Favorite 35 Films of 2017

As the Academy crown the best in film this evening, it felt as good a time as ever to look back at what really was a terrific year of movies. The following 35 listed below, that were released in 2017, were the ones that stood out the most after several trips to the movie theater (or streams on Netflix and Amazon).

35. The Meyerowitz Stories


Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Elizabeth Marvel and Dustin Hoffman

It’s very rare, in recent years, for me to even consider checking out an Adam Sandler. His team-up with director Noah Baumbach and Ben Stiller on Netflix changed that trend and reminded me, “Oh yeah. Sandler DOES have some actual acting chops.”

34. The Hero

The Hero

Sam Elliott, Nick Offerman, Laura Prepon and Krysten Ritter

The film starts with Sam Elliott (as a veteran Cowboy/Western actor) doing voice-overs for products that feel all too familiar to things he has actually been a spokesperson for. His chemistry with his on-screen pot dealer, Nick Offerman, is also well worth the ticket.

33. The Greatest Showman

Greatest Showman

Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya

While the story is lacking and some lip-synching can be cringe worthy, the music and Hugh Jackman’s enthusiasm were too good to deny The Greatest Showman from this list.

32. Kong: Skull Island


Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly

Yes, Kong was entertaining as hell. John C. Reilly steals the show, the music is excellent, and the references to the future World Champion Chicago Cubs were a fine example of some fun writing.

31. American Made

American Made

Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleason and Jesse Plemons

Sign me up for any iteration and telling of the Pablo Escobar story. Narcos on Netflix set the standard, Bryan Cranston’s The Infiltrator was extremely underrated and now this perspective of the American drug smuggling effort was too riveting to not enjoy.

30. Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans and Ewan McGregor

Disney hasn’t messed with their recent live-action remakes (i.e. The Jungle Book from last year). They didn’t miss a step with the new Beauty and the Beast and now all the songs from the original animated film are stuck in my head again.

29. The LEGO Batman Movie

Lego Batman Movie

Will Arnett, Rosario Dawson and Zach Galifianakis

Will Arnett in LEGO form > Ben Affleck as Batman.

28. The Lost City of Z

Lost City of Z

Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller

This story of exploration is only enhanced by the gritty “Jax Teller” voice storytelling by Charlie Hunnam, and the constant worry that anyone could be hit with a blow-dart or arrow from their canoes.

27. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians 2

Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista

It wasn’t the best Marvel movie this year (as you’ll see by scrolling down) but Guardians 2 didn’t disappoint with humor, music and over-the-top action.

26. John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick 2.jpg

Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne

The John Wick series pretty much blows the one-man-wrecking crew genre away (Taken, The Equalizer, or any other Liam Neeson film).

25. Good Time

Good Time

Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie and Jennifer Jason Leigh

The mood of Good Time is like a horror film, and Robert Pattinson keeps viewers on a non-stop ride of suspense.

24. Molly’s Game

Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba and Kevin Costner

Watch for Jessica Chastain’s performance, Aaron Sorkin’s writing and the unbelievably intriguing sports story…and try not to let Michael Cera bother you too much.

23. Free Fire

Free Fire

Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Sharlto Copley

Free Fire had one of my absolute favorite casts, ridiculously entertaining banter and action, and the surprise ending I didn’t realize I hoped for.

22. Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread

Daniel Day-Lewis, Leslie Manville and Vicky Krieps

Daniel Day-Lewis’ last film isn’t necessarily his best, but his acting and the force that he and Leslie Manville his bring to the screen made Phantom Thread a very worthwhile watch.

21. Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name

Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg

The Best Picture nominee is a beautiful and heartbreaking love story, which leaves you wanting to instantly book one-way trip to Italy.

20. Split


James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Haley Lu Richardson

The 2nd installment of the Unbreakable series is a great comeback thriller for M. Night Shyamalan. If you check Split‘s IMDB page, James McAvoy has 9 characters listed and he probably plays more.

19. Wind River

Wind River

Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and Jon Bernthal

A great murder mystery with intense moments that come out of nowhere. I’m not sure Jeremy Renner makes bad movies anymore.

18. Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner

Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford and Jared Leto

This long awaited sequel was one of the best movie theater experiences of the year. Sound, visuals and suspense made the wait worth it.

17. Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn and Lily James

Gary Oldman should and will win Best Actor at the Oscars, but the film’s marketing doesn’t give enough credit to the performances by the rest of the cast. Lily James pulls the heart strings and Ben Mendelsohn is powerful when he needed to be as King George.

16. Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky

Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig

I refers to itself as Oceans 7-11, but it was vastly more entertaining than 12 and 13 combined. I’ll take any and all NASCAR-heist sequels with this cast that Steven Soderbergh wants to make.

15. The Post

The Post

Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk and Michael Stuhlbarg

Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep were good, but Bob Odenkirk, Carrie Coon and the rest of the supporting cast were great. It’s just hard difficult to follow newspaper films like Spotlight and All The President’s Men. 

14. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spiderman Homecoming

Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr. and Zendaya

Hot Take Alert: Tom Holland is a better Spider-Man than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Michael Keaton was an excellent Marvel villain. And this was an excellent YA genre movie.

13. Dunkirk


Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branaugh and Cillian Murphy

It’s surprising that Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s first Oscar nominated film, but it’s worthy of it. It’s hard to breathe the entire film, for multiple reasons, but feels great when you finally come up for air at the end…Also, try watching this and Darkest Hour back-to-back. History Channel wishes they could pull that off.

12. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and David Thewlis

Wonder Woman is what happens when DC finally lets a great director (like Patty Jenkins) tell a great Superhero story. Gal Gadot’s innocence and genuine approach to the hero made it even better…I still try to picture how much better it could have been with Alan Rickman (skypoint) could have starred as the villain.

11. Coco


Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt

Visually, one of the most stunning PIXAR films to date and an incredible original story, that gives a voice to an underrepresented culture in the genre. The music is great as well.

10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi

Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Mark Hamil

I don’t care if this film ruined Star Wars for you. That’s on you and your weird expectations. It was funny, emotional, uplifting and full of the fist-pump moments I ask for from these films.

9. Logan


Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen

You guys…a Wolverine movie got an Academy Award nomination…That’s how good this movie is, and it was a perfect exit for Hugh Jackman from the franchise.

8. The Florida Project

The Florida Project

Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite

Willem Dafoe deserves all the accolades he gets for The Florida Project, but the kids (led by Brooklynn Prince) made the curiosity, imagination and nostalgia feel so incredibly natural…set in the motels outside Disney World.

7. Thor: Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok.jpg

Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Tessa Thompson

Thor: Ragnorak was a great payoff for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans that have watched this long, ginormous series since the beginning in 2008. The clash (and eventual team-up) with The Hulk was perfect, Cate Blanchett was an excellent villain, Tom Hiddleston reminded us why we can’t quit Loki, and it was the funniest movie of the year.

6. Lady Bird

Lady Bird

Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Beanie Feldstein and Timothee Chalamet

If it weren’t for Frances McDormand, Saoirse Ronan would be cleaning up the Lead Actress awards, but Laurie Metcalf deserves to take home Best Supporting Actress. The mother-daughter dynamic is moving, Beanie Feldstein is a breakout star, and Sacramento has never seemed so interesting.

5. The Big Sick

The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano

RomComs are really going to need to step their game up after The Big Sick. The story of Kumail Nanjiani and his actual wife (Emily V. Gordon) will make you feel every emotion, Holly Hunter reminds everyone of how their mom handles any illness they have, and Ray Romano…well, Ray’s got some great moments.

4. Baby Driver

Baby Driver

Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Fox and Jon Hamm

This was the most entertaining movie I had seen, from start to finish. I own the soundtrack on vinyl, it was that good. And Jon Hamm needs to play more villains. The third act was like another movie, and excellent because of him.

3. Get Out

Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams and Bradley Whitford

I applaud Jordan Peele after every accolade this film is recognized for. It took horror to a new stratosphere, practically creating the “social thriller” genre. And I’ll never forget how the theater I watched it in gave a standing ovation for that ending.

2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards

Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell

A year ago, Manchester by the Sea was my favorite film for many of the reasons Three Billboards is this high up for me now. It makes you laugh, then rips your heart out, puts it back in, lets you laugh again, then repeat. In the end, you’re not sure how to feel about any of the characters, but they are all worth investing in.

1. The Shape of Water

Shape of Water.jpg

Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer

It was so difficult to choose a favorite, but at the end of the day The Shape of Water stood above the rest. It’s an amazing love story. It’s imaginative, strange, heartfelt, beautiful and weird. It pays its respects to films of old, and makes a case for similar treatment years ahead. Also, it’s another nominated film with Michael Stuhlbarg…who stars in 3 this year.


What was your favorite film this year? Let me know on Twitter at @Mike_PiFF03.



Favorite 40 TV Shows of 2017

For those wondering if the golden age of television is over, it’s far from it.

We were treated to many new series that met their hype, and several more that surprised the heck out of us. There were also plenty of current shows that continued to remind us why we consider them appointment television.

While TV is completely subjective and difficult to rank, as my tastes may be different than others, I refer to the following as my 40 Favorite of 2017.


40. Supergirl, CW

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.15.10 PM

CW has been a perfect home for Kara Danvers and company, after the relatively disjointed first season on CBS. What has separated Supergirl from the other DC Universe shows on the weekly slate has been its courage to not hold back on relevant social issues, nearly on a weekly basis.


39. Riverdale, CW

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.17.57 PM

Yes, I’m going back-to-back with CW shows to start this list, but somehow they were able to make Archie and company one of the best guilty pleasures from the past year. Like The O.C. of murder mysteries, but even more binge-worthy.


38. American Vandal, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.19.23 PM

Funny or Die did some great spoof work of Making a Murderer and The Jinx. The crime itself is about as ridiculous as you would guess (vandalized cars in the teacher parking lot, with spray-painted penises), but the seriousness of the investigative work is too funny to not watch.


37. Ray Donovan, Showtime

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.31.20 PM

Truthfully, this season took too many steps backwards (sometimes stuck in quicksand) for the audience to enjoy fairly, but Liev Schreiber’s performance defied that to make it worth the watch. There’s a reason Schreiber is nominated on an annual basis, and one of these years he will get his due with one of the most complex antiheroes in television history.


36. Taboo, FX

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.32.54 PM

The first season of Taboo started great and finished even better. Everything in between was a bit too slow and uncomfortable for my liking, but the continuous intrigue around Tom Hardy’s “Man in Black and Mystery” was worth tuning in for.


35. Mozart in the Jungle, Amazon

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.35.52 PM

The comedy took a bit of a cheesy turn in its 3rd season, but the music, humor and passion portrayed by Gael Garcia Bernal remind you started watching it in the first place. You may not necessarily be a musician, but it hits home for those who are passionate about their craft and creativity.


34. Into the Badlands, AMC

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.38.17 PM

Season 2 of the best modern Kung-Fu series on American television was a step up over first, thanks to the light-hearted and intriguing addition of Nick Frost. It’s Mad Max meets Game of Thrones meets Crouching Tiger, and visually stunning. However, it’s viewed better in binge-format.


33. The Tick, Amazon

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.39.24 PM

You may recall Patrick Warburton’s sitcom, back in 2001 (who produces Amazon’s new iteration), but the latest live action incarnation was a delightful surprise thanks to Peter Serafinowicz’s go in the big blue suit. The early episodes of the show were fun for superhero fans, enhanced by baddie veteran Jackie Earle Haley and the voice work of Alan Tudyk (very similar to his K-2SO in Rogue One).


32. Longmire, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.41.12 PM

Fans of the modern western/crime series should be very satisfied with how it wrapped up with their final season on Netflix. It began on A&E, was cancelled with an insane cliffhanger, and was given new life by the streaming services’ original content team. Great run by Robert Taylor, Lou Diamond Phillips and company.


31. Preacher, AMC

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.42.31 PM

It doesn’t seem like AMC put any restrictions on Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s adaptation of one of the weirdest comic series ever. The continuous action is what you tune in for, but the unpredictability and humor is what you stay for.


30. Runaways, Hulu

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.43.45 PM

A show that was on the outside-looking-in for this list was The Gifted, Fox’s X-Men universe series that does a great job with new characters and themes of the outcast-ed mutants. Marvel’s Runaways does an even better job from a YA perspective, pitting teenagers who find their talents against their legit evil super villain parents.


29. Brockmire, IFC

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.45.47 PM

A year after Vin Scully retires, IFC brought Hank Azaria’s Funny or Die veteran baseball announcer to the masses. If you have any connection to baseball, the minors, or just love outrageous comedy, this show is fantastic and I can’t wait to see where Azaria goes with it next.


28. The Defiant Ones, HBO

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.46.56 PM

I don’t normally include docu-series in this list, but The Defiant Ones was so great for music fans. It was an honest look at Dr. Dre, that we didn’t necessarily get in Straight Out of Compton. And the connections to music legends like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and more, with their own stories, made it too fun to watch each night in a row that it aired.


27. Peaky Blinders, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.49.40 PM

Season 4 of Peaky Blinders was a much-needed adrenaline shot back into the series. Killing off a regular character (not really a spoiler) shook the “untouchable” aspect of the Shelby family, added suspense and intrigue episode to episode. Adrian Brody makes for a great villain. It’s also fun to imagine that Tom Hardy’s Taboo being a part of the show’s lore, with creator Steven Knight being attached.


26. The Punisher, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.51.36 PM

Marvel’s The Punisher was much more entertaining than critics gave it credit for, and picked up momentum (like most Netflix series do) in the back half of the season. Jon Bernthal also turned in the best acting in the Netflix/Marvel Universe since Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk in Daredevil S1.


25. Catastrophe, Amazon

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.53.01 PM

Part of my appreciation for Catastrophe is the show’s ability to take on more and more serious challenges while never losing the level of humor that drew me to it in the first place.


24. Silicon Valley, HBO

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.55.01 PM

Despite the latest season being it’s worst, Mike Judge’s writing still makes Silicon Valley one of the smartest and funniest shows on television. It felt like a season long wait to send off TJ Miller, which is turning out to be an even better decision than it appeared on the surface before. Kumail Nanjiani’s rise outside of the show seemed to mirror his character “Dinesh’s” boost in exposure in the arc as well.


23. Sherlock, BBC/PBS

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.58.09 PM

I hate that we only get 3 installments each season of Sherlock, but it’s also what makes the show so great. High profile actors (Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman), condensed arcs with great storytelling, plus hour and a half long, visually stunning mysteries are why we watch.


22. Legion, FX

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 7.59.07 PM

It’s no secret that I love Noah Hawley’s brand of storytelling, directing and writing. Before the aforementioned Gifted series on FOX hit the air, Hawley took the X-Men universe and made something both beautiful and horrifying with Legion. Dan Stevens as the title character, Aubrey Plaza in his head (won’t spoil more), and a cinematic experience of psychological thrillers every episode is what made it one of the best new series of the year.


21. The Deuce, HBO

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.00.36 PM

Any show with Wire alums will get my attention. With James Franco playing twins, Maggie Gyllenhaal as a sex worker, and many more David Simon ‘Dickensian’ arcs, The Deuce started excruciatingly slow but finished VERY strong…thanks in part to Anwan Glover aka “Slim Charles” (The Wire).


20. American Gods, STARZ

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.03.48 PM

Bryan Fuller brought his visual genius from Hannibal to Neil Gaiman’s epic story about Americana meeting it’s own Mythology, and created something that you wish you didn’t have to wait week to week to watch. Ricky Whittle was what I envisioned when reading about Shadow Moon and Ian McShane completely nails the character of Mr. Wednesday. Orlando Jones also pulls off one of the better appearances and monologues TV lovers have seen in a long time, and Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Lucille Ball, David Bowie and more media icons are more than worth the tune in.


19. Game of Thrones, HBO

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.06.47 PM

You can go both ways on the penultimate season of the HBO fantasy saga. Could you poke holes in every little bit of the plot? Yes. Did viewers get moments they’ve waited years to see come to life. Oh yes…At the end of the day, it’s die hard fans (and those who even hosted recap podcasts) were given a lot of what made them fall in love with the show in the first for the better part of 7 years.


18. BoJack Horseman, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.08.03 PM

Some of the best comedy writing you’ll find on a yearly basis, coupled with an incredible cast (and appearances) and a story that makes you keep hitting “next episode”. I’m in for however long Netflix wants to roll with BoJack.


17. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.10.04 PM.png

If Rachel Brosnahan isn’t getting serious Emmy consideration for her performance, then I quit trying to understand how award shows work. It’s a great telling of a late 1950’s standup comedy story, with the influence of Gilmore Girls creator/writer Amy Sherman-Palladino. We’re also reminded why Tony Shaloub is amazing, and the rest of the cast is also fantastic.


16. Ozark, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.11.14 PM

This nice little surprise from Netflix set an “anything can happen” precedent from the start of the series. The crime driven thriller, starring and directed by Jason Bateman, felt like a nice fix for most Breaking Bad fans and moves along well with great suspense and surprises. Also, a fun nod to the “NaperThrill” for Chicago suburbanites.


15. Sneaky Pete, Amazon

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.12.23 PM

From the creativity of Bryan Cranston, Sneaky Pete is an incredibly easy to binge heist series with an excellent cast led by Giovanni Ribisi. Cranston himself plays the villain/mobster and he seems to be having as much fun as he’s had in a while. Fans of one of my all-time favorite, Justified, will enjoy by the casting and the pacing of the story.


14. Fargo, FX

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.16.31 PM.png

Season 3 wasn’t Fargo’s best, but it still had the murderous suspense, witty writing and impactful music that fans have grown to appreciate from the show. Tie-ins to past seasons, great performances by Carrie Coon and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, plus an entire episode set to “Peter and the Wolf” are why it remained one of my favorites.


13. The Crown, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.18.12 PM

One of the most elegantly shot series fits its title. Claire Foy proves episode why she’s one of the best actreses today and Vanessa Kirby steals hearts as Princess Margaret. The JFK and Jackie episode is a perfect example of the show at its best.


12. GLOW, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.19.59 PM.png

This show perfectly portrays why people get so into pro wrestling. Drama, humor and action all wrapped up into a nostalgic show run by women who are badasses in their own right, and Marc Maron being…well, Maron.


11. This Is Us, NBC

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.21.30 PM

While it hasn’t captivated as much as the first season, the acting, tear-jerking moments and Toby’s romantic gestures remain top notch. Sterling K. Brown also continues to be as good as anyone in acting today.


10. Master of None, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.22.42 PM

Every episode was like it’s own small indie film, and ones that I as an indie film fan would love. The ‘Thanksgiving’ episode will go down as an all-timer in TV history as well.


9. Mindhunter, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.23.35 PM.png

Serial killer true crime storytelling and David Fincher’s influence made this one of the best surprises of the year on Netflix. The development of each of the main characters are just as compelling as the murderers they interview.


8. The Good Place, NBC

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.24.42 PM

This is currently the best comedy on TV and Ted Danson is a national treasure. Also, take not that the show’s Twitter account only follows the Jacksonville Jaguars and their quarterback Blake Bortles.


7. Billions, Showtime

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.26.31 PM.png

I’ve been a huge fan of this show since episode one and it hasn’t slowed down since. You can’t look away from the chess match between Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. The performances by Maggie Siff and Asia Kate Dillon are as good as it gets as well.


6. Stranger Things 2, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.29.00 PM

There was no sophomore slump with one of the best shows from a year ago. Season 2 was much more cinematic with higher stakes, an expanding of their universe, amazing 80’s music and pop culture references, great development of surprising characters (STEVE!) and dancing David Harbour (Hopper!). Oh yeah, and Sean Astin rules.


5. Big Little Lies, HBO

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.31.21 PM

They had me at Michael Kiwanuka playing the open. Although I worried about how overwhelmingly caddy things could get between these moms in Monterrey, I couldn’t get enough of the twists, pacing and crumbs of evidence to the very end.


4. The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.33.05 PM

I didn’t get to one of the most talked about series of the year until the very end, but it was certainly worth the hype. Elisabeth Moss’ acting alone captivates you, with her expressions, eyes, and inner monologue. It also resonates with the current climate, horrifyingly well.


3. Better Call Saul, AMC

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.34.49 PM

Better Call Saul has separated itself from just being a very good spinoff to Breaking Bad, but it’s great standing alone by itself. Comedic actors like Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean have put together some of the best dramatic work in recent television while the signs of danger keep growing and growing from familiar characters in every direction.


2. Narcos, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.35.55 PM

How does a show get even better without its two leads from the previous 2 seasons? I don’t know but Narcos figured it out with Pedro Pascal taking on the Cali Cartel, and suspense that was as strong as the first two seasons combined.


1. Godless, Netflix

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 8.38.24 PM

From the opening scene, the tone was set that no one was safe on this show. Jeff Daniels plays a character more than worthy of it. Every scene is intentional and leads to a climax in the final episode that can make you every bit as emotional as it is powerful. If you love Westerns especially, you’ll understand why this was undoubtedly my favorite watch in 2017.


I watched A LOT of TV last year, but not all of it. So if your favorite show wasn’t mentioned above (The Leftovers, Halt and Catch Fire, etc), let me know on Twitter at @Mike_PiFF03 and I’ll try to get to it as soon as possible.

Fantasy Football Mailbag: Week 3

For those of you questioning the selection of a 40-year-old quarter back in toward the end of the 3rd round in many Fantasy Football drafts this season, see the following:TB12 to Rex

Through 2 weeks, Tom Brady has totaled 714 pass yards, leading Aaron Rodgers (654), Drew Brees (647) and the rest of the NFL. Against New Orleans, Brady threw touchdown passes on each of his first 3 drives in the first quarter, and could have thrown even more.

Yes, a handful of quarterbacks can have games like that on any given Sunday…but Brady has recorded 52 games with 3+ touchdowns, an NFL record. He also rushed for more yards (9) than Ezekiel Elliott (8) on Sunday.



Mail Time!

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 5.59.06 AM

Jessica Kleinschmidt is one of my favorite people in the business, and when I tell people that the “Fantasy Mailbag” is open, responses like this are more than fair. So, without further ado…Kip Moore shirtless.

Kip Moore

You’re welcome.


Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 5.57.19 AM

You have to go Alshon Jeffery, regardless of the matchup. The Eagles are throwing the ball too much not to. I need to see more from the practice squad hero, Rashard Higgins, to feel comfortable enough to play him (even against the Colts). As long as Sam Bradford plays, start Adam Thielen. If it’s Case Keenum again, forget about it.


Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 5.57.48 AM

Truthfully, the matchups look great for both Stafford and Cutler. The volume of passes should be higher for Stafford, but Cutty has the better weapons and a worse team to face. #CuttyDoesIt


Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 5.58.12 AM

Sam is making a tough decision. Letting OBJ put on his uni or not:

Odell Beckham Jr’s struggles in Week 2 were a product of his team’s more than him. Having a game to shake off his injury though, he’s still a Top-3 WR in the NFL and can make the plays to decide a game all by himself. He’s active, so you have to dress him. Yes.


Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 5.58.42 AM


If DeMarco Murray is out, you have to play Henry. 

Don’t give up on Jordan Howard yet, especially if they have to take the Bears have to take the ball out of Mike Glennon’s hands some more. He has a better matchup this week as well.

Then it becomes a question of “Who gets the most touches” of your remaining players. Chris Carson is the feature back in Seattle now, and I don’t think you can deny the volume of carries Pete Carroll looks to dish out to his hot-hand at RB.


Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 5.59.22 AM

You saw what Tom Brady just did to the Saints D, right?

Cam Newton’s offensive line is preventing him from lighting ANYTHING up so far, but this is the game that should tell whether or not he’s worth the start for a while. Dak has been efficient, but the upside is still with Cam going into this week.


Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 5.59.56 AM

Which Bryant?

Since you didn’t specify, I’m going to assume Martavis and say him, go with him against the Bears.


Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 6.00.12 AM

QB – Based on matchups, I like Alex Smith much more. We’re also still waiting for the Titans pass offense to wake up finally.

Flex – As I mentioned earlier, if DeMarco is out – definitely Henry. If not, Henry. At least you know he’s getting touches.


If you have more Fantasy Football questions, ask on Twitter or TUNE IN to the Fantasy Fix Facebook Live – Thursdays at 1 PM. 

Fantasy Football Mailbag 2017: Week 2

Welcome to Year 5 of the Fantasy Football Mailbag.


2017 started off with a doozy, as rookie running backs made you question your first round picks, a little (sorry, David Johnson owners. There’s no way you could have seen that coming.)

  • Kareem Hunt, KC – 17 carries, 148 rush yards, 5 catches, 98 rec yards, 3 TDs
  • Dalvin Cook, MIN – 22 carries, 127 rush yards, 3 catches, 10 yards
  • Leonard Fournette, JAX – 26 carries, 100 rush yards, 3 catches, 24 yards, 1 TD
  • Tarik Cohen, CHI – 5 carries, 66 yards, 8 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD

While Fournette should have been drafted in most of your leagues by the 3rd round, the other 3 RBs mentioned may have been mid, to late round, or even available on waivers (props if you took a flyer on Cohen). Could 2017 be another great year for rookie running backs, after Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard led the league in rushing a year ago?

Mail Time!

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.01.36 AM

Although Kenny Golladay’s touchdowns didn’t come until the 4th quarter in Week 1, they were enough to prove he’s a real red zone threat, especially in a Lions offense that loves to chuck it. Meanwhile, Eric Decker will be on the road against a Jacksonville defense that is finally looking scary enough to worry about. While I think Decker will be an eventual target machine for Marcus Mariota, wait-and-see this week and ride the hot hand, Golladay.


Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.01.51 AM

Two things that make you want to go with Kerwynn Williams here.

  1. Starting back.
  2. He’s going against the Colts.

However, the Cardinals are going to be taking a committee approach with Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson all expected to get touches. Especially, if you’re in a PPR league, go with Bilal Powell because you know the Jets will be playing from behind against Oakland and they’ll be forced to throw to him. I’d rather see Williams earn “bell cow” status before starting him over someone who is proven.

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.02.04 AM

QB – Never doubt the passing volume of the Jim Bob Cooter offense. Stafford.

DEF – You saw what Kansas City did to New England AT Gillette last week, right? I don’t necessarily like either of these matchups, but at least the Broncos are at home.


Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.02.18 AM

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Cooper F’n Kupp is a safer bet here. Tevin Coleman may play better at home (and away from the Chicago Soldier Field “turf monster”), but he was still out-touched by Devonta Freeman 14-12. Kupp led the Rams in receiving in his NFL debut and I would anticipate his PPR value rising week-to-week.


Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.02.35 AM

I’m going to install a new rule here, mostly because I’m getting up at 3 AM on Thursday mornings to write this before going to work. You get up to 2 position questions per week.

  1. As hard as it might be to sit Martavis Bryant, at least Cooper Kupp had #1 receiver stats. Granted, Big Ben and the Steelers offense are much better at home…I’d still like to see Bryant boom first, than bust like he did last week.
  2. Ride the reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week, Alex Smith. It’s weird to say, but I don’t like Mariota against the Jaguars’ pass rush.


Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.03.18 AM

  1. Crabtree vs. Jets is a must-play.
  2. I know a lot has been made about DeVante Parker in Miami, but Jarvis Landry is a more proven receiver and the Chargers defense let Benny Fowler (who?) torch them for 2 scores. I also don’t like Pryor against the Rams defense.


Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.03.41 AM


At least you know Paul Perkins is the Giants’ starting running back. I would anticipate he gets a lot more work against a Lions defense that can easily be run on.


Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 4.03.55 AM

Yes, I took Cooper Kupp over Coleman earlier BUT, at I am way more comfortable with Tevin getting more touches at home than Emmanuel Sanders. If Denver had a better quarterback, I’d feel much differently.


Have more Fantasy Football lineup questions? Ask me on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03! 

Game of Thrones Character Power Rankings: After Season 7

Previously, in the Power Rankings…

Considering that the entire epic season was packed into 7 episode, it seemed fair to wait for the whole thing to play out before ranking each of following 60+ surviving characters.

For those new to the Power Rankings, these are based on each character’s significance on the show, power moves made, status and more importantly…safety.

1. The Night King

Night King S7

At this point, The Night King is exactly who everyone fears. He has an undead army that’s 100,000 strong (with giants, beasts, others like him on horseback). He has blue fire breathing dragon. And he just took down The Wall…If you currently live in the North, maybe reconsider.

2. Jon Snow (Aegon Targaryen)

Jon Snow S7

AeJon (as I’m now referring to him, pronounced like Akon) is the rightful heir to the throne. He also is the key to Daenerys finding acceptance among the Northerners. Whether or not his standing in Winterfell changes, he’s currently the King of the North and he’s aligned (in more ways than one) with the Mother of Dragons. He also knows how to kill White Walkers.

3. Cersei Lannister

Cersei S7

Does she have anymore moves to make after burning her fake alliance and hiring The Golden Company? Outside of the literal nuclear option that she keeps under King’s Landing, not really. But when you play Tyrion like a fiddle all season long, leave the opposing faction to deal with Winter, and defy the odds of most Season 7 deadpools…You’ve earned the Throne you sit upon.

4. Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys S7

One “Dracarys” and it’s over for just about anyone, right? Jon has bent his knee to Daenerys, she has 2 dragons, two armies, and a “Dream Team” of advisors. So why do I rank her 4th?

Heading North, she needs Jon’s influence to win over the northern houses. Even Sansa sees Daenerys as an enemy and it will take some doing to convince her otherwise.

5. Sansa Stark

Sansa S7.gif

The Lady of Winterfell just took out one of the game’s most dangerous players, and with the support of her very powerful siblings. In Jon’s absence, Sansa has also won the favor of the houses pledged to hers. Conflict certainly awaits the King of the North and his dragon-riding lady friend.

6. Bran Stark

Bran: “I’m the Three Eyed Raven.”

Sam: “Oh…I don’t know what that is.”

It’s okay, Sam. Even we knew what it was and didn’t really get Bran’s deal. Bran knows more than anyone on the show, and knowledge is power (as we’ve seen with Varys and the newly departed Littlefinger.” However, Bran seems to pick and choose when it’s necessary to share what he knows…and sometimes it’s unnecessary (like Sansa’s wedding night to Ramsay). Still, he was the one person to know Jon’s true parentage and has the power to warg into ANYTHING. Fingers STILL CROSSED for a dragon.

7. Arya Stark

All 3 Stark siblings are lined up perfectly in this final ranking of the season because of what they showcased when they are all align. Sansa rules, Bran knows and Arya kills.

The Dexter Morgan of Westeros still has some work to do and now she has the support to get it done.

8. Drogon

Khaleesi’s favorite child can take out entire armies (as Jaime knows too well) and has so far survived 2 different spear attempts on his life. The battle will be epic when he has to face his undead brother fire and ice clash.

9. Zombie Viserion

Yes, the zombie dragon just took down the last thing that was keeping the White Walker army out of Westeros, but…the moment the Night King is taken out, so is Viserion.

10. Rhaegal

When will we see Jon ride Daenerys’ OTHER weapon of mass destruction? It’s hard to separate the 3rd lizard sibling from the pack, considering how important each one is to their respective side.

11. Euron Greyjoy

“The Joker” of Game of Thrones villains currently owns the season with his Ironborn fleet and it’s pretty next to Cersei, especially with Jaime out of his way. (Still not Cersei’s type, but he’ll take what he can get.)

12. Davos Seaworth

Davos has the adopted the role of Jon’s Hand at this point, and continues to be the king of one-liners. He is also still the calm voice of reason among several big personalities, and will be needed again when Jon and Daenerys head to Winterfell.

13. “The Hound” Sandor Clegane

Each character to survive “Beyond the Wall” should have a ton more respect points than they already had. They fended off hundreds of Wights and The Hound held is own as well as anyone. Finding his purpose is one thing, but having free will gives him the edge over his equally skilled zombie brother.

14. Qyburn

Hand of Cersei, weapons engineer and director of intelligence. One wonders when he sees fit to jump ship when the eventual Mad Queen finally loses it.

15. “The Mountain” Gregor Clegane

What The Mountain has over The Hound is zero consciousness for anything other than killing and protecting his queen. The Hound has relationships that may distract him in an upcoming “Clegane Bowl”, but at least he’s free to do as he pleases.

16. Bronn

Bronn may have the best situation of anyone. He is owed by the Lannisters and can remain with Cersei’s side if he pleases, but he also has Jaime, Tyrion and Podrick to vouch for him if need be.

17. Brienne of Tarth

Brienne didn’t have much of a role in Season 7 but she was exactly where she needed to be. She can finally fulfill her promise to Catelyn Stark and protect her daughters, but she also had the opportunity to reason with Jaime when it was most crucial. And who didn’t love seeing her act like a proud parent telling The Hound that Arya was alive?

18. Jorah Mormont

Jorah has been through a lot. He redeemed himself from exile from his queen, fought his way out of slavery, and survived grayscale. Back alongside Daenerys is where he wants to be. Will he also get back into the good graces of his House in the North?

19. Grey Worm

Daenerys’ top general pulled off an impressive win at Casterly Rock, but didn’t have much to do after that. To be honest, I thought Euron’s fleet had him cornered and that he could have been done for when we didn’t hear from him again. The commander of the Unsullied also has Missandei still glowing, so that’s worth a Top 20 spot in itself.

20. Lord Varys

Before the season began, Varys was in a position that was even more prominent than his counterpart, Littlefinger, after uniting Daenerys with Dorne and The Queen of Thorns. Both pieces fell off the board very early in the season and The Spider hadn’t contributed much since. I wouldn’t count him out when the diplomacy begins between Daenerys and the Northern houses. And, to be fair, he’s the only one whose main concern is for the people of Westeros…not those who rule them.

21. Tyrion Lannister

It’s fine. We can still love Tyrion. But wow did he get his ass kicked by his Lannister siblings. He’s still the Hand to the Mother of Dragons though, and can be reunited with his brother on the “right” side very soon.

22. Samwell Tarly

Sam essentially held the key (thanks to Gilly) to Jon’s destiny when he helped Bran discover the truth about the “new” dragon’s lineage. Being reunited with his best friend Frodo…I mean Jon…will be the best thing ever as well.

23. Yohn Royce

For a while, Yohn Royce seemed like a puppet to both Baelish and Robin Arryn, but the commander of the Vail army held his own in the final confrontation between Littlefinger and the Starks. With his lord being about as passive as Eeyore, Royce becomes Sansa’s most important supporter with the North’s biggest army at his command.

24. Archmaester Embrose

Maester Jim Broadbent knew exactly what he was doing by giving Sam the scrolls that coincidentally held the most important information in the entire story so far…

Well played, Broadbent. Well played.

25. Tycho Nestoris

Yes, this is basically Game of Thrones‘ Mycroft Holmes. And yes, he plays it very similarly. But wow did the Iron Bank make things much more interesting for Cersei…

26. Lyanna Mormont

We’re long overdue for another Lady Mormont verbal-smackdown, right? Looking forward to her eventual meeting with Ser Jorah.

27. Missandei

Who else is going to remember ALL of Daenerys’ titles when she meets the Stark siblings?

28. Gendry

The bastard of Robert is not only vital to helping produce dragon glass weapons in the upcoming great war, but he’s also THE FASTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD. You saw those cross country skills in “Beyond the Wall.” Arya’s going to be so impressed.

29. Lord Commander Edd

The Night’s Watch may have taken a huge L for the wall coming down, but Dolorous Edd is still Lord Commander…and that matters to somebody. He also knows what it’s like facing the Night King and will probably be the next line of defense against his army.

30. Gilly

Gilly is BAE, and deserves way more credit from Sam…especially when she was the one that discovered the annulment info.

31. Jaime Lannister

Jaime will EVENTUALLY be much higher on this list, but for now…he’s in very dangerous territory. Brienne was his only protection when he last ventured the north on his own. “The North Remembers” the Red Wedding still and being a Lannister puts a big red target on his back. A Lannister always pays his debts, and joining Daenerys to fight Winter is exactly what he’s sworn to do…with some vouching from Tyrion and Brienne.

32. Qhono

How cool was it to finally see the Dothraki army in action against an enemy? It’s crazy that Qhono went from threatening to do terrible things to Daenerys with the khalasar, and is now her Dothraki general.

33. Jaqen H’ghar

The many faced god is now done with Arya and it’s fair to believe that everything she has done is according to Jaqen’s plan…

34. Melisandre

The Red Woman isn’t too shy to brag about bringing “Ice and Fire” together. She also seems to have gotten under Varys’ skin, and should be returning to see some things come to fruition in the final few episodes.

35. Kinvara

The Red Priestess should be returning to the story with Melisandre soon, and there’s a mysterious about her that I can’t wait to see unleashed.

36. Podrick Payne

When do we get a spinoff for Pod and Bronn adventures?

37. Theon Greyjoy

Well, now we know that kicking Theon below the belt gives him confidence…and he’s using that to go save his sister.

38. Ser Beric Dondarrion

Many of us are wondering if the flaming sword-wielding knight is still alive after the Wall came down. Like Tormund (below), I think we would have seen the 6-time returning character die much more dramatically than that.

39. Tormund Giantsbane

Tormund HAS to be alive. Because #Briemund HAS to happen.

40. Aeron Greyjoy

One wonders if Aeron will have anything to with Yara’s escape, or if he’ll just go along with everything Euron commands of him.

41. Daario Naharis

I don’t know how, but I can’t imagine Daenerys will go up against both the Night King and Cersei without the help of the leader of the Second Sons…especially when another sell-sword company is joining the fight.

42. Robin Arryn

Only thing odder than watching Bran grow up is watching watching Robin Arryn grow up. Unsure if he’s matured at all, but he does have the North’s biggest army pledged to him.

43. Robett Glover

Always a heel in Northern “committee” meetings, but at least he’s been more outspoken than his fellow lords.

44. Wyman Manderly

We haven’t heard from Wyman since he began the “King of the North” chant at the end of Season 6. Still think he has Jon’s back when he returns.

45. Cley Cerwyn

Not really a factor in season, but likely valuable when needing to unite the North for Daenerys and Jon.

46. Meera Reed

You have to feel bad for Meera after getting the literal cold shoulder from Emo Bran. But at least she’s home. Her experience against the Night King should come into play, as well has her father’s relationship with Ned.

47. Alys Karstark

The Karstark and Umber lords have to keep a look out for the other northerners, no thanks to their kin who aligned with the Boltons. But they are still lords with influence.

48. Ned Umber


49. Maester Wolkan

Probable the most confused Maester on the show. He’s had to help the Boltons, Littlefinger, and now the Starks.

50. Melessa Tarly

Now the Lady of Horn Hill.

51. Talla Tarly

How pissed is she that Gilly stole her dress?

52. Hot Pie

Alive and happy baking.

53. Baby Sam

Shockingly, growing up way quicker than Judith on Walking Dead. And was born after her…?

54. Bernadette

If you don’t know who Bernadette is, she has lasted as long as anyone in King’s Landing. More here.

55. Marei

One of Qyburn’s “Birds” that helped kill Maester Pycelle, and I don’t think she’s done.

56. Ghost


57. Nymeria

I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Arya’s direwolf, which weirdly shares the same name as one of the late Sand Snakes.

58. Yezzan zo Qaggaz

Still happy to not have been killed, unlike his fellow “Masters”.

59. Edmure Tully

Did anyone ever let Edmure out of his cell after Arya butchered the Freys?

60. Yara Greyjoy

If there’s anything worse than being Euron Greyjoy’s prisoner…

61. Septa Unella

…it’s being Cersei Lannister’s prisoner…

62. Ellaria Sand

…and Ellaria has it the worst.

Anyone ranked too high or too low? Let me know on Twitter at @Mike_Piff03. If you haven’t yet, subscribe to the Nerds in Sports Podcast to hear week-to-week recaps of each Thrones episode!


My Favorite 30 Movies of 2016

You don’t go to movies almost every week for a year NOT to write up a list like this. With hours before the Oscars begin, here are my 30 favorite films of 2016.

30. Don’t Breathe


Stephen Lang, Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette

What I love about Don’t Breathe is how much it values suspense more than shock (although it will shock you in some ways). From the minute three young thieves break into a blind war veteran’s home, to the end of the film, you do exactly as the title of the film suggests.

29. Pete’s Dragon


Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford and Karl Urban

I’ll go ahead and say it, when comparing Bryce Dallas Howard films…

Pete’s Dragon > Jurassic World 

Many of us know the trippy live-action/animated film from the 70’s, but this one has more heart and makes you want to believe in a kid’s pet dragon. Robert Redford’s narration is a warm touch as well.

28. Doctor Strange


Benedict Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelson and Tilda Swinton

Just because I have several films ranked ahead of it doesn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy Doctor Strange. It was a very different Marvel film, with influences from both The Matrix and Inception.  The supporting cast was as impressive as any among standalone Marvel films (Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Stuhlbarg) and Mikkelson played a villain as memorable as any the MCU has produced.

27. Kubo and the Two Strings


Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey and Rooney Mara

The action and animation were incredible. The adventure and the story were even better. Rooney Mara’s voice still haunts my dreams though.

26. Everybody Wants Some


Blake Jenner, Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch 

Like most of Richard Linklater’s films, Everybody Wants Some doesn’t really have much of a story but it’s fun and stays consistent with the theme of “living in the moment”. Good comedies are hard to come by these days, and what makes this movie, about college baseball players in Texas, good is how natural the humor is.

25. Nocturnal Animals


Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon

Tom Ford’s literal story-within-a-story is actually way better than whatever is going on in the depressing reality of the film’s universe. Michael Shannon certainly earned his nomination for Best Supporting Actor, which is a testament to the excellent year he had on the big screen. Count Jake Gyllenhaal as someone who is well overdue for a Best Actor win as well.

24. 10 Cloverfield Lane


Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher

The Cloverfield sequel was one of the best kept secrets by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and thankfully NOTHING like the original. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is an up-and-coming star, John Goodman is scarier than any monster the franchise has nightmare’d up, and John Gallagher (Mr. Indie film) provides the charm and relief a film this intense desperately needs. So when do we get the 3rd?

23. The Accountant


Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick and Jon Bernthal

I didn’t expect this to be Ben Affleck’s best movie this past year (not sorry, BvS), but I’m very glad it was. In terms of one-man-wrecking-crew films, Affleck’s Christian Wolf can definitely give John Wick a run for his money. I also appreciated every reference to Chicago’s west suburbs that get a shoutout throughout the movie.

22. The Nice Guys


Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Matt Bomer

I’m not sure if I ever stopped laughing when Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling were on screen together. Shane Black gave us everything we liked about Lethal Weapon, set it in the 70’s, and did it better (in my opinion).

21. Zootopia


Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin and Idris Elba

On top of great humor, awesome animation, and a very necessary social message…the references to The Godfather, Chinatown, Breaking Bad, LA Confidential and Speed were too good to ignore.

20. Arrival


Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker

When I left the theater after seeing Arrival, I thought it was one of the best films I had seen in 2016. It did a better job explaining the parallels of time than Interstellar and took a unique approach to the idea of communicating with aliens. It may not have left the impression that the films I ranked after it did,  but it belongs among the nominated Oscar pictures.

19. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell and Dan Fogler

Don’t hurt me but, I had more fun watching Fantastic Beasts than any of the previous Harry Potter films. It helped knowing a few thing and some of the lingo, but I was captivated by Redmayne’s weirdness, Fogler’s “aw shucks” awkwardness, and every magical thing that came out of that suitcase.

18. Loving


Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton and Nick Kroll

This movie couldn’t have come at a better time and the story is beautifully told. Something I have noticed with Jeff Nichols’ films (and there is another one on the list, a few sports down) is their value of silence. There are few things more powerful than letting a moment overcome an audience without sound, script or music to dictate it.

17. The Jungle Book


Bill Murray, Idris Elba and Ben Kingsly 

Some of the best CGI work you’ll ever see in a movie. And with a cast full of stars, like the one Jon Favreau assembled, everyone seemed to buy-in for their voice work. Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, even Gus from Breaking Bad (Giancarlo Esposito), all made the experience as intense and fun as it was.

16. Moana


Auli’i Cravalho, Dwyane Johnson and Jermaine Clement

As someone who loves going to see animated movies in the theater, 2016 was a great year for them. However, the film that moved and impressed me the most was Moana. Amazing music, incredible animation, and a story that keeps you invested all the way through. If someone told you it was “the new Frozen”, it was better than that.

15. Edge of Seventeen


Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson and Blake Jenner

The ‘Young Adult’ genre has been miraculously on point as of late. One of my favorite films a year ago was Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, and while Edge of Seventeen wasn’t quite as good, it still had an honest perspective and the kind of dialogue that most comedies in recent years wish they had. What Edge of Seventeen does beat Earl and the Dying Girl in a surprisingly cooler student-teacher combo in Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson. The start of the film establishes this very quickly.

14. Midnight Special


Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton and Adam Driver

This is the 3rd Michael Shannon flick to make this list and it’s definitely my favorite of the three. Midnight Special was released before Stranger Things and I think the mysterious sci-fi storytelling of the former made me appreciate the latter even more. The father-son angle and the dilemma of “how far would you go to keep your child safe” made the film especially gripping.

13. Fences 


Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and Stephen Henderson

The performances that Denzel Washington and Viola Davis give are too great to deny acclaim for this film. They carry a movie, whose story becomes more and more tedious and difficult to find hope in.

12. Don’t Think Twice


Gillian Jacobs, Keegan-Michael Key and Mike Birbiglia

It’s a film about an improv troupe and how a group is effected when one of its members is selected to join a ‘Saturday Night Live’ type show. The interaction between the members and the improv scenes are so well-written, that they feel real and spontaneous.

11. When a Monster Calls


Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones

Prepare for one of the hardest cries of your life when you see this movie. Tear ducts weren’t prepared for how this film develops, as if Inside Out was live-action…with a monstrous giant tree-being that talks like Liam Neeson.

10. Captain America: Civil War


Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. and Sebastian Stan

After many of us were disappointed by how Batman v. Superman turned out, Marvel came to the rescue to show geeks how it’s done again. The Russo brothers did such a good job presenting the sides of both Captain America and Iron Man that you didn’t really want to pick a side. And for a film full of so many heroes, including the the introduction of the new Spider-Man, it exceeded all expectations. Can’t wait for what’s next.

9. Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures Day 25

Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae

If you didn’t know the story already, you sure were interested to learn more about the women who helped send John Glenn and many others into space. Great performances by all involved and it was just as relevant as anything released this past year.

8. Deadpool


Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin and T.J. Miller

The fact that people considered Deadpool potentially Oscar-worthy should say enough about how good it turned out. It was one of the biggest surprises at the box office and probably the best comedy of the year as well.

7. Lion


Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara

It’s a story that seems too incredible to be real…but it is. Nicole Kidman’s performance also hit very close to home for me personally, and they payoff at the end is as good as any film from the last year.

6. Sing Street


Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Jack Reynor and Aiden Gillen

For the first half of 2016, Sing Street was my favorite movie. The original music is as good as any from John Carney’s catalog of soundtracks. The analysis of UK 80’s music is fascinating. And I became a big Jack Reynor fan after.

5. Hell or High Water


Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges

For anyone that was looking for an instant-classic in the modern-western genre, here you go.

4. Moonlight


Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali and Janelle Monae

When it comes to Moonlight, I won’t forget where I was and when I saw it. I didn’t want to watch ANY election coverage so I went to the Clark Cinema past Wrigleyville. And it turned out to be the perfect film to see that evening. In any other year, especially with its subject matter and storytelling, this film would probably win Best Picture at the Oscars.

3. Rogue One


Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk

After taking a few months to look back and reflect on Rogue One, it’s still my all-time favorite Star Wars story and makes me hopeful for what’s to come in the franchise, with the new generation of innovators and storytellers in film.

2. La La Land


Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and John Legend

The music, the choreography, the story, the performances…It’s almost a perfect film and it should be my favorite of 2016 but…

1. Manchester by the Sea


Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler

Manchester by the Sea did more than than any film could to my emotions. It was so devastating, but the writing and interaction between Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges gave it the best balance possible.

Where did your favorite movie rank on the list?

Let me know on Twitter