Movies Watched, February 2017

La La Land

Envelope mixup or no, I happen to concur with the Oscars that “Moonlight” and “La La Land” were basically the two best pictures of last year. For the former, the critical consensus has said as much, and overwhelmingly, for months now, and when I watched at the theater, I saw no reason to disagree. The latter though, surprised me. I walked into a showing of “La La Land” early in February with a healthy amount of skepticism, even a bias against it. I’ve never been a fan of musicals, and have even less regard for that particular brand of Hollywood movie that celebrates Hollywood itself. (Paul Haggis’s “Crash,” Michel Hazanavicius’s “The Artist,” and Alejandro Iñárritu’s “Birdman” all left me less than thrilled.) I did not want to like it but I left fully enraptured by its charms. More than any other movie this year, “La La Land” upended my thinking of what a movie could be: I did not expect to see something so genial, so uncynical, so unabashedly devoted to the fabric of “movie magic” in this day and age. I saw it a second time weeks later and felt even more sure that, though it may not have been the best film of 2016, it was my favorite.

I also saw seventeen other films in February. Here they are:

If you’re interested, here is my list of what I watched in January, as well as my full list of everything I watched in 2016. You can also follow along with my film diary over at