2016 in [Big Picture] Review


Editor-in-Chief Lee breaks down Big Picture Review’s year with extraneous stats, lists and data; the perfect way to end the year.


What a crazy, rockin’ rollercoaster this year has been for film and ourselves.

While we’re all doing our fun little recaps, it’s good to remember that Big Picture Reviews is something of a collaborative effort, and unbeknownst to our readers, we’ve been keeping track of all the films we’ve covered in 2016. Because nothing screams fun and unprofessional like data collection!

The team, in its varying shapes, have managed to cover 86 separate movies since our start in late April (not counting films that came out in previous years), and the score and review breakdown looks a little like this:

Click here to Download “The Year End List 2016”, a sexy Excel spreadsheet full of review figures and data and the like

Now if checking data sheets isn’t your forte and you prefer the more hands-on ‘informative’ type of breakdown, here’s a preface before we get factual on you:

  • Our scoring algorithm (as devised by Shane) is a range of ten or nine points for each score. Example: A+ = 90-100, B = 50-59, F= 0-9, etc.
    Each score an individual critic gives = a middle grade, example: A+ = 95, B = 55, etc.
    The score when two critics review the same movie is an average of the grades.
    The score when three or more critics review a movie varies, but giving that anything over 50 is positive and anything below is negative, the score will tilt in favour of the scale the majority of critics vote in. For example, if three critics gave a film an A+, the score would elevate to 100 rather than the average of 95. In reverse, three F grades would give a zero rather than a 5.
    In practice, we never had more than three critics watch the same movie, and at time of initial planning never foresaw having more than three critics, so that algorithm has yet to be finalised. Also, I’m summarising because I didn’t actually write the thing; the particulars I’m sure are just as fascinating.
  • It’s hard to believe, but we went to this much detail for “fun”. As continually stated, grades are for contextualisation (whatever you choose that to mean) and entertainment, and have no inherent meaning, let alone comparative meaning really. But they’re fun to use and fun to read into, so have fun reading them but don’t try and take them too seriously.
  • If you look at the sheet, you’ll see films with the same grade are sort of lumped together in a seemingly haphazard, meaningless order. That’s because it’s a haphazard, meaningless order.
  • You might be tempted to think I was more generous than every other critic; do keep in mind I saw just over four times as many films as our next most prominent critic (Darren), so it’s bound to look like that. Plus, maybe it was just a good year?
  • I like all the maths, but I’m not necessarily great at it. Excuse slights, be cool.
  • Documentaries aren’t scored, and so are listed at the bottom to keep them out of the way of the scoring as well as keep a tally of who seen what. No other reason, we are not saying documentaries are worthless (especially when at least one we saw is probably the most important film of the year) so don’t read too much into it.

So, let’s break this down into some handy, Darren-esque award categories, starting with:


Big Picture Reviews Top 10 Most Agreed Upon Movies

The following are the top 10 films, as rated by two or more critics. An * indicates three critics, the rest will be two.

Tied First: Kubo and the Two Strings and Zootropolis

Third: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Fourth: X-Men Apocalypse*

Tied Fifth: Moana and Arrival

Seventh: The Jungle Book

Eighth: Bad Neighbours 2*

Ninth: Deadpool

Tied Tenth: Eddie the Eagle, The Accountant and Doctor Strange

So, what does this data tell us, really?

Well, for one, it doesn’t matter how middling your general reviews are; it will be pulled up if you add a third critic into the mix. Maybe not so much the case for X-Men, which did fairly well across the board, but Bad Neighbours 2 got a B, a B+ (hardly remarkable grades) and an A which pulled the whole thing up.

Another take is, generally, bigger films will draw more of our critics. Easier to schedule and arrange, longer times in theatres make tag-in reviews more likely and so, as was the case with most of the releases in 2016, there’s quite a lot of Disney in there.


Big Picture Reviews Top 10 Triple Threat Movies

Here are the movies more than three critics wrote reviews for, ranked.

  1. X-Men Apocalypse
  2. Bad Neighbours 2
  3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  4. Captain America: Civil War
  5. Ghostbusters

Ok, so we didn’t actually make it to ten movies. I know for a fact that there were more potential three-person reviews: Shane saw Zootropolis and The Jungle Book, Lawrence saw Batman v Superman, Maria saw Moana and I’m sure Darren seen most of those as well at some point. We just didn’t get the reviews in anywhere near relevancy.

Analysis: Big films bring more people, same as before.


Big Picture Reviews Top 10 Movies of 2016

Alright, no holds barred. Raw data, what’s the top 10 look like, individual scores included?

Tied First: Sing Street, When Marnie Was There, Nocturnal Animals, Room

Tied Fifth: Kubo and the Two Strings and Zootropolis

Tied Eighth: Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Captain Fantastic, The Witch, The Nice Guys, Midnight Special, The Neon Demon, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Swiss Army Man, Rams, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and The Innocents.

So, basically anything with an ‘A’, except those dragged down by other critics’ more middling scores, managed to scrape into the “Top 10”.

Mostly based on my own scores, as to be expected by sheer volume, there’s still tentatively speaking a nice blend of genres, tones and budgets in there to seem semi-respectable.


Big Picture Reviews Documentaries of 2016

Unranked due to no score, here are the documentaries we saw this year.

That’s a paltry four; two about well-established bands. We’ll try better in 2017.

The figure does kind of get bumped up one with Darren’s scoring of I, Daniel Blake, which received an “N/A” for being too real.


Big Picture Reviews Top 10 Worst Films of 2016

What good is a top scale without its bottom? Here are the ten worst films reviewed by our critics in 2016.

Tied First: Inferno and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Tied Third: The Angry Birds Movie and The Boss

Tied Fifth: Gods of Egypt, The Revenant, The Infiltrator, The Magnificent Seven, Batman: The Killing Joke, Ben-Hur, Bad Moms and A Hologram for the King

Another impeccable example of the flawless nature of our grading system. Honestly, this thing will pan out next year with more critics on board, as well as more films being seen. Hopefully.

This is, realistically, why we do our own separate lists as well; to show that group data really isn’t very specific or useful even if used for “fun”.

Any correlations? Well, Maria is the only critic to give an F to a 2016 movie, and to double down on the honour, she did so twice. Unfortunately for both films, I didn’t fancy them either, and so couldn’t pull them up with a C-; thus our tied bottom two.

Big Picture Reviews Presents: Extraneous Data and Tidbits

Finally, some lesser notes.

  • In his short tenure with the site, Alex reviewed two movies: Sausage Party and Lights Out. Lights Out would remain the site’s only flat-out horror review until December, when I reviewed The Witch. Unless you count body-horror Evolution, also reviewed in December. Or The Girl with All The Gifts in the summer, I suppose, though it wasn’t angled as a horror film; more as a slow-burn film about evolution and society’s contradictory expectations, with zombies.
  • We need to review more horror movies in 2017.
  • Also documentaries, as previously noted.
  • Minus myself, the other critics wrote 46 reviews total, just shy of my 71. They’ll do better next year, definitely.
  • Our highest rated superhero movie was Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, a very pointedly, obvious fan movie for fans.
  • Batman, the character, appeared in four separate films we reviewed this year: Batman v Superman, Return of the Caped Crusaders, The Killing Joke and Suicide Squad. Batman has a superhero movie fatigue all to himself.
  • On the whole, we’ve been rather positive this year. The most frequent grade given is a B+, equivalent to that most boring of fractions, 7/10. Ultimately a positive grade however, given 22 times. Second most frequent: A, with 20 uses. Essentially 9/10. Very generous review site, we.

The rest you can make of what you will; there’s lots there if you’re that kind of person. 2017 will see a few shake-ups to our contributors, but the system will remain largely the same in all likelihood, so book up!

Thank you for supporting Big Picture Reviews with your viewership, and hopefully you’ll continue to support us in the new year.

Also thanks for reading this irrelevant nonsense.


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