Ranking the Best Films of 2016 (so far)

Ranking the Best Films of 2016 (so far)

For our last movie article of the semester, we thought it was only fitting to assemble a complete ranking of the best movies we have both seen in 2016. However, there is one problem, and it has nothing to do with not seeing enough movies. Believe us when we say we’re both movie degenerates.

The issue with compiling a ranking of the best movies of 2016 right now is that many of the year’s most anticipated films have yet to be released. Blockbusters such as Rogue One, the first of what could be many Star Wars prequels and spin-offs, and Passengers, which stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, will hit theaters in the coming weeks. Notable contenders for next February’s Academy Awards such as La La Land, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and Collateral Beauty will also be released to wider audiences before the end of December.

With this in mind, we would like to inform readers that our opinions of the best movies of 2016 might change dramatically. Nonetheless, it’s always fun to see where we stand as we enter this terrific time of year for movies.

We’ve each taken the time to evaluate all the movies we’ve both seen this year, which is upwards of 20, and graded them using the following criteria:



This section details the intricacy of the plot. Was the movie well written? Was the story complex or predictable? A five would resemble a plot so enthralling that the audience felt completely immersed into the world the movie sought to depict. A score of zero here represents the most basic of all plots imaginable.



Did the actors embody their characters? Did they add value to the character beyond what was already written into the screenplay? A five in this category would be perfect depictions by each of the cast members. A zero would mean it was as if they were not even there.



This section gauges the director’s ability to make the story come to life. Was the movie shown in a new or interesting way? Does the director take risks? A five exemplifies the gold standard of directing. A zero means there was absolutely no creativity on display.


Entertainment Value

This category is perhaps the most reactionary measure of the five as well as the most simplistic. Simply put, was the movie enjoyable? Did we feel satisfied by the end? A five in this section is a movie you will soon watch over and over. A zero means you’ll never think about it again.


Emotional Impact

This section is what separates the great movies from the legends. Did the movie force the audience to feel complex emotions?  Did it deliver an emotional response with power and strength? A five results in deep, complex thoughts and a significant reaction. A zero signifies a dull, unmemorable affair.


Using a very complex logarithmic equation (Austin’s score out of 25 for each film + Erik’s score out of 25 for each film, divided by 2), we have our official ranking of the best movies of 2016, as of December 13th. Let’s get to it.


5 The Accountant

This movie may end up being the biggest surprise of the year, as it gave us Ben Affleck's best performance in recent memory, as well as a unique story to spice up the now oversaturated action movie market. The directing was average, but the entertainment value more than made up for it, as the audience was on the edge of their seats one moment, and surprisingly enough, cracking up at others. Catch our full review of The Accountant here.

Final Score: 20.75/25 (Erik: 20/Austin: 21.5)


4 Nocturnal Animals

Although headlined by Amy Adams, a high-class performance from Jake Gyllenhaal lands this movie at number four. This movie suffered from a lackluster ending, leaving the story seemingly incomplete, but Nocturnal Animals erases that flaw with top-notch acting, brilliant cinematography work and directing from Tom Ford no less.  It also delivers an emotional response that will cut very deep for many. 

Final Score: 21/25 (Erik: 21.5, Austin: 20.5)


3 Everybody Wants Some!!

The fact that we are both former college baseball players may bias our opinion, but this movie is a must-watch nonetheless. Richard Linklater, famed director, especially in this genre, delivers a story that glorifies the college life in a way that even Animal House could aspire to.  This is not to say that it is a raucous comedy, so much as that no movie to this day has ever epitomized our college experience like this one[JK1] . Great character acting brings the environment to life, as well as great laughs, memorable moments, and one of the most oddly satisfying endings we have encountered recently.

Final Score: 21.5/25 (Erik: 21, Austin: 22)


2 Arrival

If you haven’t read our review of this movie you can catch it here. In short, brilliant directing and terrific acting build on top of an incredibly intricate and cerebral story that puzzles just enough to create interest and critical thought without becoming confusing. Additionally, the movie captures a personal perspective in such an incredible cinematographic way that inspires an optimistic sadness that almost can’t be described. This movie is a necessary addition to movie collections everywhere.

Final Score: 22.5 (Erik: 22, Austin: 23)


1 Zootopia

An animated movie at number one? Absolutely. Zootopia joins the ranks of animated greats such as Toy Story and The Incredibles thanks to a phenomenal story and hilarious characters. Most admirably, it ultimately delivers on a message that is both poignant and surprisingly relevant. It’s simply a home-run, regardless of how old you are. Zootopia will be hard to knock off the top spot on our list.

Final Score: 24 (Erik: 24.5, Austin: 23.5)


Honorable Mentions: Deadpool, Sully, Captain America: Civil War

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