Our Favorite Movies and TV Shows of 2016


While admittedly none of us have seen Silence yet, here’s a list of some of our favorite movies and TV shows of the past year.

Movies and TV Shows We Loved


Rebecca Reynolds (@rebeccareynolds)

Moana – This is the only Disney film I’ve ever returned to see a second time at the theater, and I’ll pay eight bucks to see it a third time, if I get the chance.

Doctor Strange – So, I didn’t like that the Wise One was a white woman. When Cumberbatch finally made it into the secret smarty-smart-place and I realized the palest of all caucasians was the mongo-spirit-guru, I felt like the viewer’s trance was broken. Still, it was good to see “Sherlock” humbled and reborn. I liked this film quite a bit. If you have to choose between Beasts and this one, choose this one. Also, read Jeffrey Overstreet’s interview with director Scott Derrickson. It’s phenomenal.

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (The Globe Theater version with Arthur Darvill (Rory!) – This was released in 2013, but I am guessing that many of you haven’t seen it. This is the best DVD of a play I’ve ever seen. (Though Branagh’s Hamlet comes close.) Since watching it, I’ve bought several more Globe Theater productions, hoping they would live up to this new standard.


Matt Conner (@mattconner)

Westworld – It’s hard not to want to follow along with HBO’s newest hit for the concept alone (I’ll let you, dear reader, do the heavy lifting of Googling this yourself.)

Black Mirror – For me this is the best and certainly the bravest show on television. Each episode is a standalone parable that reveals to us the perils of technology and culture within stories that are completely entertaining and thrilling. It’s brilliant and daring and harsh and I’ve loved every minute of it.

Rectify – One of the best dramas in TV history wrapped this fall. You’ll never see another show that allows each character to develop like this one. Filled with moments of subtle beauty.


Jonny Jimison (@jonnyjimison)

Kubo and the Two Strings – If you must blink, do it now. Studio Laika has handmade their greatest film yet—a tale about of the power of storytelling and the power of family. Instantly one of my favorite films of all time.

10 Cloverfield Lane – I love classic Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, and sometimes a film comes along that gives me those same kind of chills. Much better than Cloverfield.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – This new visit to the wizarding world ignited my imagination with its full-hearted, period-piece, wonder-filled exploration of magic in 1920s New York City.


Heidi Johnston (@kheidij)

The Night Manager  (BBC) – One of the best BBC short drama series’ I’ve seen for a long time—gripping from the first episode.

Poldark, Season 2 (BBC) – I was fully prepared not to like this series but I couldn’t help myself. Great period drama with plenty of twists and turns.

Swallows and Amazons – As someone who was raised on the original Swallows and Amazons, I was nervous about the remake. This new version is full of adventure and innocence, set amidst the beauty of the Lake District. The ultimate seal of approval came from my 10-year-old who spontaneously started a round of applause in the cinema when it ended.


Chris Yokel (@chrisyokel)

Sing Street

Kubo and the Two Strings

Captain America: Civil War


Russ Ramsey (@russramsey)

Hell or High Water


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


Eric Peters (@ericpeters)

The Force Awakens

[Editor’s note: Apparently, Eric doesn’t get out much—as his first, second, and third pics all testify.]


Pete Peterson (@pete)

Hell or High Water – I’m a sucker for westerns, and this is a great one (though set in 2016). It’s about a couple of bank robbers on the run from the law (and one amazing waitress “What don’t you want?”), but it’s so much more than that. Beautiful, thoughtful, important. This is why I love movies.

The Crown – This show won television. Give it all the awards. Amazing writing and acting. Someone needs to invent new Emmys to give to John Lithgow.

Sing Street – This is the best movie of all the movies. I don’t even know where to start. Just watch it. No one can hate this movie and retain his own soul.

La La Land – I honestly don’t know how to rate this against Sing Street, because it’s also the best movies of all the movies. La La Land came out of nowhere and instantly became one of my favorite films. I think it might literally be a perfect film. It’s pretty rare that I see a movie and wouldn’t change a single frame. Absolutely cinema magic. See it a thousand times before it leaves the theater, because the magic won’t be the same on a TV.


Andrew Peterson (@andrew) [Editor’s Note: Six picks? Overachiever.]

Stranger Things

The Crown

Sing Street

La La Land

The Little Prince

Kubo and the Two Strings


Joe Sutphin (@joesutphin)

Far From The Madding Crowd – Every scene, setting, and shot of this powerful drama is exactly why cameras were invented. Gorgeous.

Captain America: Civil War – Being a huge fan of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, this was easily the most fun for me since The Avengers, and a terrific movie-going experience to find yourself torn about just who’s side you are on.

Big Eyes – I never knew much about artist Margaret Keane or her insane husband Walter Keane before seeing Big Eyes. The story and performances are fantastic. As an artist, I can only imagine how awful Margaret’s life under Walter’s control must have been.


Ron Block (@ronblock)

Doctor Strange – I’m ever a fan of reality-bending storylines and flawed, conflicted superheroes.

BFG – I loved this, and I’m still waiting for a movie of Danny, the Champion of the World.

Wodehouse in Exile – P.G. Wodehouse captured by Nazis and used for propaganda. I don’t know how accurate it is but it is well-acted, charming, and moving. Loved it.


Jen Rose Yokel (@jroseyokel)

Sing Street – SO much fun. A tribute to the music that changes our lives with a lot of heart and a fantastic soundtrack. Maybe I’m still excited because I only saw it a few days ago, but I’m pretty sure it’s going on my short list of all time favorites.

Moana – I’ll admit, I’m a lifelong Disney kid, and I’m so happy their animation is making a comeback. Moana’s tropical world is beautiful on the big screen, the songs are delightful, and she’s the sort of hero princess I wish I’d known as a kid. Also, evil coconut pirates.

All the Wes Anderson – There was a random weekend this year where I watched pretty much all the Wes Anderson films I hadn’t seen yet (except Darjeeling Limited). And behold, I became a big fan.


Jonathan Rogers (@jonathanrogers)

The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

La La Land

The Crown

I love The Hunt for the Wilderpeople because it is right up my alley. I love La La Land and The Crown because they aren’t up my alley but I loved them anyway. I could say the same for Sing Street, which receives honorable mention on my movie list.



  1. Miranda Elizabeth Bryant


    Just saw Moana today! It was great. Good for a twenty-something’s heart who is still trying to figure out her place in the world. 🙂 Also, Stranger Things was awesome…and La La Land is only playing in a theater an hour away from me. :/ Perhaps I’ll have to make time for a mini road trip!

  2. Ashley R

    “Sing Street – This is the best movie of all the movies. I don’t even know where to start. Just watch it. No one can hate this movie and retain his own soul.”

    Yes, yes, yes! I watched this and Captain Fantastic on a whim when I was on a long flight back to Beijing from the States, and they both blew me away. Sing Street is the best movie I’ve seen in ages and went right into my top ten all time. The soundtrack is already a family favorite. Captain Fantastic was also really phenomenal…a great story about third-culture kids, family and parenting, and what it means to choose to live counter-culturally. It was so, so good!

    First time posting here, but I enjoy all your literature and movie and music recommendations and reflections from here on the other side of the world. (I’m originally from East TN but living in China.) I have four boys, and I’m doing my best to raise them on good music and story and things that foster wonder, even in the midst of a big, polluted city…perhaps especially in the midst of such a place. Thanks for the work y’all do to help me feed their souls and my own!

  3. Amy

    Rectify totally seems to be the kind of show I’d expect Rabbit Roomers to like. I loved the first season, but I lost track of it after that. I’ll catch up soon. (“it’s the beauty not the ugly that hurts the most” remains one of my favorite lines uttered on television)

    I loved Fantastic Beasts but it’s one of only two movies I saw this year, I think, in theater.I do want to see Doctor Strange and Arrival. I loved how big it made the wizarding world seem and in general, I just enjoy JK Rowling’s writing, I’m also a fan of the Strike books.

    I’d recommend The Good Place as lighter fare for anyone who enjoyed Parks and Rec and its heart. While obviously the theology is well inaccurate, the show is a gem. And if anyone enjoys horror  and is a fan of the book The Exorcist (is that allowed around here?) The Exorcist tv show was a pretty good horror show and extension of the franchise. Again, I recommend these things not because I think they have great theology, but they do engage spiritual ideas with some measure of respect/and or seriousness.


  4. Ashley

    I had never heard of Swallows and Amazons, but am very interested after seeing it recommended here and watching the trailer. The only problem is from what I’ve been able to find it is only available in the UK. Do you know if it is available for viewing in the US?

  5. Molly Bertles

    @rebecca Reylonds i am behind but just saw Moana and LOVED it, and (spoiler alert) every time the lava monster breaks I think of these lyrics by Andrew Peterson “See the quiet hearts of the children ofThe children of this landThey have stayed alive in the day-long nightBy the fires that warm their handsThere is a wilderness inside themIt is dark and thick and deepAnd beside the fire at the heart of that woodIs a precious missing sheepSo go on in, hold your torch, let it shine’Cause all shall be well, all shall be wellBreak the chains of the gates of HellStill all manner of things will be wellAll shall be well, all shall be wellThe Word of God will never failAnd all manner of things will be well”

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