Film Year 2016 in Review

I’m almost ashamed to admit that by my count I watched over one hundred films in the past year. That is not including made for television movies (I’m looking at you Hallmark.) Most of those were classic films, but I did manage to see a few new releases.

Here is a rundown on my film year.

In 2016 I saw the following new releases:

Of these films, the only one I didn’t enjoy was Hail Caesar. I was very disappointed as this was a movie I was eagerly awaiting due to its story about classic Hollywood. I’m a fan of series or sequels as long as the story is entertaining so I enjoyed Greek Wedding 2, Civil War and Jason Bourne.  It was great to be introduced to a new Jane Austen story in Love and Friendship and I thought the new Ben-Hur was interesting. I actually liked it better than the Charlton Heston version even though I’m sure I’m in the minority with that opinion. And I thought the chariot race in the newer version was just as good if not slightly better.  Of course, there are few Nicholas Sparks based movies that I don’t like and The Choice was no exception. I didn’t read the book Me Before You, but other than the ending, I was charmed by the story. Tom Hanks playing Sully as usual did an amazing job portraying an ordinary hero.

I also saw several classic films in the theater this year including:

There is nothing like seeing a favorite classic movie up on the big screen. I catch so much more of the film, including little details, which I don’t notice when watching it on television or dvd. Mad World is a favorite comedy of mine and my mom’s and has just about every famous comedian of the time in it. No matter how often we see it we always find ourselves laughing. The King and I is a famous musical. It’s not necessarily my favorite, but it is one I enjoy. Pillow Talk is my favorite of Doris Day and Rock Hudson’s comedies together. If you haven’t heard of Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn or The Ten Commandments then you’ve probably been living under a rock.

The majority of the films I watched this year as usual were classic films. I filled in the filmography gaps of stars like Norma Shearer, Merle Oberon, Robert Donat, Miriam Hopkins, Olivia deHavilland, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and my obsession, Cary Grant. I am trying to watch all seventy two of Grant’s films and after this year am very close to reaching that goal. Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd are two silent comedians whom I have fallen in love with (preferring them over famous silent comedian Charlie Chaplin.)I have found that no matter the era, comedy is my favorite genre and the silent films showcase some of the best talent of any decade. Norma Shearer was the queen of pre-code films, but this year I discovered her silent films as well and am even more impressed with her acting abilities. Olivia deHavilland (Melanie of Gone with the Wind fame) is one of the very few living classic film actresses and celebrated her 100th birthday this past year.

I watched and liked several of Steve McQueen‘s films this year. McQueen is an anomaly for me because he is just so darn cool that you want to love his movies. However, I’ve found some of them not to my liking, in particular the long and boring Papillon and the depressing, Baby The Rain Must Fall. But this is the year that changed for me thanks to Soldier in the Rain, The Honeymoon Machine, Love with the Proper Stranger and The War Lover (reviews to come later).

I also filled in some gaps in watching some famous and critically well-regarded films like Sabrina, Ben-Hur, and Sunset Boulevard. Unlike some raved about classics which after watching I find over rated (I’m not naming names, Citizen Kane), Sabrina and Sunset Boulevard deserve the accolades they receive. I found Ben-Hur over dramatic and too long for my tastes unfortunately.

Of the many classics I watched this year a few of my favorites were: The Shanghai Gesture, No More Orchids, The Green Years, A Bill of Divorcement (Katharine Hepburn’s film debut that I’ve been wanting to see for years), She Couldn’t Say No ( a comedy with Robert Mitchum), Lucky Star (a well-made silent film), and A Millionaire for Christy (a new favorite screwball comedy discovery). All in all it was a busy and productive year of entertainment for me.

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