2016 gave us a number of incredible original films. While franchises, superheroes, and Star Wars had plenty of time in the sun, it was the unique films that flourished in this past year. We’ve combed through and picked out our choices for the Best Original Movie of 2016. Now, it’s up to you to decide who will reign supreme as the best example of what the art of cinema has to offer. Have a look at the choices and vote below.
Here are the nominees for Best Original Movie:
Director Denis Villeneuve brought us the kind of thoughtful science fiction we rarely see at the multiplex anymore. Arrival is emotionally driven and thought-provoking in all the right ways. The performers, especially Amy Adams, deliver some of the best work of their careers. It's a movie that's equal parts brain and heart. That's a tough balance to pull off, but Arrival does it masterfully. Is it masterful enough for it to be the Best Original Movie of 2016? That's up to you!
The tragic death of Anton Yelchin gives this knuckle-biting horror flick additional weight. Not to mention the terrifying real world parallels of white nationalism that makes the casual villainy in Green Room all too believable. Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier taps into a brutality that gets under your skin, sometimes in the most literal of ways. Green Room is not an easy watch but it's a powerful and well-crafted one. Does that warrant its title as the Best Original Movie of 2016?
Hell or High Water
This is a good ol' fashioned crime tale from down South that's treated with the finesse of a piece of literature. Director David Mackenzie approaches the material with simple style and reverence, elevating what could have been a dime store novel story into something special. The strong performances from Chris Pine and Ben Foster anchor a rough but heartfelt exploration into a disappearing rural world. Plus, you can't help but love some Jeff Bridges. Was this masculine takedown the Best Original Movie of 2016?
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Taika Waititi's charmingly boyish romp, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, is one of the best feel-good films we've seen in ages. Lead actors Sam Neill and Julian Dennison light up the screen with their uneven friendship, and the laughs are plentiful in this outdoorsy ode to the wild person in all of us. A sweet soul and a goofball sense of humor make this an absolute must-see. Could that be enough to make it the Best Original Movie of 2016?
La La Land
This musical marvel has been winning audiences over everywhere it goes. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are the Hollywood couple to beat in this loving tribute to a fantastical version of Tinseltown. Whiplash writer/director Damien Chazelle channels his love of music into a picture brimming with audible light and wonder. It's the kind of movie they just don't make anymore. Does that special nature make it the Best Original Movie of 2016?
Yorgos Lanthimos turned his surreal sense of humor towards the confusing world of modern relationships and what we got was The Lobster. The film is a dry, sardonic look at what love means in the 21st century, and it isn't always painting a pretty picture. The deadpan tone can be grating to some, but the biting satire and twisted perspective adds up to something wholly uncommon in the cinematic landscape. Will that be sufficient to name it the Best Original Movie of 2016?
This Oscar hopeful has been turning heads and breaking hearts for quite some time now. Moonlight feels like a very important movie for the time, highlighting the struggles of both gay and black Americans in a way we hardly ever see on the big screen. Add to that some powerhouse acting and this could be one that we'll be talking about for years to come. Does that make it a top contender for Best Original Movie of 2o16?
The Nice Guys
Writer/director Shane Black (Iron Man 3) made this genuine love letter to fans of two-fisted detective stories from the 1970s, and boy howdy does it shine like a diamond in the rough. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are a dynamic duo of comedy that never gets boring. And young actress Angourie Rice threatens to steal the show from both of them! It's a sleazy yet glamorous laughfest that is guaranteed to make you smile. Can that be enough to crown it the Best Original Movie of 2016?
Who doesn't love a good band movie? Sing Street pays tribute to the era of '80s music with the bravura of a true fan. The romantic story is endearing and bittersweet in the best of ways. And if you think younger actors are usually prime targets for bad performances, Sing Street will set you straight. Should this toe-tapping love story be at the top of the charts for 2016?
Swiss Army Man
Juvenile and twee in all the right ways, Swiss Army Man takes a patently ludicrous concept and uses it as a vessel to delve into such subjects as friendship, love, humanity, and the nature of cinematic storytelling itself. Who would have thought that one of the year's most lovable films would involve a flatulent corpse? But it's true! Swiss Army Man is overflowing with warm magic. Isn't that what we want out of our time at the movies? You'll have to lest us know by casting your vote!