If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!


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My Top 10 Films of 2017

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As with my personal list of the bottom 10 films of the year, this list is solely determined by what happened to end up as the 10 highest-ranked films on my personal list. It wasn’t as if I started with a list of films I liked and had to pick 10 – this is just what fell into place over the course of the year.

I’ve decided to do something different this year and list my top 10 alphabetically rather than in ascending order of quality. First, because I don’t want to diminish the suspense regarding the outcome of my upcoming Film Awards, but second, because this is a very tight group of films, especially my top 5 (which you’ll discover soon enough). I could see several films ending up as my #1 of the year, given enough time and repeat viewings.

So I’ll do as King Arthur did (the actual King Arthur, not Charlie Hunnam and Guy Ritchie’s idea of Arthur) and invite these 10 films to sit at my table as equals. The point isn’t which one is the best – the point is that they’re all great.

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My Bottom 10 Films of 2017

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Two film quotes come to mind:

  • “The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.”
  • “You thought you had to become Bigfoot to save this town, but you saved it a long time ago by just being you.”

One is from a good film. The other is from a film on this list. And this list represents the darkest cinematic nights of 2017…at least those I bore witness to.

I should note, I saw a lot fewer films this year than in previous years, and a lot fewer bad or even mediocre films. But a bottom 10 there had to be, and here they are.

 

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THE BOOK OF HENRY Review – **

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If this isn’t the most misleading poster I’ve ever seen, it’s because the film itself is just as misleading.

The Book of Henry is certainly not a good film, but calling it a bad one doesn’t seem to fit; it falls short of the mark, but not in the way a truly bad film does. Rather, it fails to answer two vital questions—who is it for, and what is it about?—and it’s hard to imagine anyone being satisfied with the end result.

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The Films of 2016, in 100 Words or Less: Part VII

 

I decided to break the final batch of capsule reviews into two: this contains all the remaining films which I ranked *** or less; the final batch, which you’ll get in the next day or two, will contain all the ***½ and **** films. This list, however, does contain two Best Picture nominees and three films nominated in other categories.

Please also note that these reviews may contain spoilers for the films in question.

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DON’T THINK TWICE Review – ****

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This may not be a great year, but it’s been a hell of a good one for comedies. (Source)

Sometimes, you see a film at the exact right moment and it hits the exact right buttons so as to send you out on a cloud, convinced you’ve seen a great film, certain you’ve got a new favorite to add to your repertoire, and eager to evangelize about its virtues to the world.

Don’t Think Twice is such a film. I needed so warm and funny a film the day I saw it (more precisely, the specific time of that day), and based on my experiences of doing improv comedy in college, and my knowledge of what is to be a performing artist, it rang entirely true. It may not be a perfect film, and no future viewing is likely to benefit from the circumstances which made this one so uniquely rewarding, but it is an excellent film and one I can heartily recommend.

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THE BFG Review – ***

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Probably, unfortunately, no one’s idea of a whizzpopper. (Source)

There’s not much to say about The BFG, as it is quite frankly Spielberg’s slightest film in a long while, and a decided come-down after the excellent Bridge of Spies. That is still a decent film, and at least free of the stodgy tastefulness which marred some of his other recent output, is at best a mild comfort, but it will have to do.

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DEADPOOL Review – ***

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Too bad the best artistry in modern posters is so often confined to exclusives like these. (Source)

Deadpool may ultimately be more a triumph of context than of merit. I personally appreciate the huge bird it’s flipped the MPAA (and the fact that the film-going public, for once to their credit, seconded that salute), and the dedication on the part of its producers, and especially its star, to get such a gleefully graphic and subversive film made as part of a blockbuster franchise, more than I do its own dramatic strengths.

Don’t get me wrong: when Deadpool works, it does work, thanks in large part to Reynolds, who throws himself wholly into the role, never missing a step as he spouts off quip after quip. Even if you find Deadpool’s humor a mite tiresome at times, especially since the film around him provides only fleeting relief, it’s hard to deny that Reynolds is the primary factor in its success.

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