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The Best Films of 2016 (to Watch With Family During the Holidays)

Looking to avoid talking about anything controversial with the family this holiday season? Why not share one of 2016’s top films instead? After all, there’s something to watch with everyone!

Are all the kids up early? You cannot go wrong with either The Secret Life of Pets or Zootopia, but I lean Pets thanks to Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart. Are you struggling to come up with something cool enough for the hip brother-in-law who loved “Stranger Things?” Look no further than Jeff Nichols’ nostalgia-fueled Midnight Special; trust me, he will love it, and you will earn some serious brownie points if he has not seen it. 

What will you and your uncle, who fancies himself a standup comic and has never missed an episode of “SNL,” simultaneously find funny? Mike Birbiglia’s debut feature, Don’t Think Twice, should turn over both your tickle boxes. Nothing in common with your high-school age “oops” brother? Try Green Room. He will find it cool and violent. Plus, its neo-Nazi baddies are quite topical! Maybe you can singlehandedly forestall his radicalization at the online hands of the alt-right. 

Dad will love Jeff Bridges’ reprisal of Rooster Cogburn and Bad Blake in the modern Western-cum-heist movie Hell or High Water. Stick it out when mom (or grandma) puts on Florence Foster Jenkins; Meryl Streep is like catnip to that demographic, but it is a worthy follow-up to Stephen Frears’ excellent The Queen and Philomena. 

What about that early-afternoon dead time when all, including the kids, are gathered around the TV? The new Pete’s Dragon has the feels for everyone; stock up on tissue. Are the kids snug in bed, and you need a crowd-pleaser for the teen-to-adult set? The harmonious Sing Street, from Once filmmaker John Carney, will have the whole family singing along. You can also try Hunt for the Wilderpeople for its quirky Kiwi hilarity. Try both if you have the time. Is everyone finally asleep but you? It’s time for The Witch. Tell Black Phillip hello for me.