a sequel are non-existent despite so much room to play in. Plus, Jason Statham, being able to be
hilarious? Who knew?