A huge amount of money and effort goes into marketing a movie, but there is no element more important than its trailer. Those first few moments of a movie share with audiences why they should care -- what about the film, from its cast to its tone to its atmosphere, should make them spend their cold, hard cash on a ticket. Trailers are, for all their cliched flaws (ubiquitous Inception-style horns; giving too much plot away), the initial glimpse the filmmakers share with us, and that can be a great thing.
It can, of course, also be a goddamn awful thing. So let's take a look back at this year's best and worst movie trailers -- five each, in no particular order. Perhaps you already forgot some of these awful movies. LET ME REMIND YOU. We can all suffer together! Isn't that what 2016 has been about?
WORST TRAILERS OF THE YEAR
+ Gods of Egypt
What the fuck is this garbage, Alex Proyas? How did the genius behind The Crow and Dark City become responsible for this hot ass? Oh, all the GODS OF EGYPT are actually white? THAT'S COOL. (Note: not actually cool.)
+ Alice Through the Looking Glass
This trailer provides no compelling reason for why I should give any fucks about this Alice in Wonderland sequel that nobody asked for except for Johnny Depp, who probably needed the cash to buy another private island. Because that's what our amusement with Depp's Jack Sparrow has allowed for him to do: buy private islands and phone in lazy performances like this one, Sparrow's second stab at the breakdancing Mad Hatter. Hard pass.
+ Independence Day: Resurgence
Things were looking so bad for the box office returns of Independence Day: Resurgence that the studio finally released this nearly 5-minute trailer to generate interest, but that didn't really work out for them, did it? This whole thing just looks so low-budget (even though it wasn't) and so exhaustingly uncreative (which it was). Audiences stayed away, and based on this desperate, ridiculous trailer, you can understand why.
+ Patriots Day
Are we supposed to cheer when Supergirl in a headscarf is told that she doesn't have any rights? Because that's some fucked up shit for Peter Berg, even in his late-in-life masturbatory nationalistic phase.
+ Mother's Day
Sandy is a single mom! Bradley is Mr. Mom! Jesse never sees her mom! Kristin never met her mom! Our movie is so terrible that we have to give audiences these incredibly superficial descriptions of our pathetic characters, all of whom are rich white people, because that's who we want to see our movie anyway! If you don't want to barf after that narration, I would like for you to reconsider all of your life choices up to this point. Clearly you have an extremely high tolerance for pain that I think in this instance has served you poorly.
BEST TRAILERS OF THE YEAR
+ Captain America: Civil War
"You don't give up." Marvel has something amazing going on with their Captain America standalone movies, and the trailer for Civil War distilled everything that is great about this narrative in particular. The relationship between Steve and Bucky, which we've seen grow over two films and which is Captain America's primary moral quandary; the increasing rift between him and Tony Stark's Iron Man; and the teases of Black Panther and Spider-Man, two characters that Marvel fans are excited to see join this cinematic universe -- it all worked together to pique interest for Civil War without giving the whole thing away. A well-done trailer for one of Marvel's best films to date.
+ The Nice Guys
Shane Black's The Nice Guys was one of the most underrated movies of the year, and I still don't quite understand why. This trailer captured the weird, zany, wonderful chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe; showed off the nicely detailed '70s atmosphere; and gave us a sense of Black's uniquely black comedic style, the kind of writing that elevated Black's previous films, like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3. Why didn't more people see this movie? Shame on you.
+ Suicide Squad
One of the best trailers of the year is for one of the year's worst movies. Set to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," this thing is a triumph of film editing, but now we know these were the best moments of a movie that had woefully few of them. Maybe Suicide Squad should have just been a trailer. That would have been the shit rather than, you know, just plain old shit.
The Miracle on the Hudson was a major news story, so Sully had a challenge: How to make people interested in a narrative that they may think they already know? The key is in putting us there -- not just on the Hudson, but in the mind of the man, and this trailer hammers that home. The Sully trailer zeroes in on Tom Hanks and banks on our years of affection for and trust in him, and through his steadfastness generates our interest. Sully was a low-key hit earlier this year for both Hanks and director Clint Eastwood, and this smartly executed marketing campaign couldn't have hurt.
+ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
To be fair, the version of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is not the version that existed when this first trailer was made, and it probably changed even more during the course of reshoots and subsequent trailers that were released in following months. But it's this initial trailer that successfully introduces us to the roguishness of Jyn Erso; to the foreboding image of Ben Mendelsohn in that stark white Imperial cape; to the diverse cast we need right now; and to the commitment Rogue One had to truly being a war movie, in a way different from the previous films in this universe. I will forever be sad that Forest Whitaker's excellent lines from this trailer -- "What will you do when they catch you? What will you do when they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?" -- didn't make it to the final version of the film, but the whole vibe of Rogue One is perfectly shared with us in this first trailer. The "Star Wars Story" may have changed, but from the beginning, it looked pretty goddamn great.