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.

Early Look: Top 5 Films of 2017

Some of my favorite film critics are putting out their lists of ‘top 5 (or 10) films of 2017’ and I don’t want to be left out.  However, the difference between me and them is that they get early screenings to everything, and so have actually seen the big 2017 films that I have yet to see (especially the Oscar-bait ones that cluster toward the end of December).

But I’ve been thinking back on what I’ve seen so far, and it’s definitely enough to make a top five, plus honorable mentions, plus shout outs to films I’m excited to see but that I haven’t had time to see, am saving for later, or that haven’t come out yet.

In an order that indefinitely particular:

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Dunkirk
  3. It
  4. Wind River
  5. Ingrid Goes West

Honorable Mentions: Coco, The Shape of Water, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

Not yet seen: Lady Bird, The Post, I Tonya, Phantom Thread, Call Me By Your Name, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Hostiles, The Disaster Artist, Loving Vincent, The Square, Only the Brave, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Mudbound, Good Time, Lucky, and many many more.

Friday Links 11/3

Hey it’s November which means I should be changing my desktop background but I haven’t yet and besides I’m very into the one I have right now.

Other news: Halloween has come and gone- not a big thing in France, beyond being a theme for some parties.  But now that Halloween has gone and France doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving (obviously) does this mean I can start watching Christmas movies and listening to Little Drummer Boy?  I’m dipping my toe in today with Joyeux Noel, which is half war film and half holiday film.  I tried watching Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas earlier, which has all the hallmarks of being something I should love (Jim Henson muppets is the only hallmark you need, really) but I only got a few minutes in. Am I getting too old?

Late Links on a Sunday

Apologies for the spurious posting but really in a #sorrynotsorry kind of way because I’m in France living my busiest and #bestlife.
I’ll stop with the hashtags now because I’m quickly losing all self respect.