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Five 2016 Movies That You Didn't See (But Totally Should've)

By Laura Brack in Arts & Culture

I tried really, really hard to make this spoiler free.

Let’s be real for a second: a lot of movies that came out in 2016 were disappointing and unnecessary. Did we really need a soft “Independence Day” reboot disguised as a bad sequel, or a remake of “Ben-Hur”? (Seriously, of all movies, “Ben-Hur”? Who was that marketed to? Toby Kebbell fans? Latin nerds? Chariot enthusiasts?!) No, no we did not. Not all reboots are bad. Not all sequels are bad, either. But this year, the ball was dropped into a bottomless pit.

However, this year was not hopeless! Yes, there were some pretty amazing things released in theatres this year. The problem? Well, people just didn’t go see them. But now, they’re available on various streaming services, or on Blu-Ray and DVD, if you’re into that kind of thing, for you to watch! You’ll soon be asking yourself, “man, I should’ve seen this earlier.

1. “Star Trek Beyond”:

...Like, seriously, why didn’t this movie do well? It’s “Star Trek.” Are we all too busy awakening the force to appreciate that other “Star” franchise? It’s a shame, because “Star Trek: Beyond” is easily the best of the reboot “Star Trek” movies. If you thought that the 2009 film and “Into Darkness” were too “Star Wars”-y, you’re in luck; “Beyond” feels like “Star Trek”. It’s like someone took a really good episode of the original series that nobody had ever seen, and then gave it a Hollywood budget and a Simon Pegg script. It’s funny, charming, and surprisingly emotional - it’s hard to ignore the real-life circumstances around the film, but honestly, everything is handled really, really nicely. Whether you’re a Trekkie or not, you’ll enjoy it.

2. “Midnight Special”:

“Midnight Special” is the story of a father, Roy Tomlin, trying to protect and understand his son, Alton, who has mysterious superpowers. It isn’t a loud, plotless, stupid, gun-filled blockbuster with explosions; it’s a quiet, introspective movie with subtle storytelling, fantastic performances, and explosions. Michael Shannon does that Michael Shannon thing where he steals every scene; Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst are also fantastic. (And Adam Driver is there, too, being all weird and Adam Driver-y.) Special shoutout goes to Jaeden Lieberher, though, who plays Alton. He’s a very, very convincing small child who could also probably destroy the world, and it’s really sweet to see his relationship with his father grow and change throughout the film.

3. “The Nice Guys”:

“The Nice Guys” is a buddy-cop comedy starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, as they try to solve a mystery in 1977 Los Angeles. If you think that Ryan Gosling is a Dreamy McDreamboat, think again - in this movie, he gets the Trash Alcoholic Dad Of The Year Award, and it is glorious. He’s paired with Russell Crowe, whose job is to punch things as hard as possible.  Together, they solve/punch things through a pretty standard Shane Black film (just when you think it’s not set at Christmas, guess what? It’s set at Christmas) that’s full of funny lines and hilarious moments. And yet, it hits surprisingly hard - Trash Dad Ryan Gosling is never portrayed as anything aside from a Trash Dad, and the lack of sympathy you develop for him is really refreshing. 

4. “Kubo And The Two Strings”:

“Kubo And The Two Strings” is about Kubo, a young boy who has magic origami guitar powers, and his quest to find his father’s armor, which will protect him from evil. “Kubo” is beautifully animated - stop motion animation might not be as trendy as it once was, but that doesn’t stop it from just being really aesthetically pleasing. The storyline is beautiful as well, and it will probably make you cry at least a little, because it’s really sad. The score, composed by Dario Marianelli, is beautiful as well, though the real star of the soundtrack is Regina Spektor’s beautiful cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. It’s worth staying through the end credits for.

5. “Don’t Think Twice”:

“Don’t Think Twice” tells the tale of a tight-knit improv comedy group, and their struggle to stay together when one of its members is cast on a show that’s definitely not “Saturday Night Live.” This movie should be required viewing for every high school senior ever, because the message resonates so well: no matter how close you are to your friends now, the day will come that you have to say goodbye to them, and as great as it would be to hang on, it’s also important to know how to say goodbye. “Don’t Think Twice” does a good job of balancing its laughs with its feels - the cast consists of some of the funniest people who currently also act, including Keegan Michael-Key and Gillian Jacobs - but the feels are still there, and they hit hard. 



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