With the 2016 summer movie season now over, it’s time to take a look back at the films I saw between May and August and determine what really shined. This is the second time I’ve done faux award ceremony, with the first published last year.
The Nice Guys
Director Shane Black’s film “The Nice Guys” was the complete package from this summer season. The script was stellar, including great witty humor along with some real heart. Additionally, the movie featured Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and one of Hollywood’s best in Ryan Gosling, with both giving solid performances. The movie is also brimming with style, boasting a great noir detective feel and the period setting makes it come across as if the film came out of a 1970s time capsule. There certainly have been some gems this summer, but “The Nice Guys” came out on top.
Kubo and the Two Strings
For a while, “Finding Dory” was in the lead for this, but the release of “Kubo” changed things. A wonderful adventure flick, “Kubo and the Two Strings” is a phenomenally well executed folk tale told on screen. The movie’s animation, made in stop motion, looked beautiful, especially during the action sequences. The film also had some fun memorable characters making for a well-rounded family picture that should be in the running for the Academy Award’s best animated feature.
Florence Foster Jenkins
On top of being a charming period piece set in 1940s’ New York City, “Florence Foster Jenkins” was also a delightful comedy. While there’s plenty of drama in this picture, the amount of lighthearted comedy provides a lot of laughs. There are many humorous situations and they largely rely on the facial expressions of many of the lead performers. What boosts this movie, though, was the mixture of laughter and heart that the picture features.
Star Trek: Beyond
After a second movie that was just so-so, the “Star Trek” film series returned to form with the awesome, exciting flick “Beyond.” The film wonderfully balances action and drama, such as exploring Captain James T. Kirk’s future on the starship Enterprise. This leads to the next point of goodness in the picture, the endearing crew of the ship. All of the characters get a chance to shine here, with the real gem being the dynamic between Spock and Dr. McCoy. “Captain America: Civil War” was certainly a solid action picture, but “Beyond” edges it out.
Ryan Gosling, The Nice Guys
Gosling already proved himself in the comedy department with “Crazy Stupid Love” a few years ago, but he brings it to a new level here. Gosling manages to balance the character, who while being a bit of a screw-up from time to time, is still a clever detective. Even though this was a buddy movie and Crowe was fantastic, Gosling was the one who gave the more memorable performance of the two and ultimately gave one of the more enjoyable performances this summer.
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Not a hard choice here, Streep always brings her A game. On top of bringing a distinct charisma to her character in this role, Streep also portrayed a great level of depth. Through her performance, Streep brought a woman to the screen who had a true love of music and art and the audience is able to appreciate the character more for it.
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Downey Jr. Captain America Civil War
While the movie’s title alludes to this being the shield-wielding hero’s movie, “Civil War” wouldn’t have worked without a good performance from Iron Man. Fortunately, Robert Downey Jr. has been in the role since 2008 and he once again delivers on the part. It’s impressive work because Tony Stark is often a complex character. There is a lot of depth and inner turmoil often about what his next move should be while still trying to avoid the sins of his past with weapons. At the same time, he puts on a mask as the cocky billionaire we all know. Downey Jr. does a fantastic job in portraying these elements on screen convincingly, especially in the movie’s third act.
Best Supporting Actress
With Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy being the leaders of the rebooted Ghostbusters, and therefore the more competent of the bunch, the supporting cast needed to provide a contrast. Kate McKinnon brought this in spades. Every moment she’s on screen, McKinnon brings an extraordinary amount of energy to the picture and provides some of the film’s funnier moments.
Best Action Scene
Final fight, Captain America Civil War
I knew what I was in for with the title “Civil War.” However, even with the knowledge, the final battle in “Captain America” was still gut wrenching. The finale is intense, hard-hitting and most of all is emotionally tough to watch. On top of this, the fight between Captain American and Iron Man has great choreography and shows off both of the characters’ abilities.
The Legend of Tarzan
There was certainly some competition for this since summer 2016 did have a few bombs. However, the latest “Tarzan” adventure was the worst of the bunch. On top of having a bunch of lackluster performances, even from phenomenal actors, the film was just downright boring. The entire thing is predictable, dull and the climax is laughable.