As 2017 comes to a close it’s time our film critics look back on the movies they enjoyed and the ones they didn’t. Enjoy!
Mike Smith – You must remember, it takes a lot for me to dislike a film – if it’s in focus I’ll give it a “star” – so the few on my list are, as Joseph Bologna said in MY FAVORITE YEAR, “Stinkburgers!” Happy New Year.
1. ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD – I was a teenager when John Paul Getty III was kidnapped and I was intrigued about the case then as much as I am now. For those of you who may have been out of the loop, director Ridley Scott had already finished this film, with Kevin Spacey appearing as billionaire/grandfather John Paul Getty, when news of Spacey’s “issues” came out. Rather than have his film judged, unfairly in my opinion, with it’s association with the disgraced actor, Scott was able to gather his cast and crew together in late November and re-shot all of Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer now playing the part. That he was able to do this and complete a flawless edit in a month is worthy of an award just on that achievement alone. I wonder if Plummer will thank Spacey in his Oscar acceptance speech?
2. GET OUT – I was late to the table in seeing this (thank you Academy screeners). Writer/director Jordan Peele gives us not only one of the most original horror films ever created, but also uses his art to make us all sit back and recognize the world we are living in.
3. THE POST – Tom Hanks. Meryl Streep. And the master director, Steven Spielberg. Put them together with a story that was actually taken from the headlines and you’ll get a lesson not only in first-rate film making but in how this government is supposed to run. Will make an amazing part of a double feature with ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN.
4. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI – A first rate story backed by powerhouse acting, if this film doesn’t bring Sam Rockwell his first Academy Award nomination then the fix is in. Extra points for it’s make-up work, created by the drummer of my garage band in high school , Corey Castellano.
5. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – Yes, there have been some great superhero films the past few years, but THIS was the Spider-man we’ve all been waiting for. Instead of the polished young man/junior photographer, we get a nervous, anxious teenager still trying to understand his gift. Extra points for making Aunt May a hottie.
6. IN DUBIOUS BATTLE – The first film on my list to star and be directed by James Franco, this adaptation of a John Steinbeck novel features amazing performances from a cast lead by Franco and Vincent D’Onofrio.
7. THE SHAPE OF WATER – Guillermo del Toro’s love letter to THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, proving that love can exist anywhere. Sally Hawkin’s wordless performance is heartbreaking.
8. THE DISASTER ARTIST – Film number two from Mr. Franco and company. A behind the scenes look at the making of a film that ranks as one of the most unusual off all time.
9. STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII – THE LAST JEDI – I don’t understand all of the backlash this film is taking. Writer/director Rian Johnson has taken the galaxy on a new direction and I have no doubt that J.J. Abrams will bring this final trilogy to a satisfactory conclusion. If you don’t tear up when Luke Skywalker and Princess/General Leia embrace than you’ve obviously gone over to the Dark Side.
10. IT – If you read my review, you know I FRICKIN HATE CLOWNS! That being said, this is the film that kept me up nights long after I first saw it.
BEFORE I FALL – Good lord, what a piece of junk! Imagine if you will the worse movie ever made involving the supernatural and GROUNDHOG’S DAY. Now multiple that by 100. A young girl keeps dying, then coming back, only to die again. After the third time I was silently praying that the next one to die would be me. Note to the filmmakers – Valentine’s Day is on February 14th, not the 13th.
THE SPACE BETWEEN US – This came out a few weeks before BEFORE I FALL, and the latter was so much worse that I found myself apologizing to it on my Podcast. A woman gives birth to a baby while in space. For some reason, this makes him as vulnerable to the world as Sam Jackson was in UNBREAKABLE. Now a teenager, the youngster comes to Earth to meet his on-line gal-pal and find his father – whose identity is obvious 10 minutes into the film.
FIST FIGHT – How in the world can you make Charlie Day UN-funny? This film has three credited writers, none of whom apparently have never heard of comedy. Shame on you. Charlie deserved better.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – Music was amazing, especially the new songs. Emma Watson was amazing. Overall perfect!
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – VOL 2 – Nearly perfect. Love everything about this film. Drax steals the show!
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE – I’ve seen this film probably 25 times already and it only gets better and better with each viewing. So much is packed in here and is super funny and yet still heart filled.
GET OUT – Funniest movie I’ve seen all year (according to the Golden Globes assholes). It is really a creepy mind fuck that does not get out of your head.
IT – Expectations were HUGE and they were destroyed! Great scares. Finally a GOOD Stephen King adaptation
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Gorgeous, slow moving yet full of detail and deeper meanings. Perfect sequel.
THOR: RAGNOROK – Absolutely insanely funny, easily one of the top Marvel films to date.
COCO – Great songs and a real family message, which I loved.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – No explanation needed.
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN – Music is outstanding. This movie makes me so happy.
RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER
THE DARK TOWER
THE EMOJI MOVIE
TRANSFORMER: THE LAST KNIGHT
THE GREAT WALL
Lauren Damon – Lauren will share her reasons behind her choices later this week in a separate article.
- THOR: RAGNAROK
- CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
- I, TONYA
- STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Jeremy Werner – I didn’t rank my top movies of the year because I felt like anyone of these movies could be my favorite on the year. That’s how good 2017 has been to us cinephiles.
Top 5 in No Particular Order:
BABY DRIVER – With Edgar Wright in the driver’s seat, nearly every little thing about “Baby Driver” is perfect, from the action sequences, the dialogue callbacks, and the perfect harmony between soundtrack and cinematography. One of the most accessible and fun movies of the year.
GET OUT – Jordan Peele’s satirical horror has already cemented the first time director in the annals of horror movie history. From the first to final frame, “Get Out” meticulously weaves a thrilling horror,that not only scares, but masterfully comments on 21st century racism.
DETROIT – On that same note, “Detroit” gives a history lesson on America’s racism. Unlike “Get Out,” Kathryn Bigelow couldn’t tinker much with reality. Out of everything I’ve watched on the year, “Detroit” was the most visceral as it unrelentingly forces viewers to live through a horrific and tragic ordeal.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBINGS, MISSOURI – This may be writer and director Martin McDonagh’s best work, thanks to an outstanding ensemble cast, led by Frances McDormand. The film is a puree of heart-wrenching drama, side splitting comedy, and a mixed message about how morality is never black and white.
THE FLORIDA PROJECT – Some in modern America don’t have a home, or even an apartment, to retreat to at the end of the day. Those lower class families, sometimes with unemployed and/or single parents, scrounge for pennies to pay to live at rundown motels in the shadow of America’s corporate greed. “The Florida Project” is about those people and at times it’s oddly beautiful.
Movies on the Outside Looking In:
BLADE RUNNER 2049
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Movies You Should Never See That Were Unfortunately Released in the Same Year as the Above Movies:
A DOG’S PURPOSE – Mixing reincarnation with a Christian message is confusing, but at its core I believe this film attempts to preach a misguided and dangerous message about humanity’s power and even God’s power over animals. If you’re a dog lover, donate to a local animal shelter instead of buying this dog turd of a movie.
BAYWATCH – So it IS possible for the Rock to make a genuinely terrible film? Lacking in any heart, fun or laughs, this comedy reboot tries to follow in the footsteps of “21 Jump Street,” but instead trips and falls flat. A TV show about hunky beach detectives shouldn’t be that hard to make fun of.
CHIPS – Speaking of reboots, here’s one that should have been left behind at the pitch meeting. Dax Shepard, who I’m sure is a wonderful outstanding guy, continues to find funding for his terrible movies. Dax, maybe the things you liked as a kid should remain a fond memory.
HOME AGAIN – I’m not the target audience for this film, but I’m also not sure who is. It plays out like a weak sitcom before the predictable ending that wraps up every problem with a neat bow tie. I felt like I was watching a “Lifetime” original TV show lacking any creative effort.
POWER RANGERS – I am the target audience for this and I found myself bored. I’m not sure why the Power Rangers needed a gritty reboot, complete with forced subliminal advertising, but I would have been fine with it if it had attempted any character development or compelling storytelling.
Other movies that should be forgotten about forever and never mentioned again: THE MUMMY, THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD and XX.
THE DISASTER ARTIST
THE BIG SICK
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
BLADE RUNNER 2049
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS