Movies Watched, 2016

One last look at what I watched last year. First, between holidays and travel, I squeezed in eleven films in December and got out to the theaters three times. Most of my home viewing was spent binging on old Japanese films streamed from the new service Filmstruck; it’s basically a smorgasbord for cinema fans. Scroll down further to see them.

Some readers may recall that before the start of last year I resolved to stop watching television shows (more or less) and watch movies, exclusively. According to Letterboxd, where I keep a film diary, that allowed me to watch 185 films last year, averaging about three and a half per week. Looking back, I’m extremely happy with that choice because I saw so much good cinema last year—movies I’d always wanted to see but never got around to, movies I didn’t know anything about before discovering for the first time, and movies that I already cherished but hadn’t been able to revisit for years. Of course, it did mean that I missed out on “Game of Thrones,” “Stranger Things” and “Westworld,” but I’d take “The Duke of Burgundy,” “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” and “The Handmaiden” over those any time.

Speaking of the latter, here is a quick rundown of the best films released in 2016 that I managed to see. Given how infrequently I get out to theaters, it’s hardly a comprehensive list, of course.

  1. The Handmaiden
  2. Moonlight
  3. Love & Friendship
  4. Don’t Think Twice
  5. Arrival
  6. Green Room””
  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  8. Southside with You
  9. Hail, Caesar!

You can also see every 2016 movie that I saw last year and how I ranked them in this Letterboxd list. That site, which I’ve really come to adore in the past year, also compiles a year-end summary of patron members’ activity which offers more insight into how I spent my movie time in 2016; if you’re interested in that, have a look here. It includes this imposing graphic of all 185 of the movies I logged.

Movies I Watched in 2016, via Letterboxd

Whew. If you care to follow along, you can join me over at

For posterity’s sake, here is the complete rundown of all 185 films, along with the brief commentary I added for them as I blogged them here, month by month.


  • Sicario” Rewatched at home after seeing it in theaters last year.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Really had a hard time finishing this one. Completely inessential.
  • The Double” I was skeptical at first because it seemed very arch, but it’s full of inventive stuff.
  • Diabolique” Superbly creepy.
  • Star Wars” My daughter can’t get enough; I’m over it.
  • The Grifters” Much sunnier and less gritty than I recall from seeing it twenty-some years ago, but still quite good.
  • Creed” So great in nearly every way.
  • L’Immortelle” Strange but bewitching artifact from the French New Wave.
  • Blue Ruin” Finally got to see this. Brutal.
  • Adua and Her Friends” Pulls off a neat trick at the end when you expect it to lose its nerve, but somehow it doesn’t.
  • The Empire Strikes Back” Holds up.
  • Mary Poppins” First time I’ve watched it since I was a kid.
  • The Law” Gina Lollobrigida, folks.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron” It’s not as bad as some people say, at least until the interminable fight sequence at the end.
  • Frozen” Like, my twentieth time, and not by choice.
  • They Made Me a Fugitive” Tidy little British noir from 1947.
  • Two-Lane Blacktop” Lost, glamorous American youth on the road.
  • Bridge of Spies” Felt like something my high school history teacher would have assigned. Also, post-processed extensively to remarkably ugly effect.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray” Terrific.
  • Murder by Decree” Sherlock Holmes with all the interesting parts taken out.
  • Slow West” A bit too twee, but solid.
  • Hunger” Amazing.


  • 13 Tzameti” Insane.
  • The Keep” Finally got to watch this rare early Michael Mann movie, transferred from a terrible print, via Amazon. Pretty flimsy, but still has some vintage Mann elements.
  • Fruitvale Station” Excellent.
  • Lady Snowblood” Over the top Japanese revenge tale.
  • Chronicle” I was surprised by how smart this was.
  • The Unbelievable Truth” I’ve tried many times but Hal Hartley just doesn’t register with me.
  • Le Notti Bianche” Wonderful neo-realist fairy tale.
  • The Racket” Robert Mitchum in a pokey morality noir.
  • Deadpool” Beyond criticism.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street” A high water mark for Scorcese and DiCaprio.
  • Cars” Not the best Pixar outing, but nothing to be ashamed of either.
  • Ant-Man” Still might be my favorite of all Marvel’s films.