Brian White’s ‘Sin’sational TOP 10 Films of 2016

Brian's Top 10 2016 SelectionsIt’s that time of the year again, and I’m not referring to the expensive Holiday season.  I’m talking about the dreaded TOP 10 Favorite Films lists us reviewers annually face.  While some of us love putting these lists together others I know absolutely dread it.  It could be the notion of the extra work involved or just the burdened thought of the controversy and negative, judgemental comments these can carry.  Therefore, Top 10 annual lists like this can be quite cumbersome, at least for me.  The good thing about all of this is you the reader can definitely feel free to disagree with my choices below.  You can also completely dismiss them too.  For me, Top 10 Favorite Films lists are all about instilling and creating controversy in the critical sense.  I don’t expect anyone to whole-heartedly agree with my choices.  After all, the below selections as I’ll go on to explain are all very much personal ones.  However, I believe as a reviewer it is your duty to stir that proverbial pot of controversy.  You should desire to create that insatiable dish of debate that follows in the wake of such a list like this.  That’s what the comments section below are all about.  Down there’s it’s your turn to provide the voice of undeniable reason.  Go for it!

So as I usually state like a broken record, because of “life” and whatnot I saw a lot less movies during the 2016 calendar year and those that I saw were mostly the mainstream movies that pretty much everyone else and their mother have seen (I hope).  You want the real hardcore movie reviewer lists?  You’re going to want to check out what Jason Coleman and Aaron Neuwirth produce this coming week.  That’s where the real golden nuggets are.  Now with that being said, there really shouldn’t be any shockers on my list down below.  Y’all probably seen the majority of them.  But listen, I don’t want to waste anymore of your time.  I can ramble on for hours about all sorts of inconsequential quips.

Therefore, I want to make this preface as short and sweet as possible.  I want you to now engage those neurons in your fingers and embark upon scrolling down below to check out my Top 10 Favorite Films of 2016.  They are listed in order and ranked by that of my own personal tastes.  They do not reflect the thoughts of the general movie going populous nor or of the mainstream critics.  These are solely the films that I obviously saw this calendar year and for one reason or another I’m crazy for them.  That’s also not to deny there’s probably a lot that I didn’t see that were equally fantastic or more.  Enjoy!


Guilty PleasureBefore we start counting down from TEN here I thought it would be fun to mention my biggest GUILTY PLEASURE of the year.

A guilty pleasure is defined as “something, such as a film, a television program or a piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard, or is seen as unusual or weird.”

So therefore I don’t want to call the following selection an HONORABLE MENTION as I would have in all the years before.  To do so would mean it’s cinematically a great movie.  This one is far from that and I embrace that fact.  It is, however, a lot of F-U-N and for some reason or another it has become my go to movie of the summer/fall despite its many problems, pitfalls and the fact that even I initially panned it when I first saw it.  Now that it also has been released on the 4K Ultra HD format you can bet my significant other is getting tired of seeing and hearing it playing repeatedly in the background around the house.

So with that all being said I don’t know what else you would refer to the following movie selection as besides a…

Guilty Pleasure




Suicide SquadAaron Neuwirth is probably cringing as he reads about this selection I just named here.  He singlehandedly knows firsthand how much I initially hated this film the first time I saw it.  I remember sending him many text messages of contempt over my hatred of this very movie.  I’ll go ahead and say the feature’s title just so it’s official.  Suicide Squad!  After falling in love with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year and the many trailers showcasing the potential strengths of this film my expectations were insanely through the roof for this one.  What other reason can I give you with the admittance that I was gravely let down?  If it were not for Kori Kemerer’s insistence and banter that I give it a second chance, I suppose we would be talking about a different title here like Keanu or something cute like that.  Thank you, Kori.  For without you in my life nudging my stubbornness along I would not have known what I was missing out on.  Now don’t blame me if I play this movie over and over.  Ha ha.  You created this monster 🙂

Harley QuinnMake no mistake about it.  Suicide Squad is far from being a really good film.  Even though it made a butt load of money ($750 million and counting at the box office) most people vehemently hate it while others (I call them the lucky ones) were instantly able to see the F-U-N factor in all of it.  I wish I could see like the latter ones with such simple, non-critical eyes, but I digress.  It took me multiple viewings to accept it is what it is (three times theatrically), but alas I was finally able to come around in the end and with exception of Batman v Superman and Sing Street this has become one of my most watched films of the year (now that it’s legally out on home media to enjoy 24/7).  Sad, huh?  LOL. In the end though, Suicide Squad is really about a bunch of handled misfits coming together to overcome adversity, put aside their differences and save the world.  It has a lot of the necessary ingredients of properly written screenplay scattered about it.  It’s just the execution onscreen that’s a little off or helter-skelter.  I just can’t put my finger on it, but I don’t want.  To do so would be to ruin the fun of it all again.  The chemistry is there when it wants to be.  Even you can agree, Aaron.  A few more of those bar scene like moments sprinkled throughout and we have a movie on a whole new level.  Ha ha.

My final takeaway is this to y’all.  Contrary to what anyone tries to tell you the real breakaway star of Suicide Squad and the peanut butter to my jelly that kept me in the game with it all despite my initial disdain of the film is Miss Harley Quinn portrayed ever so playfully by Margot Robbie.  She steals every frickin’ scene she’s in.  Like her advice to Diablo in the bar, she OWNS it.  I for one cannot wait to see what she brings next with the character.  Word is there’s going to be a Gotham City Sirens kind of female DC Comics spinoff featuring Harley Quinn (even produced by Robbie too), Poison Ivy, Catwoman and more.  Bring it Harley…err I mean Margot!  Onward and upward…  Of course there’s also going to be a Suicide Squad sequel and even a potential Deadshoot film to boot.  We shall see!

Our theatrical reviews for Suicide Squad can be found here and here.  My humungous 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review coverage can be read here.





The Invitation Movie PosterThe Invitation marks the first time a Drafthouse Films has ever graced my history changing Top 10 Films list.   Although the film officially premiered in 2015 at SXSW it did not see an “official” theatrical/VOD release until April of this year.  Therefore, I’m saying it’s a 2016 film no matter what you try to tell me.  Truth be told The Invitation is such a simple, straight forward task in filmmaking, but the creepiness factor of it all and the strong performances throughout are what make this little unknown film a golden nugget for me.  The scariest part about a cult film like this is could totally be a true story and happen in our real world.  That thought alone makes this film even more interesting to me.  Yes, it’s one of those films you will probably watch once and it will most likely have pretty low replay value for you because you already know the ending.  However, that’s not to say we can’t appreciate what we have here right?  And how about that not Tom Hardy (Logan Marshall-Green) actor (see Quarry)?  Can this boy act or what?  Isn’t his haircut and beard awesome?  Am I right or am I right?

Our Blu-ray review for The Invitation can be found here.





The Neon DemonNicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon was another one of those films for me that took multiple viewings to digest before I truly realized the work of art I had in my possession.  In fact I first caught it on Blu-ray and I thought very little of it.  I could immediately appreciate its style and swirling score, but its true meaning was completely lost on me.  However, Brandon Peters and Gerard Iribe did nothing but rave about this film.  Did I miss something?  I know Kori had the Presidential Debate on really loud in the other room when I was trying to take this in for the first time, but what is it about this film that captivates my fellow reviewers so much?  Weeks went by and I kept thinking about this film, remembering sequences vividly in my head and then it happened…I had that unfathomable thirst to watch it again.  Whenever this kind of behavior has stricken me in the past the only recourse to take is to give into my undeniable cravings.  I did the unspeakable without malice or regret.  I bought The Neon Demon digitally on VUDU and I watched the HDX file studiously with both concentration and fervor for the onscreen subject matter.  Here we are and it’s now on my Top 10 list of films for 2016.  Funny how things work out in life, eh?

Our Blu-ray review for The Neon Demon can be found here.





Eddie the EagleThis is it!  Eddie the Eagle can simply be explained as the feel good movie of the year that I almost missed out on.  If Fox wasn’t so late in sending out 4K UHD Blu-ray review copies, I’m confident I would have never given this one a thought at all due to its lame a$$ cover.  I know, that’s an awful thought, right?  Absolutely!  It just reinforces the fact.  Don’t ever judge a “book” by its cover.  Eddie the Eagle is based on a true tale of Great Britain’s first-ever ski jumping Olympian in the ’88 Calgary games.  The getting there part of it is the fun-factor, but this fictionalized recount is so much more.  It’s the Rocky of ski movies and its heart-warming, motivational tale will entertain family audiences just like it was the great rousing 1980’s.  You picking up what I’m dropping here?  If nothing else, the film’s ending will leave you with tears of joy running down your cheeks.  It’s that good!

Our theatrical review for Eddie the Eagle can be found here .  Our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review coverage can be read here and our take on the Blu-ray only set can seen here.





10 Cloverfield LaneI love, love, love this movie.  I never saw that coming as just a fair-weather fan of the spiritual first entry in this “franchise,” simply titled Cloverfield.  So yes!  10 Cloverfield Lane is the spiritual sequel to Cloverfield, however, it’s so much more to me.  First off, gone is the terrible, cheap gimmicky shaky camera, first person point-of-view style the original movie employed.  It was cool back in the day, but it has worn out its welcome on me in 2016.  Instead 10 Cloverfield Lane plays out like a third person narrative we all know and love.  It’s both a bunker and a psychological thriller, and it completely turns head over heels the way it ends with all hell breaking loose, much akin to my affinity for Cabin in the Woods.  Is the bigger monster outside or is it inside the bunker?  The answer to that is the yummy creamy filling in the pie here.  Sheer brilliance and fun!

Our theatrical review for 10 Cloverfield Lane can be found here.  Our 1080p Blu-ray review coverage can be read here.





DeadpoolThis one took Fox forever to make, mostly because you had to convince them of a potential audience out there for it and of course there’s that hardcore rated-R rating to contend with too.  It wasn’t an easy road to travel down and you better believe it was a long one for Ryan Reynolds and gang.  This one is for the fans!  Thank you for being so persistent Ryan!   It paid off!  Coincidentally, this one also took a bit of time to win me completely over.  Sure I enjoyed it from my very first viewing, but like how fine wine ages, this one does too.  In my opinion this wise cracking, foul-mouthed merc adventure only gets better with age and repeat visits.  In fact every time I re-visit Deadpool I notice or hear things I missed the other ten viewings.  The story on the other hand never ceases to amaze me how smartly tight and witty it’s written.  It’s chimichanga time boys and girls and Deadpool’s going to give it to you.  You know what I’m sayin’?  Mic drop (feedback)!

Our theatrical reviews for Deadpool can be found here and audibly here.  Our 1080p Blu-ray review coverage can be read here.





Hell or High Water PosterThis one is a very odd one for me to not only discuss, but also include on my Top 10 list here.  The reason being is unless it’s a Tarantino film I’m generally not a fan of westerns at all (of course Back to the Future Part III is an exception to that rule).  However, if living in Austin, TX the past four years have taught me anything, its  the fact that people live very differently here.  I find a lot of backwards thinking down here.  Lifestyles vary be geography of course, but Hell or High Water manages to brilliantly capture the stereotypical West Texas near perfect in my opinion.  I continue to have a blast with this one from the West Texan stereotypes and wittiness of it all to the constant bickering of the two leading lawmen here, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham.  Jeff’s mannerisms and verbiage “should” have you in stitches.  Spend any time down here in remote Texas areas and know firsthand none of the events in this film are too far fetched thanks to the cleverly crafted screenplay by Taylor Sheridan, an actor who previously scripted the dark crime thriller Sicario.  It’s no wonder I love this one so much!

Our theatrical review for Hell or High Water can be found here.  Our 1080p Blu-ray review coverage can be read here.





Sing Street PosterYou know how they say every good story is about a girl?  Sing Street proves that theory with resounding triumph.  Do you ever dream about doing big things in life instead of working like a grunt and hating every minute of it?  Who doesn’t.  How about this one.  What would you do to impress and win that pretty girl over who caught your eye?  If you found out she was a model, would you lie to her and tell her you’re in a band?  Of course you would!  That’s the beauty and simplicity of Sing Street.  Everything that happens and transpires within Sing Street speaks to me emotionally as it forced me to re-live all my childhood pain, cross-examine and deal with my mistakes and more importantly, long for the simplicity of youth and all the endless possibilities that existed then.  Now I wasn’t born and raised in Dublin, but I can relate.  Cleveland, OH ain’t no gem either.  If Sing Street doesn’t speak to your inner youth and infect you with beauty, music and life, then you’re already in the grave.  Sing Street‘s soundtrack has the power to move mountains.

Our theatrical review for Sing Street can be found here.





Star Wars Rogue One PosterInitially the poster artwork and trailer shots of AT-ATs storming a beach-like environment with crystal clear blue water and lush palm trees had me at hello.  However, then I saw the film and the whole is greater than the simple sum of its parts.  You know how in Mad Max: Fury Road the character of Rictus_Erectus, Immortal Joe’s son, proclaims “I had a little baby brother! And he was perfect! Perfect in every way!”  That’s how I feel about Star Wars: Rogue One.  Yes I could waste precious cycles nitpicking how Grand Moff Tarkin’s CGI face wasn’t perfect, but I won’t.  Instead I want to shout it from the rooftop that Star Wars: Rogue One was the perfect Star Wars entry in every which way.  Like Brandon Peters said to me on opening night “who needs real actors anyway.”  I digress though.  What really did it for me was the way the filmmakers brought to life Star Wars planets and places only formerly mentioned in literature and lore thus far.  Of course there was the little homage to the original films every where you looked, not to mention familiar names and faces, but the action oh my!  Granted it was a little awkward at first with no title scroll and the John Williams overture, but just a mere few minutes in and you knew where you were.  You were in the Star Wars universe we all know and love.  Star Wars: Rogue One raised the bar high for all future films to come, and it’s an incredibly high one too.

Our theatrical review for Star Wars: Rogue One can be found here.





Nocturnal AnimalsUp until a few months ago I had never heard of fashion designer Tom Ford’s stylish thriller Nocturnal Animals.  I watched the film’s theatrical trailer, saw some familiar faces and decided this looks decent.  I took the plunge and boy did I ever fall hard for Nocturnal Animals.  I don’t even know where to start.  From the brilliant acting to the tension so tight you could cut it with a knife, Nocturnal Animals has a little something for everyone’s cultured and sophisticated tastes.  The  only thing I never wanted to see in this film was its ending.  I mean how do you end a modern day masterpiece?  I suppose it can be done like Tom did or it can be done differently, but make no mistake about it Nocturnal Animals has teeth that will grab you tight and never let you go.  Ironically, much like Hell or High Water its very much a western too taking place in drab West Texas as well.  Go figure.  Brian White loves two westerns so to speak this year.  Hell has frozen over again!  Of course none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the remarkable, emotional and haunting performances of Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.  With Arrival and the film we’re about to discuss down below I guess you could say this is the year of Amy Adams.  Hell to the yeah!

Our theatrical reviews for Nocturnal Animals can be found here and here.





Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice PosterI know.  I know.  I know.  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is NOT the number one film of the year.  I know this with my entire heart to be true.  However, I did say up above this list was a personal list and because of that fact I reserve the right to say what films dominated and captivated my overall attention this year.  Ladies and gentlemen this one did that the most.  As the Metallica song goes, “Sad But True.”  I told you that these lists are very controversial.  Who the hell puts this one as their top film of the year?  This guy!  That’s who!  Yes, it’s a tragically flawed film and no amount of extra content makes it that much better (albeit slightly a bit more cohesive), but it’s like going to a restaurant and ordering steak.  They instead bring you out filet mignon.  Things are deep in this one in regards to some of the endearing onscreen moments and emotions brought out from that entrancing score of John Williams and Junkie XL.  However, there’s nothing I can say to overcome the damage of the poorly written dialogue during that most important moment of tension.  Of course I’m talking about the Martha, Martha, Martha line.  Why would you say that, indeed!  You just need to appreciate this one for what it is, a homage to all DC Comics fans, the animated films and more.

Our theatrical review for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can be found here and here .  Our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review coverage can be read here and our take on the Blu-ray only set can seen here.


Thats All Folks

Well, like they say in Looney Tunes, “That’s all Folks!”  Another calendar year is sadly almost over.  Where does the time go?  I don’t know!  I want to thank everyone that read through my entire list up above and whether you agree or not, I’d love to hear any of your thoughts below in the comments.  I also want to take a quick moment to thank all the wonderful and accommodating press and studio representatives in the Austin, TX area that have made it possible for me to attend every screening I was able to make as well as my hard working crew here on the site (you all know who you are).  With that being said, I’m looking forward to the blockbuster year in comic book films slated for 2017.  I’m really rooting and hoping the best for Wonder Woman and Justice League.  As it turns out this year, I happen to really like my DC Comics superhero films.  If all else fails, at least there’s another Star Wars film (Episode VIII) at the end of next year to get my Force infused blood curdling.  Until then…Happy New Year!


Brian's Top 10 2016


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

10 Responses to “Brian White’s ‘Sin’sational TOP 10 Films of 2016”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Glad to see The Invitation make a list. Such a solid little thriller. And hey, Eddie the Eagle scores another victory!

  2. Brian White

    Don’t forget Sing Street, which you and Ana’s FB posts kind of provoked me to watch. I really wish I could have seen La La Land, but I’ll hold out for a hopeful 4K release next year. There are obviously many many many more that I did not make it to the cinema to see this year, but that’s why I look forward to yours and Jason’s lists as they will have all the cinematic masterpieces that I probably missed this year. Thanks!

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Of course glad to see Sing Street! The two I mentioned are the only ones I didn’t predict to make your list, so that was fun too.

  4. Brian White

    It was the year of westerns for me 🙂 I can’t believe how much I loved Hell or High Water or even Nocturnal Animals. I never saw either of those coming. Even after a second viewing both of those films were ultra enjoyable. Neon Demon took some time for me to warm up to though.

  5. Gerard Iribe

    Wow, I’m surprised The Invitation made it on here. I was not a fan – I felt it would have worked better as part of a horror/thriller anthology or something. I have not seen Sing Street or Eddie the Eagle.

  6. Brian White

    I think you’d really enjoy both Sing Street and Eddie! I know everyone I told about Eddie has loved it and told me how they had tears rolling down their eyes at the very end. Plus it stars the kid from The Kingsman. I was split man…it was between The Invitation and Nice Guys, which I really really liked after a second viewing too. I think the former won because of its creepiness and not Tom Hardy.

  7. Jason Coleman

    A lot of these films I gave four out of five stars so there is absolutely no shame in their awesome inclusion here. (And I proudly say I’ve seen EVERY film listed here!) A fine group of flicks my friend!

  8. Brian White

    Thanks Jason! I know one of two films on my list your four stars are probably not true of 🙂

  9. Brandon Peters

    Sorry, I never commented on here.

    You were an Arrival away from Amy Adams having a hat trick on your Top 10 list. Nice to see some superhero movie representation. So far the site has 4 lists up and yours is the only one with any on there.

    Invitation was pretty awesome and I enjoyed that quite a bit. Happy to see that on there, too.

  10. Brian White

    Good observation, Brandon. I did notice I was only one thus far with superheroes on my list. Shows you how immature I am 🙂

    Arrival is one of those films I wish I could have seen again before this list. Admittedly I fell asleep a bit during my initial viewing. I guess I was expecting more action, but looking forward to seeing it again on 4K. I agree though Amy Adams had a terrific year.