I see a lot of movies. I mean, a lot. This year I’ve gone to the theater 40+ times, plus what I’ve seen on Netflix. With MoviePass, it’s been a godsend. I love going to the theater. It’s one of my favorite experiences. Going so often, I see almost everything. Good, bad, ugly, I embrace them all. I still have only walked out only once in my entire life. Even with MoviePass, I can’t bring myself to walk out. I digress… I’ve reflected on what movies I’ve seen this year and settled on my top and bottom five of the year. They’re in no particular order. Without further adieu…..
The Top Five
Blade Runner 2049
I saw the original Blade Runner. While I loved the photography, set design, and character design, I didn’t like the movie, as a whole. Blade Runner 2049 was a completely different experience. I loved every moment of it. I was captivated by the photography, sets, character, dialogue, score, story, everything. I was surprised because of my reaction to the original. Blade Runner 2049 is a visual, and aural, orgasm that should be experienced. You won’t regret it.
The Disaster Artist
I was anticipating The Disaster Artist. I’ve known about The Room, the movie The Disaster Artist is based on, for a number of years. Meme’s have a way of making me see out knowledge of the origin. As The Disaster Artist was nearing release, I made it a point to make sure I saw the source material first. I’m glad I did, but The Disaster Artist makes it so you do not have to see The Room to be able to enjoy it. You still should see The Room before seeing The Disaster Artist, but it’s not necessary. James Franco nailed the direction and nailed his character Johnny. Everyone else was equally as fantastic in their parts.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (Netflix)
I love watching Jim Carrey perform. I’ve enjoyed it since his days on In Living Color. He’s one of the most brilliant actors to come out in some time. It is criminal that he didn’t win the Oscar for portraying Andy Kauffman in Man on the Moon. Jim & Andy is a documentary about the making of Man on the Moon in the form of someone constantly filming Carrey as he becomes consumed with portraying Andy Kaufman, and all of Kaufman’s characters, and gets lost on method acting. It was cool, and sometimes sad, to see everything that went into Carrey and his preparation, and the reaction to those involved with the film, and even those outside of the film. Jim & Andy is an emotional ride that you sometimes love, get angry, and feel sad, while riding. It’s everything a documentary should be.
A fitting end to the ‘Wolverine’ character played by Hugh Jackman, if it truly is the ending. Everything was made about how it will be the first X-Men movie to have an R rating. It was absolutely needed and it sent off this incarnation of Wolverine the proper way. Jackman is his usual perfect Wolverine, but he’s weathered, old, slow, and done with it all. The movie does a great job of sending off the old and brining in the new. It was a delicate balance that was walked to near perfection. Logan is a brutal ride right from the get go. It could have actually been longer as there were some characters I wish I saw more of. There are no real shortcomings in Logan and is an X-Men movie that everyone should enjoy.
John Wick: Chapter 2
I, like most everyone, was surprised by the first John Wick. The movie hits hard with style that’s been lacking for a long time in action films. The John Wick films are influenced by the great Honk Kong action films like Hard Boiled, A Better Tomorrow, and The Killer and brings it to modern times. With John Wick being as great of a film as it was, John Wick: Chapter 2 had a lot to live up to. To put it simply, it does. The same action we loved in John Wick was in full display in John Wick: Chapter 2 and kicked up a little bit, but it still fit perfectly inside the Wick world. While I was hoping for a prequel, part three won’t be a prequel either, John Wick: Chapter 2 made me smile through out and is a worthy follow up to the first one. While most sequels can’t live up to the first one, John Wick: Chapter 2 has no problems matching the first one.
The Bottom Five
Man, did Mother! suck. It really did. The movie is supposed to be a commentary on something. What that something is, I’m not sure about. The exploitation of women? I don’t know, you tell me. The performances by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem are great, but they couldn’t save the movie. I had originally rated it as a 1 on IMDB, but I revised it to a 3. I did so because the performances were great, and the actual technical parts of the movie, photography, editing, sets, were top notch. Still, I can’t get past how bad the story is. I will see it again, as I do with most movies I think are pretty awful. I need to determine if the movie was that bad, or I watched it wrong, i.e. I missed obvious stuff, or I had an outside factor influence my viewing. As it stands now, Mother! is one of my least favorites of 2017. I’ve loved most of Darren Aronofsky’s films such as, The Wrestler, Black Swan, and Requiem for a Dream, but I think he missed with Mother!
If there was ever a movie I could label as one of the most boring of all time, The Snowman would be at the top of the list. Wait, did I just label it that? The story was drawn out, boring, unimportant, and completely disengaging to the viewer. There was almost no point to the story. There was no tension. There was no rooting, except for rooting for it to end. I almost walked out, but I thought there must be a point to it. Sadly, there wasn’t. The Snowman is easily the easily enjoyable time I had at the theater this year.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger getting older, he’s transition into more dramatic roles. I think he has the talent to do it, unfortunately, Aftermath didn’t have the material to make it happen. A possibly interesting story was turned into a bore when there’s little to mo care about where the story is heading and characters we care nothing about. There’s nothing to remember about Aftermath. There’s nothing that resonates as you leave the theater. It doesn’t do anything well that a movie should. It’s another unfortunate miss for what I hope one day will be an awesome Schwarzenegger dramatic role.
I was excited to see Suburbicon. The Coen Bros. are probably my favorite directors. While they didn’t direct Suburbicon, they were on board as writers and producers. They have the directing duties to George Clooney. The Coen Bros. have never really missed. They’ve always hit the mark. While I didn’t like Inside Llewyn Davis that much, it was still a quality film. Clooney is the same. I absolutely loved Good Night, and Good Luck, and Michael Clayton. I had high hopes for Suburbicon with all those involved. They missed. They all missed. The movie looks great, and acted well by everyone, it just wasn’t that enjoyable. The movie seemed to drag for a large portion and I found myself wanting the end to come as fast as possible. The social commentary in it was interesting, but felt a bit out of place. Went in excited, only to leave bored and disappointed.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage
A guilty cheese movie that I love is xXx. Completely cheesy. Completely absurd, but I love it. With Vin Diesel returning to xXx: Return of Xander Cage, I was hoping it would capture the feelings I had with the original. No feelings like the original. None at all. xXx: Return of Xander Cage ended up just being a bad movie. Very few redeeming qualities to it. I know the first xXx is guilty, cheesy fun, xXx: Return of Xander Cage offers none of that. It’s just cheese.