While 2016 might have been a challenging year for some of the year’s bigger productions, it was a great year for smaller films that took on big ideas.

10) “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”

A fun and charming comedy that is endlessly entertaining.

9) “10 Cloverfield Lane”

Fantastic sound design and tense pacing aside, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman carry this claustrophobic thriller effortlessly.

8) “Green Room”

While this intense thriller is not for the faint of heart, the brutality and strong performances from Sir Patrick Stewart and the late Anton Yelchin give this film a distinct attitude.

7) “Kubo and the Two Strings”

Laika proved that stop-motion animation can tell epic stories for all ages, as well as not getting itself distracted with trying to sell merchandise.

6 ) “Manchester by the Sea”

A powerful drama with an honest and heartbreaking performance by Casey Affleck.

5) “The Nice Guys”

Shane Black wrote and directed yet another great entry in the buddy cop genre he helped define, featuring hilarious chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe.

4) “Moonlight”

A simple story elevated by the fantastic performances from its ensemble cast and artistically bold direction.

3) “La La Land”

A great throwback to classic Hollywood musicals that never gets lost with its style and doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of pursuing your dreams.

2) “Hell or High Water”

A modern western-heist film that fully develops its cops and “crooks.”

1) “Arrival”

An eye-opening sci-fi film that doesn’t rely on tired Hollywood clichés, thanks to a brilliant script and direction, with a career-defining performance by Amy Adams.

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