Disappointments and Surprises of 2016
2016 was a year that didn't really go as planned for many people, and that includes many of the releases that came out. Some failed to deliver on their hype from trailers or critical praise, while others came out of nowhere to be surprisingly entertaining gems. Here's a look back at 12 disappointments and 9 surprises from 2016. Since there's so much ground to cover on this list, I'll try to keep it short. Also note, that the surprises might make repeat appearances on my Best List which you can expect sometime next week.
Suicide Squad - Original review HERE. Probably the biggest disappointment this year had to be Suicide Squad, a film with great trailers that it just couldn't live up to. Margot Robbie was wonderful, but the rest of the film was so dull and frankly mediocre. Everybody Wants Some - After Boyhood, I was hoping for something with a little more depth from director Richard Linklater. Everybody Wants Some was a little brainless and very underwhelming next to his previous effort.
Keanu - I fell in love with the previews when I saw that adorable little kitten Keanu. Unfortunately, the film had far too long stretches without him, which would have been fine if the laughs had been brought. Occasional laughs and an adorable kitten are okay, but I was hoping for a lot more. The Blair Witch - Original review HERE. The Blair Witch didn't give too much time to let people down since it's existence was only announced about two months before its release. Still, it got immediate early buzz that this was a legit sequel to The Blair Witch and a great horror film in its own right. Unfortunately, it ended up being incredibly lackluster and run of the mill. Bummer.
Allied -Original review HERE. Trailers portrayed this World War II movie as a spicy thriller featuring love, betrayal, and suspicion. Instead, the film ended up being super bland, wasting a nice performance from Marion Cotillard. Finding Dory - Original review HERE. Aside from Toy Story, Pixar hasn't had the greatest track record with sequels and while many audiences seemed to love Finding Dory, I was incredibly underwhelmed with it. Two amusing sequences does not a movie make, plus adding endless conflict after endless conflict just to stretch out the runtime isn't my idea of a well-crafted plot.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - I remember discussing once how much I wanted to see a sequel to 2012's Jack Reacher and as such, was so excited when I heard one was in development. Sadly, this film didn't feel related or connected to its previous film at all. Instead, it was devoid of the humor and fun combined with the hardcore action that made the first film so great. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children - Original review HERE. During the first half of this film, I was sure this could be Tim Burton's comeback...until it completely unraveled into a hot mess during the second half. The film couldn't overcome its muddled convoluted end, but hopefully, Tim Burton will be able to in future projects.
The Girl on the Train - At the beginning of the year I hoped this would be 2016's version of Gone Girl, but unfortunately this ended up going too far on the soap opera side and didn't have the directing to elevate it. Emily Blunt gave a great performance but the film will be ultimately forgotten. Hail Caesar! - Original review HERE. This movie definitely had its moments and was a nice ode to Old Hollywood during some of them....but a lot of the time it was a crazy misfire. The sum of its brilliant parts was not great enough to overcome the head scratching ones. Love & Friendship - Original review HERE. I was so excited to see this at last year's Sundance Festival, and after having seen so many great films at the fest, this one certainly left me the most underwhelmed. It was pleasant enough, but ultimately pointless. I'll never understand the glowing reviews it got. Live By Night. See yesterday's review. I think I covered it pretty well there.
10 Cloverfield Lane - Like The Blair Witch, 10 Cloverfield Lane was only announced a couple months before it was actually released. But unlike The Blair Witch it was an absolute triumph. And yes while it helps not having expectations, I did end up seeing this film three times in theaters and it held up every time.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies - Original review HERE. Okay it probably helped that I had zero expectations for this film going into it, but seriouslyI thought this was a hoot! And it was also a surprisingly decent adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Win Win.
The Shallows -Original review HERE. Yes this movie was preposterous, and yes it was tons of fun. There's something nice when a movie knows it's a B-movie and revels in it. No one took The Shallows seriously, which makes it all the more enjoyable. The Edge of Seventeen - Original review HERE. I expected this film to be a run of the mill, average teen flick with no depth or personality. What I got instead was a surprisingly earnest and honest character driven piece that really resonated with my own youth. How to Be Single - Every once in awhile the world needs a multi-storyline rom-com right? I thought this looked pretty dumb and only watched it one night when I was really bored. Yet I found myself really relating and enjoying the proceedings and dare I say, I found there to be some wisdom in it even. Sure it wasn't the film to usher in the second coming of rom-coms, but it was far more enjoyable than it had any right to be.
Kubo and the Two Strings - Kubo came out of nowhere and took audiences on a beautiful and magical journey. Visually, Kubo is a work of art and story wise, the quest he embarks on draws upon archetypes but still feels creative and fresh. Don't Think Twice - For a film about improv comedy, Don't Think Twice covered a lot of different emotional ground. Most fascinating to me was the subject of failure, and more particularly why some people have it in them to succeed and others don't (try as they might.)
Swiss Army Man - Original review HERE. Okay, it's true that a year ago I named this film as my most anticipated movie to debut at the Sundance Film Festival and promptly bought tickets. During the first premiere though when critics started tweeting about walk-outs and the film being "unwatchable" my expectations lowered considerably. But still I was determined to see the movie at the festival. I deem it a surprise because in my wildest dreams would I never believe a movie of this subject matter to be made...let alone be good. Tallulah - Another Sundance Film Festival film, but this one went straight to Netflix (they bought the rights at last year's fest.) One night I watched this and another straight to Netflix Sundance movie that will not be named presently, back to back and the results were incredibly varying. Tallulah was a film that had deeply rich characters and you had no idea where the plot would go. Because we cared for them our investment in them. Check back tomorrow when I hope to FINALLY post my Top Ten Worst of 2016.