We all race to the movie theater to see the latest blockbuster, and sometimes we have a grand old time (Captain America: Civil War, Star Trek Beyond) while other times we regret the experience (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). Regardless, these box office behemoths tend to eclipse the smaller and more personal films. Here is a handful of overlooked 2016 features that were either box office flops, had very limited releases or never got the opportunity to play in a New Orleans theater, but they are worthy films and are available on home/digital video, so please check them out.
Everybody Wants Some!! – Richard Linklater's “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused is a worthy follow up to that film. Set on a Texas college campus in 1980, a baseball jock (Blake Jenner) enjoys his last days of freedom before classes start. Once again, Linklater perfectly captures a moment in time with some deep philosophizing and vivid characters.
The Eyes of My Mother – If Ingmar Bergman had somehow directed Motel Hell (1980) the result may have been similar to writer/director Nicolas Pesce's debut feature. A lonely young woman (Kika Magalhaes), living on an isolated farm, succumbs to her deranged desires that were sparked by a horrific childhood incident. The black and white photography mixed with haunting use of sound gives off the feeling of a bad dream. Probably the most unsettling character study I've seen since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986).
Hell or High Water – In this modern day western, a divorced father (Chris Pine) and his hot-tempered brother (Ben Foster) rob banks to save the family farm. Standing in their way is a small town cop (Jeff Bridges) and his put-upon partner ( Gil Birmingham). It's a great movie with solid characters, complicated moral dilemmas, high tension, and it's all peppered with smart and often funny dialogue.
Hello, My Name is Doris – Sally Field stars as a mousy office worker who falls for her much younger co-worker (Max Greenfield). Michael Showalter's film ruminates on loneliness but it's never depressing, and Field delivers such a cheerful performance.
The Nice Guys – In Los Angeles of 1977, an alcoholic private eye (Ryan Gosling) and his wise-beyond-her-years young daughter (Angourie Rice) team with a goon-for-hire (Russell Crowe) to find a missing girl and to solve the murder of a porn star. Director Shane Black turns the buddy movie on its ear in this offbeat comedy noir.
Sing Street – Filmmaker John Carney's 1985-set musical drama about a Dublin youth (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) discovering music and girls while chasing his dreams is a feel-good joy.