It's that time again. When I make a long list of the films that have been released in cinemas in 2016 that most impressed me, then gather them vaguely by genre in order to compare like to like, then make up the ulitmate list of THE BEST FILMS OF 2016.
It was a year when Jack Reacher was better than Jason Bourne...
Where Secret Pets were better than Angry Birds...
And where Bad Moms were better than Big Friendly Giants...
Overall it was a good year for animation, for supernatural flicks, for eccentric characters, for magical stories and for the return of the awesome power of quirky.
So now, here they are, ranked from first to tenth as a list, but then including the honorary mentions in each genre:
BEST FILM OF 2016 + BEST QUIRKY FILM
Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Extraordinarily original. Hugely entertaining. Explosively heart-warming. Still not sure what genre this officially sits within but Taika Waititi crafted pure magic out of his gloriously quirky take on Butch and Sundance, with two fantastic performances by Sam Neill and Julian Dennison.
THREE NEXT BEST ECCENTRIC MOVIES
Florence Foster Jenkins Meryl Streep's wonderfully awful singer
Captain Fantastic Best hippies to make it on screen in a decade
Weiner The political car crash we WANTED to see this year
BEST MAGICAL STORY
La La Land
Everyone says its a tribute to the '50s studio musicals but that's not really it. This is the classic cinema musical slowly morphed into a jazz movie, while discussing jazz music and it's pure genius. The extraordinary talent and chemistry on show from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone delivers brilliant escapism and heart exploding romance.
Essentially the equal best movie of the year.
THREE NEXT BEST MAGICAL MOVIES
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them An unpredictable Potterverse.
Swiss Army Man Like a funny, clever, magnificent weekend with Bernie.
Girl Asleep Loved the play, loved the film even more.
BEST ACTION DRAMA
Somehow I'm in the minority on this film, but I can't work out how. Affleck was brilliant as the spectrum-located assassin-cum-accountant (or is that the other way around?) in a film with amazing action, brilliant dark comedy and a genuinely unique storyline. A great support cast as well.
THREE NEXT BEST ACTION MOVIES
Hell or High Water A bank heist flick that explained who voted for Trump.
Deepwater Horizon Adrenalin packed reason to never work on a rig.
Hacksaw Ridge Mel Gibson is back, and he nailed it.
BEST ANIMATED MOVIE
Kubo and the Two Strings
In an incredible year for animation - Storks, Secret Life Of Pets, Finding Dory and Kung Fu Panda 3 didn't get spots - the team behind Coraline finally surpassed that film's magnificence with a magical, Japanese style tale melding amazing visuals, stupendous storytelling and oodles of heart.
THREE NEXT BEST ANIMATED MOVIES
Life Animated A documentary almost stole the category with this tale of how Disney films saved a child with severe autism. So many tears.
Zootopia An animated Brave New World with added heart + sloth humour.
Moana Near perfect proof that storytelling stereotypes should be busted.
BEST BIG ISSUE DRAMA
How on Earth do you make a bunch of people sitting at a desk, making phone calls and strategising over a course of months into brilliant drama? Like this. By the final scene a room of ringing phones had tears welling up. The list of names of victims acknowledged in the credits had them flowing freely. An awful story of fantastic heroism brilliantly delivered.
THREE NEXT BEST BIG ISSUE DRAMAS
The Big Short Caustically funny, terrifically pacy, tragically accurate.
Sherpa A documentarian in the right place at the right time to turn a tragic avalanche into a brilliant insight into overlooked workers rights.
Eye In The Sky Alan Rickman signs off in a delicious drone drama.
BEST BIG COMEDY
It could have topped the comicbook category as well but the added layers of comedy in this film deserved recognition beyond that genres standards. Ryan Reynolds shone as essentially Ryan Reynolds in a mask, and the direction was pitch perfect, but Morena Baccarin deserves special credit for stealing the comedy limelight in every scene she was in. Great news in a fantastic year for women in comedy films.
THREE NEXT BEST BIG COMEDIES
Bad Moms When you have the dads roaring at the mum jokes - win.
The Meddler Susan Sarandon should get awards buzz for this but won't, because comedies don't count.
Grimsby I pretty much hated myself for how much I laughed at this film.
BEST CLEVER COMEDY
The first five minutes have you fearing a dreary Irish school bleak-a-thon, then our hero Conor meets a girl, Ann, and starts a band to impress her. Soon he makes quirky friends and explores the best/worst of '80s music. By the time we are into the early MTV parodies you're tapping your toes and splitting your sides. An irresistible, hysterical coming of age tale that I for one hope John Carney (Once) turns into a musical as well.
THREE NEXT BEST CLEVER COMEDIES
Hail Caesar A gorgeous, frivolous and marvellous trip by the Coens into old school Hollywood. It's self-indulgent but spectacularly so.
Down Under The Cronulla riots skewered perfectly. You'll laugh until you weep with despair. Then you'll laugh some more.
Mr Right Little noticed black, black assassins rom-com. Delightful.
BEST HUMAN DRAMA
The best Australian film of the year in a year of high quality - if low box office - year provided a twisting, turning adaptation of Ibsen's The Wild Duck that feels quintessentially Australian and utterly current, which explains why its gut punches feel so viciously real.
THREE NEXT BEST HUMAN DRAMAS
I, Daniel Blake If you've ever filled in a form you'll laugh, sigh, then cry.
Demolition Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a one man unique portrait of grief.
Nocturnal Animals Beautiful to look at, fascinating to think about.
BEST FRONTIER FILMS
The Hateful Eight
I anticipated that the 70mm Roadshow rigmarole of this film's release would prove to be utter wankery. I was delightfully wrong. Surrounding a film that was 95% Broadway play - cum - bottle episode, the context provided as though through the oils of a landscape master were mind blowing. Within the wintery wooden hut lay the witty, violent brilliance of Tarantino at his very best. Bring on the play!
(And yes this is the genre I essentially made up in order to contrast four kinda comparable films).
THREE NEXT BEST FRONTIER FILMS
Midnight Special Great cast, mysterious sci fi powers, ratcheting tension.
The Witch Cabin wood horror transposed to Salem era to creep us out.
Goldstone Ivan Sen's best yet. Amazing Australian western flick.
BEST COMICBOOK MOVIE
Captain America: Civil War
Civil War took this spot ahead of Rogue One by a hair's breadth - or should that read: A Spider-Man's web's width? The Captain America strand has been the constant highlight in the Marvel Extended Cinematic Universe and from legitimately earned plot twists to the spectacle of the all-in airport brawl, Civil War built upon the foundations laid by Winter Soldier and matched that film's impossibly high benchmark.
THREE NEXT BEST COMICBOOK MOVIES
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Same universe, new genre. Brilliant.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Delivered exactly what it promised.
Doctor Strange Yet another origins tale yet captivating with great casting.