The halfway point of 2016 is upon us and it's time to take a look back at the year that was and hand out some awards. If you are reading this and are responsible for any of the below films, you must claim your award in person. Under no circumstances will any of the Halfway's be mailed to the winners. No Exceptions. With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get into what has made us smile and cringe so far this year.
Kids movies and comicbook movies are ruling the landscape so far in 2016. Literally the entire top ten grossing movies of the year are exactly those things, with number ten being Warcraft and I don't know what that falls under, but it's not Oscar bait. I can't tell you a single movie in the top 50 that might be nominated for an Academy Award, which just makes me think that there will have to be a violent shift in the culture of Hollywood at some point. The move from 35mm to digital is going to have a bigger effect than anyone has realized yet. That doesn't mean there were no strong acting performances this year and it also doesn't mean that all of the comicbook movies are good.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you......The Halfway's
2016 Box Office Winner - Captain America: Civil War
Runner Up: Zootopia
Captain America: Civil War beat out the competition (Zootopia and The Jungle Book), but that isn't the surprise at the box office up until this point. The fact that not only did Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice not claim the top comic movie spot of 2016, it barely beat Deadpool to hold onto 4th place. That is mainly due to word of mouth for all of these comic properties. Cap 3 was worth multiple viewings simply because of the airport sequence, which is the most entertaining fight scene of any movie Marvel has released to this point.
Deadpool had a terrific viral advertising campaign, but nothing is better than hearing your friend tell you "holy shit there is a pegging scene in this movie and it'll even make you laugh". Rated R was always going to make it stand out, but excellent writing made it worth seeing several times. Batman v Superman: A Tale of Two Martha's was the exact opposite of that, in that everyone wanted to like this movie, but it feels like Zack Snyder actively tried to piss everyone off that was in his corner. Whoa! Calm down! I can hear you now through the internet screaming about the extended cut, but I'm not falling for it. Anytime you need to say "Hey that extra material that made the movie over 3 hours really made me not want to punch a baby after I watched it. Huge improvement!" then your argument is invalid.
Best Television Show - Game of Thrones
Runner up: Game of Thrones behind the scenes footage
This should be the award for the best freaking thing in the entire freaking world! Shout out to Mr. Robot for being the show that has done the best job of making me curious about it even though they cast the 14th lead from Larry Crowne to carry the show. If you look on IMDB, he's on the 2nd page of the Larry Crowne cast credits, right after that Vespa. Game of Thrones, on the other hand, just keeps getting better and better and better! It long ago past the simple "it's the best show on television" phase and it has now reached contention for the best show of all time.
This show is the perfect mixture of HBO doesn't make bad television and George RR Martin has a legion of fans that would murder someone for his next book. I can't think of another show that has used the books to such an advantage with hardcore fans from the book series and those who only watch the show. If you think you like anything in life, then I dare you to go on Reddit and read people talking about The Winds of Winter and what they think will happen. I'm not sure that anyone has ever liked anything more than GRRM fans love him and his books. And yes, I am intentionally leaving that open ended to imply creepy undertones. They might be stalkers, for real.
Most Pretentious IMDB Photo - Topher Grace
Runner up: Kevin Bacon
This prestigious award is being given to Topher Grace, who narrowly beat out Kevin Bacon, Barry Pepper, and Giovanni Ribisi for the award. Mr. Grace could not be here to accept today, but we assume he would say something about hard work and Just for Men beard and mustache dye.
Most Underrated Movie - Hello, My Name is Doris
Runner up: Midnight Special
Hello, Sally Field, you are a complete delight. One of the sad side effects of big budget summer tent pole movies ruling the land, is that when a movie like this comes along it goes largely unnoticed. This is Sally Field at her best......let me rephrase that....This is two time Academy Award winner and Hollywood legend Sally Field at her absolute best. Please don't forget that Sally Field (3 Oscar nominations and 11 Golden Globe nominations) has been killing it for 6 decades now and is still at the top of her game. She is reason enough to stop what you are doing and go watch this movie today.
Luckily, there are even more reasons to watch on top of the acting masterclass that Field puts on. The relationships between Field and Tyne Daly and Field and Max Greenfield could not be any different, but both sides are played perfectly. I'm sure that Greenfield has a strong following from his role on New Girl, but I had never seen that show, so I was surprised by him in this movie. The supporting cast is full of recognizable faces and it has several beats that are familiar in a Michael Showalter project. Watch this movie! Please! Support these smaller movies that tell good stories and speak to your heart before they go away.
Most Disappointing Movie - Bats v Supes: Dawn of Justice
Runner up: X-Men: Apocalypse is evil and clearly 5'6
Hello darkness my old friend. Poor, poor Ben Affleck was clearly stuck making a movie that he didn't want to make and didn't have the final say that he wanted and got with the new stand alone Batman movies. I still believe that Affleck is going to give us a terrific Batman and I also understand that several people will defend Zack Snyder, but the fact is he is not the right person to lead the DC franchise. He has a very distinct style of film-making that is fine for the slow motion masturbatory shots in 300, but with the amount of story that he needed to tell here it wasn't required.
The first part of that movie was a super slo-mo sequence of Bruce's parents are murdered scene that just made me wonder how long I had to look at Negan and Maggie playing parts that are pointless to the story. If you don't know that Bruce Wayne's parents were killed by this point, then just don't go to the movie. We don't need that and 100 other scenes slowed down, which is reason number 4000 why I don't need to see a "directors" cut of this movie with an additional 30 minutes that could have been included if it wasn't for the director in the first place. This movie failed for multiple reasons, but Zack Snyder is the biggest of those reasons and why the DC franchise is hopelessly behind Marvel.
Best Movie - Deadpool
Deadpool is the absolute best! This movie is so good that there was immediately talk of other properties making Rated R movies so they can attempt to match what Deadpool has done this year. That is not the reason that Deadpool worked. I can't say that enough times, because that seems to be the most common sentiment among people who are writing about it. Deadpool worked because the writing was EXCELLENT and it being Rated R was the way it could stay the most true to the comics and the character, but if you took out a few swear words and the 3 minute sex montage it is still an terrific movie.
They didn't though and with that combination Ryan Reynolds has knocked it of the effing park with his portrayal. It almost (almost!!!) makes me like Green Lantern more as some weird side effect. Everything about this movie works. Everything! The casting was perfect, the script was perfect, the special effects were off the charts, and every last little detail either helped the story or made you laugh. This is the best movie of the year and also my favorite movie of the year and that is a hard feat to accomplish.
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can reach him at email@example.com