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Mike’s Favorite Movie Trailers of 2016

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with movie trailers. For a while I refused to watch them unless I had to. Because I was gonna see all the movies anyway, plus so many of them are annoying or suck or tell you the entire plot of the film beforehand anyway.

Now, I try to watch everything. I don’t care. I’ve given in and just watch every single trailer. Because I’m gonna see the movies anyway. And at least I can get a handle on how they’re trying to market something. And, hey, you never know when something will have such a good trailer that I’ll completely change my mind and my expectations for it.

Though, for all those reasons, it’s hard to have a good trailer. So many of them feel like standard progressions designed more to tell you exactly what you’re going to get so you’re not surprised or give you moments you were waiting to see for three years because you watched the goddamn set videos.

I want a trailer that makes me want to see the movie immediately. That gets me excited for a film without giving up too much of the details. We all know the trailer that I always point to as being the one that made me legitimately excited for a movie — American Gangster. That fucking trailer is still one I’ll put on and get excited by. And we’re all different. But a good trailer is timeless.

I’m not perfect, and I’m subjective as hell, but regardless here are my favorite trailers of 2016:

The one caveat I always throw out there — I refuse to include a trailer for a film that is going to come out next year. I don’t give a shit if Guardians 2 already has a teaser. It’s not a 2016 movie, so it doesn’t get included for this year.

Oh, and if you figured this article required me to sit down and watch about 200 trailers over the course of like, four days, that’s exactly what it did.

Okay, we’re good. Here we go.

25. 20th Century Women

Gotta love when a trailer evokes the feeling of a film without giving away a plot from beginning to end. I didn’t think this would make this list, but each successive time I watch this trailer, I’m more impressed by it and I want to see the film more and more.

24. 10 Cloverfield Lane

It’s an offbeat choice for the song, and I like how they structured it. A simple set up that twists and turns dark. It makes you want to see this movie. The title was actually the worst part of it for me. I was invested in this weird kidnapping sort of movie with maybe some sort of external apocalyptic theme. This is a really effective trailer.

23. Deadpool

And the winner for most overplayed trailer of 2016 goes to…

Either way, this is a fun trailer, even if I saw too much of it. It gives you the vibe of the movie and how it’s not taking itself too seriously and is going for the hard R. It does its job, though as I said, it does (along with all the other trailers), give away a lot of the film. Still, a good trailer is a good trailer. So respect where respect is due.

22. Morris from America

Not to put a racial point on it, but trailers about black characters tend to have the better trailers, because they put great hip hop beats on them. I don’t know why they don’t do that more in general, but it’s primarily these trailers that work best for me. They get you nodding your head and wanting to see more. And this has all the great jokes to it and the nice coming-of-age aspect. Just great stuff all around.

21. Sausage Party

Because it’s fucking filthy and funny. It’s a brilliant set up for a film, and for some reason I didn’t think this was ognna be the premise, so as soon as I saw the set up, I was hooked. Plus, the war movie references and all that — brilliant trailer.

20. Bleed for This

It’s not the most unique trailer ever, but it certainly has a lot of character. The first part is very fun, but its the part with his injury that makes it work. Boxing trailers tend to work well, and this one gets to have the best of both worlds. Good boxing stuff and good drama around it.

19. The Light Between Oceans

I love this trailer. And I know this is a completely personal choice. But I love it. This does, admittedly, tell you how the movie’s gonna play out, but it brings you into the high emotion of the film, and prepares you for a really great melodrama. And I was all in for that. Maybe I’m a sucker for a big swell of strings and the notion that the movie is gonna make you cry. I don’t care. Loved this trailer.

18. Midnight Special

I loved this. So simple. It builds to all these big moments and themes, but somehow manages to stay small and emotional at the same time. You see this and it makes you wonder what the hell this movie is gonna be, but also makes you want to see it. I love a trailer that builds to a fever pitch.

17. Bad Santa 2

There’s something that makes you happy about seeing this character again. I can watch Billy Bob drunk and cursing at strangers all day.

16. Loving

Yes, it spells out the plot, but it’s so tender that I don’t care. And maybe I’m just a sucker for that True Grit score they put in there. And even though it spells out where it’s going, it stays simple. There’s the line at the end, ‘What do you want to say to the Supreme Court?’ ‘Tell them I love my wife.’ That’s all it’s about.

15. Christine

There’s something utterly fascinating to me about this trailer. The movie’s like this too. Where she’s having a breakdown, but you’re not really seeing it, but you know there’s something not right. I just really like how they constructed this trailer, and even if you don’t really know where the story is headed, they kinda tell you here without fully telling you. And I like that. Definitely one of those trailers that exponentially increased my desire to see the movie.

14. Kicks

It made me want to see the movie. Really well cut. Great editing, great music choices, and I love the progression from simple movie about a kid who wants to look cool to some really fucked up shit. It’s a great metaphor for the pitfalls facing kids in high crime areas and shows in the trailer. Great stuff.

13. Army of One

Okay, so yeah, if you don’t like Nicolas Cage, this is gonna be unbearable to you. But for me, I saw this and could not wait until this came out. This is everything I wanted this movie to be, and everything I wanted out of Nicolas Cage after a few years of performances where he doesn’t seem to be trying. This makes me happy.

12 Moonlight

There’s something so pure about this trailer. It’s like the greatness of the movie comes through even though the trailer isn’t doing all that much. It’s basically what one of the lines in the trailer is, “Who is you, Chiron?” This is a movie about who this guy is. And it’s just so wonderfully edited and constructed that it actually gives you a sense of that in two minutes. It’s also really gripping too.

11. A Bigger Splash

This is one that stuck with me. From the opening song and visuals to Ralph Fiennes’ wonderfully extroverted performance — and the barrage of images and moments, it evokes a feeling, and makes you want to see the movie. I can’t say enough about how much I like this trailer.

10. Hardcore Henry

Complete and utter fucking mayhem. And it primes you completely for this movie. The thing this trailer does right is actually to start with heavy plot. So it gets you involved in whatever the purpose of this all is, and then — crazy fucking action. It’s impossible not to smile when the Queen song shows up. I saw this for the first time in a theater and said, “Oh my god, I’m fucking ready for this.” And that’s what a trailer should do.

9. La La Land

You guys thought this would be #1, didn’t you? Surprise!

It’s only #3 for me because, while I love it, the experience is more about the film than the trailer. The trailer just gets you super excited for the film. But you have to be excited about the prospect of a musical to really love this trailer. So I’m not gonna push it higher on that alone.

That said — this is pretty wonderful. I’m choosing the teaser and not the full trailer. I could have easily gone with that. But this one just seemed so lovely. A song and all the beautiful visuals. What more do you need? Who cares about a plot? Music!

8. Sing Street

Simple, because this puts a smile on your face for two and a half minutes. This trailer is like this movie — it’s impossible to not have it make you feel good. Sometimes it’s that simple.

7. The Red Turtle

This trailer, like this film, is beautiful. No dialogue, so it’s all visuals and score, and they knock it out of the park. It’s almost transcendent, what they show you here. I can watch this trailer over and over. The animation is just so gorgeous. Yes all around to this trailer.

6. The Nice Guys

This evokes a mood, this evokes an era, this is fun as shit, and it doesn’t give away even a quarter of all the jokes in this movie. This is a perfect trailer. I saw this about ten times between January and May in anticipation of this movie. Never gets old.

5. Green Room

The ever-growing sense of dread in this trailer is just wonderful. And I normally dislike when a trailer devolves into a famous song cover (or worse… a pop song cover. Which is what disqualified American Pastoral from making it on this lit), but this one worked for me. I think it’s because in others, the song feels heavy-handed. Here, the song feels like it underscores the terror and enhances the overall feeling of the trailer. This shit is intense.

4. The Girl with All the Gifts

This comes down to me sort of knowing what this was because of the book, and then going, “Oh, they made a movie about this? I didn’t know about that.” So I put on this trailer and went, “Holy shit.” Most people in the US don’t even know about this movie still. This is such a gloriously crafted trailer that, to me at least, shows you a movie on par with 28 Days Later, which in the last twenty years, is the kind of zombie movies. What more could you ask for?

3. A Monster Calls

I was excited for this for two years, so this was gonna factor highly. Still, this trailer just destroys you, and prepares you to be destroyed by the movie. Wonderfully crafted. If the trailer starts to make you emotional, you know it’s doing something right.

2. The Edge of Seventeen

This year, in case it wasn’t obvious, what I’m basing my decisions on is mostly what trailers most made me want to see their movies. And if that’s the case, this is one of the top three automatically. Because back in January, I had complete blank expectations for this. It was just another movie I was gonna see. And even after this came out, I still had blank expectations for it. It just so happened that one day I was bored and looking up trailers that I stumbled upon this. And I loved the trailer so much I went out and saw the movie the next day in theaters. This is legitimately one of the funniest trailers I’ve seen in a while. Incredibly well put together and I’ve shown this trailer now to about a dozen people. About five of them had seen it before and mentioned they thought it was good, and all the rest said, to a person, “Oh wow, that actually looks really funny.” Which is exactly what you want a trailer to do. I cannot talk up this trailer enough. Even though it’s super long, it doesn’t spell everything out for you. There’s still a lot to this movie they don’t show you.

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And your number one trailer of 2016….

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What if number one was Ghostbusters?

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1. Jackie

This trailer gave me fucking chills when I saw it for the first time. This is how you get someone excited about a movie, especially when you have no expectations for it. This tells you everything you need to know about this movie in 90 seconds without giving away the entire progression of the plot. The minute I saw this trailer, it was going number one, there was no question about that. No trailer immediately grabbed my attention more than this one all year.

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4 responses

  1. I don’t care much for the trailers anymore unless I happen to be in the theater when I encounter them (which is usually why I try not to be too early in entering the auditorium). As such, when I encountered the trailers in the theater, many of them became more than a mere jumping onto the viral bandwagon.

    But that Jackie teaser…it’s probably the only trailer or teaser for a 2016 film that I’ve voluntarily revisited again and again. It gave me that most unique feeling I experience only once or twice every year—the feeling that maybe, just maybe…the film whose trailer/teaser I’m watching at the moment might actually end up becoming my favorite film of the year and one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Wow!

    December 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm

  2. Well, I know for sure how “Christine” ends because I saw a documentary on this story and know the real case inside out. I am also very surprised, surely there are better real life stories out there to make a movie about. Seriously. As for your list, it is really great, I love the Red Turtle and A Monster Calls. I am glad they are in your top 10.

    December 11, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    • Christine is an incredible film, though. And I know Mike is a fan as well. Definitely worth giving a chance to.

      December 11, 2016 at 6:52 pm

  3. Can’t argue with this. That Jackie trailer is fucking phenomenal. The use of music is some of the best I’ve seen in a trailer in a long time.

    December 11, 2016 at 6:54 pm

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