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January 2, 2017

The Fantastic Narratives of 2016

Our yearly roundup of the very best--and very worst-- in storytelling from the previous year.

In addition to the weekly articles we write on story structure, we also publish detailed Dramatica analysis of film—both great and awful. As mentioned in last year’s blog post The Difference Between Structure and Entertainment, we break out the film’s analysis into two different categories, Structure and Entertainment, and rate these on a scale from 1 to 5—with one signifying horrendous and five marking a rating of fantastic.

Today we release The Very Best and Worst of 2016.

Films with a rating of five for both Structure and Entertainment should be considered must-sees for the consumate story lover. Those with a rating of one or zero in both should be forgotten and ignored as soon as possible.

High markings in Entertainment but low in Structure often signify an enjoyable fun ride with little intelligence behind it. High markings in Structure but low in Entertainment simply don’t exist—a great Structured story is a great film.

The Amazingly Fantastic Films of 2016

Out of the 31 films we analyzed over the past year, these seven stand out as the absolute best:

Fantastic Films of 2016

No surprise that animation features twice in this roundup; with a process that involves years and years of collaboration and pushing writers and story teams to deliver the very best in narrative both Inside Out and Zootopia grab top honors in both Structure and Entertainment.

The Dark Horse surprised us, as did Beasts of No Nation. If you haven’t seen these, make sure you do—you won’t be disappointed.

The Fun But Broken Films of 2016

Our second category features those films that score high in Entertainment but a big goose egg in terms of Structure. Melanie is right—people don’t go to to movies to witness “perfect” structure. However, if a film lacks basic narrative cohesion it quickly becomes forgettable and akin to an amusement park ride.

Fun But Broken Films of 2016

The Revenant will keep you scared of bears forever. The Big Short will make you hate banks forever. And Trolls will keep you dancing and smiling long after you have completely forgotten what the story was about.

The outlier here is Hell or High Water. Many found the film complete and effective. We personally felt dissonance between the Main and Influence Character’s Resolves. You might want to check this film out and let us know what you think.

Avoid At All Costs

Interestingly enough the “Avoid At All Costs” category, which signifies a zero or one rating in both Structure and Entertainment, stands completely empty. As this was our first year devoting 100% of our time to Narrative First, you can well understand the decision to choose critically acclaimed or most-likely critically acclaimed films to analyze.

Watching a 0/0 can be a painful experience. Visit our Analysis Showcase for a listing of films to avoid at all costs since 2006.

2017

In the following year we plan on analyzing even more films and perhaps adding a season or two of some popular television series (Westworld for sure!). In addition we will report on those films analyzed at the monthly Dramatica Users Group meetings. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

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