“The Nerdies” are the end-of-year awards from Nerds on Earth. They are only awarded to the most excellent of things, and are selected by our writers, with input from readers via our Facebook page.
Our category today is “Most Excellent Movie,” and what a year for nerdy movies it has been. In 2006 – just ten short years ago – we were treated to three superhero movies from the Big Two:
- V For Vendetta
- X-Men: The Last Stand
- Superman Returns
In 2016, we saw twice as many (that’s six for those keeping up at home), and 2017 promises just as many. And that doesn’t even count other sci-fi/fantasy movies that tickle our fancies.
This year’s slate was super impressive (pun totally intended), but we narrowed it down to four before opening the vote to determine the winner of the first ever Nerdie for Best Movie.
2016 Nerdie Award for Most Excellent Movie: Runners-Up
10 Cloverfield Lane was an unexpected treat for me. I actually had no desire to see it initially because I honestly did not care one bit for its spiritual predecessor and namesake, Cloverfield. But then Jason started gushing about it in Slack, so I rented it at the first opportunity.
This movie totally works for me. I love a good psychological thriller, and this is a great one. It keeps you guessing throughout and the tension is incredibly well engineered. John Goodman’s character Howard had me confused the whole film: Is he is a good guy or a bad guy? That kind of trickery and ambiguity is not often found in films nowadays and was a super welcome change of pace.
The scenery (almost 100% of the movie is filmed within the very tight confines of an underground bunker) creates one heck of a challenge for writers which I absolutely believe they overcame with flying colors. The static scenery forces all of our attention onto the characters occupying that space, so they’d better be well written and well executed. Check and check.
Definitely a surprise hit for me this year.
Arrival was this movie that seemed to sneak up on most of the nerds I know and for sure us here at Nerds on Earth. There was one quiet trailer that didn’t reveal much (a rarity in 2016) and then some unbelievable buzz as critics began to see the film. And for good reason.
We live in a world where we get science fiction movies but we tend to only get massive tent pole summer films like Independence Day: Resurgence. What we rarely get is the quiet science fiction story that focuses on a few characters even though the topic at hand has global ramifications. Arrival is that quiet type movie that is moving, deeply passionate and that has an awfully relevant message for our world today. If you haven’t seen it, it is definitely worth checking out and it is a worthy contender for the top spot this year.
Deadpool was my most anticipated movie of the year. I’ve long loved the Merc with a Mouth – long before it was “cool” to like him. My biggest fear going in was that it would swing way too far to the comedy side of things, but I’ll be darned if they didn’t have a nigh perfect balance among comedy, action, and – of all things – romance and drama. Who’da thunk?!
Laughably enough, it has been nominated in two Golden Globe categories:
- Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy up against La La Land, Sing Street, Florence Foster Jenkins, and 20th Century Women.
- Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy up against Colin Farrell in The Lobster, Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins, Ryan Gosling in La La Land, and Jonah Hill in War Dogs.
Lots of folks were skeptical about the R rating, but it met with huge success – quickly becoming the highest grossing R-rated movie ever (something which we Nerds are a little wary of). But so long as you can stomach violence and vulgar humor, Deadpool is a laugh-a-minute (actually, that’s probably slightly underestimated), high action movie that entertains from credits to credits.
The 2016 Nerdie Award for Most Excellent Movie Goes To…
Captain America: Civil War. Jason totally called it. Civil War did so many things right…its difficult to give it due justice in just a couple of paragraphs. But the good news is that I really don’t have to.
If you’re a nerd, there is simply no way you missed Civil War. None. Even if you went to the theater just to see superheroes beating up on other superheroes, you were the beneficiary of so much more:
- The introduction of not one…but two(!) new characters to the Marvel cinematic universe in Spider-man and Black Panther – both of whom will have their own solo movies (and likely sequels and other appearances) in the future.
- Solid comedy (that little head nod from Falcon and Winter Soldier in the car, amiright?!), great action, and well-designed drama outside of any costumed encounter. Whether the cast were in or out of their suits, the movie was extremely entertaining.
- A movie that highlighted – heck, was built upon a foundation of – super hero consequences in a way that hadn’t ever really been done before.
- One killer ending that leaves us guessing and gossiping like giddy schoolchildren about what’s next for these characters in the MCU.
Civil War is a champ from top to bottom and easily ran away with the votes – and rightly so. If it had come up second to any of the other absolutely noteworthy contenders, I might have vetoed the results and written it up as the winner anyway.
If I were a needlessly entitled nerd, I would remark that it is the superhero movie we all deserve. But we didn’t earn Civil War; it was just 2016’s unwarranted and beloved gift to us all.
But 2017 is right around the corner, and its offerings hold a lot of promise as well.
What a great time to be a nerd.