The end of the year is rapidly approaching, and it’s safe to say that it has been a phenomenal one for movie fans. Well-publicized studio juggernauts have predictably pulled huge audiences, but smaller surprise hits have also sparked fervent excitement in both critics and casual moviegoers. While it was many things, thank goodness that 2016 was definitely not the year of the “meh movie.” With the 2017 awards season rapidly approaching, we’re looking forward to seeing which of 2016’s standout films will take home the gold. In the meantime, Tubi TV is home to movies featuring directors and actors from the hottest movies of the 2016. Now you can learn more about the talent and the stories behind the big names.
1. American Honey
Before you watch the buzzed-about talent Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, watch her film Fish Tank (2009).
She’s being praised as one of today’s greatest directors, but there’s a good chance that you haven’t seen one of her films before. Treat yourself to a taste of her unique style with her electrifying 2009 drama Fish Tank.
Fun fact: Fish Tank was shot chronologically, and the actors were shown only the part of the script they would be filming the following week – none of them knew what would happen to their characters later in the film.
2. The Handmaiden
Before you watch The Handmaiden from powerhouse director Park Chan Wook, watch his tour-de-force Oldboy (2003).
Park’s mind-bending erotic thriller Handmaiden shocked and fascinated audiences when it was released this October, but if you watch his hit movie Oldboy, you’ll find out that’s nothing new. Park’s been delivering the goods on suspense and visual creativity for years.
Fun Fact: The name of the character Oh Dae-Su originated from Oedipus, the tragic hero in Greek mythology who ended up loving his own mother.
3. Manchester by the Sea
Before you watch director Kenneth Lonergan’s magnificent family portrait Manchester by the Sea, watch his Sundance prize-winning debut You Can Count on Me (2000).
A few minutes in, it will be pretty obvious why You Can Count on Me won not only a Sundance award but an Oscar nomination when it came out. It’s a beautiful portrayal of the tension and the tenderness of family relationships.
Fun fact: Kenneth Lonergan plays minister Ron in two major scenes counseling Terry at Sammy’s house, and then counseling Sammy in his office. Since Lonergan had a lot of dialogue in those two scenes, he turned over the directing to Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo, respectively.
4. The Lobster
Before you watch Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark satirical love story The Lobster, watch his early hit Dogtooth (2009).
For the casual movie fan, this Greek director seems to have come out of nowhere, but he’s been putting his unique mark on the film scene for years. Yorgos Lanthimos is known for his delightfully bizarre but sharp directorial voice, and Dogtooth was an early marker of this.
Fun fact: The inspiration for the film came from a discussion Yorgos Lanthimos had with friends who were about to get married. When Lanthimos expressed doubts about the institution and family itself, he was struck by the idea of what would happen to a man who went to the ultimate extreme of protecting his family.
5. La La Land
Before you let Ryan Gosling charm your socks off in the musical La La Land, catch his performance in Lars and the Real Girl (2007).
Ryan Gosling has mastered the art of being both a bankable Hollywood heartthrob and a bright spot of delightfully weird indie movies. Gosling often plays characters that warm your heart in the weirdest way, and his turn as Lars in Lars and the Real Girl is no exception.
Fun Fact: This movie was shot in 31 days.
Before you see the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a real-life interracial couple in the 1950s South, portrayed by top actors in Loving, hear the story from their own mouths in the documentary The Loving Story (2011).
The story speaks for itself. In a time when marriage between White and Black people was illegal in many states, Richard and Mildred Loving defied the odds (and the state of Virginia) to stay together. Nancy Buirski directed this intimate first-person telling of the story that includes archival interview footage with Richard and Mildred themselves.
Fun fact: “Garnet” was the first name of Mildred Loving’s sister, and although spelled differently, the last name of the Sheriff of Caroline County, Brooke Garnett, who arrested Mildred and Richard Loving for miscegenation.
Before you take a peek into the lives of Jim Jarmusch’s outsiders in Paterson, get to know his lone-wolf hip-hop samurai in Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai (1999).
Jim Jarmusch’s films have a common thread: there’s nothing common about his characters. From lonely post-apocalyptic vampire lovers to an urban samurai, Jim Jarmusch loves to look at the lives of outsiders and leans way into the cult movie aesthetic, and it pays off.
Fun fact: Jim Jarmusch stated in an interview that he wrote the role of Ghost Dog specifically for Forest Whitaker, and if Whitaker hadn’t taken the role, the film probably would not have been made.
What do you think was the best movie of 2016? Drop a comment below or tweet us @tubitv with the film you think should take home the prize for top movie of the year!