I saw exactly 100 films during 2016. That’s double my self-imposed limit of 4 per month (oops), way more than my mother (“I don’t think I saw 4 movies this entire YEAR!”), and way less than my film-critic boyfriend (who watched more than 300). While I certainly have personal favorites from those— including the usual “Best Films of 2016” list — here are 15 of the most memorable times I had going to the movies, this year.
The Forbidden Room
February 19 • The Dryden
The one and only screening of this film in Rochester, I felt so fortunate to see this beautiful mind-fuck on my birthday, with a group of people who had their brains melted and rearranged by the lunacy of a mustache dream within submarine flapjacks, amidst skeleton women. It may have been the Jamaican food I had for dinner beforehand, but I felt like I slipped in and out of consciousness the entire time. I loved it.
February 28 • Magnus’ house
Meghan had been teasing us with “The Breen” experience for months beforehand, and this awful, amazing film lived up to the hype. It was so abysmally bad, it was a ton of fun. The enthusiastic group, homemade snacks, and Meghan’s “Breen Board” all added to the fun.
Rediscovering Frederick Douglass
April 9 • The Little / April 18 • The Dryden
Bill & Tiana’s documentary about a previously-undiscovered photograph of Frederick Douglass had three free, public screenings upon its completion, and I attended two of them. I feel immensely privileged to have gotten to work with them on the sound of the film. The entire project is so slickly produced and their time, effort and care for the material shows in every second. Seeing it with an audience, on the big screen was super-exciting.
Captain America: Civil War
May 7 • Cinemark Tinseltown IMAX
We took the biggest superhero movie-event of the year and bookended it with two fun food-outings: beforehand with Max, Amy, Rachel and a bucket of darts, and afterward with the rest of the crew, a patio, and passing trains.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
June 5 • Regal Henrietta
Unquestionably the most I laughed in a theater all year. This was one of those times it was fun to look down the row, at everyone there with me, to see us all cracking up at the same stupid stuff, together.
July 19 • Erich’s backyard
While Adam & I first saw “The Witch” at a press screening in February, the film took on a whole extra level of creepy when projected outside. Light breezes in the trees, animals rustling in the bushes, the nearly full moon overhead elevated an already amazing film.
June 23 • The Little
Adam was one of the members of a four-person panel discussion, immediately following a screening of this wonderfully wacky film. The audience asked good questions, and the discussion was really interesting. SO PROUD.
August 8 • Regal Elmwood (Buffalo)
We drove all the way to Buffalo for this sneak preview. I got a speeding ticket on the way home. (The film was great, and the experience of seeing it with kids in attendance — and hearing live feedback from them — was totally worth it). I wrote a bunch more about the film over here.
August 20 • The Dryden
Sometimes it’s just wonderful to finally see a film you’ve always wanted to see, with an enthusiastic audience, and experience the thrill of it living up to expectations. A slightly-crackly 35mm print added to the fun.
Lady in White
October 8 • The Little
Kudos to Fright Rags and The Little for the Saturday Night Rewind series, which I went to several of in 2016. My favorite, though, was this storybook-horror tale, filmed in upstate New York. The Skype Q&A afterward was fantastic: director Frank LaLoggia discussed the production, from his home in Italy, and several people involved in the film showed up in the audience! I’m so glad we went.
October 11 • The Dryden
Adam gave the introductory remarks at this year’s ImageOut “Out of the Archives” screening. STILL PROUD.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
October 13 & 14 • Cinemark Tinseltown IMAX
Seeing these remastered in IMAX — and going with Kathy, Adam and B., two days back to back — was such a magical treat.
December 5 • Cinemark Tinseltown
Adam, Anna and I went to a packed theater to see the subtitled version, which I can’t remember ever seeing before. Having seen the dubbed version countless times, it was a really neat experience to be able to compare the changes between them.
December 13 • The Little
Adam’s private press screening, at 10am on a weekday morning, with only three of us in the theatre, added to the isolating, dreamy, tone-poem-y feel of the film.
La La Land
December 24 • Pittsford Cinema
Adam used to go to movies on Christmas all the time, but this year was my first experience. La La Land was probably our most anticipated film of the year, and —while it didn’t live up to our expectations — seeing it opening day (in Rochester) with a packed, excited audience was a great way to experience it. We started discussing it the moment we hit the parking lot, and continued through several containers of Chinese takeout and two full listens of the score.