Crystal’s Best of 2016: The Movies

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I think we all can agree that 2016 was a rough one and 2017 hasn’t exactly been a picnic either. Movies continue to be my saving grace during these uncertain times but finding the energy and brainpower to write about them is often times an impossible task. I’ve also struggled to maintain an online presence as social media has evolved from a fun place to take your mind off your problems to a 24/7 modern day town crier of doom. Tumblr is all “everything you love is actually offensive and here’s why you’re a bad person for even liking it in the first place” all the time and I deleted Twitter off my phone in the days following the election and I’m still attempting to find my voice in that site’s new normal.

My annual Top 25 list was fairly locked back in January; I even boasted on Twitter that for the first time in years -maybe ever- I was so in love with my choices that I didn’t feel the need to wait and see what awards season told me were the Important Films to watch. I knew what I liked and I was excited about it; I even made some decent headway on writing about my selections. But as the weeks went on and the world continued to self-destruct, I started feeling more and more foolish for caring about finishing such an inconsequential project and I felt even sillier for asking anyone else to care about something so trivial and self-serving. So I stopped writing. And now here we are, almost at the end of another year.

The world hasn’t improved at all but I guess my morale has because I basically woke up one day and just started writing. Not just my regular film diary (because that had sadly fallen by the wayside as well) but this particular post. I’ve definitely written more in the past weeks than I have in all of 2016 & 2017 combined. I’m not planning on asking anyone to read this (not only does it still feel unimportant and embarrassing but now it’s completely irrelevant) but I wanted to finish this for myself. (Which sounds empowering and special but it’s honestly more like my brain will NOT be able to get over leaving this as a draft.) Some of the rankings have shuffled a bit as I’ve started editing and reevaluating some things (nothing major, I’m talking arbitrary lower rankings) but for the most part, this is basically the same list I would’ve posted at the beginning of the year.

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Crystal’s Most Anticipated Summer Movies of 2016

PicsArt_04-16-04.28.472016 has been a fairly successful one at the movies so far. I’ve been to the movies 13 times but most of that was catching up on some late 2015 releases. (Top 25 blog now available for dissection!) Of the 7 new releases I’ve watched, I’ve loved two (10 Cloverfield Lane and Hail, Caesar!), was pleasantly surprised by another (How To Be Single) and liked a few a great deal (The Witch, ZootopiaMidnight Special). And I also saw a giant stinker that I’ll be holding over my brother’s head for the rest of eternity (Deadpool, obviously). My actual anticipated list for this summer is uncharacteristically short but don’t mistake that for apathy or disinterest. While there’s a lot of movies I’m on the fence about this summer, the ones I am excited for, I am absolutely hysterical over. 

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Crystal’s Best of 2015: The Movies

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I actually completed this year’s Top 25 by mid-January but then I was so hyped about movies that I couldn’t stop watching them long enough to actually write this post. (The struggle is real.) As usual, I didn’t make my goal of publishing this before Oscar season ended and this is all woefully irrelevant now but I’m continuing on. You can call me tardy but never a quitter.

According to my adorably painstaking Letterboxd score-keeping, I went to the theatre 45 times to see 39 different films. Of those 39 films, 29 were new releases; other trips included 5 holdovers from 2014 (Into the Woods, Top Five, Inherent Vice, Selma and American Sniper), special anniversary screenings of Home Alone and the three Back To The Future films and a test screening of the 2016 unintentional comedy masterpiece The 5th Wave. The rest of my trips were encores of Avengers: Age of Ultron (my first IMAX 3D splurge!), Mad Max: Fury Road (two encores, technically), Magic Mike XXL, The Night Before (I saw a test screening and went again when it was released) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Through the magic of modern viewing habits, I obviously saw way more than 29 films from 2015 (a Top 25 would be ridiculous in that case); listed below are my favorites of the year along with a few other categories, just for fun. Spoiler-free unless otherwise marked, because what am I, a monster?

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I Learned It From Watching You!

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David Letterman was never “my” late night guy, he belonged to my parents. Late Night with David Letterman debuted in February 1982 and my parents were married in October 1983. Unsurprisingly, TV nerdom runs in the family and many stories of the early days of their marriage involve them ordering pizza at midnight so they could properly enjoy watching Late Night. We also have boxes upon boxes of VHS tapes filled with Late Night and Late Show episodes that were recorded when my Dad missed the show because he had to work late. They even saw the show live in 1985 when Late Night did a week of shows in Los Angeles. (I guess technically I was there too because my mom was about 2 months pregnant with me. So, hey I’m cool too!)

My parents’ enjoyment of Late Night and later, the Late Show gave Letterman an air of credibility in my young eyes. The stars I grew up loving didn’t really make it until they appeared on Letterman. Even as an adult, if Dave (yep, in our household, he’s just “Dave”) liked one of my favorite celebrities, that made them even cooler. My heart was inexplicably warmed in 2012 when he straight up fangirled to Amy Poehler about how much he loved Parks and Recreation and he was so tickled by Billy Eichner’s first Late Show appearance that he asked him back a few months later and they taped a remote segment together, something he hadn’t done in ages. Jennifer Lawrence was always in rare form whenever she visited Dave and it was always a toss-up whether I was more amused by her antics or his bemused reaction to her antics. Likewise, Dave was so admiringly bewildered by Amy Sedaris she made a staggering 34 appearances on the Late Show. (And to be honest, it didn’t really “hit” me that Dave was leaving until Amy said goodbye.)
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Crystal’s Best of 2014: The Movies

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Oh the films of 2014, it’s safe to say that we got along quite well. I made 56 trips to 10 different movie theatres to see 47 different films: 41 new releases, 5 hold-outs from 2013 (Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Her, the R-rated super-cut re-release of Anchorman 2 and Frozen) and a 10th anniversary screening of Saw. The rest of my 56 trips were comprised of one encore each of The Fault In Our Stars and 22 Jump Street, 2 return visits to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and an admittedly ridiculous 5 repeat viewings of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thanks to the modern marvels of VOD, the ever-shrinking theatrical window and the fact that it’s March (ha), I ended up seeing 70 total releases from 2014. I was feeling extra opinionated this year, so alongside my Top 25 is some new categories. (Presented with jump links because we fancy now that we moved to WordPress!) (And all spoiler-free because I’m nice like that!)

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Crystal’s Top 25 Movies of 2013

I love movies. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to sit down and write about them but I love them! In 2013, I made 57 trips to 9 different theatres to see 50 different features: 47 different new releases, 3 return trips to This Is The End, 1 encore each for Spring Breakers, The Conjuring, The World’s End and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, crazy-fun screenings of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz as part of a “Cornetto Trilogy Marathon” and a special one night only 3D screening of The Time of The Doctor, the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. Quite a year. Read on for a spoiler-free round-up of the films that resonated with me the most.

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Crystal’s Top 25 Films of 2012

In 2012, I made 49 trips to the theatre to see 42 different movies: 35 new releases, 5 releases from 2011 that I didn’t make it to before the end of that year (The Adventures of Tintin, Hugo, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, The Artist and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.), a screening of the 3D re-release of Beauty and The Beast, 1 encore each of 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike (I was big on Channing Tatum this year apparently) and Looper, 2 encores each of The Avengers and The Cabin in the Woods (I was big on Joss Whedon as well) and a special one night only showing of Pulp Fiction to celebrate the release of the “Tarantino XX” Blu-Ray collection.


The following list is presented without commentary (because otherwise it never would’ve gotten finished) but for full film reviews you can visit my film diary at Letterboxd.com!
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