2016: The Skinny

Welcome to the SIXTH Annual Skinny!

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Hello to all 3 of my readers!

It is time to take a look at 2016, henceforth known as “The year that shall not be named”. The purpose of this annual post is to review the films, TV, and comics of 2016. We do this in lists. As is standard for this site, I give “Skinnys”, mere blurbs, on each subject (primarily due to my lack of literary ability). Before we get started, I have provided links to all 436 films I have seen in theaters. I recently reformatted all of them so that they would be somewhat cohesive. I will repeat; these links are the list of EVERY MOVIE I have seen in a theater. As a film lover, that means a lot to me. It took quite a while to compile this list. It represents 30 years of film. I proud to share it with you.

Disclaimer: This is the place where I mention that that I have not seen everything. I am not a professional reviewer, and am only able to see a small, very small, fraction of the major releases never mind every indie movie that is the darling of film festivals. Judge me accordingly.

Without further delay, let’s get it done!

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Before we start on films, lets look at some other categories:

Television

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This was a strange year of TV for me. I watched more WWE than anything else, not only the new shows, but classic WWF Pay per views on the wwe network (only 9.99 maggle!). I even attended 4 live shows! Smackdown in March, Raw and Smackdown in July for the brand Split, and Summerslam in Brooklyn. Not too shabby.

Besides the “sporting events” (more action soap operas) there are several standout shows this year. I will say it right now: I am behind on Walking Dead and have not seen Stranger Things. I know. Please forgive me. I normally list a top 5, but a top 10 is in order.

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Special Mention: Star Trek – YES! 2016 was the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and I watched it all! From 1966 through the animated series. I have not had the chance to sit through all 13 films, but it is on the docket for 2017.

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10: DC TV Universe: Gotham/Flash/Arrow/legends/Supergirl – I know, this is actually 5 shows. I got through the 2015-2016 seasons of all of these and let them fall off. It is jsut too much TV. I will watch them on Netflix in the summer. The one standout here was Supergirl. I watched all of season one in a week and was very impressed. The people that make this show both know and love the Superman Mythos.

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9: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – I know. What the hell is this? It is an Australian show set in the Depression. It follows a flapper/detective who solves murders in Melbourne. Best detective show I’ve seen in a long time. Essie Davis is terrific. Thank you Netflix.

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8: Daredevil – Season 2 of Daredevil did not dissapoint. We got an excellent rendition of Elektra and Joe Bernthal was phenomenal as The Punisher.

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7: Luke Cage – The best Netflix Marvel show yet. This show had a voice and style, that was breathtaking. The music was the best I’ve heard in a tv show. The acting was superb. Netflix is doing Marvel right.

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6: Galavant – Cancelled after 2 seasons, this show might be one of my all time favorites. A medieval musical comedy. Pure magic. RIP.

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5: House of Cards – The only reason this is not higher is that I am only 1/2 way finished. I was not a huge fan of season 3 (compared to the first 2) but so far season 4 is back in form.

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4: Better Call Saul – Damn, is this a great show or what? Season 2 far exceeded the first, which is quite an achievement. As I said last year- they took the lessons learned on Breaking Bad and are continuing the work here. Worth your time.

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3: Game of Thrones – This was a very dangerous season for GoT. They finally surpassed Martin’s books, but they did it SO well. Some of the season felt lost, but they had the Hodor episode they turned a corner. “The Battle of the Bastards” might be the best episode of television ever made, better than Ozymandius. The follow up season finale was one of the most shocking ever. They blew up half the cast and finally began to tie up the story. This show has never been stronger than it is now.

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2: Making a Murderer – This documentary of the legal battles of Steven Avery is one of the most engrossing television events I’ve ever seen. How can this get extended for so many episodes and get BETTER as it goes? I have no idea. The fact that it is all true astonishes me. I am ready to re-watch it.

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1: Narcos – Hands down the best TV show of the year. Netflix pretty much dominated the list this year, and it likely will next year. With a lack of boundaries, this is where the best TV is being made. The story of the Colombian drug cartels made for great TV. The first two seasons told the tale of Pablo Escobar. Season 3 will take a chance moving beyond his story, but I have faith.

Comic Books

A terrible year for me. I went to the store once every 2 months and then binged on everything in a weekend. It really kills the rankings, so I have decided to keep it simple.

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3: Marvel – Damn, they went off the cliff. The only thing I currently read from them is Star Wars. Now, Star Wars prints a LOT of comics each month, but it almost operates as an imprint. The Marvel Superheroes are in a rough spot, but the Star Wars comics are fun. “Darth Vader” was a work of perfection. Doctor Aphra rocks and is one of the best Star Wars creations since Ahsoka.

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2: DC Comics – DC did the reboot of the “new 52” this year. I love it, but they are publishing WAY too many books for me to really keep up. I got all of the initial “Rebirth” one shots, and the first 4 issues of many titles, but that was easily over 20 comics a month. I cut back and am only getting Superman, Action Comics, and Batman. DC is on the right track and I am quite happy to see “MY” Superman back. The “Post Crisis” Superman.

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1: Image – As in past years, Image dominates the comic world. The quality being produced here is insane. Saga, Southern Bastards, Deadly Class, Wicked and Divine, East of West, Stray Bullets, Anything from Brubaker and Phillips, the Millarworld, and so many more redefine what comics are. I can’t even keep up with all the titles they print. These are some of the best comics ever made… period. Saga, however, stands above them, being a prime example of this new Golden Age of comics. Issue 38 broke my damn heart.

Movies

These are movies everyone had access to at the local cinema. I cannot see everything. There are several I wish I had seen, and many others I am glad to have missed. My crap filter has developed to the point where I can save myself a lot of aggravation. This was the year of the crap filter. From Independence Day 2 to Zoolander 2, I saw fewer films this year than in most of my adult life. I am not sure if that is good or bad.

Original reviews can be found on the 2016 Review Page

My 15 films of 2016

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Gods of Egypt – I was so pissed at this film. I adore Egyptian mythology and history, but this was an insult on every level. The writing and acting were atrocious. The effects passable, but beyond their budget. I won’t even get into the “white-washing” of the cast. Terrible. They ruined Thoth, my favorite of the Pantheon.

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These films were not that bad, but nowhere near the best. In no particular order:

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Batman vs Superman:  Dawn of Justice – A good movie, not great, just ok. The problem is that Marvel is absolutely killing it at the cinema. While I think that Affleck’s Batman is the best version of the character to date, and I appreciate the 1990’s Superman, they aren’t building the universe the right way. While it is a good idea to not copy Marvel, they should have taken notes in how to construct their Justice League. You need the meat and potatoes before you have the ice cream. They are going right for dessert.

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Suicide Squad – This was also OK, but it should have been better. It had so much promise. Harley was great, but the rest fell apart so quickly. I wonder if this suffered from over zealous editing.

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Deadpool – A damn funny movie. This gave me some hope that Fox can make a decent Marvel film, but I fear it is the exception and not the rule.

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TMNT Out of the Shadows – It was a Ninja Turtles movie with Beebop, Rocksteady, and KRANG. It amused me and tickled my nostalgia. I have no apologies for liking this. lol.

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Warcraft – This movie suffered from bad editing. You can tell it wanted to be a 3 hour epic fantasy and was trimmed down way too much. Duncan Jones is a great director, and the bones of an A+ movie were there, they just weren’t allowed to pull it off.

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Ghostbusters – You know, this was not worthy of the hate strewn upon it. Is it as good as the original? No. As good as Ghostbusters 2? Pretty close actually. This movie did it’s own thing and I thought the cast was phenomenal, particularly Kate McKinnon.

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X-Men: Apocalypse – Man, this movie had some great stuff in it. It is sad that they misused Magneto and butchered Apocalypse. The Jean Grey scene at the end gave me goosebumps, but could not overcome the rest of it. A misstep after Days of Future Past and sadly a return to form for Fox.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them – A great movie, lots of fun. I think this is a solid foundation for a new Potter series of films. It is definitely a stronger film than “Sorcerer’s Stone”. My one major critique is that the secondary characters of Queenie and Jacob steal the movie. Newt was almost more of a plot device than a lead. This is a shame as Redmayne is one of the best actors out there. Having a general idea of the story going forward, it is young Dumbledore that is the hero of the era, meaning that Scamander may fall further into the background.

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Yes, this anemic year only had 6 which I felt were worthy of the top.

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6: Captain America: Civil War – What a great film. The performances were top notch and the story was there. The Winter Solider/Stark twist at the end really shocked me and made me beleive the split in the team. Boseman was amazing as Black Panther, Ant-Man fit right in with the crew, and they NAILED Spider-Man. Holland is THE Spidey for me. Perfect work.

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5: Doctor Strange -This is probably in the top 3 of the Marvel films (GoG, Avengers, Strange). The cast was shockingly good. They aimed for Oscar caliber talent, hired them, and it paid off. Cumberbatch is a wonder as Stephen Strange. Mads shines as the baddie, and I am always down for a Tilda Swinton performance. I saw this one twice.

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4: Star Trek Beyond – The best of the NuTrek films. I am saddended that this did not perform better. Structurally it is the closest to the original series since Star Trek 6.. Every character had a chance to shine, especially Chekov. Losing Yelchin is awful. The highest praise I can give: this IS Star Trek, and well worthy of the 50th anniversary.

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3: Arrival – A near masterpiece. Cinematography was stunning. Acting was stellar (Adams is a treasure). the real star is the writing and editing. The disjointed narrative gels so well with the ideas being presented about time and perception. Star Wars is my comfort food. This is the special occasion $100 steak with a $50 baked potato. (I might be a little hungry)

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2: Rogue One – WHAT!? Not #1?!!! This is possibly the best Star Wars film since 1980. I am stuck in trying to decide if Force Awakens was better. It is too close to call at this point. If TFA has any edge, it is in the slow start of Rogue One. It takes a while to get moving, but once it does, WOW. The last 30 minutes of this movie tops much of TFA. The final two minutes are the best ever made in Star Wars. Seriously. The final scene is my favorite Star Wars scene of them all. A hell of an achievement. Donnie Yen as Chirrut..awesome.

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1: The Nice Guys – This movie did not make a lot of money. That is okay. It will find its audience, much like Big Lebowski did 18 years ago. It actually shares a lot of the same DNA as Lebowski, being a gumshoe flick involving a porn mystery. What makes this different is that I want this to the best start of MANY Nice Guys movies. Lebowski, I wish they would forever leave alone. (A spin-off about Jesus the Pedophile is coming soon). Crowe and Gosling are a good team. I could not have given 2 figs about Ryan Gosling in January 2016. Now I am a convert. This guy is an honest to God movie star in an era where audiences don’t want one. It also happens to be a Shane Black film. If you like Black, you will love this. It is a slick movie, well worth your time. Buy it.

That’s it for 2016! Thanks to the 3000 of you that stuck around. I promise you are going to enjoy 2017!

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