The Movies of 2017: Some Sort of List

Hello hello! I have returned intact from the ~Bomb Cyclone~ that is the northern NJ/NYC area, and I’m here to yap about some damn movies from 2017. Spoilers ahoy, so don’t bunch your undies. AND NOW, in no particular order..

THE GOOD;

  • The Shape of Water. WOW. Wow. This movie is the epitome of gorgeous, and it rattled me to my core. Real chuffed that Del Toro went out of his way to ensure the creature was both beautiful and mysterious, and specifically had a great ass to boot. Michael Shannon is the ultimate creeper, Sally Hawkins is incredible, Octavia Spencer is wonderful, the Dan Clowes character neighbour and his cats, the colours and the music and the vibe.. it’s all gangbusters. Intensely romantic, this movie elevates all of those warm feelings of falling for someone and feeling close. I had an existential crisis all day after seeing it. Am I really close with anyone? Fuck, movie. Doctor fucking shitbird. Did I stutter?
  • Atomic Blonde. The marketing for this flick did it real dirty, it’s a fun stylish romp and Charlize Theron and James McAvoy rule. Killer music, great action scenes, and just enough depth to be gripping. Aces.
  • Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. YUP, I fucking loved this movie. It’s polarising, but I love that Rian Johnson took the story and turned it on its head. Star Wars is such a vast universe, it’s time to branch out, and there’s nothing I love more than subverting fanboy expectations. Kylo Ren is the most intriguing character in this franchise, and Adam Driver knocks it outta the park (that hysterical legoman shirtless scene.. some drunk bro next to me said WHY HE NUDE out loud in the theatre and I lost all of my shit). Force Skyping, Luke all outta fucks to give, Yoda burning it all down.. that said, the movie is far from perfect, and that Monte Carlo planet scene could’ve been axed in half easily, but the character moments are on point; I was legit weeping into my soda cup of booze during that scene with Luke and Leia. Hope the next installment is a little cleaner plot-wise, with no vaguely goofy Mary Poppins shit. Fuck lump-ass Snoke. And hey, there’s some weird-ass titties in this movie. And 19 seconds of Justin Theroux..
  • Blade Runner 2049. Hardboiled noir retro future. Visually incredible, with so much more feeling than the original. Real chuffed there wasn’t a shred of fanservicey garbage, and how wonderfully it turns that Chosen One trope on its head. Wowie. Fantastic performances, great music, excellent worldbuilding. Tick them boxes.
  • Logan Lucky. Oh now THIS is a delight. Daniel Craig steals the show. Fun heist flick with just enough backstory to make the characters believable and genuine. Snappy and fun.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes. Good lord, this is a great movie. An incredible capstone to a solid trilogy, heartbreaking and enthralling all at once. The ape characters are so relatable and sympathetic, I cried a whoooole lot. I did laugh out loud when Woody Harrelson actually says “THIS WILL TRULY BE A PLANET.. OF APES” because it’s just so damned awkward.
  • Lemon. This movie is an intensely bizarre, awkward, mystical journey. It’s very enjoyable, though sad and darkly hilarious. Watching a grown-ass human man drink milk from a glass will never not be upsetting.. and why so many matzoh balls? That song alone was worth the price of admission.
  • Wonder Woman. FUUUUUUUCK YEAH.
  • American Made. Too much money problems.
  • Ingrid Goes West. Absolutely fucking frightening. This movie highlights everything I find to be both insidious and exhausting about Social Media Influencer Culture(TM), and Aubrey Plaza just knocks it outta the park. Fantastic caricature of everything that’s fucking ridiculous about LA.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming. MY WIG HAS BEEN SNATCHED. What a delight! Queens actually looks like Queens! Kids who look and act like high schoolers! A Birdman that wasn’t a pretentious intolerable nightmare! Consequences for past actions! Spidey outside of a city! Aces all around. Tom Holland can get it.
  • Girlfriend’s Day. Bob Odenkirk is just the best. This movie escalates quickly, gets real weird. I dig it.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I love that the core mystery is left ambiguous, and the characters are left swimming in its wake. Excellent performances. Sam Rockwell does not dance, but he enthusiastically listens to headphones. That final scene with McDormand and Rockwell is so nuanced and unexpected, it’s just perfect; I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Loved this movie.
  • Get Out. Genuinely creepy, darkly funny, a ton of depth, exceedingly well written. Easily one of the best of the year.
  • Lady Bird. I liked this movie a whole lot, though I don’t necessarily feel as strongly about it as everyone else. It’s a solid flick about the fraught relationship between a mother and daughter, super tricky senior year of high school shit, first time ~having sex~, etc etc. I never knew I needed a period piece set in 2002/2003, but here we are. Very nostalgic for my own recent history.
  • Split. Oh man, now that M Night is just having fun with his ideas (i.e. The Visit) his movies are a WHOLE lot of fun. McAvoy is so damned great in this role, it’s a wild fucking ride.
  • John Wick: Chapter 2. Ballistic and ridiculous, this movie is a whole lot of fucking fun. Great followup to the first, engaging and crazy. Keanu Reeves is just the bee’s knees.
  • The Fate of the Furious. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.. these fucking movies are America’s Bollywood. #FAMILY
  • Baby Driver. That lead kid has the charisma of a potato, but this movie works otherwise. Might be the movie that made me finally dig Edgar Wright. Fantastic thoughtful editing, killer soundtrack, great cast. Rugged dickbag neck tattoo Jon Hamm is a plus.

THE BLAND;

  • Thor: Ragnarok. Man, this humour just does not work for me. Want a really effective way to hose any real character moments that could lend some much needed levity to a story? Tack weird flighty mumbled jokes on the end of every fucking sentence. It’s enough already. But hey, Goldblum is fantastic and entertaining, and the soundtrack is a total banger.. and at least they finally made a Thor movie that isn’t a snooze. Mad points for Mark Ruffalo Hulk too.
  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Look, this movie is entertaining as shit; everyone knows what movie they’re in which is what makes it work; Samuel L Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are great together. It’ll be fun to watch on cable down the line I think. Plot’s a damn mess, there’s some fucking awful CGI, yet it remains charming.
  • Fist Fight. Pretty funny, not great. Charlie Day is wonderful to watch as always, jokes didn’t always land but it was entertaining at the very least. Eh! Good to catch on cable. Ice Cube plays Ice Cube and Charlie Day plays Charlie Day, shit goes down. End movie.
  • Suburbicon. Yikes on bikes, was THIS mismarketed. I was actually very #blessed to attend the LA premiere of this flick in my neighbourhood, and .. it was Not Great. I love the Coens, I like the style of the movie and the cast was wonderful, but the story is very flat and not at all in tune with how it was advertised. Needed way more Oscar Isaac than we were granted.
  • Logan. You know, generally I really dug this movie. It’s devastating and gritty. The third act sort of shits the bed, but overall it’s pretty solid. More road trip adventures with Logan and Xavier, please. And the Soul Glo guy is in it!
  • Kong: Skull Island. Speaking of third act issues, this movie finally gets its shit together around the third act. Kong himself looks boss, but the movie is a mess that takes itself too seriously. Brie Larson’s hair kept fucking changing colours, Hiddleston has a dope-ass swordfighting scene but is otherwise kind of a non-character, and John C Reilly is the only guy who knows what movie he’s in. Eh.
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Mm, just sort of a mess. No terrible buttsex joke at the end but there’s some pretty awful fingerblasting. It’s still a fun movie and I was entertained, but Channing Tatum really needed more to do– I feel like he was wasted. There’s a whole lot of Elton John in there too for god knows what reason. I went to a dope event at San Diego Comic Con over the summer with a pile of free booze and burgers, so it gets some points for good marketing there.. and speaking of which, this movie really made me want some bourbon.
  • The Mummy. This is a Very Bad Movie, yet it hits that sweet spot of being equal parts bafflingly atrocious and incredibly entertaining. Universal is really trying to make their monster movies happen. You ever want to see Russell Crowe play drunk Bob Hoskins dialled up to 11? This is your movie. Worth streaming after a couple of cocktails. It’s some real dumb shit.
  • Life. Love me some Jake Gyllenhaal, but killing Ryan Reynolds so soon into the flick was a terrible choice. This movie is like a dollar store version of Alien.
  • Battle of the Sexes. Meh, sort of very Movie(TM). Great performances from Emma Stone and Steve Carrell, but the movie itself is pretty bland. Shut up, men.
  • The Founder. Not great. Keaton is wonderful, but the lady characters are all essentially decor. Weirdly paced, though it did make me want to eat a Quarter Pounder pretty much immediately.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Fun, though the first half of the movie isn’t great. I feel like it would’ve really benefitted from an R rating, the script badly needed a kick in the pants. I’m tired of the whole ‘humour undercutting actual serious moments’ thing that’s trendy, though the first of this series literally invented that shit. Again, the only franchise in which I don’t find Chris Pratt intolerable. Good music!
  • Alien: Covenant. Aside from a real great 80s-esque horror shower scene, this movie is just sorta .. eh. It’s pretty classically creepy, and at least an improvement on the forgettable Prometheus. Daddy issues on steroids.. Fassbender is hot as hell, though. Genuinely OK overall.
  • Molly’s Game. Sorkin seemed a little off his usual in this one, and you can tell it’s a directorial debut; it’s pretty heavy handed and clunky at times. Good flick, not great, kind of a by-the-numbers story that was missing that something deeper to make me give more of a fuck.
  • The House. This is.. fine? Pretty OK, decent amount of laughs. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler have great comedic chemistry which helps the movie significantly, and Jason Mantzoukas is completely bizarre and very funny. Best watched with a couple of drinks, or on an airplane which is where I watched it.

THE CONFUSINGLY HORRENDOUS;

  • Collateral Beauty. Now, I know this technically came out Christmastime 2016, but i watched it at the start of 2017. JESUS CHRIST THIS IS A BAD FUCKING MOVIE. It’s mean, it’s manipulative warmly lit Manhattan trash marketed as a Feelgood Christmas Movie, AND it’s complete fucking nonsense. Why the fuck are so many great actors in this shitswamp? Some of the dialogue is so badly written I felt like I had brain damage. BAD, MOVIE. BAD.
  • The Circle. This movie could’ve been something more poignant, but the book ain’t great either so I guess it was always destined for mediocrity. Sorry this is the last movie you were in, Bill Paxton. And that kid from Boyhood sure is a shit actor, huh? Needed way more of Boyega’s light. At least it didn’t pull from the intensely uncomfortable sex scenes in the book where the word PENIS was used in an actual sexual context. N O P E.
  • The Dark Tower. Fuck me, this is an awful movie. Not even Matthew McConaughey nor Idris Elba can save this steaming pile. McConaughey was covered in some sort of film, dewy and super moist; he also needed to be dialled up to 11 in order to give this movie even a slight touch of intrigue, but he’s weirdly subdued with a bad dyejob. What the fuck is his deal, anyway? He wants to further his aesthetic? Idris, why? What? MAGICKS
  • Gifted. I watched this on an airplane and barely made it an hour in before falling asleep. In a nutshell, it’s a Generic Chris Evans with Precocious Child and Tragic Backstory vehicle. But hey, there’s a one-eyed cat! Besides Evans’ jawline, that cat is the best part of this bland-ass movie.
  • Wilson. JESUS, come on. It could have been so good! Ticks the boxes– based on one of my favourite Dan Clowes graphic novels, Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern are great together, and yet it’s just SO SO SO AWFUL and borderline unwatchable, such a missed opportunity. Almost a feat with how bad it is, this flick is uncomfortable and tryhard AND just a fucking dumb mess. This movie is a quietly roaring dumpster fire sprinkled with a few funny, human moments that really work.. and the rest of it just burns out of control, long into the winter night. Fuck. They did you dirty, Wilson.

And that’s that. Thanks for reading! Here’s to more good shit in 2018.

The Movies of 2015: Tremendously Belated Edition

Getting married at the end of 2015 significantly hosed my schedule for a year of movies recap, so here’s my long overdue post that’s been sitting in some form as a draft for the last 3 months. Pardon the mess.

2015moviestubs

Look at all these dresses & tickets!

Spoliers ahoy, so quit yer whining. 2015 had some real gems, and some true trash. Enjoy!

FAUX AWARDS;

Delightful Holiday Romp: The Night Before.
Shockingly Violent and Fun: Kingsman: The Secret Service.
The Most Fucking Infuriating Movie of 2015: While We’re Young.
Most Fun Erotic Dancing: Magic Mike XXL.
Fun Superhero movie that wasn’t Stupid Gritty: Ant-Man.
Best Thriller featuring Jason Bateman as the DouchepocalypseThe Gift.
Best Use of a Soiled Adult Human Diaper: The Visit.

THE GOOD;

  • Spotlight. So happy this won Best Picture at the Oscars this year, holy hell. A really incredible story about a team of journalists unraveling systemic child abuse within the Catholic Church, set in Boston. Absolutely gripping, heartbreaking, and a must-see. Mark Ruffalo remains flawfree, and Michael Keaton has atoned for Birdman.
  • The Night Before. Didn’t have any expectations going into this, and it was wonderful. Fun comedy, good backstory, outrageous shit happens, there’s drugs, and it’s Christmas. I love Christmas.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This movie is pretty polarising, but I really enjoyed it. Adam Driver is a fucking revelation.. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac too. These characters are instant classics, and I am really excited to see what happens. The music, the vibe, all of it.. spot on. No Lucas CGI or garbage in sight. Is Snoke really just a tiny bug? Will Hux bust a forehead vein while screaming about how boss the First Order is? Has Luke just been JO’ing for the last 30 years on that Ireland planet???
  • The Martian. Probably my favourite movie of 2015. I saw this flick twice in one day because I’m a fucking maniac. Loved the book, loved the movie more. The soundtrack, Matt Damon carrying the whole damn thing, the science fiction end of it all.. just fantastic.
  • The End of the Tour. Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel star in a rare dramatic film for them both, centering on Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky interviewing David Foster Wallace post-Infinite Jest during his book tour. I can’t say enough positive things about this movie.. powerful performances, genuine character moments, and the dialogue in this flick is top notch which is no easy feat. Seriously worth seeing. I was lucky enough to see this at the San Francisco Film Festival!
  • Creed. Man, this movie is just wonderful. Michael B Jordan was seriously snubbed for his performance as Adonis. And Christ, is there anything sadder than seeing Rocky fucking Balboa being diagnosed with cancer?
  • The Big Short. Who knew Adam McKay could churn out something like this? Seriously one of my favourites. The book of the same name is incredibly dense and hard to get into, but the movie is just right. Bonus: Ryan Gosling’s spraytan explosion.
  • The Hateful Eight. Technically I saw this on New Year’s Day, but whatevs. Well worth the 70mm Roadshow half a day of viewing, this flick is just about everything you could ever want from a Tarantino western.
  • The Connection. Jean Dujardin stars in this French film based on the 1970s French Connection, as the police magistrate taking down a massive drug ring. Utterly and completely captivating.
  • Joy. I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would, but it’s definitely a solid movie. I’m a David O Russell fan, and Jennifer Lawrence knocked it out of the park. There’s absolutely charming writing/character moments and the soundtrack was spot on, but the pacing overall is a little off. The third act could have been fleshed out more for sure, but well worth a watch either way.

THE BLAND;

  • Bridge of Spies. This movie is neither great nor bad, it just is. I enjoyed it a lot, but it’s very much one of those Spielberg(TM) movies. This is not to say that the man isn’t magical, it was just a very by the numbers flick to me. Tom Hanks remains flawfree, however.
  • The Gambler. Saw it, forgot about it almost immediately. Loved Mark Wahlberg’s haircut.
  • Taken 3. Oy vey. It’s enough already.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Unpopular opinion, I know, but this movie did nothing for me. It felt like being blown out of a cannon at a million miles per hour, but that’s about it.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Besides the incredible costuming and period setting, this movie was a whole lot of nothing. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer are two gigantic brawny dudes who can barely fit into human man clothing, some shit blows up, and there’s a girl involved. Oh, and spy shit. I think.
  • Steve Jobs. Eh.

THE CONFUSINGLY HORRENDOUS;

  • Tomorrowland. Jesus, this is still disappointing to me. I followed the development of this flick for actual years. YEARS, Lindelof. Brad Bird, apparently some kind of nerd god, was supposed to make this into THE MOVIE. That one we’ve all been waiting for! And he’s got the writers from LOST too! Instead, it was just a steaming pile. I’ve got some more ranting about this movie for another post to come soon..
  • While We’re Young. Oh god, no. OK. This movie was presented as a hip 40something married couple living an interesting/eclectic life in NYC, and they meet younger friends. Suddenly friends their age had a baby and they wonder “wait, do we need to do that too??” (actual answer: NO). The main characters have a shaky marriage at best. Their friends yammer on about how fulfilling it all is or whatever as a baby shrieks, so they begin to question themselves and go on one of those intolerable hipster finding themselves journeys for rich people and befriend some 20somethings (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) who are totally delightful but Quirky(TM). And they’re totally cool being an awesome couple without kids, TIL THE END WHEN THEY ADOPT A BABY BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO FIX THEIR MARRIAGE AND HOW CAN WE ENJOY LIFE WITHOUT CHILDREN. NO. NOOOOOOOO. Burn it to the ground. Nope.
  • Jurassic World. U G H this pile. Where do I even begin? The main characters are garbage, the made up new dinosaur is a mess, the regurgitated bits and pieces of the original amazing Jurassic Park were just annoying, and the excessively violent death that happens to Fake Jessica Chastain’s assistant for no reason was just too damn much. The kid from Iron Man 3 is charming enough, though. It seems that re-booting a franchise in the present day means taking absolutely nothing about what made the original movies worth watching/movie magic in the first place and just jamming surface level things like the musical cues and logos on stuff. It’s a poorly written mess where you don’t give a damn about any of the characters in the least. BOOOOO.
  • Spectre. Good god, what in the fresh hell happened here? This movie has some powerful moments but is pretty unpleasant overall. The performances are good and the stunt work is incredible, and I know better than go into a James Bond flick expecting anything ~super deep~ but Spectre is an all around letdown. I really wanted this to be good, Skyfall set a high bar. Instead, they were like “let’s take all the cool bits of Thunderball/You Only Live Twice, add a terrible whiny Sam Smith song, criminally under-use Christoph Waltz, jam it all under the hydraulic press, and VOILA!” Mess. At least it wasn’t anywhere near as fucking boring as Quantum of Solace, so it’s got that going for it.

Anyhoo, that’s my schpiele. Thanks, 2015! I’m working on something about Midnight Special right now, so expect that in the next few days.