by Coop Cooper
My mid-year top 10 list is usually populated with the biggest genre films of the summer and a few wild cards from the beginning of the year. Expect this list to change drastically by the first of January when the rest of the indie films and studio prestige pictures for 2016 finally become available…
10. “Everybody Wants Some!!” – This spiritual sequel to Linklater’s earlier film “Dazed and Confused” follows a college baseball team in 1980 during the opening weekend of the school year as they party, chase girls, break rules and bond before school and athletic responsibilities kick into gear. Like “Dazed”, the film doesn’t delve into heavy issues and only focuses on the nostalgia and good memories of being in college without parental supervision.
9. “The Jungle Book” – This superbly-done adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale is in the running for best movie of the year for the underage crowd.
8. “X-Men: Apocalypse” – Tackling one of the best X-Men stories in the canon, the film took a lot of liberties but managed to squeeze enough of the fun stuff in there to satisfy most. The introduction of the young, new cast while paying homage to the older versions did pay off.
7. “Captain America: Civil War” – This film was just one big excuse to have a dozen iconic superheroes split up into two teams and fight each other… just like they do in the comics. “Civil War” was full of legendary moments, from the introduction of Spider-Man to the Avengers to ‘Giant-Man’ and the first appearance of Black Panther. Plus the Captain America vs. Iron Man fight at the end lived up to expectations.
6. “Star Trek: Beyond” – This third film in the reboot of the franchise finally strikes out on its own into original material that doesn’t rely on past Star Trek moments. The result is a tightly-plotted, fast-paced sci-fi thriller that stands on its own.
5. “The Purge: Election Year” – Still one of the most terrifying horror concepts in years, this third installment in the franchise digs deeper into the mythology of “The Purge” with allegorical riffs on subjects such as corrupt politics, the rise of the millennial generation and freedom fighting vs. terrorism.
4. “Deadpool” – This raunchy, self-referential, R-rated superhero flick became such a surprise hit, it may have changed superhero movies forever. It was also nice to see Ryan Reynolds redeem himself after “Green Lantern” and his failed, previous attempt at playing the character Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”.
3. “Eddie The Eagle” – This true-life story about Eddie Edwards, the socially awkward, underdog ski jumper who became a worldwide sensation at the 1988 Winter Olympics might be the feel-good movie of the year… If it ever finds its intended audience (incentive: Hugh Jackman co-stars!). It also wins bonus points for having a great 80’s-themed soundtrack.
2. “Sing Street” – Speaking of 80’s-themed soundtracks, this is a brilliant Irish movie (from the director of “Once”) about a nerdy teen growing up in 1985 Dublin who discovers his true destiny as a pop music icon while trying to impress a girl. The film travels into feel-good territory while staying grounded in the harsher realities of life. I’m expecting this one to win some awards (for its music at least).
1. “The Witch” – This atmospheric exercise in dread and historical simulation of how a witch is created may go down as one of the greatest horror films ever made. It also introduces star Anya Taylor-Joy who is destined to be the next Hollywood ‘it’ girl.