Film Festiv AL: 2016 Top Ten

“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” – Steve Martin

I’m a sucker for a good blockbuster. The sneaking in of movie candy (Buncha Crunch), the room going dark, the obligatory “turn off your cell phone, or else” clip, the movie trailers (all of which I already saw a month ago online), and this year is chalk full of cinematic adventures that I can’t wait to experience. Here is my personal top 10 must-see movie list for 2016. Disclaimer: *Alan can not be held financially or morally responsible for any money or virtue seemingly wasted on movies that look awesome but turn out to be awful.*

#10… God’s Not Dead 2 (April 1st)


That’s right ladies and gentleman, turns out God is still not dead! Harold Cronk, who directed the original “God’s Not Dead” is returning to direct the sequel. Now being a youth minister, I obviously have a bias for any movie that is wholesome, clean and contains good morals. Even though these faith films aren’t summer blockbusters or getting nominated for an Oscar, but they are getting better! I actually got to see this movie already at a youth ministry convention and it is at least on par with the original, if not better. Spoiler alert… Nick Fury does not appear at the end of the credits. Sorry.

Another movie that didn’t quite make the list is “Young Messiah” that comes out March 11th and is all about Jesus’ childhood (what a great idea for a film!) and even stars Sean Bean. Could be good!

#9… Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (February 5th)


Ok, so I’m not stupid, really. I know this movie is going to be awful. It will be marvelously terrible. However, the twist on the classic Jane Austen tale is so appealing to me. I grew up seeing those movies thanks to my mom and sisters (mostly mom though… hi mom!) and the romance and politeness and manners and British class drama was soooooo sickening. In 2009 there was a rumor (or maybe a dream I had) that there was going to be a movie called “Pride and Predator” which was about Predator coming to this Jane Austen era and methodically hunting down the mannered protagonists. This was pure gold in my mind! I was saddened when the movie never came out but my glee has been reignited with the release of this movie. It’s reminiscent of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, which was more enjoyable than I thought it would be but tried to be a serious historical commentary sometimes and a fun vampire slaying popcorn flick. The later is the only way to go with this type of movie. Hopeful but we’ll see.

#8… Star Trek: Beyond (July 22nd)


If we’re pitting Star Trek versus Star Wars, it’s Star Wars for me everytime. I grew up watching the majority of the Voyager series and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Next Generation reruns. That being said, I really enjoyed the new direction with the two recent Star Trek movies (Star Trek and Into Darkness) and I’m excited to see where they’ll go with this next one. Justin Lin has directed a bunch of “Fast and Furious” movies and is directing this movie. Which means space drag racing right?!?! Millenium Falcon vs. the USSSSSS Enterprise. Racing for pink slips. I’m in! Sounds very… engaging. 😉

#7… Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24th)


Will this movie be as good as the original? Not a chance. Will it be entertaining and nostalgic? Absolutely! Big draw is Goldblum is coming back to act in this movie. It is very unfortunate Will Smith isn’t coming back but I would argue I enjoyed Goldblum more in the original. Also glad to see Bill Pullman returning as former President Whitmore. Roland Emmerich is returning as director as well. I’m betting the fat lady will sing and this movie will be great in a mind-numbing entertainment kind of way.

#6… Assassin’s Creed


Assassin’s Creed has about 72 different video that have been released and they are all pretty similar. I think I played like the first 3. Really fun but also really repetitive. In any case, the first one was always my favorite because of the introduction to this epic story. Short version is this present day fella gets brought into a company that unlocks these genetic memories of an ancestor of his that was part of an elite order of assassins. As these genetic memories are unlocked he gains the skills of this master assassin and finds out this elite order is still around. Michael Fassbender is easily in my top 5 favorite actors and he has the perfect build, physicality and acting chops to make this really really interesting. Video game movies usually don’t turn out well (Super Mario Brothers, Street Fighter, Tomb Raider) we’ll have multiple chances this year to find out if we can change that. (The Angry Birds Movie, Warcraft, Ratchet and Clank)

#5… 2oolander (February 12th)


Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller made comedic magic in 2001 and I can’t wait to see this sequel. Will it live up to the original? Will it still make me laugh? I believe it just might. With Will Ferrell making a return and the introduction of Kristen Wiig and some other celebrity cameos, there’s just enough hope to make me believe this movie will be just as funny. Did Derek truly become an “ambi-turner”? Will the center for ants ever open to educate our 6 legged friends? What “look” will Derek revolutionize the fashion world with next? The only way to know for sure is to see this movie.

#4… Untitled Bourne Sequel (July 29th)


It’s official!! They’ve announced a 5th installment to the Bourne franchise that will be starring Matt Damon! For fans of the series this is awesome news as the last installment, “The Bourne Legacy”, was somewhat less than stellar. With Paul Greengrass directing (director of the 2nd and 3rd installments), hopefully this is a return to form for the franchise. It will be interesting to see where they take the plot as they are expanding the story beyond the books.

#3… Marvel Movies — Doctor Strange (November 4th), Captain America: Civil War (May 6th)


With the plethora of superhero movies coming out this year, it just made sense to separate them into a Marvel and DC category. “Doctor Strange” is a comic book character I know absolutely nothing about. It is exciting to see magic being explored and brought into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and no one can be mad about the casting of the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch.

Civil War

“Civil War” feels very much more like Avengers 3 than Captain America 3. There are so many super peeps in this movie. I am intrigued by the storyline; Seeing sides being taken whether superheroes should be regulated by the government or not. The MCU has purposefully been setting up for this movie and I know this movie will do nothing other than get me psyched for “Avengers: Infinity Wars – Part 1”. The first Captain America movie was terribly underwhelming for me and then “Winter Soldier” came around and blew me away. Hopefully they keep this upward trend. Excited to see the introduction of Black Panther as well.

#2… DC Movies — Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25th), Suicide Squad (August 5th)


BVS (Batman V Superman) is the ultimate match up. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather see the Hulk and Superman go at it but these superheroes are arguably the most iconic and the most well-known superheroes of all time (with the exception of Jesus <3). To see these two go against one another should be a feast for the eyes. I was concerned, with many others, at the release of the most recent BVS trailer where it seemed like they revealed way too much. It also made me worried the movie titled “Batman V Superman” will be too much about the reconciliation of differences and not enough “V”ing… versusing? Fighting. Psyched for Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman (spoilers) and am interested to see Wonder Woman and hopefully a non-lame Aquaman and Flash.

suicide squad

Suicide Squad recently dropped a new trailer to the song by Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and it was marvelous. I was very unsure about this movie with the 1st trailer that dropped, but this one has me hooked. At this point I might actually be more excited for Suicide Squad than BVS. Craziness! Casting seems spot on and the premise of the villains forced into working together as heroes just affords so many great opportunities. I was especially surprised in this last trailer how much I enjoyed Jai Courtney’s character, Boomerang… who sounds super lame but might actually be kinda fun. In short, go on Youtube to watch the trailer right now and tell me it doesn’t look like a whole lotta fun.

#1… Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16th)


Star Wars is back baby! I’m so glad Episode 7 did as well as it did. I agreed with everyone commenting that it leans heavily on the familiar beats of the originals but I get why. Trying to get this new generation hooked while simultaneously letting the fans of the originals know there is no more prequel funny business but that we are truly home, it needed to feel familiar. Now that they have proven it a success, I’m really looking forward to the dark turns to come in Episode 8. But this about Rogue One. If you are confused about what Rogue One is, it’s a Star Wars spin-off movie that takes place before Episode 4 (A New Hope) and follows the rag-tag team of rebels who managed to steal the plans to the Death Star. Director is Gareth Edwards who most recently directed the Godzilla movie and it stars (amongst others) Felicity Jones, the incredible Mads Mikkelsen and one of my favorite comedic actors, Alan Tudyk (Steve the Pirate). The scope of Star Wars movie have always been so grand and epic that it will hopefully be refreshing to see something on a slightly smaller and more personal scale in this universe.


It was so tough (@andysignore) to narrow this list down to just 10. There were so many I left out. In fact I might do a top 5 2016 movies you haven’t heard of blog later on this week. 

Do you agree with my list? Did I leave any out? Comment below and thanks for wasting time with Spesh Al!


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