Best Direction | The Best of 2016

2016 was another great year in movies. From the low-budget indie flicks that made major waves like Hell or High Water and Don’t Breathe to the massive super hero epics like Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War, it was another year with a little something for everyone in the Bit Players. There were memorable songs, memorable characters, memorable moments all across the board. There were laughs, tears, frights, and action. It seems like every year gets better and better to be a movie fan as the ability to make a film reaches more and more creative fingertips, and 2016 was no exception. Bit Player favorites like Richard Linklater and the Coen Brothers delivered more of the same greatness we’ve come to expect, but newcomers like Robert Eggers and the continually impressive Jeremy Saulnier firmly placed themselves on the “to watch” list with their 2016 entries. Read below to find out everything we loved about this year, including best films, acting performances, music, scenes, writing, cinematography, and more.

2016 was another great year in movies. From the low-budget indie flicks that made major waves like Hell or High Water and Don't Breathe to the massive super hero epics like Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War, it was another year with a little something for everyone in the Bit Players. There were memorable songs, memorable characters, memorable moments all across the board. There were laughs, tears, frights, and action. It seems like every year gets better and better to be a movie fan as the ability to make a film reaches more and more creative fingertips, and 2016 was no exception. Bit Player favorites like Richard Linklater and the Coen Brothers delivered more of the same greatness we've come to expect, but newcomers like Robert Eggers and the continually impressive Jeremy Saulnier firmly placed themselves on the "to watch" list with their 2016 entries. Read below to find out everything we loved about this year, including best films, acting performances, music, scenes, writing, cinematography, and more.

Gareth Edwards
10. Gareth Edwards
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

"One of the things you do, when you have a scene or whatever it is you’re doing, I replay that scene in my head and pick different positions to watch it from in my head. Sometimes they’re with something. Sometimes they’re objective aerial shots or sometimes on the roof with a complete new stranger and see which ones make me say, “Oh, that’s interesting.” I love the contrast of jumping around and seeing some amazing, beautiful thing from a distance and you say, “Oh that’s incredible! I’d love to be there!” and suddenly you’re there and it’s horrific and chaotic and it’s like, “Oh my god! Someone make this stop!” And suddenly it stops and you’re back somewhere else, seeing it from a different perspective and suddenly you understand why the enemy is doing what they’re doing. From their point of view, you look like a genuine threat and you must be killed!"
Richard Linklater
9. Richard Linklater
Everybody Wants Some!!

"It’s constant. The songs start for me in the wiring process, I’m listening to hundreds of songs from the era, I’m gathering music. It helps jog the old memory. Music and smells are the most memory-recall, nostalgia-inducing things. It always kinda helps me. So I had all the music, a very deep bench of a lot of music. Some of it was in the script, it was very specific. A lot of those songs ended up not in the movie."
Jeremy Saulnier
8. Jeremy Saulnier
Green Room

"What was exciting about Green Room is that the idea never really advanced in my mind. I thought I should do a siege thriller in a green room. I didn’t really have time to flesh out the story. The world and the environment of the narrative was with me for twenty years. That was part of me and something that I always wanted to bring on screen."
Dan Trachtenberg
7. Dan Trachtenberg
10 Cloverfield Lane

"What was tricky was not being confined by the actual space, but still letting the camera tell the story of confinement. I found a lot of the overhead shots really helped make us feel like they were a can of sardines, and it was about finding the right distance to be far enough away from our characters so we could get these graphic, composed wide shots that look like little dioramas, with our people stuck inside, that never felt like we were breaking a wall."
David Mackenzie
6. David Mackenzie
It Follows

"If try to cook things in a really nice way, so people aren't too caught up in the machinery of making films, which can often be a bit of a dirge process. I'm always trying to fight that and make it feel alive, and open to opportunity."
The Russo Brothers
5. The Russo Brothers
Captain America: Civil War

"Yeah, it was a tough process but we feel in love with the material, we fell in love the project, we really wanted it so basically it took over our lives for two months. We were doing almost nothing but developing the movie before we had the job, but the good news was we figured the movie out before we got hired, which was very cool."
Barry Jenkins
4. Barry Jenkins
Moonlight

"The way I grew up, I was kind of a quiet kid. I ended up watching people a lot, more than interacting, in a certain way. And I think you can learn a lot more about people when they’re not speaking than you can when they’re speaking. People say, “Oh, you can learn more by actions than statements.” But I do think that when people are in repose, you really see beneath the surface."
Robert Eggers
3. Robert Eggers
The Witch

"Yeah, we have to be in the Puritan world. Also, for me, the films that are the most atmospheric and transportive are films that are approached as memory. So it has to be, like, my memory in my Puritan childhood and the way my father smelled in the corn field that morning. Without the detail, [without] the hand-stitched everything, you can’t get there."
Denis Villeneuve
2. Denis Villeneuve
Arrival

"Thematically, it's about what unites us and what divides us.... Like religion, language does that more than almost anything else."
Damien Chazelle
1. Damien Chazelle
Damien Chazelle

"So it was always really important to me that the movie not be a period piece. “And that it not be entirely in quotation marks either, that there be a modern energy to it. There’s things you can do with the camera, and things you can do with modern expectations today that you couldn’t do in the Fifties. So it was fun to take certain tropes from Fifties musicals, but put in them in a modern city and film them in a modern way, and see what results from that."
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