2017 Movies: The Best, the Worst, and the In-Between

Oh hey, how’s it going?  I thought since I had some time this holiday week I’d share some short year-end movie lists.  I don’t think that I’ve watched as many movies this year as I usually do because I’ve been pretty busy.  Oh, what have I been doing that’s kept me busy?  That’s so nice of you to ask!  Well, let’s see, other than another successful year of freelance work…  I bought a house.  I bought a dog.  I started writing a novel, to see if I could.  I got a few chapters into it so far, but I don’t really know where it’s going or when I’ll ever finish it.  Ummmm, what else?  I started trolling people who boycott NFL games on Facebook.  That’s been fun.  I won a fantasy football championship for a second year in a row.  I’m probably going to buy a VR headset with my prize money…  Hey listen, my life isn’t that interesting, but I saw some movies this year and now I’ll rank them for your amusement and my self-gratification.  That’s how this works.

Also, I’m sure there’s a bunch of spoilers in this, so read the flavor text at your own risk.

THE WORST MOVIES I SAW THIS YEAR

Honorable Mention:  Bright

This would have certainly made this actual list (probably pretty high) if I had gotten more than 30 minutes into it before shutting it off.  It was bad.  Embarrassingly bad.  Laughably bad in a terrible way.  About 10 minutes in, I looked it up on Wikipedia and found out it was written by notable annoying-rich-son-of-a-famous-person Max Landis, and was directed by the guy who directed Suicide Squad.  GREAT CREW.  But I can’t break the ethical code of low-level blogging (on penalty of death) and officially rank a movie that I didn’t watch all the way through.

10.  Mother!

I didn’t like Mother for a handful of reasons.  But I do find it hilarious how a bunch of uninformed crowds got tricked into seeing what they thought was a horror movie starring A-list celeb Jennifer Lawrence only to be subjected to a smarmy art house movie that had no qualms about being as symbolic and pretentious as possible.  Paramount trolled y’all.  I’d be angry too if I was Jethro from Arkansas and didn’t know who Darren Aronofsky was before going in.

9.  The Belko Experiment / Mayhem

Hopefully both of these movies end the “Office Building Violence Orgy” genre as quickly as they started it.

8.  Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Another classic case of a trailer being 20x better than the movie itself.  If there was a Hall of Fame for that, Valerian would be right up there with Prometheus and Crimson Peak.

7.  The Great Wall

I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored watching people fight giant iguanas.  And I’ve seen at least four iguana street fights.

6.  King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

When they made this movie, were they hoping that it would get a direct-to-$3.79-Walmart-Bargain-Bin release?

5.  All Eyez on Me

I loved Straight Outta Compton, so I assumed maybe the Tupac movie could also be good?  Let me give you an indicator of how bad it was: I watched THE TUPAC MOVIE while DRINKING HEAVILY, and I STILL found it boring and aimless.  Usually bad movies get an unfair advantage when I watch them while drinking because I find everything more enjoyable.  Not this one.  Oh well, Life Goes On.

4.  Sleight

This has a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes for what reason?  That’s a magic trick where I’m actually  interested in finding out how they did it.

3.  47 Meters Down

You know a movie is really bad when the best scene is just a nitrogen bubble hallucination.  Oops, that was a spoiler.  Here’s another spoiler: Your life is better off because you didn’t see this movie.

2.  Rings

Is this the first real movie of Trump’s America?  Think about it…  It’s a re-emergence of something that was popular many years ago, that most of the country didn’t ask for, but it got released into every theater in America anyway to poor reviews.  To go further, look at the plot of the film…  It’s about an annoying person with dumb hair who just wants people to pay attention to her and she won’t stay off of your phone and TV all week.  And after too much exposure to her whiny theatrics you want to die.

1.  The Mummy

Once Russell Crowe showed up as Dr. Jekyll, I legit just fell asleep in the movie theater.

 

THE MOVIES I’M GLAD THAT I DIDN’T SEE

10.  The Greatest Showman

How many music numbers are about abusing elephants?

9.  Darkest Hour

At this point in my life, I just really don’t care about these period piece movies that are solely designed to give an elderly actor an Oscar.

8.  xXx: Return of Xander Cage

xXx….  Haha.  Did somebody ask for this sequel?  Yes?!  Follow up question: Has he been trapped in a frat house basement since 2002?  The fact that I had to look up how to properly capitalize the X’s reaffirms my good decision to not watch this.

7.  The Book of Henry

This movie was apparently bad enough to get Colin Trevorrow fired from Star Wars Ep 9.  I read a review of it where it basically told the entirety of the plot, and it sounded like you should get some sort of reward for getting all the way through it.

6.  Snatched / The House / Rough Night

One great thing about seeing less movies just for the sake of reviewing them is that I can avoid most of these HILAAAAAAAAAAARIOUS comedies!

5.  The Dark Tower

From the very first time I watched the trailer, I thought to myself…  “I will never see this.”  Is there anyone who actually thought the trailer looked cool?  …2018 premonition about a famous novel adaptation: A Wrinkle in Time also looks bad.

4.  The Emoji Movie

As someone who enjoyed the Storks movie (how do you like me nahhhh?), I can tell you first hand that a bland concept animated film can actually turn out pretty good.  The Emoji Movie, though…  I’ll bank on that being just about as crappy as I’m guessing it is.

3.  Justice League

I usually don’t skip any big name comic book movies, because I’m a simple person with simple tastes, but not once ever during any of the commercials or the trailer did I even feel a tingle of excitement for this.  Will I maybe watch this on HBO for free one day?  Maybe.  But if I went through my entire life without ever seeing it I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.

2.  Transformers: The Last Knight

This…  This just couldn’t possibly have been good…  These movies have become $100 million excuses for Michael Bay to CGI a tornado of metal diarrhea in your eyes while all the characters make bad jokes.

1.  Pirates of the Caribbean 5

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 felt like torture watching it in theaters and I promised myself I wouldn’t subject myself to that kind of irritation ever again.  I think it would take nothing short of Tarantino directing one of these before I come back to the franchise.

 

THE MEDIOCRE MOVIES THAT WERE NEITHER GOOD NOR BAD

10.  Fist Fight

I don’t think I could recite a single joke from this movie.

9.  Life

I would have totally forgotten that I saw this, but I recently walked past the DVD on a shelf at Target.

8.  A Monster Calls

I think I liked this movie, but I saw it in January, and it didn’t leave much of an impact on me.  It had Liam Neeson as a tree.  I can tell you that.

7.  The Devil’s Candy

This starred the guy from Can’t Hardly Wait and there was a barn.  I don’t remember what else happened, but it was just ok.

6.  Logan Lucky

Another future bargain bin staple.  Maybe in the $7.50 bin, though.

5.  Patriots Day

Oh yeah, I remember that I saw this!  It was actually kind of decent once you look past the Boston accents and hard thrusting patriotism.

4. Ghost in the Shell

I liked the action scenes, and the production design.  A lot.  But the plot was apparently uninteresting enough for me to complete forget what happened in it.  Blade Runner 2049 > Ghost in the Shell live action movie.  And Blade Runner 2049 didn’t even make my best of list.

3.  The Lego Batman Movie

What a disappointment compared to The Lego Movie.  I remember it went on too long and it was probably only an 85 minute movie.

2.  T2: Trainspotting

I’m not sure why this got made, or what they were trying to say, but nothing in it was even remotely memorable except for Begbie being insane.

1.  Live By Night

If Boardwalk Empire was a fine wine, then Live By Night is equivalent to something along the lines of RC Cola.  I’ll drink it!  But…  why should I…?

 

MY FAVORITE MOVIES OF THE YEAR

15.  Split

The NIGHT is BACK, yo!  M NIGHT that is!  And he wants you to forget he made Lady in the Water.  This is mainly worth watching for McAvoy’s acting showcase.

14.  IT

I had some mixed feelings after I left the theater, mainly about pacing and their storytelling choices.  But overall, I thought they did a good job cramming what they needed to into this.  I’m looking forward to seeing this again for a viewing with less expectations, and I also hope there’s a director’s cut.

13.  Spiderman: Homecoming

As much as I like Tobey’s work as Spidey, this new kid is definitely the best take on the character I’ve seen.  And major kudos for not having a villain who is trying to destroy the world, or a having a giant portal in the sky.

12.  The Disaster Artist

I love The Room, and I love the book which this is based on.  This doesn’t quite reach the level of either, but it’s still a pretty good take on the material.  If you didn’t like it, leave your stupid comments in your pocket.

11.  The Shape of Water

I hate to give a quote that sounds like it’s a Peter Travers quote from the back of a DVD box, but really there are two words that perfectly describe this movie:  Delightfully Weird.

10.  Thor: Ragnarok

When it’s not being bogged down by following a cookie cutter Marvel plot design, it was great.  Keep hiring interesting directors, Marvel.

9.  Baby Driver

Slightly tainted by Kevin Spacey’s grabby fingers, but it’s still a super fun movie.

8.  Logan

Grizzled, R-rated Wolverine is the best Wolverine.

7.  Atomic Blonde

I just watched this for a second time recently and I was still blown away by a bunch of the rad stuff in this movie.  Such good visuals, such good soundtrack, such good fight scenes.

6.  Dunkirk

I hope you saw this in theaters with the best sound system possible, but even if you didn’t, you should experience this 106-minute stress test regardless.

5.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!  I’m a sucker for this franchise.  Shut up!  Leave me alone!

4.  Get Out

This is the smartest, most on-point horror movie to ever be nominated for Best Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes.

3.  The Last Jedi

Here’s a hot take:  If you don’t nitpick this thing down to its bones, it’s a very enjoyable movie.  I don’t know what really to say about Last Jedi that you haven’t already read.  I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  There are people who don’t like it because it didn’t feel like a Star Wars movie.  Those same people didn’t like Force Awakens because it was too much like A New Hope.  They don’t like Porgs, but they like Ewoks.  They hate Snoke’s lack of backstory, but didn’t mind Emperor Palpatine’s.  They immediately compare it to the classic trilogy instead of weighing it on its own values.  But if they try to, then they nitpick it to the point where they basically never intended on enjoying it from the get-go.  It’s held at a higher critical standard than other movies because of people’s attachment to nostalgia and its place in pop culture.  I get a very Ghostbusters 2016 vibe when I hear people criticize this movie, because they act like it tampers with their childhoods by it doing things they don’t agree with…  I don’t know.  I liked The Last Jedi.  Maybe I’m just a shill?

2.  The Big Sick

If you make a genuinely funny comedy that’s also super sincere, I will eat it up quicker than a bowl of bacon mac and cheese.  I love movies about stand up, about complicated relationships, and movies that give me an opportunity to do my Ray Romano impression.  I’d probably put this in my top five pure romantic comedies…  ever.

1.  LA 92

No other movie this year made me feel as on edge and captivated as LA 92.  I tried watching this at 9pm the night I saw it, and I proceeded to stay awake until 3 am.  I WAS SHOOK.  It’s basically the Mad Max of documentaries.

It’s about the 1992 LA riots, and it is told entirely through found footage (news, archival, and man on the street footage).  It’s a freaking triumph of editing and unfolding a story without any interviews or voice over.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt the same unnerving feeling I did when I watched this.  And because it’s basically just unfolding news footage, it’s unbiased in the way it presents itself, and lets you form your own opinions about the situation.  I felt sad, angry, in horror, and kind of depressed through this roller coaster ride of a doc.  And you’ll probably end up reading 25 Wikipedia articles after you watch it like I did to fill in all the details.

Long story short: if you want to criticize me for putting a NatGeo documentary #1 overall, that is partially why I got out of blogging all the time. 

And for a companion piece, Netflix released a (not quite as good) documentary on the same subject called Let It Fall, that is more interview-based and worth watching if you liked LA 92.

That’s all I got for now.  Happy New Year, chummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmPs.

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