2016 summer movie recap

Movie Most in Need of a Hug

Winner: Warcraft

Warcraft is a misfire of epic proportions. It’s languidly paced and impossibly dense, feeling more like an extended prologue and info dump than an actual story. Its characters never take on more life than a one-dimensional sketch and the plot is baffling when it’s not obvious. However, Warcraft is also honest and well-intentioned, a movie that genuinely feels like it set out to do justice to the video game it is based on while creating a fantasy world that isn’t just another Lord of the Rings rip-off. Warcraft is the kind of failure that only a legitimate genius could concoct and I remain convinced that director Duncan Jones is a genius. I have no hatred in my heart for Warcraft – I truly, from the bottom of my heart, wanted this movie to work.

Runner-Up: Ghostbusters

No movie has been the subject of more unwarranted abuse than Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters, which became the target of deranged and vicious fanboys a year before it hit theaters. The hateful and misogynistic attacks continue to this day, with star Leslie Jones dealing with the fallout of an ugly, terroristic hack. Ghostbusters isn’t a great movie, but it’s a very good one and it deserves a big hug for everything its cast and crew has endured.

2016 summer movie recap

Healthiest Relationship

Winner: Ed and Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring 2

The family that conducts exorcisms together stays together! It would have been easy for The Conjuring and its excellent sequel to depict the marriage between demonologist Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and psychic Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) as damaged and fraught, always on the ropes as they endure on supernatural trial after another. Instead, The Conjuring 2 doubles down on what makes the first movie rise above being just another very scary horror movie – the love between Ed and Lorraine feels real, their relationship is built upon trust, and the movie often pauses to reaffirm just how much these two still dig each other. It’s practically a model marriage, with husband and wife always being there for on another, knowing when to pipe up, knowing when to shut up, and taking a well-deserved Elvis break every so often. This may be the best married couple in horror movie history. Hell, they’re probably the most well-adjusted couple in any 2016 movie.

Runner-Up: Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in Star Trek Beyond

What worked in 1966 still works today. The triumvirate of Captain James T. Kirk, First Officer Spock, and Dr. Leonard McCoy is still the great science fiction friendship, with each member of the team complementing the strengths and weaknesses of the other. More than Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond digs into the friendship of the Enterprise crew, exploring how friends and colleagues can get along and get a difficult job done.

2016 summer movie recap

Unhealthiest Relationship

Winner: Holland March and Holly March in The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys is chock-full of pitch black comedy, but the relationship between Ryan Gosling’s Holland March and Angourie Rice’s Holly March is the gift that keeps on giving. Shane Black’s vicious screenplay never shies away from Holland being an incompetent father, but it also refuses to let his daughter be a victim, painting her as a clever young woman who has pulled herself up by her bootstraps and takes care of herself and her father because no one else will. It’s funny at first – she has to drive him around and help him mange his daily bullshit – but the truth hits hard. Once you know what went down in the past, why Holland is so broken, the crummy home life of the March family becomes genuinely heartbreaking. It’s emblematic of the great strength of The Nice Guys in general. Yeah, you’re watching a comedy, but every punch leaves a bruise.

Runner-Up: Harley Quinn and the Joker in Suicide Squad

One of the biggest missteps in Suicide Squad is the decision to depict Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Jared Leto’s Joker as star-crossed lovers who spend the entire movie attempting to return to one another’s arms. He’s an abusive creep and she’s his victim and the movie never pauses to explore that or let the sheer unhealthiness of their dynamic sink in. Still, that doesn’t make them ineligible for this award. After all, it’s awfully unhealthy for a psychotic clown criminal to abandon his girlfriend to Batman after, uh, offering her to a rival crook.

2016 summer movie recap

Most Frightening Scene

Winner: The Demonic Painting in The Conjuring 2

No one builds a better haunted roller coaster than director James Wan and The Conjuring 2 is filled with chilling, thrilling set pieces that shoot enough adrenaline through your body to make your heart explode. The most clever of the bunch finds Vera Farmiga’s Lorraine alone in her husband’s office with a painting of the demon he has been dreaming about. Except that she’s not alone. And it’s very dark. And that demon is there and it plans to use that painting to its advantage to torment Lorraine. It’s classic Wan: slow-burning tension builds to a perfectly executed jump scare. You scream and then you laugh because you screamed and then you reorient yourself because holy moly, it’s not over yet.

Runner-Up: The Blackout in Don’t Breathe

Don’t Breathe continuously finds ways to experiment with its cat-and-mouse premise, but this sequence in particular stands out above the rest. When the two surviving heroes attempt to hide in the basement of the incredibly dangerous blind man they’ve attempted to rob, he evens the odds the by cutting the lights. Now, he has the edge since he knows his own home and the intruders are literally stumbling around in the dark. What makes the sequence really special is that director Fede Alvarez films it in a unique riff on night vision, which allows us to follow the action clearly without cheating us out of total darkness.

2016 summer movie recap

Special Jury Prize For “Movie Nobody on Planet Earth Actually Saw”

Winner: Alice Through the Looking Glass

Wait a second…this actually came out? In theaters? Like, for real? C’mon. Surely this is a 2017 release. It couldn’t have come and gone that fast… Oh. Oh, no.

Runner-Up: Ben-Hur

They remade Ben-Hur?!

2016 summer movie recap

Special Jury Prize For “WTF Moment of the Summer”

Winner: The Death of the Juice Box in Sausage Party

Our own Ethan Anderton suggested that this award go to just about anything that the character of Douche (Nick Kroll) does in Sausage Party and it’s hard to argue with that. Still, if only one moment must be selected, it will be the moment where Douche, having learned that consuming food products increases his strength, murders a juice box and proceeds to literally suck the life out of him in the most sexually graphic manner imaginable. There are many “Did I Actually Just See That Happen For Real?” moments in this movie, but that’s a WTF moment if there every was one.

Runner-Up: The Desert Chase in Independence Day: Resurgence

I remain one of the only defenders of this hopelessly stupid and goofy movie, and everything I love about it can be found in the third act, where Jeff Goldblum drives a school bus full of presumably orphaned children across the Nevada desert while a very angry Godzilla-sized alien chases him following a failed suicide bombing courtesy of the former President of the United States. Independence Day: Resurgence is one seriously insane movie.

Continue Reading 2016 Summer Movie Awards >>

Cool Posts From Around the Web: