How do you whittle down 365 days of movies into a small set of recommendations? By watching way, way, way too many movies.
All year long, our movie critic Matt Patches has been cataloging and ranking the best movies of 2016 -- acting as your weekly guide through the confusing maze of choices so that you will always have something new to see. For that still-growing list of absolute winners, he found gems big and small, dramatic and comedic, action-filled and introspective, American-made and imported -- and he had to be picky, which led to loss of sleep over whether X comic-book movie or Y biopic was good enough for the list.
Now we want to narrow the count by focusing only on major releases -- the movies that played on at least 2,000 theaters across the country. While this means you won't find Thrillist-approved treasures like Hell or High Water, Swiss Army Man, Green Room, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, or Everybody Wants Some!! here, you will find the 11 big releases that made going to the local megaplex worthwhile.