2017 was a year filled with a lot of really good films, but no classics. No Pulp Fiction, Fargo, or Up in the Air. Just a lot of “efficient” films. The dramas and comedies were okay, but the superhero and horror films carried the year. If there was a “movie of the year” — a film that came out of nowhere to be a film America adopted as her own, that film would be IT. The film played up on nostalgia and classic horror themes, while having few detractors. Compare that to the visceral hatred for The Last Jedi...and you get my point. So here is my annual top ten films plus some extra films that deserve to be recognized. For the record, I do have a Masters in film theory and taught a college film class...so I’m kind of a big deal.
This was the film that moved me more than any other film. Steve Carrell stars as a grieving ex marine who has to bury his son after he dies in the Iraq War. Bryan Cranston and Lawrence Fisbourne are outstanding in Richard Linklater’s anti-war film that actually proves you can be for the troops and against the war.
You can tell me Meryl Streep is the best actress of the last 30 years, but my vote goes to Frances McDormand. She plays such complex, strong women, and in this brilliant American gothic tale of loss and redemption, her and Sam Rockwell create two of the finest characters in cinema this year.
I know Dunkirk was the “cooler” film, but Joe Wright’s ode to Winston Churchill is so much more stirring and complex, that without this film, the other one would be more incomplete. Gary Oldman literally is Churchill. Down to the body mannerisms and voice. Like Jaime Foxx in Ray, just hand the man the Oscar and retire the category.
Greta Gerwig’s coming of age tale is more pure cinematic joy than we deserve from a film based in Sacramento. Saorise Ronan is fantastic as a female Catcher in the Rye-like hero. The writing is sharp. The acting top notch. The characters are real and lively. A true pleasure.
The most impressive debut film in a long time, this February gem is a horror film, thriller, drama, comedy, satire, sci-fy wrapped up in one. Jordan Peele proves he’s the next big thing with this dynamic film that is more perceptive on race than anything Spike Lee or other similar filmmakers have done in 20-30 years.
The art of performing is usually treated like a curse, but in this rousing musical, Hugh Jackmsn’s PT Barnum is a joyful man bringing joy to others. Like Saving Mr. Banks, it plays and fudges history, but who cares. It’s the spirit of art that celebrated, and beautifully so.
Margot Robbie is a talent to be reckoned with. Her Tanya Harding is the breakthrough performance of the decade. To watch arguably the most beautiful actress today play the underbelly of redneck glory is a treat in every way. Like the flip side of Charlize Theron’s Monster, this comic masterpiece is one part Coen Brothers plus one part Fake News satire.
The little film that could. This based on a true story comedy is such a charming piece of gold. With standout performances all around, one can only hope the Oscars will take note and award the film a screenplay and supporting actress nod to Holly Hunter.
Edgar Wright’s pulp comic soundtrack reliant bandit thriller was the joy ride of the summer. Everyone had a ball making this film, and one can hope Kevin Spacey’s sins will not wipe this gem from our film conscious.
This was the film Doug Lyman was born to make, and Tom Cruise hasn’t been this good in ages. A well made, Aaron Sorkin-esque screenplay with tons of cool insights and stock 80’s footage about the drug war in the Reagan era, it was a crowd pleaser — sadly not too many saw it.
The Other Films I Liked
The American Spirit Is Alive And Well Film
The Post - Spielberg, Hanks, and Streep take on Trump...I mean the first amendment.
Action, Sci-Fy, and Comic Books, Oh My!
This was by far the best year in action/sci-fy/comic book films. Below were all films you probably saw or will see, and all deserve to be seen by future generations to celebrate why we go to the movies...to be entertained!
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
The Last Jedi
Kong: Skull Island
I Was Scared Poopless
Both these films were huge hits and deserved to be so. They were smart, character driven, and well directed. I’m looking forward to their sequels.
If I Picked The Oscar Winners
Best Picture: Last Flag Flying
Best Director: Jordan Peele “Get Out”
Best Actress: Francis McDormand “3 Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri”
Best Actor: Gary Oldman “Darkest Hour”
Best Supporting Actor: Jack Black “Jumanji”
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney “I, Tonya”
Best Original Screenplay: Lady Bird
Best Adapted Screenplay: Last Flag Flying
Worst Films of the Year
1. Downsizing - What a waste of talent.
2. Transformers 105? - Can this just end already?
3. Pirates of the Caribbean 257? - Johnny Depp is a sellout.
4. The Batman LEGO Movie - I walked out half way and didn’t look back.
5. mother! - It’s either a masterpiece or crap. Let me say this: this biblical allegory smells.
Paul Douglas Moomjean Blog's About What's on His Mind
Blogging allows for me to rant when there is no stage in the moment to talk about what's important and/or funny to me.