Counting down to our Year in Review issue, we present our picks in a variety of genres, wrapping up on December 27 with the year’s worst movies.

This time tomorrow: the year’s best human-interest documentary.

  • It’s Such a Beautiful Day

It’s Such a Beautiful Day Don Hertzfeldt’s completed trilogy—collecting his shorts Everything Will Be OK (2006), I Am So Proud of You (2008), and It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2011)—made its Chicago premiere at Music Box this year, and it easily ranks among the best animation features of the new century. Stick-figure drawings, live-action footage, and psychedelic optical effects combine to tell the story of a meek everyman whose life-threatening illness brings him face to face with eternity. The voice-over narration, a first for Hertzfeldt, lays bare the aching emotion and philosophical yearning behind his gruesome, pitch-black humor. —J.R. Jones