Dancing In The Moonlight: Matt Donato’s 25 Best Movies Of 2016


According to multiple articles this year, 2016 marked the death of cinema. Such a tragedy. In no way did countless films drive emotions, address social issues or gamble on passionate projects from the heart. Filmmakers didn’t dare cut a superhero film from different molds, nor did they attempt old-school Hollywood musicals constructed solely on dreamy razzle-dazzle. Animated films preached no messages (psh, Zootopia), dramas played it safe (eh, Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea) and mainstream comedies went the way of the dodo (well, OK, that one might actually be true). Yes. What a terrible year for cinema it’s been – if you avoided movies altogether for twelve straight months, that is.

Enough with the clickbait already. There’s a time every year when cinema seems all but washed up, as critics stumble through January or August release months where almost no films of note release (except Eddie The Eagle, Don’t Breathe, Morris From America – even that generalization is bullshit). But to declare cinema a rotting corpse? Please.


Writers and directors moved me in so many ways this year, be it fantasies about living with conviction or coming-of-age stories that pack a heartwarming punch. Sing-alongs, food porn, adorable gangster kittens, first-person action movies, female-led Disney winners, Westerns, murderous skinheads, John Goodman – this year had everything and then some. To say otherwise is cinematic blasphemy.

We’re not here today to mourn the loss of art. We’re here to celebrate all the tremendous accomplishments achieved this year that were captured through a camera’s lens. Far more than twenty-five films knocked me on my ass in 2016, but who has time for a bigger lists? These are the creme de la creme – the movies that reduced me to tears, tore up my insides or made me cower in fear. There was a lot to feel this year, and it was a pleasure soaking each experience in.

Let’s get to it – here’s my 25 Best Movies Of 2016.