North Texas Daily

The Dose: Movies you might have missed this year

The Dose: Movies you might have missed this year

The audience watches Dare to Drum at Thinline in Denton, Texas. Parts of the film feature the origin of drumming, displaying black and white photographs. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

The Dose: Movies you might have missed this year
September 04
14:00 2016

When people say that “2016 sucks,” they’re mostly referring to our political climate and the inexplicable number of icons that passed away. Now when I say “2016 sucks,” I’m talking about the mediocre/bad blockbusters that should’ve been good, but weren’t. You know. Movies like “Sausage Party,” “Suicide Squad” and “Batman v. Superman.” Even “Finding Dory” paled in comparison to “Nemo.”

That said, 2016 has been a stellar year for indies and movies that no one saw coming. Pretty much everything James Wan (“Conjuring 2”) touched was a summer hit; while “10 Cloverfield Lane” took the concept of a found footage classic, applied it to a microcosmic scenario and created a spectacular sequel that improved on its predecessor. The following movies are other hidden gems you may have missed:

“Hell or High Water”

Imagine the Al Pacino/Robert De Niro classic “Heat,” but with cowboys this time. Penned by Taylor Sheridan — the writer of the Oscar-nominated “Sicario” — this fantastic heist drama pits Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) and Ben Foster (“Lone Survivor”) against Jeff Bridges (“True Grit”), who portrays a Texas Ranger hunting down two bank-robbing brothers. A must-see for any lover of crime films or westerns, this is a slow burn character study that beautifully examines the cowboy ways of living for a modern day context.

This is, without a doubt, the best film I’ve seen all year. It perfectly embodies western archetypes, without actually being a western, and Sheridan’s script nails what it’s like to grow up in a small Texas town. Packed with great cinematography, snappy dialogue and career-making turns from all three leads, this movie is currently playing in Denton and deserves to be seen immediately.

“Green Room”

Brought to us by the same studio behind “Ex Machina,” this dark horror film focuses on a punk band that’s trapped by neo-Nazis after they witness a nightclub murder. Starring the late Anton Yelchin, one of the finest actors of his age group, this is an enthralling backwoods thriller with some creative kills and more blood than you can shake a stick at. Not to mention that the villain is Professor Xavier himself, Patrick Stewart, who’s more frightening here than he’s ever been.

“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping”

If you were disappointed in “Sausage Party,” check out this funnier romp that many people missed during its theatrical run. Written, directed and starring the Lonely Island troupe, this was a solid piece of satire that took shots at Macklemore, Justin Bieber and the prevalent pomposity of today’s music world. Filled to the brim with cameos from DJ Khaled, A$AP Rocky and Usher, this is destined to find a cult following that will watch the Blu-Ray back-to-back with “Hot Rod.” Except it’s better than “Hot Rod.”

“Everybody Wants Some!!”

After garnering Oscar nods and critical acclaim with “Boyhood” and “Before Midnight,” Richard Linklater went back to his “Dazed and Confused” well in a wonderful way. We reviewed this movie months ago and it still holds up as a great companion piece to Linklater’s immortal classic.

Whereas “Dazed” is a ‘90s film about the last day of high school in 1976, “Everybody Wants Some!!” is about the first semester of college in 1980. The brilliance lies in how Linklater merged his ‘90s filmmaking techniques with everything awesome about the ‘80s, from the diversity of the American populace to the technological innovations of the music, both of which are things that we can relate to at this moment.

It’s not quite as good as “Dazed” — nothing will ever top McConaughey’s “Alright, alright, alright.” Nevertheless, it’s still a hilarious, poignant entry in the pantheon of teen comedies.

“Sing Street”

Directed by John Carney of “Once” and “Begin Again” fame, this musical comedy, set in 1985 Dublin, has become of my favorite movies of recent years. It follows the awkward teenager Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), whose parents force him into a Roman Catholic school after their finances decline. In classic teen movie fashion, Conor instantly falls for a mysterious girl and starts a New Wave-style band just to impress her.

This bildungsroman is unique because it puts the viewer smack dab in the Second British Invasion, where bands like The Cure and Duran Duran came into prominence as MTV just hit its stride. In turn, Carney wrote and composed all of the characters’ original songs, which are all amazing tracks that pay respect to music of the period.

Unlike every coming-of-age tale, “Sing Street” approaches the message of finding oneself by forging an identity out of raw inspiration. It’s not only apropos of musical artistry, but how to look up to your heroes and become a stronger person. Most importantly, it’s a delightful rock-and-roll romance that acknowledges all the awkwardness we had at Conor’s age, only to confirm that we shouldn’t lose what makes us special.

All of these films come highly recommended.

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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1 Comment

  1. Luis
    Luis September 05, 15:34

    “Sing Street” was awesome! I happened to be in South Korea when it was there in theatres and my friend took me to see it because she loved “Begin Again.”

    Reply to this comment

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