By The BoomfestX Film Committee
When we draw each year to a close, the last week of November gives us Americans a chance to realize everything we have taken for granted. The tradition of Thanksgiving is something I don’t have to explain; it’s literally right there in the name. In the spirit of the adage “Entertainment is America’s greatest export,” the BoomfestX Film Committee would like to share our gratitude.
As we feast with our mouths, so do we also feast with our eyes, ears, and minds. Every year over 700 films are released in the US alone, and we are left scrambling by the end of December, catching up on anything we missed in order to compartmentalize one more thing in our lives: the obligatory year-end “Best Movies” list. So by all means take our words for it, these are ones to catch before New Years.
While we can all agree 2016 was a pretty lousy year all-around, we have had quite the embarrassment of riches when it comes to cinematic distraction. Let’s go around the table, give our thanks, and dig in.
This year, I’m thankful for Denis Villeneuve. His film Arrival is going to be considered one of the best science fiction films of the decade, if not put into larger groupings, and will be on must watch lists for years to come. It is the first full on science fiction feature from Villeneuve, a director with an already fairly stacked filmography. Next year, we get his sequel to Blade Runner. To put things in perspective, when Blade Runner was released, Ridley Scott had made two features, and one of those was Alien. If the parallel continues and Blade Runner 2049 is a successful film (both commercially and artistically), Villeneuve could go on to become a household name. I am excited for the future of film.
The Conjuring 2
My favorite movie of 2016 was The Conjuring 2, because I love horror, but I loved it for more than that. It’s even more than Patrick Wilson’s unbearable adorableness, which can’t be denied. I love that movie because it takes a scary story and makes it a story about people who had a scary experience. It’s more than a movie; it’s people’s lives. Conjuring 2 had an impact on me greater than any other movie in 2016.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I am thankful for the beautiful nostalgia I got to share with my younger brother and mom in the theaters with the magic of a franchise we all loved. A new tale in a universe of infinite possibilities that inspire and encourage childhood imagination, I’m thankful that it is a fresh surprise – there’s no book for the fandom to compare and nitpick, just wide-eyed anticipation of what could happen next.
Out of all the movies I’ve seen this year, I’m most thankful for the new Ghostbusters movie. It’s because I felt empowered as a woman for the first time in a long time while watching a more comedy styled movie. All the women in the movie were different, I didn’t feel like they were damsels because they defended themselves. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went in to the theatre to see it, but after I was incredibly thankful that movie was made.
Hell or High Water
For a filmlover in the digital age, one of life’s last unspoiled pleasures is walking into a movie theater to see a film that seemingly comes out of nowhere. Hell or High Water is a modern-day Western with plenty on its mind, and it knows just how to say it simply and eloquently. I’m usually a fan of the more stylized and fantastic voices in cinema, but David Mackenzie’s film gave me a new appreciation for realism captured in the frame. Hell or High Water is a perfect little film, and I am truly thankful that it was given the chance to be seen in theaters, and also for Margaret Bowman who steals the show and all of our hearts as a cantankerous waitress, 2016’s greatest One-Scene-Wonder.
I am thankful for the fact that The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, showed me that movies can make me feel super awkward and still be fantastic. I never expected a movie with scenes of dry humping, shooting cows, or a husky, mustachioed Colin Farrell hitting on women while someone dies in the background to be rewarding but this film proved me wrong. It also made my friends feel genuinely awkward while watching it, which is an impressive feat in its own right. So for that, I give thanks to The Lobster and fat Colin Farrell for giving me the best movie watching experience of 2016.
My pick was an easy choice: Moonlight by Barry Jenkins, a film that was already on the road to being a classic made all the more relevant with the outcome of the presidential election. The stories of marginalized people finding and becoming comfortable in their identity are more important now than ever before. Being released in today’s turbulent political climate, Moonlight may very well be looked back upon as the most important film of the year.
I’m thankful for The VVitch (I will always spell it that way) and its clement dispensation of quasi-Kubrickian slow burn horror. No cornucopia spread this Thanksgiving will be half as sumptuous.
Despite my childhood fear of being abducted by aliens, this year I’m thankful for the movie Arrival. More than your traditional alien invasion movie, Arrival approaches the subject of extraterrestrial contact at the most basic level: communication. This high-concept film explores human nature and global politics as humans across the globe are faced with the mysterious arrival of twelve alien space crafts. With it’s great writing and layering of subjects, Arrival is a well-crafted film that offers an interesting twist that delighted this film lover.