2016: Films Watched, Books Read

Ah, 2016, you horrible mess of a year, goodbye forever. Well, goodbye in just another moment. First I’d like to take stock of all the movies I saw and stuff I read. Then we can move it along to 2017.

Last February I wrote a bit about how I would try my best to track my viewing throughout the year. For the most part I managed to keep a decent log in Day One, but it wasn’t a perfect solution. Getting the films out of the app so I could organize them in a list proved frustrating. It made me wish I had stuck with Letterboxd all year.

Anyway, in that same February post I set the following goal for myself:

If I can do it, I’d like to try and keep a ratio of at least 6:1 in terms of old vs. new films I watch this year. In other words, for every six films I watch I should see at least one 2016 release.

How did I do? I saw 65 older films and 31 new releases, 2:1. Not bad! But 31 is way too low. Last year I saw 35 new releases, so this is kind of a let-down. I think the list of older films I saw this year is extremely well-rounded, but I feel like I barely saw any of the major new films of the year.

So let me just get this out of the way now: my goal for 2017 is to see at least 50 new releases and maintain that 2:1 ratio of older films.

I can’t really do a top 10 list this year since I feel like I missed so many great films. Films I enjoyed the most, in no particular order, would probably be Hail, Caesar!, Miles Ahead, Green Room, Little Sister and Morris From America. I was a huge Sausage Party booster when it premiered, but my enthusiasm wore off a bit when it came out in theaters.

If those films are any indication, it should be clear that smaller, more independent films are where all the action was in 2016. Rogue One is probably the best tentpole film of the year, but look at the competition… I know few will agree with this, but of the superhero films (set Rogue One aside for a moment) last year I probably enjoyed X-Men: Apocalypse the most. Pound-for-pound it felt the most visually interesting.

I was a voracious reader in 2016. Somewhere along the way I got into comics. I’m still working my way through older titles, though I dipped my toes into single issues with Ta-Nehisi Coates’s run of Black Panther. I’m still not quite ready to be a guy who hits the comic shop up every Wednesday (single issues confuse the hell out of me) but I’ll keep reading what I can.

My favorite comic discovery was probably China Miéville’s Dial H, which is so, so good. That led me to his The City & The City, a wild concept executed perfectly.

I really tried to branch out my reading last year and I think the list below shows I did a decent job doing so. Some of the reading had purpose, scratching little itches about ideas I had at the time. Some was just a distraction. The Aeneid almost destroyed my reading streak for the year, but I powered through and I’m glad I did. A curiosity: why is The Odyssey perpetually filmed but The Aeneid is practically invisible in cinema. It seems the only movie version of the tale is Giorgio Venturini’s 1962 The Avenger. It’s on YouTube

So here it all is in one place: stuff consumed in 2016. The films link to IMDb, the books and comics go to Amazon.1 I tried my best to keep the links as useful as possible, pointing to the info I would want to know. I indicated if I saw films at a festival. All of the new releases I saw this year were either DCP screenings or seen at home. I indicate if the older movies were seen on film or DCP; otherwise I watched them at home. Books and comics are in the order they were read.

New Releases

Older Films

Books Read


  1. These are affiliate links. I thank you in advance if you use them. ↩︎