The old rule of thumb is that there are 10 great movies that come out a year, or at least 10 worthy of being singled out. In reality, to someone who is watching upwards of 150-200 of the estimated 700-odd movies that hit theaters this year, there are often closer to 50. On a good year, like 2014 or 2007, that number could even hit 75. It depends largely on how close you are to a city with a solid independent cinema scene, but the advents of iTunes, other VOD vendors, and streaming services have made this less of a hurdle. Now, all you need is an appetite for the stuff.
In a year fueled by dread, fear, and outrage, 2016 ended up being a uniquely fruitful year for daring movies. I’m not sure if any other year could have produced something like Little Sister or The Treasure, two breathlessly political and lovingly intimate new classics, could have come out in any other year. Nor would ecstatic joys like those found in Sing Street and The Love Witch feel any more soothing and transporting in any other year. Thankfully, attention has already been given to major independent works like Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, and The Witch, but there are countless other great movies that came out this year, many of which were of a similar caliber as those Oscar hopefuls. Here are 18 that the Collider staff wanted to single out as the movie year comes to a close.