A Decade of Movies, 2017

2017 was a very good year for me, in term of finding favorites- to the extent that, even after narrowing my list down, I find that I have 14 in the top tier.

They are as follows:

  • Call Me By Your Name: Every aspect of this movie is perfect- from the atmosphere to the plot to the chemistry between characters (notably Elio and Armie Hammer and Elio and his father).  I want a pair of vintage-y swim trunks. And maybe a peach.
  • It: It Chapter 2 disappointed me a bit, but happily this one stands very well on its own.
  • Dunkirk: A stylishly-executed war drama about the evacuation of soldiers from Dunkirk. A few people have criticized the “confusing” pacing of the film, but I found that the manipulation of time serviced the feeling of different types of combat in a really interesting way.
  • Baby Driver: The use of diegetic music (music incorporated as part of the plot, rather than disconnected soundtrack) in this really blew me away, particularly during action sequences. Shame about Kevin Spacey, but there’s enough Jon Hamm, Jaime Foxx, and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers to provide a good distraction.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: I’m struggling not to start every single one of these descriptions with “This is one of my favorites”. Frances McDormand is a queen, the supporting cast is amazing, and I hope Sam Rockwell can break out of playing incapable racists (see also Vice and Jojo Rabbit).
  • The Shape of Water: This is almost one of my favorites but it is at the same type so elegantly done that I would be amiss not to include it.  Yes, it is a fish sex movie. Yes, I watched it with someone I was trying to dissuade from his romantic intentions toward me, not realizing the first scene would be bathtub masturbation.  The music is beautiful, the wetly green colors are slimily luscious, the acting is all great. They need to cut out the random musical number. There is some controversy about the disabled marrying literal monsters that is very much worth reading about.
  • Coco: Coco is highly predictable, fairly formulaic, and astonishingly beautiful.  yes, clearly if I were to take two films off of this list, they would be Coco and The Shape of Water, but I’m including them, so deal with it.  I can’t stop thinking about the skeleton who is forgotten, I believe his name is Chich. The true star. Along with that beautiful flying tiger animal.
  • Phantom Thread: A psychologically twisted costume drama, one of my favorite genres.  For fans of Daniel Day Lewis, couture, Paul Thomas Anderson, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (you’ll understand).  Also good on a rewatch (I rarely rewatch because there is so much new to see, but this was on a plane).
  • The Killing of A Sacred Deer: You may know Yorgos Lanthimos from The Lobster (too weird for me) or, more recently, from The Favorite (a psychologically twisted costume drama for which Olivia Colman won best actress).  The Killing of a Sacred Deer seems less well known than those two and deserves to be more widely seen. It’s disturbing and will put you off spaghetti.
  • Hostiles: In 1892 a legendary US Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne chief and his family back to their lands through dangerous territory. Frankly, I really liked this movie and did not find it to be too problematic or too forgiving toward white people in an era when we did a whole lot of bad shit, but it’s been long enough since I saw the film that I am unprepared to thread the needle of an accurate description with adequate historical disclaimers.
  • Wind River: We’ve already covered Sicario and Hell or High Water- this is the third and last installment of Taylor Sheridan’s trilogy. In my mind, it is the best of the three and hideously underwatched. It’s cold and bleak and fairly devastating. Jeremy Renner rides a snowmobile.
  • Ingrid Goes West: It’s a compulsively watchable dark social media satire about a disturbed Aubrey Plaza who worms her way into the life of an Instagram influencer.
  • Thoroughbreds: Unfortunately not about horses. Fortunately about two teen girls who hatch an evil plan.
  • Detroit: A fact-based drama set during the 1967 Detroit riots. I put off watching it for a long while after hearing about how absolutely brutal it is to sit through. I wish I hadn’t, because it’s also appallingly necessary viewing.

Honorable Mentions: Get Out, The Wife, Annabelle: Creation, The Breadwinner, BPM, Good Time, Logan Lucky, Mother!, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Beast, and I, Tonya.

I have not yet seen: Okja, You Were Never Really Here, One Cut of the Dead, Tigers are Not Afraid, The Rider, On Body and Soul, A Fantastic Woman, Au Revoir La Haut, November, and Foxtrot.

Mid-week Links

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It seems like every time I’ve been posting recently it’s been prefaced by an apology about my lack of consistency.  I’m here again and again with another excuse- you would think being homebound with a bad ankle would lead to more posting rather than less, but instead I’ve just generally been very off my game for the last week.  Thankfully I’m starting to shape up and am more or less ready to rejoin the land of the living/productive, which is good because we’ve got some family trips lined up which I would never for the life of me be missing.
But that does also mean I’m unlikely to be posting consistently for another week and a half.  The boondocks of PA doesn’t even have phone connection, much less WiFi.
See you on the other side!

In the meantime, I’ve amassed a hideous army of motley links from around the interwebs.

Why so many posts about Instagram?

Peace and Acceptance:

On Films:

  • The trouble with Hollywood’s gender flips: “These reboots require women to relive men’s stories instead of fashioning their own. And they’re subtly expected to fix these old films, to neutralize their sexism and infuse them with feminism, to rebuild them into good movies with good politics, too. They have to do everything the men did, except backwards and with ideals.”
  • The Pop Culture Detective strikes again! The topic: Abduction as Romance.
  • The Hate U Give. This looks pretty great.
  • What is Cinemascore?

Miscellaneous:

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Links 6/4

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Due to a weekend-trip hiatus (NYC was great, thanks), this links post is a bit later than usual.  Coincidentally, many of these links seem to have a bit of an LGBTQ theme.
Happy Pride!

Let’s get the smell stuff out of the way first:

  • Auklets are a bird species in which males demonstrate fitness not only by very fancy and sexy crests, but seemingly also by emitting a strong tangerine scent, research finds.
  • Study finds that activation of a certain smell receptor speeds the progression of prostate cancer, suggesting new treatment methods via blocking of the receptor.
  • Department stores reevaluate traditional beauty and fragrance marketing techniques as the beauty industry changes.

All the feels:

Film thoughts:

Current events:

Odds and Ends:

Second Birthday and Links 5/25

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WordPress tells me the blog turned two today, which is adorable and I had no idea.  As such, I have nothing more celebratory than the regularly scheduled Friday links post, rampant cramps, and a beauty hangover from seeing La Sylphide last night.

Friday Links 5/18

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Happy Friday! It seems like a pretty good day 9a bit nippy) and I’m looking forward to some exciting doings this weekend.

How about you?

Links Actually on Friday: 3/23

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I’m getting out a links post actually on Friday, pre-classes, pre-full-day-of-smelling-synthetic-raw-materials.

  • Welcome to space. Meet Steve.
  • Congratulations to John Oliver (and best wishes to Marlon Bundo and Wesley).
    Love is love.
  • …There’s going to be a live-action Lady and the Tramp.  Can someone please explain why CGI counts as live action? And can someone also please explain why, in general?
  • The beauty and power of fandoms. Read it for the first, introductory segment alone.
  • A super interesting read on the ‘brand-influencer power struggle’. An examination of the rise of Instagram influencers and bloggers as fashion personalities, how they’re compensated, what it means, and how it’s changing.
  • Honest Trailers does it again.  On the slate this week: every Wes Anderson movie. One of my pet favorite directors and they get his idiosyncrasies so right.
  • “Visitors are encouraged to create drawings, one of which will be interpreted into a personalized Diptyque scent.” Diptyque is opening an interactive shop in Soho! I’ll have to visit once I’m back in the US (because lord knows there aren’t enough Diptyque shops in Paris).  Don’t want to miss out on the fun? You can also submit online.
  • “I will insist on my grandchildren referring to me as Grandmamá, with extra emphasis on the á.” All the Glamorous Things I Will Do When I AM A Rich Old Lady. Honestly- goals. But also, don’t wait! Get that Burmese python now! Or, you know, perfect your posture).
  • Roland Mouret on his scent preferences and his newish perfume, Une Amourette.
  • Olivia de Havilland, 101, alive, and very much kicking. I watched In This Our Life, featuring her and Bette Davis, this week while studying. Not the best movie ever but watching them was like visiting two old friends of mine.

Links for the two test week

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It’s been such a week so I’m just going to throw some links on here and run. Seriously, right from vacation into double killer exams.  When it feel like a long week and it’s only Tuesday you know you’re in trouble.

But I bought my flight home, wheee!

  • A children’s book to teach about the huge and overwhelming emotional spectrum. Hooray for raising emotionally literate and empathetic children.
  • It’s Luckyscent’s 15 year anniversary- and they’re welcoming some cool store exclusives!
  • This instagram account makes beautiful patterns from everyday objects. One step up from freakebana?
  • My favorite Oscar speeches!- Guillermo del Toro and Frances McDormand (I just watched the latter again (for the fourth time? Still so powerful. #InclusionRider).
  • I shared an essay about Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon a week or two ago- and he seems pretty charming in person. And he has a cute belly.
  • Wait, are they going to make a film from Chekhov’s The Seagull? Because that would be amazing. Also, how many films is Saoirse Ronan in this year? Also Annette Bening.
  • Heartwarming story of the week: A tiny little girl transfixed by the National Portrait Gallery’s portrait of Michelle Obama meets her idol.
  • My favorite, sent to me by my college roommate (whose birthday was yesterday, Happy Birthday, Lily!)- the largest ever analysis of film dialogue by gender. It reminds me of how my Mom has stopped watching films exclusively about white men (she made a recent exception for Call Me By Your Name) and now finds that most films she watches are about black men. The lack of substantial female roles in the film industry is really astonishing.