The posting of Movies 2017 was planned for this time in 2018, however, my goals were too ambitious, and I forgot my focus. The annual movies of the year list is simply a way to remember and share what I watched throughout the year. And if they were any good.
Well, better late than never.
Thankfully 2017’s movies were high on ambition that succeeded. Though I would not have been so bullish after the first movie of the year.
Mostly just general plot outlines, with fewer plot points than a movie review. Major end of movie reveals for Mission: Impossible (1996) and Logan (2017).
I recommend all but the *starred.
Movies 2017 began with…
…an ideological debate through film. First, The Talented Mr. Ripley, a cinematic depiction of privilege and its excesses. Second, Hell or High Water, one way the non-privileged attempt to survive inequity.
*The Talented Mr. Ripley
God, why would I want to watch over two hours of trust fund babies ruin people’s lives, be cruel to each other, and live in despair? I was uncomfortable from the beginning. (Streaming)
For a more in-depth panning of the film through comparison to the superior Hell or High Water read my Reel Comparison.
Hell or High Water
Solid, modern day Western. Infinitely quotable, every character from the top billed to the bank teller has a personality. What was most appreciated while creating believable fiction was how the common populous responded to the main characters’ actions: trying to stop the bank robbers, being difficult with the police, openly hating the banks. You aren’t made to like these characters, you’re made to know them, which is better. (Redbox)
For a more in-depth exploration of the film’s themes through comparison to the inferior The Talented Mr. Ripley read my Reel Comparison.
The 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows
A celebration of animation, the Annual Animation Show of Shows until 2016 was a collection you could only see at festivals. No longer. NoApologyAdvocate and I watched it at our local university and throughly enjoyed it. At the length of one feature film, we watched 17 complete cinematic creations. I am disappointed there is not a screening close this year.
I did not write down my thoughts right after the Show of Shows which I should have, and I do not remember a few of the shorts at all. Also, many of the shorts are difficult to find online. However, many are available, so I have provided links to those I have found.
- Stems – Ainslie Hendersen (Scotland)
Brilliant opener. The ending left me melancholy and yearning for Stems to come back to life, to allow my new friends to continue to live.
- Shift – Cecilia Puglesi & Yijun Liu (U.S.)
Shift made me think of NoApologyAdvocate.
- Pearl – Patrick Osborne (U.S.)
I am a bit of an animation snob, and I am not a fan of this polygonal block style. The lack of dialogue and the great music really creates a wonderful space for this story to be told.
- Crin-crin – Iris Alexandre (Belgium)
The idea for Crin-crin is wild, but I loved the music.
- Mirror – Chris Ware, John Kuramoto, Ira Glass (U.S.)
I do not like Ira Glass. Mirror is a great story in spite of him.
- Last summer in the garden – bekky O’Neil (Canada)
- Waiting for the New Year – Vladimir Leschiov (Latvia)
- Piper – Alan Barillaro (U.S.)
Pixar’s winner for best animated short at the Oscars. Worthy of both the award and the Pixar name, Piper tells a lovely story of a little titular piper that connects with the anxiety we all feel at times.
- Bøygen – Kristian Pedersen (Norway)
The most abstract of the set, Bøygen is ominous and somewhat lovely. About the point when I thought Bøygen was too much, it ended.
- Afternoon Class – Seoro Oh (Korea)
Everyone who has attended class in a classroom can relate with Afternoon Class, but the magic is in the unexpected dark turn and the defeatist end.
- About a Mother – Dina Velikovskaya (Russia)
Find this one and send me the link. About a Mother is a wonderful take on motherhood.
- Exploozy – Joshua Gunn, Trevor Piecham, & John McGowan (U.S.)
- Inner Workings – Leo Matsuda (U.S.)
Another brilliant Pixar short, Inner Workings will put a grin on your face. Inner Workings is a slightly more anatomically correct Inside Out.
- Corpus – Marc Héricher (France)
What a Rube Goldberg machine is man. The most macabre of the set.
- Blue – Daniela Sherer (Israel)
Blue will stimulate great discussions, even if you are forever perplexed by it.
- Manoman – Simon Cartwright (England)
Until Manoman I had varying levels of enjoyment with each short. I hated this one.
- All Their Shades – Chloé Alliez (Belgium)
I did a blog post after rewatching this Disney classic. (Theater)
Kubo and the Two Strings
The art is so good in Kubo and the Two Strings I mostly forgot it was stop motion – smooth and every second worthy of framing. The narrative had unexpected decisions (not necessarily twists) which kept it fresh. Voice acting was good, though why were the character voices whitewashed? (Redbox)
A Scanner Darkly
Phillip K. Dick revisits his central themes of drugs and government surveillance. A Scanner Darkly was filmed live action, and then artists drew over each cell. The cell animation is interesting but not innovative. (DVD)
*The Secret Life of Pets
Forgettable. There were enough ideas in this film to flesh out two or three films (Kevin Hart’s killer bunny posse the most developed) but none of them have any heart to them. Everyone appears to be trying to make a good movie, but something is missing and the result is flat. (Streaming)
A thriller and a brilliant commentary on the USA. Get Out is part of the horror genre and is horrifying, but if you do not like horror (and I do not generally) do not let this turn you off.
Get Out is smart, edgy, uncomfortable, and real. The actors are great, full of accomplished character actors. Our ticket taker said she loved the movie and had seen it four times. (Theater)
The final appearance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is a brutal, somber, reserved character study. Logan is not a comic book movie; Logan is a movie about loss and how people deal with loss (death, loss of purpose, loss of sanity, loss of control, loss of family) that stars characters originating from a comic book. This is the movie I wanted in The Wolverine.
Logan is the quintessential Wolverine movie. (Theater)
Whatever reason you need to see this movie, consider it met and see it. Moonlight tells its story simply but never dialogues at you.
What I found most amazing and beautiful in Moonlight is the three actors who independently developed their version of the same character yet gave performances so seamless you see them in each other. (Theater)
The modern fairy tale seems more brutal on a second viewing. Visually stunning, dark and depressive, with a good warning for current times. The Pale Man is still terrifying. Pan’s Labyrinth wrecked NoApologiesAdvocate. (Theater)
This time travel movie is smarter than any you have seen and may even be more mind bending than Inception. (Streaming)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Baby Groot! Everything lovely about vol. 1 returns in vol. 2, though nothing really tops the absurd joy of the Mr. Blue Sky title sequence. (Theater)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
In a movie theater! My favorite Indiana Jones.
In a movie theatre! My favorite Mission: Impossible.
Fun side story. When M:I was originally released my brother and I saw it with our father. Upon video release, we enthusiastically demanded our mother watch it, betting she will never see the twist coming because it was such a surprise to us. During the opening credits upon seeing Jon Voight’s name my mother stated, “I bet Jon Voight is the bad guy.” To our young, shocked faces she explained, “Jon Voight always plays a bad guy.” (Theater)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi was not what I expected and that was great.
The Resistance failed at basically everything. That was realistic.
Snope was a waste of screen time from the moment he was introduced and now he is dead. Excellent.
The lightsaber battle was epic, the red salt was cinematic, the women were strong, the porgs a case study in environmental conservation, and I was completely surprised by the surprise.
The Last Jedi added stakes to a behemoth, perpetual franchise while telling the audience, “No, you don’t know what is going to happen.”
The Last Jedi was not what I expected. Great. (Theater)
Thor just keeps getting better with age. Ragnarok is absurd and over the top, but it is aware that it is absurd and over the top which let’s it have fun amongst the madness. The movie is full of scene pickpockets, as Loki steals most every scene, Cate Blanchett’s Hela pilfers her fair share, and Taika Waititi’s Korg is hysterical. Jeff Goldblum is at his most Goldblum-iest as the Grandmaster. Do not follow? Do not worry, Thor Ragnarok will keep you entertained nonetheless.
Minor gripe. The trailers gave away the appearance of the Hulk, which, had it been kept a secret, would have been a truly epic reveal. Do not give away the best parts of your movie! (Theater)
10 Cloverfield Lane
Thriller, not horror. John Goodman is excellent, even if the movie does not satisfactory wrap up the mystery around him. A worthy Cloverfield entry. (Streaming)
10 Things I Hate About You
This teenage Taming of the Shrew is fun and endlessly quotable. (Streaming)
The driving/chase scenes never quite top that first one, but man it is a good one. The ending is long and wraps up one too many things, but it’s a fun romp. And the soundtrack is excellent.
And yet…can we have a discussion about how Edgar Wright does not write autonomous female characters?
I planned a long epic rant on this topic complete with a listing of the major female characters in Wright’s movies (it’s short) and sources to Wright being kicked off Ant-Man for creative differences. Differences that included even less of a role for Wasp in the movie. Instead I will leave it at this: I am not going to seek out Wright’s films until there is a recognition women can be more than an archetype. (Theater)
Grosse Pointe Blank
John Cusack, Minne Driver, and Dan Aykroyd in a part screwball, part quirky, all dark comedy where Cusack is a professional killer attending his ten year high school reunion. The little details are the funniest as every character simply accepts this world is possible and normal.
One of Twin Cities Geek favorite movies. (DVD)
- Publish blog posts when they are written, not when they are perfect. (Thank you for you patience Ebo!)
- Quotable dialogue is a huge requirement for loving a movie.
- There were three movies from 2016 I vowed to see for Movies 2017:
- Hell or High Water – Yes.
- Kubo and the Two Strings – Yes.
- Arrival – No, I did not see Arrival … until 2018.