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HoldenMartinson

Best of 2017

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So, Amy proposed that the "Best Of" episode this year be done as a call-in style episode, and we sort of hash out our picks here.

 

What films do we think are worthy of consideration?

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Also, I'm just gonna get this out of the way right now--it's almost definitely going to be Get Out, even if it's not a personal favorite of mine. That would go to The Florida Project. But it's not about favorites. That said, I'd love to see a good match for Get Out.

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Of what I've seen so far this year, my top 5 would roughly be:

 

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Lady Bird

Get Out

The Big Sick

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Gotta agree with HoldenMartinson that Get Out is the film from this year that will live on the longest. Of the consensus awards fodder that I've seen, I think Lady Bird or Florida Project would be the top competitors against Get Out, but there are still a bunch of the new releases that I've yet to see. I'd also love to hear a Get Out vs. Big Sick episode, but I think it's clear that Get Out needs to be part of the conversation.

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i'm really pulling for The Big Sick, if only because i loved it so much. it's such an honest, heartfelt movie that was so clearly a labor of love for Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. that everyone involved cares deeply about the story being told shines through in practically every second of that movie, and makes the whole thing an utter joy to watch.

 

i guess it's hard to beat Get Out though, in terms of cultural impact, not to mention sheer filmmaking brilliance. the way Jordan Peele turns a nearly 200-year legacy of racism and appropriation in American popular culture on its head is something i think we'll be talking about for a long time to come.

 

speaking of subverting legacies, the world is still digesting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but i think that one might deserve a shot too, on the grounds that it's basically a film about Star Wars--a movie that dissects, inverts, and ultimately largely rejects much of a 40-year-old franchise. Rian Johnson has so much going on in that movie. he's honoring the films that we all love, telling a narrative both personal and poltical about a life (many lives) spent in relationship to Star Wars (that scene with rey and the mirrors is a gorgeous visual metaphor for cinema and fandom if i've ever seen one), while also steering, or trying to steer, the franchise away from its roots in subtle fascism and patriarchal capitalism. for more thoughts, articulated better than i can write them, look here and here, but if we're looking for a film that embodies 2017, a resolutely antifascist take on a deeply culturally-embedded mythos seems like it could at least give Get Out a run for its money.

 

but maybe it's too early to tell.

 

for my part, i was pretty underwhelmed by The Shape of Water. i think Guillermo Del Toro's done better work elsewhere (including doing a better job with the whole modern fable thing). Lady Bird was a stunning directorial debut by Greta Gerwig, with lovely performances pretty much all around, but i'm a little inclined to raise the stakes here, in true Canon fashion. is this a film that we'll be talking about in ten years? one with as deep a relationship to the past and future as those i've tried to make a case for above? maybe. i'm not really sure.

 

still need to see The Florida Project, Call Me By Your Name, Phantom Thread, and The Disaster Artist (among plenty others).

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speaking of subverting legacies, the world is still digesting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but i think that one might deserve a shot too, on the grounds that it's basically a film about Star Wars--a movie that dissects, inverts, and ultimately largely rejects much of a 40-year-old franchise. Rian Johnson has so much going on in that movie. he's honoring the films that we all love, telling a narrative both personal and poltical about a life (many lives) spent in relationship to Star Wars (that scene with rey and the mirrors is a gorgeous visual metaphor for cinema and fandom if i've ever seen one), while also steering, or trying to steer, the franchise away from its roots in subtle fascism and patriarchal capitalism. for more thoughts, articulated better than i can write them, look here and here, but if we're looking for a film that embodies 2017, a resolutely antifascist take on a deeply culturally-embedded mythos seems like it could at least give Get Out a run for its money

 

I will second this call for The Last Jedi to also be considered in any year-end conversation.

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I will second this call for The Last Jedi to also be considered in any year-end conversation.

 

Third. Forgot to include it in my list somehow but it absolutely belongs in the conversation somewhere.

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I assume either Get Out or Lady Bird will get picked. Personally, I think Columbus is being criminally under-appreciated. The film's shot composition reminds me of the best parts of Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola, and it uses this to contrast the static structure of architecture with the messy dynamism of human relationships. I especially love how John Cho's dad is never physically present, and yet he towers over the two main characters in every shot via his buildings. It's a wonderful, understated film that I wish were getting more awards buzz.

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Third. Forgot to include it in my list somehow but it absolutely belongs in the conversation somewhere.

Fourth. It's up their with Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. It's an all-timer.

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speaking of subverting legacies, the world is still digesting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but i think that one might deserve a shot too, on the grounds that it's basically a film about Star Wars--a movie that dissects, inverts, and ultimately largely rejects much of a 40-year-old franchise.

 

 

 

 

I really don't think this movie should be up for consideration tbh... I have eaten, slept, and breathed Star Wars since I was a child, been raised as a Star Wars kid, and had EXTREMELY high hopes for this movie!!! I live in Oklahoma, and I went to California for a few reasons, one of which was to see TLJ on opening night at the Chinese Theater bc I was just that excited!!! I was taken aback when I just wasn't into it.. The humor didn't fit, it felt partially "disney-fied", and partially the bad part of the prequel humor. Also, I honestly don't think it was original.. Just because you did the exact opposite, doesn't mean its original. To completely negate the original formula, you have to acknowledge the existence of the formula, to begin with? If that makes sense to anyone? Also what they did with Luke as a character I really didn't completely like (although I think Mark Hamill was great.) I think also it's kinda bs to say that they're throwing away the formula when they DIRECTLY REFERENCE exact lines and scenes from the first two star wars films? Idk. Please don't attack me, but I really can't conceive of this movie being a "best of the year". If you want to talk about it being one of the most discussed and debated of the year I'd agree with you there, otherwise, there were so many great films this year, this just isn't up there.

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also, let me be even more of an underdog and put up some different films for consideration (I think also most everything mentioned deserves a spot )

 

The Disaster Artist is amazing

Logan was also actually really fucking good, and might not be ~the~ best film this year, but god damn it needs to be talked about

Call Me By Your Name was better than I anticipated, and gave the book a run for its money

Baby Driver was unpredictable and great

and I, Tonya was also up there

 

 

Obviously, others like Get Out and Lady Bird deserve to be up there, also The Big Sick and The Florida Project, but I wanted to throw some out there that really haven't been mentioned!

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I really don't think this movie should be up for consideration tbh... I have eaten, slept, and breathed Star Wars since I was a child, been raised as a Star Wars kid, and had EXTREMELY high hopes for this movie!!! I live in Oklahoma, and I went to California for a few reasons, one of which was to see TLJ on opening night at the Chinese Theater bc I was just that excited!!! I was taken aback when I just wasn't into it.. The humor didn't fit, it felt partially "disney-fied", and partially the bad part of the prequel humor. Also, I honestly don't think it was original.. Just because you did the exact opposite, doesn't mean its original. To completely negate the original formula, you have to acknowledge the existence of the formula, to begin with? If that makes sense to anyone? Also what they did with Luke as a character I really didn't completely like (although I think Mark Hamill was great.) I think also it's kinda bs to say that they're throwing away the formula when they DIRECTLY REFERENCE exact lines and scenes from the first two star wars films? Idk. Please don't attack me, but I really can't conceive of this movie being a "best of the year". If you want to talk about it being one of the most discussed and debated of the year I'd agree with you there, otherwise, there were so many great films this year, this just isn't up there.

 

It's creating a dialogue with the formula from the OT and subverting it in certain specific ways, not throwing it away completely. Throwing it away wouldn't be possible anyway, since the reason people go to see these movies is because they are called "Star Wars."

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Quick dark horse vote for Wonder Woman to be in the discussion. In addition to it being one of the best comic book superhero movies, it spurred on feminist empowerment discussion with a terrific character and another excellent female director.

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I was going to suggest Paul Verhoeven's stunning Elle, but that appears to have opened last year in the US.

 

I usually have a very low tolerance for Darren Aronofsky, but mother! really did a number on me. It's a film that people will be watching (and arguing furiously about) for decades to come. I'm not entirely sure how it ever got made, but I'm thankful.

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Get Out, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Killing of a Sacred Deer, Last Jedi, Lucky

 

And Twin Peaks, if you agree with Lynch that it is an 18 part movie (which I do not).

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I usually have a very low tolerance for Darren Aronofsky, but mother! really did a number on me. It's a film that people will be watching (and arguing furiously about) for decades to come. I'm not entirely sure how it ever got made, but I'm thankful.

I also really loved mother!

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I really don't think this movie should be up for consideration tbh... I have eaten, slept, and breathed Star Wars since I was a child, been raised as a Star Wars kid, and had EXTREMELY high hopes for this movie!!! I live in Oklahoma, and I went to California for a few reasons, one of which was to see TLJ on opening night at the Chinese Theater bc I was just that excited!!! I was taken aback when I just wasn't into it.. The humor didn't fit, it felt partially "disney-fied", and partially the bad part of the prequel humor. Also, I honestly don't think it was original.. Just because you did the exact opposite, doesn't mean its original. To completely negate the original formula, you have to acknowledge the existence of the formula, to begin with? If that makes sense to anyone?

Last Jedi deserves to be discussed precisely because of the conversation that has erupted around it.

 

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I've seen every "real" Star Wars movie in the theatre during its initial release. (I was barely more than a baby when the first one came out, but my parents assure me that I was riveted by it the whole time.) After Phantom Menace, my relationship with Star Wars movies became akin to Charlie Brown's relationship with Lucy's football. I kept promising myself that I wouldn't fall for it again, only to cave in (i.e. waste money on the price of admission) every time.

 

Last Jedi is the first Star Wars movie in a long time (since I first saw ROTJ as a kid, in fact) that has stayed with me after I left the theatre. Everything about the Luke/Kylo dynamic resonated strongly with me, and it was a perfect continuation of the family dysfunction that hung over Empire and ROTJ. Anybody who thinks this movie is a betrayal of the original trilogy (or their own expectations, or their childhood power fantasies, or whatever) obviously doesn't understand what a story is.

 

I will never understand why anybody would eagerly seek out a "drama" that predictably indulges their own expectations. As I've said elsewhere, if you want a story that does nothing more than this, why not just act it out with your Star Wars action figures?

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Quick dark horse vote for Wonder Woman to be in the discussion. In addition to it being one of the best comic book superhero movies, it spurred on feminist empowerment discussion with a terrific character and another excellent female director.

And it taught us the valuable, practical lesson that women can be successful as long as they are physically stronger than anybody else on earth.

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Wonder Woman was great but unfortunately I feel it eclipses another superhero that broke the narrative mold and that is Logan.

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Some forgotten gems were Logan and Atomic Blonde, my favorite film of the year being the latter. If I had to create a time capsul for 2017 I'd include Get Out, Lady Bird, and Three Bilboards.

The Big Sick is the most overrated film of the year and is unremarkable in its writing, acting, structure, and continued focus on the Apatow man-child as the rom com hero. I was told my critics that it was a modern Annie Hall when in fact it took none of the risks and yielded none of the laughs or insight. While I appreciated Kumail getting his due and telling his story and in fact enjoyed the film for what it was, the attempt by many to claim it is the best comedy of the year is the only thing I find laughable.

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Some forgotten gems were Logan and Atomic Blonde, my favorite film of the year being the latter. If I had to create a time capsul for 2017 I'd include Get Out, Lady Bird, and Three Bilboards.

The Big Sick is the most overrated film of the year and is unremarkable in its writing, acting, structure, and continued focus on the Apatow man-child as the rom com hero. I was told my critics that it was a modern Annie Hall when in fact it took none of the risks and yielded none of the laughs or insight. While I appreciated Kumail getting his due and telling his story and in fact enjoyed the film for what it was, the attempt by many to claim it is the best comedy of the year is the only thing I find laughable.

You know, I like The Big Sick, but yeah. And I should be in the bag for this, too. I love literally everyone involved with this project. But maybe it was the three or four consecutive montages set to somber music, or the few jagged stabs at endings, or the fact that this movie feels the need to hit me over the head with its sense of urgency over and over, rather than trusting the audience to understand the weight of those more serious moments, but golly, I could not love The Big Sick, as much as I tried. I watched it over and over, but I'm split on it.

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Some additions I haven't really seen above:

 

Baby Driver - Best musical this year.

Detroit - Got a mixed response, but I thought it was a terrific political film steaming with righteous anger.

Loving Vincent- Just beautiful. A visual lullaby.

Death of Stalin- A tense thriller about a successful coup that somehow manages to find the humour in fascism.

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