There are often moments in movies every year where I find myself in awe with the master craft that the director, the screenwriter, the actor, or all three at once are doing on screen. That is why this year we are discussing the top ten moments from movies we have seen in 2016. There are so many moments that I truly loved, so we limited the lists to one per movie to narrow the playing field.
Also, SPOILER WARNING, SOME OF THESE SCENES MAY INVOLVE PIVOTAL MOMENTS TO THE FILMS BEING DISCUSSED, AND WHILE THE TITLES OF THE SCENES WILL BE SPOILER-FREE, THE DESCRIPTIONS WON’T BE. If you see a moment from a movie you still haven’t seen, you might want to go ahead and skip the description. Now, here we go, with my top ten movie moments from 2016.
As I said, so many scenes in 2016 really stuck with me, so narrowing this list to ten was extremely tough. Moments like Rosita and Gunter’s final performance in “Sing”, the opening credits in “Deadpool”, the toaster scene in “The Lobster”, and Nick Wilde’s childhood flashback from “Zootopia” were all great scenes that I thoroughly enjoyed, I just could not make room for them. Continuing with scenes that just missed the cut, the Beastie Boys moment in “Star Trek Beyond” was pure enjoyment, as was the absolutely unforgettable conclusion to “Sausage Party”, but I just could not squeeze these moments into the top ten.
Top 10 Moments
10.) Shower Scene – “Jackie”
What may sound like something sensual or seductive to someone who hasn’t seen this film is anything but, as this scene held the most emotional impact of anything throughout this movie. While the JFK assassination and the funeral service were both gorgeously done moments, this moment where Jackie removes the clothes that have the blood of her dead husband on them, then takes a shower as his blood runs down her back, is true power at its finest. All of this is brought home with an excellent direction by Pablo Larraín and Natalie Portman’s jaw-dropping performance.
9.) The Possession – “The Witch”
Robert Eggers’ directorial debut, “The Witch”, has many chilling moments within it, and while Black Phillip’s pivotal moment is a great one, I have to give it to the scene involving the possession of Caleb. This moment has both tremendous acting by both the parents and the children, but also features some terrifying imagery and is brutally tense. This is a film that builds the horror right from the beginning, but no moment pays off more than this one.
8.) The Final Heist – “Hell or High Water”
David Mackenzie’s beautiful drama/thriller is filled with truly great moments, but the one’s that stuck with me the most were each of the bank heists pulled off by Chris Pine and Ben Foster, specifically the last one. Where this movie could have felt the last realistic it felt the most, as these robberies are done as I would imagine any real robbery would feel like, and this final heist brings that all together will excellent performances and gripping tension.
7.) Stay Down – “Moonlight”
“Moonlight” is so great because there isn’t just one moment that makes the whole film, it is the million little moments that add up to one truly moving picture. Still, there were plenty of scenes within this film that could have certainly made this list, but the one I chose is when Shairon is forced into a confrontation with Kevin via a fistfight. The emotions are at a peak here, and I truly felt for both characters in this instance. This is all capped off by a tear-jerking moment when Shairon is telling the counselor, “you don’t even know”, which perfectly wraps up some of the larger themes in the movie.
6.) Flat Tire – “Nocturnal Animals”
Tom Ford’s visceral film about love, loss, and revenge has no moment more powerful than the one that comes rather early in the film, and it is the scene that opens up the book that Jake Gyllenhaal’s character wrote. This is a scene involving a family being ran off the road by a group of men, then are put through agonizing emotions as tensions raise and lower. This is a scene that was often hard to watch simply from my fear of what would happen to this family, and I thought it was a brilliantly acted, brilliantly directed moment from 2016.
5.) Vader – “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
In a moment that can only be described as a childhood dream, the concluding moments of “Rogue One” are simply pure nerdy joy at its finest. Seeing Vader rip through all who are stuck in his path with using his lightsaber and the force is just wonderful entertainment. This ending scene also perfectly ties into the opening of “A New Hope”, but it is Vader and his badassery that land him a spot on this list.
4.) First View – “Arrival”
No scene this year left me more in awe than this one, as Denis Villeneuve, cinematographer Bradford Young, and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson all combine to make an unforgettable moment of when we first get a look at the shell. This long, stunning tracking shot shows the incredible size and scope of what exactly we are dealing with, and along with the stunning music and beautiful cloud cover on the ground, this scene is masterpiece filmmaking at its finest.
3.) Epilogue – “La La Land”
Damien Chazelle’s masterpiece musical had some incredible set pieces, specifically the opening number and the one between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone called “A Lovely Night”. I could have also gone with the powerful “Audition” done by Stone live on camera, but I had to go with the finale, which is simply titled “Epilogue”. This brilliantly choreographed moment follows the storyline of what had happened earlier in the film, but if it had been in the perfect world of a play. What Chazelle does here is something only he could have pulled off. This seven-minute scene flawlessly wraps up all the themes of the movie, and all while having beautiful music and cinematography to boot. Chazelle knows how to end a movie the right way, and this conclusion to a magnificent film is as good as it gets.
2.) Airport Fight – “Captain America: Civil War”
While I could have put the final battle on here easily, I have to go with the moment that legitimately made me shed a tear of joy, and that was the airport fight. The absolutely perfect mix of action and comedy is something I have never seen done so well, and the way the Russo Brothers directed this scene so that we see each superhero fight in all of their glory is simply brilliant. Spiderman himself makes this scene all the more incredible, as Tom Holland brings the right style of humor to his big moment. This is the best action sequence in any superhero movie to date, as it has perfectly shot action, perfectly witty dialogue, and has the perfect mood and tone to it to make it all the more fun to watch.
1.) The Flashback – “Manchester By The Sea”
*MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD*
There are many moments in this Kenneth Lonergan directed film where the movie goes back in time, but if you have seen this movie, you must know the moment I am talking about here. Yes, this scene involving Lee accidentally setting his house on fire, leaving his three kids to be killed and his wife barely surviving in it as he simply went to go get groceries is somehow only the tip of the iceberg when talking about the heartbreak of this scene. From there, we go to a police interrogation that pushed me to the limit emotionally, with the final straw being the moment Lee goes for a cop’s gun in an effort to end his suffering. This scene had me legitimately sobbing in the theater, something I don’t know if I have ever truly done mid-movie. This scene is all brought together by a heartbreaking Casey Affleck performance, and this flashback scene is certainly the most powerful moment in a movie I have seen in quite a long time.
Do you agree? Disagree? What was the best movie moment in 2016 for you? Comment below with your thoughts.