2016 is set to go down as a very bad year: everybody died, nasty people won things, and it felt like there was a lot of disappointment at the movies too. Will 2017 be better? Probably not. I mean, people will still die, and we’ve got the fall-out of last year’s votes to endure for the next goodness-knows-how-many years.
…I hadn’t intended to be so doom and gloom. Sorry.
In the world of 100 Films, it was my 10th year (did I mention that already?) Part of that was my celebratory 100 Favourites series, which I covered pretty thoroughly in its own conclusion so won’t get into again here. As for the main point of this site, I watched 195 new-to-me films — not as many as last year, but then I expressly didn’t want to go that crazy again. I was thinking a little less than almost-the-same-again, though!
Anyway, it’s time to wrap all that up. Today, the usual array of factual analysis of my viewing (lists! statistics! yay statistics!), then later in the week (whenever I’ve finished writing it) will be my top ten & all that.
But first of all: as this post is a long scroll past a lot of words and pictures if you don’t like reading a long list of films (I mean, you can read it all if you like — that’s why it’s here), some handy links so you can jump straight to the good bit.
- As It Happened — 2016’s monthly updates, containing the numbered list.
- The List — an alphabetical list of every new film I watched in 2016.
- Alternate Cuts,
Other Reviews, Shorts — other stuff I reviewed.
- The Statistics — yay!
- Coming Soon — yeah, there’s more.
Below is a graphical representation of my 2016 viewing, month by month. Each image links to the relevant monthly update, which contains the numbered list of everything I watched this year — plus other thrills, like my monthly Arbie awards.
- 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
- 12 Years a Slave (2013)
- 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
- The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978), aka Shao Lin san shi liu fang
- 47 Ronin (2013)
- Adam (2009)
- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
- American Ultra (2015)
- Armageddon (1998)
- Amistad (1997)
- Arrival (2016)
- The Assassin (2015), aka Cìkè Niè Yǐnniáng
- Badlands (1973)
- The Bank Job (2008)
- Barely Lethal (2015)
- Barry Lyndon (1975)
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition (2016)
- Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016)
- Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
- Ben-Hur (1959)
- Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
- Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
- Big Eyes (2014)
- The Big Short (2015)
- Blackhat (2015)
- The Book of Life (2014)
- The Boxer from Shantung (1972), aka Ma Yong Zhen
- A Boy and His Dog (1975)
- Bridesmaids (2011)
- Bridge of Spies (2015)
- Brooklyn (2015)
- Caesar Must Die (2012), aka Cesare deve morire
- Calvary (2014)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Chappie (2015)
- Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)
- Christine (1983)
- A Christmas Carol (2009), aka Disney’s A Christmas Carol
- Cinderella (2015)
- Cold in July (2014)
- The Color Purple (1985)
- Cool World (1992)
- Cop Car (2015)
- Cover Girl (1944)
- Crimson Peak (2015)
- Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
- Daybreakers (2009)
- Deadpool (2016)
- Deep Blue Sea (1999)
- The Deer Hunter (1978)
- The Descendants (2011)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Dragon (2011), aka Wu xia
- Duel (1971)
- The East (2013)
- The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984), aka Wu Lang ba gua gun
- Election (1999)
- Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)
- Enemy (2013)
- The Equalizer (2014)
- Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo. (2012/2013)
- Ex Machina (2015)
- Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
- Fantastic Four (2015)
- Fast & Furious 7 (2015), aka Furious Seven
- The Fighter (2010)
- The Five Venoms (1978), aka Wu du
- Funny Games (1997)
- Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD (2014)
- Ghosts of Mars (2001)
- The Good Dinosaur (2015)
- Grand Piano (2013)
- Grave of the Fireflies (1988), aka Hotaru no haka
- Hamlet (1964), aka Гамлет
- The Hangover (2009)
- The Hateful Eight (2015)
- Hercules (Extended Cut) (2014)
- High-Rise (2015)
- Home (2015)
- Home on the Range (2004)
- Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), aka Hauru no ugoku shiro
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015)
- The Imitation Game (2014)
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- Ip Man 3 (2015), aka Yip Man 3
- The Iron Giant (1999)
- Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973), aka Иван Васильевич меняет профессию
- Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
- Jason Bourne (2016)
- Just Friends (2005)
- Kill List (2011)
- King Boxer (1972), aka Five Fingers of Death
- A Knight’s Tale (2001)
- Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
- Lady of Burlesque (1943)
- The Last Dragonslayer (2016)
- The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
- Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)
- The Limey (1999)
- Lincoln (2012)
- The Lobster (2015)
- Locke (2013)
- Lost River (2014)
- Love & Friendship (2016)
- Lucy (2014)
- Macbeth (2015)
- Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
- The Magnificent Seven (1960)
- Maleficent (2014)
- The Maltese Falcon (1941)
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
- The Martian (2015)
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
- Midnight Special (2016)
- Moneyball (2011)
- Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
- Mr. Nobody (2009)
- Mr. Turner (2014)
- Muppets Most Wanted (2014)
- Napoleon (1927)
- The Nice Guys (2016)
- Noah (2014)
- Of Human Bondage (1934)
- Office Space (1999)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
- One-Armed Swordsman (1967), aka Du bei dao
- Our Kind of Traitor (2016)
- Pan (2015)
- Partners in Crime… (2012), aka Associés contre le crime… “L’œuf d’Ambroise”
- The Pianist (2002)
- Pillow Talk (1959)
- Pixels (2015)
- Predestination (2014)
- Pride (2014)
- Pride and Prejudice (1940)
- Prisoners (2013)
- The Quay Brothers in 35mm (2015)
- Quigley Down Under (1990)
- The Raid 2 (2014), aka The Raid 2: Berandal
- Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (2016)
- Raising Arizona (1987)
- Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (1969), aka Du bei dao wang
- Return to the 36th Chamber (1980), aka Shao Lin da peng da shi
- The Revenant (2015)
- Road Games (1981)
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again (2016)
- Rogue One (2016), aka Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- A Royal Night Out (2015)
- Rushmore (1998)
- The Russia House (1990)
- The Saint’s Return (1953), aka The Saint’s Girl Friday
- The Salvation (2014)
- Scotland, Pa. (2001)
- The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)
- Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)
- Sicario (2015)
- Snatch. (2000)
- Spotlight (2015)
- Spy (Extended Cut) (2015)
- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
- Star Trek Beyond (2016)
- Starman (1984)
- Steve Jobs (2015)
- The Sting (1973)
- Suicide Squad (2016)
- Super 8 (2011)
- SuperBob (2015)
- Superman Returns (2006)
- The Survivalist (2015)
- Swiss Army Man (2016)
- Tale of Tales (2015), aka Il racconto dei racconti
- The Tale of Zatoichi Continues (1962), aka Zoku Zatôichi monogatari
- Ted 2 (Extended Edition) (2015)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
- Ten Little Indians (1974)
- The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
- Tokyo Tribe (2014)
- The Transporter Refuelled (2015)
- Turbo Kid (2015)
- The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
- The Two Faces of January (2014)
- The Visit (2015)
- Warrior (2011)
- Westworld (1973)
- White God (2014), aka Fehér Isten
- The Witch (2015), aka The VVitch: A New-England Folktale
- The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
- Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
- Wizardhood (2016)
- Wuthering Heights (2011)
- X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
- Zoolander (2001)
- Zootropolis (2016), aka Zootopia
In the end, I watched 195 new feature films in 2016. (They’re all included in the following stats, even if there’s no review yet.) That’s not quite as high as last year’s 200, but is otherwise far ahead of every other year — it’s more than double my worst year.
I also watched three extended or altered cuts of films I’d seen before, one of which (Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition) was different enough to count on the main list. For the first time since 2010 I didn’t review any films & cuts I’d seen before — other than the 100 in my Favourites series, of course.
And if you did happen to be wondering what that might look like with my 100 Favourites included… well…
Finally, I watched seven short films this year — though four of those are counted in the main list as The Quay Brothers in 35mm. For the purposes of these statistics, that will be counted as one feature rather than four shorts. As usual, none of the other shorts are counted in the following statistics (except the one stat that mentions them).
The total running time of new features was 362 hours and 58 minutes, which — as will become a running theme if I keep mentioning it — is a little way behind 2015 but far ahead of every other year. Throw in those handful of alternate cuts and shorts and the total running time of all films was 367 hours and 57 minutes.
For the second year in a row my most prolific viewing format was streaming. In fact it saw an increase on last year, accounting for 113 films, 57.4% of my viewing. For most people the reason for that would be Netflix, but I only subscribe to that sometimes — there’s also Now TV, Amazon Prime, renting stuff, plus YouTube, Vimeo, and iPlayer too. Unfortunately I didn’t bother to keep a record of which service I used when and can’t be bothered to go back through 113 films and work it out, but maybe I’ll note it next year.
Second place once again belonged to Blu-ray, but with a reduced 41 films, which amounts to just 20.8%. Considering I keep buying the things (I know exactly how many I acquired in the last year and, compared to how many I watched, it’s embarrassing), I really ought to upend this equation. Maybe in 2017. (Yeah, right.)
It’s another repeat of last year in third place, where television accounts for 19 films, under 10% of my viewing. That’s also down from last year, continuing a slide that’s been going on for four years now. I keep recording stuff, but then they’re always there, just waiting, while stuff on streaming services has a habit of getting removed…
In a number that has held exactly the same, nine films were downloads, but this year that’s enough to boost it to fourth place. The number of DVDs I watched halved to just eight, a little over 4%. Considering I have literally hundreds of these unwatched, this is getting silly.
The final format was cinema, though the seven trips I made this year is my highest since 2008. I was going to go more over the summer but sometimes life gets in the way. Is there enough exciting stuff due in 2017 to boost this number next year? Time will tell.
As the final word on formats, I’ve once again tallied how many I watched in HD vs. SD. In the former camp we’ve got the vast majority of my streaming views (94.7% of them, to be precise), all the Blu-rays, most of the downloads, over half the TV viewings, and all the cinema visits. In ye olde standarde definitione there’s a handful of streaming and TV views, a single download, and those meagre DVD spins. The final tally says that 88.3% of my 2016 viewing was in glorious high definition. Hurrah!
It wasn’t just the technology that was modern: the most popular decade among my 2016 viewing was the 2010s with 121 films (61.4%). That’s marginally down from 2015, but it’s not like the gains were particularly felt elsewhere: distant second went to the 2000s with 18 (9.1%), exactly the same number of films as last year, while the ’90s came third with 15 (7.6%).
In fourth place was an uncommonly strong turnout for the ’70s with 14 films (7.1%), while the last decade in double figures was the ’80s with 12 (6.1%). As for the next few, they showed an element of name/tally synergy: the ’60s had six (3%), the ’50s had five (2.5%), and the ’40s had four (2%). Finishing it off, there was one each for the the ’20s and ’30s.
In another case of unsurprising business-as-usual, this year’s dominant language was English, featuring in 177 films. However, that works out as 89.8% of the films I watched — the first time that percentage has dipped below 90%. Nothing else comes even vaguely close, but nonetheless second place is a surprise: Russian, with 14 (7.1%). I watched two Russian films and one Russian co-production this year, so quite where the other 11 come from I don’t know. US/UK-produced spy movies, probably. Just behind that is Mandarin with 13 (6.6%), which is more explicable as I watched all those Shaw Brothers movies. Fifth place was split four ways, with eight films (4.1%) each for French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. In all, there were 24 languages this year (plus one “silent”), which is the exact same number as last year. More unusual ones included Ancient Egyptian, American Sign Language, Pawnee, and Xhosa.
It’s a similar story in countries of production: the USA remains dominate with 145 films, but the percentage — 73.6% — is marginally down from last year. In its usual second place, but also with its numbers slightly down, was the UK, with a hand in 47 films (23.9%). As always, these aren’t all films you’d identify as “American” or “British”, but most of the other countries I’ll mention are present thanks to co-productions as well, so it kinda balances out.
Among the rest, France was third with 18; joint fourth were Canada and Hong Kong on 12 each; and just behind them was Germany with 11. Counting down to round out the field were Australia (eight), China (seven), Japan (six), Ireland (five), Spain (four), and three each from Belgium, Italy, and Russia. A further five countries could claim two films, and 11 countries contributed to one apiece. Those with a definite claim to “country of origin” include Hungary, Indonesia, South Africa, and Taiwan.
A total of 157 directors plus 13 directing partnerships appear on 2016’s main list — and one film where I only credited an editor, too. Of those, 15 had multiple credits to their name. Easily the most prolific director on my blog this year was Steven Spielberg: his five main list films join his six entries in my 100 Favourites to almost triple the number of his films I’ve covered in this blog’s lifetime. Denis Villeneuve was second with four films, while Shaw Bros regular Chang Cheh had three plus a fourth with a co-director. There were three features from John Carpenter, Liu Chia-liang, and Zack Snyder (thanks to counting BvS twice), while Wes Anderson has two features plus one short. With two features there was Alexander Payne, Ben Wheatley, Bryan Singer, Guy Ritchie, Kenneth Branagh, Paul Feig, Ridley Scott, and the Spierig Brothers. Finally, David Ayer has one main list film and one alternate cut… of the same film. Unlike studio stablemate Snyder, he didn’t make enough changes to get on the main list twice.
Last year I specifically counted the number of female directors. The number wasn’t pretty… and this year it’s even worse: there were just two female directors in this year’s viewing, plus one who’s half of a partnership and another who’s a third of one. That’s 1.66%, which looks like this:
If that was a graph of the population, we’d be bloody extinct. I could blame myself, or I could blame the state of the industry. Maybe it’s a bit of both.
On a cheerier note, as of New Year’s Day 2017, 19 films from the main list appear on the IMDb Top 250 — more than last year, or the year before! Their positions ranges from 16th (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) to 239th (Barry Lyndon). However, I still have 76 left to see, which is only seven less than last year. How’d that happen? I guess new stuff came on and barged out stuff I’d seen. Shame.
At the end of my annual “top ten” post I always include a list of 50 notable films I missed from that year’s releases, and continue to track my progress at watching those ‘misses’. In 2016, I’ve seen at least one more movie from every year’s list. To rattle through them (including in brackets the overall total I’ve now seen), this year I watched: one from 2007 (33); one from 2008 (20); three from 2009 (26); two from 2010 (27); five from 2011 (32); two from 2012 (30); two from 2013 (31); and 16 from 2014 (36).
Finally, in the first year of 2015’s 50, I watched 28 of them. That’s the best ‘first year’ ever, and the first time I’ve seen over 50% of the 50 in a first year. It’s also more in one year than I’ve managed in the six since 2010, seven since 2009, and eight since 2008. Tsk.
In total, I’ve now seen 263 out of 450 of those ‘missed’ movies. That’s 58.4% of them, a jump up from last year’s 50.75%, and even more from two years ago’s 43.7%. (As usual, this year’s new 50 will be listed in my next post.)
To finish off 2016’s statistics, then, it’s the climax of every review: the scores.
At the top end of the spectrum, this year I awarded 26 five-star ratings. That’s a lot less than last year’s 40 — indeed, it’s 13.2% of my viewing this year, while my all-time five-star percentage is 16.7%. On the bright side, I gave 101 four-star ratings, the most ever. Representing 51.27% of this year’s viewing, it’s well above the lifetime percentage of 45.99%.
A distant second were the 53 three-star films. That’s also their highest total ever, though at 26.9% it’s only just higher than the all-time figure of 26.18%. There were also 14 two-star films, which is pretty normal, and an above-average total of three one-star films — though, at 1.5% of my viewing, I’m not going to be losing any sleep over that.
Last but not least, the average score — the single figure that (arguably) asserts 2016’s quality compared to other years. The short version is 3.7, the same as last year (and 2007 and 2009 before that). Looking with greater precision, it’s actually a bit down: to three decimal places, 2016’s score is 3.675. That places it 4th all time (behind 2011, 2014, and 2015, and just a smidge ahead of 2009).
And that’s 2016’s statistics!
I know, it’s sad they’re over. It’s okay, you can read them again — I know I will.
Next time: the best (and worst) films I saw for the first time in 2016.