Standouts of Sixteen

As I finalized my lists for 2016, I began to sense a backlash to loving La La Land. I'm beginning to notice more and more that within pop culture, once something surpasses a level of general acceptance (no matter it's merit), there is a certain type of person that feels an obligation to irrationally dislike something – simply for the sake of "balancing" the conversation. I don't feel like we should do this with La La Land. It was a sincerely audacious movie made by a 32-year-old millennial who actively rejected the cynicism of his peers and made something truly hopeful and beautiful. La La Land is the best movie of the year, because in the cynical, franchise-drenched cinematic landscape of 2016, it was a revolution, and it's worthy of its accolades.

Other things to note: this is the first time that my #1 movie and #1 album are from the same source. Damien Chazelle and his team have really created something special, and I'm proud to heartily endorse it. Had it not been for La La Land, Martin Scorsese's Silence would've been my #1. It was a beautiful portrayal of the struggle to hear God's voice, the challenge of doubt, and a very fair examination of the imperialist undertones of missionary work. As a Christian and missionary, I wish more people would see this movie, and skip out on the other garbage that "Christian" studios are putting out.

In all, this was good year for movies, a great year for television (as seems to be the trend), and a mediocre year for music. But that might just be me ascending into my thirties and not connecting with the new music of a younger generation. Judge for yourself.

The Professor Xavier Honorary Top Ten Movies
  1. La La Land
  2. Silence
  3. The Witch
  4. Manchester By The Sea
  5. Arrival
  6. Sing Street
  7. Deadpool
  8. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
  9. Moonlight
  10. Hell or High Water
The Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of Windsor* Honorary Top Five TV Shows
  1. Westworld (Season 1)
  2. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (Anthology)
  3. Silicon Valley (Season 3)
  4. Son of Zorn (Season 1)
  5. The Night Of (Anthology)
  6. Vice Principals (Season 1)
  7. Jon Glaser Loves Gear (Season 1)
  8. Better Call Saul (Season 2)
  9. Stranger Things (Season 1)
  10. Mr. Robot (Season 2)
The Jonny Greenwood Honorary Top Five Albums
  1. La La Land (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Justin Hurwitz & Damien Chazelle
  2. Hamilton** by Lin-Manuel Miranda & the Original Broadway Cast
  3. Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper
  4. The Life of Pablo by Kanye West
  5. 22, A Million by Bon Iver
Honorable Mention^
  1. ESPN's 30 for 30: Fantastic Lies
* – Haven't finished watching The Crown as of this publishing date. It would probably make the list.
** – Technically released in 2015, but it really got hot in 2016; so I'm counting it.
^ – I didn't watch enough documentaries to constitute a whole list, but I needed to have this documentary on my lists. I think in our era of expedient and lazy journalism that's more concerned with getting the story "first" without getting it "right", I found this movie to be very timely. We unfortunately live in a time where social-media enabled lynch mobs act as judge, jury, and executioner, and make indictments on people without having all the facts or due process. This documentary is a cautionary tale, and should be viewed by anyone who creates or consumes journalism (which is ultimately everyone). Also, I never finished "OJ: Made in America." It would have also made this short list.