Skip to main content

In Silence, Andrew Garfield, left, finds a transcendent beauty toward the end of his agony of torture in 17th-century Japan.

For film lovers, December can be spent in one of two ways: Catching up on all the awards bait you can until the sight of a popcorn tub provokes instant nausea, or reliving the year in film by making unexpected (perhaps far-fetched) connections between everything the multiplex has to offer. To explore the latter option, The Globe and Mail presents its second annual roundup of the most unexpected fads gleaned from a year spent in the dark.

Best Andrew Garfield suffering: In his epic and challenging drama Silence, director Martin Scorsese puts his cast through the wringer, with pretty boys Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver playing Jesuit missionaries enduring torture in 17th-century Japan. It's hard to say who gets the worst of it – Driver looks especially emaciated – but Garfield does find a transcendent beauty toward the end of his agony.

Worst Andrew Garfield suffering: Whatever you think of Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge – is it a thoughtful exploration of war, or a hokey gore-fest? – it's safe to say Garfield is pushed to his breaking point as a Second World War medic thrust into battle. But let's be clear: Gibson is no Scorsese.

Best mom: In the tear-jerker drama Lion, Nicole Kidman delivers her greatest performance in years as a big-hearted, but multilayered foster mother to two orphaned Indian boys. It's not the to-the-rafters role you might expect and Kidman handles it perfectly.

Bad mom: Everyone who starred in Bad Moms, because they weren't truly "bad," in the subversive sense, only a wee bit mischievous.

Worst mom: The entire cast of Mother's Day. (Sorry, even the death of director Garry Marshall can't save the reputation of his crass, thoughtless dramedy.)

Most plot device-y mom: Poor ol' Martha Kent (played by Diane Lane) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. To reduce a wonderful performer such as Lane to becoming one of the most ridiculous plot devices in recent memory is a crime worthy of Lex Luthor. Which I guess was the point? Regardless, it was irredeemably silly.

Worst use of Anna Kendrick (six-way tie): With roles in The Accountant, Get a Job, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Trolls, The Hollars and Mr. Right, it's clear the always charming and talented Anna Kendrick is a workaholic. Now, she just needs to learn how to embrace the year of saying "no."

Best in show: A tie between the pup from Todd Solondz's wonderfully dark Wiener-Dog, the enormously cute kitten of Keanu and the cat from Elle, which acted indifferent to everyone and everything surrounding it (so, basically, like a cat).

Worst in show: Black Phillip, the goat from The Witch. Or, more accurately, the Satan-possessed goat from The Witch. Truth be told, he made evil look mighty appealing.

Best Hemsworth brother: Chris in the much-maligned reboot of Ghostbusters. Leaving aside the misogynists who cowered in fear at the mere sight of female ghostbusters, Chris Hemsworth's delightfully odd performance as a doofus secretary should be appreciated by every man, woman and child on this earthly plane.

Worst Hemsworth brother: Liam in the execrable Independence Day: Resurgence. Of all the film's unbelievable qualities – and there are many – it was Liam Hemsworth's turn as a hot-shot pilot that felt the most insincere and, well, alien.

And the other Hemsworth brother: Hey, there's a third! His name is Luke Hemsworth and he was decent as the head of security in HBO's Westworld. (Not a movie, true, but please don't ruin this joke for me.)