Man, oh man, it’s hard to believe that summer is already drawing to a close. 2016 has been a strange year. I’m struggling to figure out what the big summer movie was. The Jungle Book? Suicide Squad? Yeah, I think that was it. Suicide Squad. It seems like all of the blockbusters were released during the spring while the more prestigious pictures are holding out for fall and winter. The times are a-changin’. But don’t worry, January will remain a dumping ground for oddball Kevin Costner thrillers. In hindsight, the summer wasn’t bad (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Swiss Army Man, Star Trek Beyond), but it’s looking like fall and winter are going to be awesome! The below list started with almost 30 entries, but using my cold, soulless heart, I was able to knock it down to 10. These are the ten fall/winter films I’m most excited to see.
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (dir. – Ron Howard)
If you don’t love The Beatles, you are wrong. Seriously, every single person I’ve ever met who had something negative to say about The Beatles was only saying it to be a negative Nancy. I love The Beatles, but as a fan who wasn’t even born by the time their career had ended, my love for them comes solely from their studio output. Short of a few classic videos, my knowledge of the Fab Four as a touring band is very limited. This is why it’s my hope that Ron Howard’s assembly of your footage can capture that feeling on the big screen.
The Birth of a Nation (dir. – Nate Parker)
First-time filmmaker made Sundance history when his film, which he wrote, co-produced, directed, and starred in was sold at the highest price ever garnered from the festival. It tells the story of the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. America’s darkest age is now far enough in the distance that we can start making honest and undiluted films all about it. And being such an emotionally-charged concept, if done right, films about American slavery can be good conversation pieces. Plus, I just HAVE to know what had so many studios competing to pick this one up. All accounts say that it’s a masterpiece, and by buying a ticket, you’re supporting independent film as well.
Hacksaw Ridge (dir. – Mel Gibson)
It’s time to forgive Mel Gibson. We’ve done it for so many other icons who went into the doghouse for soooooo much worse, but for some reason we just can’t let this one go. It seems Mr. Gibson is going to have to work his way back into our graces, so it’s a good thing he’s damn fine filmmaker. And while the trailer for Hacksaw Ridge doesn’t have me champing at the bit, Gibson’s filmography as a director hasn’t failed me yet. Who doesn’t like a good comeback story?
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (dir. – Edward Zwick)
The character of Jack Reacher fills the hole in my heart left by A Good Day to Die Hard. My McClane-hole. The books are brilliant, the first film was great, and it’s a franchise poised to carry Tom Cruise into old age without skimping on his unlikely badassery. There’s something fun about Jack Reacher being perpetually in “god mode.” He can’t be stopped and he knows it. He’s never EVER in danger, yet unlike the cartoon who has replaced the John McClane I grew up with, it’s completely believable.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (dir. – Gareth Edwards)
Duh. Of course this is on my list. It’s on your list too unless you are a filthy liar, or worse yet, a Sith! After Edwards’ pretty excellent Godzilla, I’m eager to see how his distinct tone can be applied to the ever-expanding Star Wars universe. That shot of ground troops doing battle under AT-ATs gives me chills just thinking about it.
American Honey (dir. – Andrea Arnold)
Starring a legitimate unknown in Sasha Lane, and one of May favorite people on the planet, Shia LaBeouf, Andrea Arnold’s road movie was in contention for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, AND is being released by A24. It’s a combination that simply cannot be denied. I have fallen victim to the hype machine on this one, and I have faith American Honey will live up to it.
Manchester by the Sea (dir. – Kenneth Lonergan)
This is another stop on the hype train. I know nothing of the plot, nor do I have much familiarity with the filmmaker, but I love me some Casey Affleck, and the words “masterpiece” and “Oscar” has been surrounding this one for a while.
Arrival (dir. – Denis Villeneuve)
Remember The Arrival? David Twohy’s sci-fi Charlie Sheen vehicle has always been a favorite of mine, and even though Arrival has absolutely nothing to do with it, it still conjures the same vibe within me. After Enemy, it became clear that Villeneuve could certainly do science fiction, and after Sicario, it was clear that I’d never be missing any of his movies henceforth. The trailer for this one is cryptic, and that’s all for the better. We don’t need another explosion/invasion thriller, and Arrival appears to be offering something a bit headier and more Twilight Zone-esque … with some explosions for good measure.
La La Land (dir. – Damien Chazelle)
Whiplash is a masterpiece. Not only is it a satisfying and unique story, but it’s also a prime exhibit on how to edit a film (Miles Teller can only kinda play drums … but you’d never know), which is key when it comes to incorporating music. La La Land looks to be a the same modern aesthetic applied to old Hollywood style, by a director who wants to flex his visual skill now that he can command a budget (and has his very own Gosling). I’m a sucker for mushy love stories and I’m doubly a sucker for musicals. There are two trailers for this movie, one focusing on Gosling, the other on Emma Stone, with each singing in their respective spot. Both made me weepy.
Blair Witch (dir. – Adam Wingard)
10 Cloverfield Lane has been given a run for its money in the puzzle-box department. Up until San Diego Comic Con, the latest horror film from Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest) was simply known as The Woods. It wasn’t until during the actual screening that the content of the film revealed that this ain’t a standalone horror flick, but rather a sequel to The Blair Witch Project. I’ve never been more jealous of anyone than I am of that first audience who went in blind. After the initial screening, the true title was officially announced and I immediately took it upon myself to revisit the first two films (the original holds up extremely well – the sequel is absolute garbage). I’m going to be on vacation in Denver on the day of this film’s release, and I plan to forgo any sightseeing that may get in the way of seeing this opening night. Then I’m going to poop my pants while hiking. It’ll be great.
Author: Dan Scully
Dan Scully is a film buff and humorist living in a tiny apartment in Philadelphia. He hosts the podcast I Like to Movie Movie and is the proud father to twin cactuses named Riggs & Murtaugh. Also, he doesn’t really mind when Batman kills people. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd.