May 24, 2017

2016 films that will stand the test of time


One of the things I like to contemplate as a film year wraps up, right around the Oscars, is which of the contenders will actually be remembered years down the line. Often, the Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards is soon forgotten about, seen as an underwhelming consensus choice as opposed to the actual film of the year. Just look to The King’s Speech beating The Social Network, for example. Which movie is the all timer there? As a fun little exercise, I’ve selected six 2016 releases that could end up standing the test of time. Ironically, considering what I just said, the frontrunner for the top awards is included here, but check out the list below to see what else is…

Here now are a half dozen films from this past year that I think will stand the test of time:

Arrival – Ambitious science fiction always gets remembered. This particular sci-fi flick is one of the most widely embraced in some time, so this goes without saying. What director Denis Villeneuve crafted is the epitome of what the genre should be. Namely, a delivery system for ideas. Some may try to make it an “either or” situation with Interstellar from a few years back, but both can co-exist. This seems like a no brainer sci-fi classic in the making.

Jackie – A truly audacious biopic, in the sense that you could make the case that this is a biopic about the crafting of biopics. That’s high praise, but warranted in my book. By deconstructing the format, filmmaker Pablo Larrain really does achieve something special. Plus, the lead performance by Natalie Portman is a career best and won’t soon be forgotten about. This film will truly find its following in the years to come, mark my words.

La La Land – The likely Best Picture winner is a modern classic already. It’s easily one of the most beloved musicals in some time, with the added bonus being that it’s the rare original musical as well. Damien Chazelle is quickly becoming one of the best creative voices in the business, so this movie may or may not end up his crowning achievement. Still, it’s setting and tying records all over the place, so no one will be forgetting about this gem anytime soon, beyond its presumed Academy Award dominance to come.

Moonlight – One of the most important films of the past year, this coming of age story tackles race, sexual identity, and just what it really means to learn who you are in this world. Barry Jenkins’ flick sort of exploded out of nowhere and captured just about every heart it encountered. Regardless of how it does on Oscar night, it will be revisited without question for years to come.

OJ: Made in America – If any bit of cinema marks the changing nature of how we consume media, it’s this long form documentary. Telling the story of OJ Simpson over about eight hours, it is as much a television miniseries as anything else. Ezra Edelman broke down barriers, and one more might come down if the Academy gives it Best Documentary Feature. Stay tuned there, but as Simpson remains a figure of interest in perpetuity, this will continue to become one the decade’s more defining docs.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – The continued success of the Star Wars universe will not soon be forgotten. This first spinoff of sorts managed to thread a very tough needle. It’s a prequel, but also its own distinct beast. Felicity Jones and company made you care about characters you knew wouldn’t be joining future installments. It was a much trickier accomplishment than many realize. Plus, it’s Star Wars, so it’s going to be in the pop culture lexicon forever anyway.


Stay tuned to see what happens!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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