5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
I’m not a big fan of “hate-watching” or those “so-bad-they’re-good” Sharknado schlock-fests. They’re mean-spirited, easy, and disrespectful to all the hard work that goes into making a piece of art, no matter how awful the finished product. That being said: Fuck “Batman v Superman”. Fuck it! Why are there so many dream sequences? Was Holly Hunter really almost tricked into drinking piss? Would Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent really stop fighting each other because their mothers are both named Martha!? Oy vey. Rarely has the gulf between how good a movie thinks it is and how bad it actually is been this laughably large; larger than Jesee Eisenberg’s stomach after chewing up all that scenery. With so many moments of self-serious stupidity (you can just see Zack Snyder in the corner smirking and jerking off), this is the perfect movie to tear down. Watch it with your most unimpressed friends and have a ball.
4. Don't Breathe
“Don’t Breathe” is a terrific little thriller with a great cast and gorgeous visuals. It’s fun, freaky, and not at all dumb. There are no heroes or villains, just complicated, true-to-life fuck-ups, and the film never veers into excessive gore or panders for shock-value. Until the end. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but I am going to spoil it a bit, so consider this a warning. There’s about an hour and fifteen minutes of a cool home invasion thriller . . . then a dude gets a turkey baster full of splooge shoved down his throat. It makes a weird noise. Some of it comes out his nose. And with that, my theatre full of moviegoers kept quiet by tense, expertly crafted action exploded with hoots and hollers. They were like the Jackass boys after Steve-O shoves something up his butt. It was a level of tension-breaking laughter and gross-out joy that I haven’t heard in a long time.
3. A Bigger Splash
I always thought Ralph Fiennes was probably a pretentious asshole. Such an asshole, in fact, that we all have to pronounce his name “Rafe,” even through it’s spelled “Ralph.” But in the last couple years, Ralphie’s had surprising success performing unusually comedic roles, like his turn as the dignified fool M. Gustave in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and his scene-stealing work in this year’s underrated Coen Brothers gem, “Hail Caesar". Rafe’s obviously lightened up a bit, but if you still need proof check out his extended, nerdy, sorta sexy dance sequence to “Emotional Rescue” in “A Bigger Splash,” a psycho-sexual murder mystery starring a wordless Tilda Swinton and a clothes-less Dakota Johnson. Fiennes provides much needed respite from the film’s serious tone, and watching him shake his tiny little butt to a falsetto Mick Jagger, a big dumb smile on his face, is one of the most delightful movie moments of the year.
“Elle” is a very upsetting movie. When it opens something terrible is happening to actress Isabelle Huppert, and the movie never lets you forget it. It’s a French drama about the horrors men inflict on women, directly and indirectly, and the strength women must possess to live with them day after day. And yet sometimes the film is hilarious, full of comedy-of-manners-style, upper-crust dinner party shenanigans, and we get a cool, badass performance by Huppert that reminds me of Meryl Streep in her “The Devil Wears Prada” days. The movie’s take on gender and abuse is serious and thought-provoking, so the fact that it contains genuinely silly gags (including a “forgot my baby on the top of a car” joke), none of which feel disrespectful or tonally out of place is a minor miracle. This movie made me laugh harder than Deadpool. I’m starting the “Huppert Should Play Cable in Deadpool 2” campaign right now.
This incredibly entertaining documentary follows Anthony Weiner, a popular New York congressman and hopeful senator whose career went belly up after he was caught texting crotch shots to interns, fans, and basically anyone with good cell reception. It’s an intimate, in-depth, pretty uncomfortable look at a man, a political career and a marriage falling to pieces. Weiner himself has a few wonderful moments, like when he’s asked an especially personal question by the self-proclaimed fly-on-the-wall documentarians and he answers back, “Isn’t the fly-on-the-wall technique about not being seen or heard? There must be some species of fly that sits on the wall and talks, but I’ve never heard of one.” Doc-burn! But the real hero of the film is Weiner’s tacitly supportive, dying-on-the-inside wife, Huma Abedin, whose Jim Halpert "Can you believe this shit?" takes to the camera are hilarious and heartbreaking, in that order.