What I watched, read and listened to in 2016

Miscellania of the year:

Stuff I watched, listened to, discovered, etc. but not necessarily all at once or in one sitting and other thoughts:

Casey Neistat daily vlogs: I discovered this about 4 months prior to him halting his daily vlog. He elevated youtubing and daily vlogging to an art. Definitely worth checking out. There’s no other daily vlog worth watching in comparison. 

Random Podcasts: There were a lot of podcasts that I would listen to over several days including B.E.E., Inside Acting, Scriptnotes, Writers Panel, On the Page. All are film and filmmaking related podcasts. 

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: I would often watch this in fits and spurts over several nights before bed. 

Film Video Essays: There are some great ones out there like Now You See It, Channel Criswell, Movies with Mikey. All on Youtube. 

Surprising things I missed this year: I still haven’t heard the latest Radiohead album. They’re my favorite band of all time and it has been out for almost 9 months. Sometimes things like this just happen. I will listen to it eventually. I really want to see Moonlight and Nocturnal Animals. I’m surprised I’ve yet to see those two. There are other Awards season movies from the end of the year that I have yet to see that I’m sure I will in the first few weeks of 2017. Man in the High Castle, House of Cards Season 4, the OA, and other prestige shows I feel as if I should have seen by now are big with me. 

Werner Herzog: It would be dishonest if I didn’t say this was the year of Herzog for me. I watched 18 of his films, many for the first time, some multiple times mostly in preparation for and as a result of my attendance at Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School. I also read his book Conquest of the Useless (which every Rogue receives as a part of attending) and watched two documentaries on him including Burden of Dreams. He had two major documentaries come out this year that are both must sees and presently on Netflix. I recommend both, but I’m obviously a fan. 

Favorite Television Shows of 2016: 10. Supergirl/The Flash/Arrow/DC’s Legends of Tomorrow 9. This Is Us 8. Crazy Ex Girlfriend 7. Luke Cage 6. Mr. Robot 5. Westworld 4. Silicon Valley 3. Game of Thrones  2. Veep  1. Better Call Saul

Season 2 of Better Call Saul was exquisitely sublime this year. Bob Odenkirk is doing the best work of his life. 10 months later I am still thinking about small moments with Jimmy and Kim that give me deep feelings of melancholy knowing where Jimmy winds up in 2008 on Breaking Bad. I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this show in general because it lives up to and in many ways exceeds its predecessor. 

It must be stated that Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an American treasure. She is amazing as Selena Meyer. 

Favorite Movies of 2016 that I have seen as of 12/31/16: 10. Zootopia 9. Sour Grapes 8. Hell or High Water 7. Into the Inferno 6. The Meddler 5. Holy Hell 4. Arrival 3. Blue Jay 2. Green Room 1. The Invitation


The Invitation and Green Room are movies that have stuck with me longer than I expected they would going into it. Green Room gave me a nightmare the night of watching it, which hasn’t happened from a movie in a long time. 

I have to add that I really enjoyed Rogue One. The last 4 minutes of the film had me laughing with joy to the point it was distracting Mallory. I just am not sure that it is in my top ten. Definitely in my top 15. I’m also sure it is a movie I’ll see more in my life than any of the ten on this list. 

Along with Rogue One there were only three good blockbuster movies this year. Captain America: Civil War and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Dr. Strange was fun but not necessarily as memorable as some of the others. 

There are still so many movies from this year that I need to see. 

2017: I want to make a feature length film in 2017. I have been working with some people on making one for the last year and a half but that is taking more time than we all hoped. It’s a process to get a major feature length, narrative film funded and rolling, but we will do it. In the meantime I am beginning to see the need to make a microbudget feature and see where that can take us. If things work out this will be something that can be made on the weekends and with friends. Hopefully that will help get the other feature off the ground and rolling. 

I plan to continue keeping track of all the material I consume in 2017, but I hope it’s a little bit less because I will be making more films. I also want to write more in general. I’m disappointed with my writing output thus far and I feel as though I need to push myself further on that front. 

I look forward to the next Star Wars movie as well as several others including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Alien Covenant. I also can’t wait to see all sorts of indie features that don’t often get theatrical play here. We’ll see what the future brings.

Justin Nickels to be on Panel at El Dorado Film Festival

Justin will be on a panel on film festival programming at the El Dorado Film Festival on Saturday September 19th at 4:45. Here's the info from the festival:

Filmmaker Justin Nickels has been working with film festivals for over ten years and is the director of the Little Rock Picture Show and a programmer at the Little Rock Film Festival. Alexander Jeffery will discuss with him what filmmakers should know when submitting to festivals and what it takes to get your film noticed by programmers. Justin's film "The Dealer's Tale" is an official selection of El Dorado Film Festival. 

Justin Directing the Dealer's Tale