1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The party fruit punch of the year – it packs in a little bit of everything but it’s its unique zing that really leaves an impression. Performances to rival that of the Trump press campaign, particularly from McDormand, Rockwell and Harrelson, who all deserve ‘billboards’ – Three all up! – to remind Oscar voters of their terrific turns.
2. All the Money in the World
In November, Ridley Scott’s captivating Getty kidnaping drama was unknowingly dating Chuck. By mid-December, it had found its feet again, pulled away from the enemy and found its Ren. Everybody cut, Everybody cut, Everybody cut.. Spacey!
The last time I openly wept in an “X-Men” movie, Brett Ratner was responsible and that was seven minutes into the movie.
“Logan” is also somewhat of a ‘Last Stand’ but it’s beautifully powerful, welcomingly brutal one. A showcase for Jackman, Stewart and Mangold.
4. Darkest Hour
Its awesome enough seeing Gary Oldman transform into the South African bad guy* from “Lethal Weapon 2”, even better to see him undergoing hours in the chair something as remarkably worthwhile as this. Very solid. *I joke kids, he’s playing grand old Winston – PM, not Snoopy’s mate.
5. I, Tonya
As opposed to the superhero flick she’s better known for, “I, FuckedUp”, Margot Robbie’s impetus here is to get folks off her tits and onto her talent. And you don’t have to be on Ice to enjoy it. Robbie, also serving as producer, gives a frighteningly feral and ferociously fun performance in this imaginatively crafted Tonya Harding biopic. A really skate movie.
WB’s flashy, frightening and funtastical coming-of-age horror movie showed Hollywood that today’s audiences aren’t just simply interested in remakes, funky updates on classic novels, and big-budget youth-skewed horrors. Oh wait…
Man, what have we done!?
One of the best war movies in years, and a shoe-in for the Oscars, Nolan’s captivating drama deserves nods for its production design, performances, cinematography, direction and visual effects. A special achievement award should also go to our director for his restraint in casting his staple lucky charm, Michael Caine (you imagined he would too, don’t lie).
8. Lady Bird
Indie wunderkind Greta Gerwig gets behind the camera for a delightfully initiate coming-of-age movie that’s bound to have everyone labelling her an “Indie wunderkind”. Oh well.. It’s like being sworn in by her majesty twice, no!?
Not since her wardrobe in “Pretty Woman” has Julia Roberts been overshadowed by something so small, Jacob Tremblay is a revelation in this family-friendly heart-tugger that will hopefully stop a few of you on Facebook from whining about your poor horrible sucky lives for just one day. Please.
10. Guardians of the Galaxy 2/ Wonder Woman
It’s a superhero tie for #10 this year, if only because Marvel’s “Vol.2” and DC’s “Wonder Woman” seemingly inhale from the same Celluloid bong. Both managed to balance the light and dark stuff very effectively, and they were also rip-roaring crowd pleasers, but predominantly, both these movies soar because of their welcomingly effective runny nose stabs at tackling human emotion and the bonds that bind us. (“Justice League”, on the other hand, made us cry for completely different reasons.)
Honourable mentions : The Disaster Artist, Star Wars : The Last Jedi, Get Out, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049.
Stay tuned for “Caffeinated Clint’s Worst Of 2017”, coming soon…
The horror-book-nerd in me can’t go past “IT” as my top movie this year. It has a terrifying clown, a wholesome coming-of-age story and of course the Stephen King influence. Andy Muschietti did a top job with this one.
2. The Disaster Artist
This was my surprise of the year – I didn’t think a comedy could bring a tear to my eye, but it did. And it was much funnier and more clever than I had imagined. Bravo, James Franco.
3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
There’s no wonder this one is the hot topic for award season, as it kicks goals in every corner. Stellar cast, an amazing storyline that puts a twist on the stock-standard “who-dunnit” crime drama, and an array of emotions invoked. Practically faultless.
4. Get Out
I loved “Get Out” as it was a twist on the typical horror genre. The storyline was very original and provided plenty of twists and turns, right until the end. The conclusion was a little cliche, but it still made it to my must-watch for the year.
5. Wonder Woman
Superhero movies done right! Girl power! Romance that doesn’t make my ass sweat! 5 points for Wonder Woman. Bring on a second dose, please.
6. Baby Driver
Apart from movies (obvs), my passion in life is music. Edgar Wright did an amazing job to merge the two, and provide a most entertaining film in the process.
7. I, Tonya
I’ll always vote 1 for a movie starring the beautiful Margot Robbie, but she’s done a top job with playing the lead in this film. “I, Tonya” is a good insight into the story of Tonya Harding, and if you don’t know the full story (or even if you think you do) – its a must watch.
8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Yes I know, drama drama drama debate debate debate. But I loved “The Last Jedi”. No, it’s not the best “Star Wars” to hit screens but it was very entertaining and engaging, plus there were Porgs.
9. Lady Bird
Good lord (pun intended), this film is like watching the story of Katie in high school. Fabulous acting, relatable to most – even if you didn’t attend a Catholic school like yours truly – and again, another strong contender in the awards season.
Look Mum, there’s a war movie on my top 10 list! Who woulda thunk it?! I’m not just adding this one for Harry Styles, I truly loved it – and the three timelines were a very interesting take into the genre. Props to Nolan.
Honorable mentions: Logan, Darkest Hour, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Jumanji
1. The Layover
Why was this movie made. WHY. There’s nothing good about it and it was embarrassing and awful and I hated it.
2. Pitch Perfect 3
Poor attempt to continue a franchise and make a bit of a cash grab, which will no doubt pay off. But still, it sucked. Too many stories and too little character development.
3. Alien: Covenant
Another one that should have stayed in the big bucket of failed ideas. I fear that this one was an attempt at an artistic film, but instead we were subjected to a grown man playing the recorder for entirely too long and the same guy kissing himself in some way. Weird.
As 2017 comes to a close it’s time to look back on the movies I enjoyed and the ones I didn’t. You must remember, it takes a lot for me to dislike a film – if it’s in focus I’ll give it a “star” – so the few on my list are, as Joseph Bologna said in MY FAVORITE YEAR, “Stinkburgers!” Happy New Year.
1. All the Money in the World – I was a teenager when John Paul Getty III was kidnapped and I was intrigued about the case then as much as I am now. For those of you who may have been out of the loop, director Ridley Scott had already finished this film, with Kevin Spacey appearing as billionaire/grandfather John Paul Getty, when news of Spacey’s “issues” came out. Rather than have his film judged, unfairly in my opinion, with it’s association with the disgraced actor, Scott was able to gather his cast and crew together in late November and re-shot all of Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer now playing the part. That he was able to do this and complete a flawless edit in a month is worthy of an award just on that achievement alone. I wonder if Plummer will thank Spacey in his Oscar acceptance speech?
2. Get Out – I was late to the table in seeing this (thank you Academy screeners). Writer/director Jordan Peele gives us not only one of the most original horror films ever created, but also uses his art to make us all sit back and recognize the world we are living in.
3. The Post – Tom Hanks. Meryl Streep. And the master director, Steven Spielberg. Put them together with a story that was actually taken from the headlines and you’ll get a lesson not only in first-rate film making but in how this government is supposed to run. Will make an amazing part of a double feature with ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN.
4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – A first rate story backed by powerhouse acting, if this film doesn’t bring Sam Rockwell his first Academy Award nomination then the fix is in. Extra points for it’s make-up work, created by the drummer of my garage band in high school,, Corey Castellano.
5. Spider-man: Homecoming – Yes, there have been some great superhero films the past few years, but THIS was the Spider-man we’ve all been waiting for. Instead of the polished young man/junior photographer, we get a nervous, anxious teenager still trying to understand his gift. Extra points for making Aunt May a hottie.
6. In Dubious Battle – The first film on my list to star and be directed by James Franco, this adaptation of a John Steinbeck novel features amazing performances from a cast lead by Franco and Vincent D’Onofrio.
7. The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro’s love letter to THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, proving that love can exist anywhere. Sally Hawkin’s wordless performance is heartbreaking.
8. The Disaster Artist – Film number two from Mr. Franco and company. A behind the scenes look at the making of a film that ranks as one of the most unusual off all time.
9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – I don’t understand all of the backlash this film is taking. Writer/director Rian Johnson has taken the galaxy on a new direction and I have no doubt that J.J. Abrams will bring this final trilogy to a satisfactory conclusion. If you don’t tear up when Luke Skywalker and Princess/General Leia embrace than you’ve obviously gone over to the Dark Side.
10. IT – If you read my review, you know I FRICKIN HATE CLOWNS! That being said, this is the film that kept me up nights long after I first saw it.
1. Before I Fall – Good lord, what a piece of junk! Imagine if you will the worse movie ever made involving the supernatural and GROUNDHOG DAY. Now multiple that by 100. A young girl keeps dying, then coming back, only to die again. After the third time I was silently praying that the next one to die would be me. Note to the filmmakers – Valentine’s Day is on February 14th, not the 13th.
2. The Space Between Us – This came out a few weeks before BEFORE I FALL, and the latter was so much worse that I found myself apologizing to it on my Podcast. A woman gives birth to a baby while in space. For some reason, this makes him as vulnerable to the world as Sam Jackson was in UNBREAKABLE. Now a teenager, the youngster comes to Earth to meet his on-line gal-pal and find his father – whose identity is obvious 10 minutes into the film.
3. Fist Fight – How in the world can you make Charlie O’Day UN-funny? This film has three credited writers, none of whom apparently have never heard of comedy. Shame on you. Charlie deserved better.
Blade Runner 2049
Director Denis Villeneuve manages the slightly magical trick of making this film very much its own beast while referencing and homaging the motifs from (and expanding the world of) Ridley Scott’s original.
While critics and audiences fawned over finally having a powerful female heroine in “Wonder Woman”, Jessica Chastain played a complicated woman with as many faces as she needs to thrive who didn’t give a damn if you loved her – but made you love her strength and smarts anyway.
It Stains the Sands Red
It takes one of the most iconic traits about zombies from the genre we all know (their unstoppability) and makes this two-hander something you’ve never seen before.
The Lego Batman Movie
The Lego cinematic universe could have rested firmly on its laurels after the sublimely well made “The Lego Movie”, but “The Lego Batman Movie” is just as well written, full of scattershot gags and heart.
Kong Skull Island
How do you infuse so much love not just of a genre but cinema itself into a blockbuster CGI monster smash-em-up? Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts showed them all.
Manchester by the Sea
Actors at the top of their respective games in this tale of break-up and healing, as miniscule gestures and glances convey more heartbreak and high emotion than any tear or scream.
Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992
The flashpoint for racism in America, LA has always teetered on the edge of chaos, and John Ridley’s brilliant documentary charts its seemingly inevitable course to the days of jaw-dropping violence and destruction using a human face.
The Edge of Seventeen
In such an overcooked and overcrowded genre, what else can a teen angst movie possibly offer? Hailee Steinfeld bring Kelly Fremon Craig’s script beautifully to life and you’re with her every messed up, confused step.
If you’re as sick of superhero movies as some people are, “Logan” was the antidote. A beautiful story about aging, fatherhood and belonging that just happened to have steel claws and action scenes.
The anatomy of a breakdown, achieved without a single raised voice or thrown plate. As refreshingly portrayed as it is real, it’s essential viewing for anyone who’s ever loved someone.