An Essay: Year 2016 Told Through Movies

year-2016We start off the year with an Oscar race that has our hearts beating erratically because this might be Leonardo DiCaprio’s year, and it was. He won, he got that Oscar, he held that Oscar, he took that Oscar with him to show off to his supermodels and polish on his yacht while the sun cast golden streaks of light onto Leo’s face. But as soon as the blockbuster movies started to roll in, as soon as the superheros began to gather, Leo was slowly forgotten.

Not only was the Oscars foreshadowed by Deadpool, out by Valentine’s Day, but not long after the madness of Leo-memes had died off, Captain America returned! Most importantly, Bucky was back, and his relationship with Steve Rogers literally started a civil war between the Avengers, who had to choose their sides – Captain or Iron Man?! Everyone made their choice, couples fought over disagreements, nobody could deny the sexual chemistry between the Cap and Bucky, and then Spiderman appeared. Now, it took Spidey years and several movies to get it right, and finally, Marvel took the lead, and got it right with Tom Holland. So the first half of the year ended with a bang, and a well timed hurrah for the Marvel universe because Batman vs. Superman did not go so well. But were we ready for what was to come?

While most of us would probably want to believe in the goodness of Summer blockbusters, 2016 did not deliver as well as one would have hoped. Nobody cared about the Hunstman, even though it was Thor in disguise. People weren’t mad about the Alice in Wonderland sequel, nor did another X-Men movie manage to make a big enough splash to rattle the masses. And nobody even remembers that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a sequel in theaters this summer either! Though mediocre summer did pave some way for The Nice Guys. That movie made us laugh and gave Ryan Gosling opportunities to scream like a girl. And I’m speaking on the behalf of everyone when I say that Ryan Gosling may scream like a girl as much as he wants to!

But those feminine screams didn’t carry into blockbuster heaven, Warcraft came and went, and Now You See Me 2 destroyed that little bit of fun it had the last time with pretentious crap. And don’t even get me started on pretentious crap because who could have forgotten the most horrific sequel of this summer, Independence Day 2!? I for one would like to forget it ever happened, just like I wish I didn’t forget to see The Legend of Tarzan in July because at least Skarsgard’s abs would have revived my summer. But then, behold, at least something to enjoy, when Star Trek 3 blazed onto the screen. Though even that experience of joy lasted as long as my eyes fell on the late Anton Yelchin, and year 2016 again reminded me that it sucked.

We lost so many great actors, great talents and inspiring people in 2016, that it’s still hard to think back to those devastating moments. Alan Rickman, gone too soon, Anton Yelchin, gone even sooner. And the devastation kept coming, for the music lovers, and the movie lovers, as Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and George Michael left the world. And just when we thought the horrors of 2016 were finally over, this final week has drowned our hearts with sorrow. Carrie Fisher’s passing came as a shock to us all, and just a day later, her mother, a Hollywood legend, Debbie Reynolds followed – to be with her daughter. And these are just the names we know well, names that have gave us hope and love through their work. Imagine the names significant to those we know, the loss of your neighbour, or your co-worker. Many of us were hurting this year, some of us will be hurting in 2017, but we will continue to go on because that is life. We are born, we live, we are loved and then we rest in peace.

***

Before I end my recap of 2016, I have to make another point. You see, Ghostbusters was retold with women as leads, and Thor again was well disguised. Yet the movie lacked humour and originality, and backlash followed, and Trump was still going to win. Women came forward, told their deepest secrets, held their heads high, and lost the battle but will keep fighting. More retold movies with women as leads will follow but is that the point we want to make? Switch out all men with women, does that not sound like the mirror image of the problem we are already fighting? The question remains while the remakes continue, though if there’s anything to take from 2016, it’s that remakes and reboots do not work out.

Before the end of summer though, all eyes were on a squad that promised to give us something amazing. And when the time came, we all sat in that theater, opening night of Suicide Squad, still ignoring the bad reviews, waiting impatiently for our minds to be blown. And instead our hearts were destroyed, and movie lovers around the world were outraged beyond. And just like that, summer was gone and it ended on an unimaginable low. If anything, at least we can say that Suicide Squad was for us like year 2016, up to that very point, had felt – devastating, disappointing, disastrous.

Yet then, as fall rolled in, and elections heated to the point of victory for a misogynist, movies like Bridget Jones’s Baby and Deepwater Horizon brought some well deserved entertainment. We had dramatic hits that brought up emotions we had been feeling the entire year, such as Manchester by the Sea, La La Land, Moonlight, Hacksaw Ridge and Nocturnal Animals. And what seemed to be a lukewarm movie year thus far, the movies that came at the end of the second half were trying to mend the broken world. Fantastic Beasts and Were to Find Them with taking us back to the world of wizards, The Edge of Seventeen with that John Hughes type of humour and Rogue One with delivering us the message of hope. But most importantly, with a political message, hidden into an emotional movie of loss and love, Arrival brought it home, and it delivered a message of humanity. We are strong, we are all survivors!, I mean, we survived 2016, how can we not be!? So no matter the loss, no matter the blockbuster ridiculous cost – we as movie lovers will keep going to that theater, we as people will still hold our heads high and welcome 2017.

 So, with nothing else to say – here’s to the end of 2016!

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11 thoughts on “An Essay: Year 2016 Told Through Movies”

  1. Great post! I have to say this year blows…even with the inclusion of Gos’ screams it’s not enough to save it. Hopefully Arrival will turn it around for me

    1. I hope you enjoy Arrival too! I thought it was amazing, my favorite of the year. I haven’t seen all the ones I mentioned myself but I trust some reviews enough to know they’re good, Moonlight for example.

      Thanks for commenting! May 2017 be a better year and the best one yet!

  2. Beautiful post! It’s hard not to think of all the crap 2016 bestowed on the world, but there was some real movie gems too. Thanks for the lovely reminder! 😀

    1. Thank you so much! It really devastating as well but there are some greatness to be seen from it as well. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

      Happy New Year!

  3. This was a great way to recap the movie and year. This felt like the weakest year in movies in awhile to me. There’s a few stand outs for sure, but in general I rarely felt like there was something out I was dying to see. Hopefully 2017 is better all around!

    1. Thank you so much!! I’m trying to incorporate more essays this year because I want to challenge myself a bit. And indeed, 2016 felt underwhelming but I think it was because all those award movies were pushed out at the same time and there were months and months worth of bad movies throughout the rest of the year. Considering the big names who are putting their movies out this ywar I hope for a better movie year!! 🙂

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