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This countdown of 2016's best films will catch you up on the good stuff you missed

This countdown of 2016's best films will catch you up on the good stuff you missed

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It’s December, the most wonderful time of year for supercuts, mash-ups, and the crippling realization that time is trickling through our fingers like whatever metaphor you best prefer! (Water.) But no end-of-the-year examination is complete without a viewing of the latest entry in David Ehrlich’s 25 Best Films series. This year’s list includes everything from Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight to Kubo and the Two Strings and La La Land.

Ehrlich, a senior film critic at IndieWire, has been counting down the best films with video compilations since 2011. Part of his job is to see hundreds of films a year, he tells The Verge, and he gathers footage year-round from trailers and the like as part of his “low-key nightmare” editing process.

“My fiancée goes to sleep early and I really enjoy anything that helps me space out at the end of the day, so — with the help of some Sleepytime Tea and that fancy honey from Trader Joe’s (you know the kind) — I just hammer this thing together between midnight and 2AM [each night] until it’s done,” he says. “But, like anything worth doing, it inevitably winds up being super stressful by the end, particularly during that manic final sprint to see [every film] in time to sew up the video.” 

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Ehrlich’s videos are celebrated by critics and film lovers alike as a kind of end-of-the-year treat, much in the same way DJ Earworm’s end-of-the-year mash-up is so popular for pop music. But Ehrlich never expected his compilations to be so well-liked or shared. He started them as a way to learn how to use the video-editing software Final Cut Pro, he says, and trailers were the most obvious way to get comfortable.

“I’m reluctant to say anything about this silly side-project that could be misconstrued as self-important or give anyone the impression that I don’t think these dumb things are a demented waste of time, but since you asked… it’s super gratifying when people watch these videos and say that it’s restored their faith in film, or erased the feeling that xxxx was a terrible year for the form as a whole,” he says.

“it inevitably winds up being super stressful by the end.”

“So when I saw how Mike Mills used Jimmy Carter’s ‘Malaise’ speech in 20th Century Women, I thought that might be a fun way to speak to my feelings about our collective crisis of confidence regarding the future of film. How anyone can watch something like Moonlight or The Fits and think that we’re living in some sort of moribund cinematic purgatory? Of course, certain political happenings have since provided President Carter’s words with a very different context.”

Ehrlich’s countdown is of course a reflection of his personal tastes, but it’s also useful for picking up under-the-radar films you’ve missed over the year. I personally need to get myself educated on The Love Witch, ASAP.