The end of year picks come to a close today. We finish it out with our favorite movies. The most entertaining horror flick in a long time appears twice, while two superhero movies that switched up the blueprint (in wildly different ways) scored major points too. The standout pick is the adaptation of one of the most hilarious, bizarre true stories in the filmmaking world. Oh hai, James Franco. Try to catch these, and our honorable mentions, before the year ends!
Austin: Now, before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, let’s clarify: This is FAVORITE of the year. Not best, not greatest filmmaking, but favorite. A favorite to me is the one I enjoyed the most while watching and made me want to come back to the theater and see again (ironically, I did not go back to the theater to see this a second time).
IT is the best horror movie I’ve seen in a very long time, and when horror is your favorite genre, that’s going to garner major points. While it had flaws and didn’t leave me losing sleep, it still managed to shock and terrify me in theater. Combine it with downright hilarious performances and entertainment from start-to-finish and you get a recipe of Aystub love. It’s a popcorn movie, comedy, and nightmare rolled into one; what more could you want?
This pick will probably change several times by actual end of year to other movies I’ve seen, but when going through my list, IT popped out most, spreading a smile on my face and jolting my heart the moment it scrolled down in my notes.
Honorable Mentions: Dunkirk; Get Out; Blade Runner 2049; I, Tonya; The Disaster Artist
Andy: I’ve actually surprised myself with this pick, as I had assumed Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be taking this spot. After walking out of SW: TLJ, however, I searched my feelings, and knew it to be true: I liked Thor: Ragnarok more. Thinking back to the original Thor and Thor: The Dark World, I can tell you very little about either. Those two duds plus the success of Guardians of the Galaxy led to Marvel and Disney deciding to switch up the formula a bit, and it paid off in spades here.
The retro-wave neon 80’s look combined with with a synthy score (Synth is SO in right now) gave Ragnarok a look & feel that audiences ate right up. Director Taika Waititi brought his humor and gave the film an actual identity, the script gave our characters some hilarious materials to work with and had the entire theater in stitches for the entire ride. We had brilliant line delivery and performances by everyone from lead Chris Hemsworth, to Jeff Goldblum being Jeff Goldblum, and even strong supporting characters like Skurge (Karl Urban). I had the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time, so Thor: Ragnarok lands at the top for my Favorite Movie of 2017.
Honorable Mentions: Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Blade Runner: 2049; IT
Pat: I’m honestly baffled that I’m sitting here writing about a movie that isn’t called Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I promise, I’m even more confused than you are, but alas, here we are. I’m going to preface this with a few things. First, I read Stephen King’s IT novel before seeing the movie. Second, I’m not a huge fan of horror movies. While I wouldn’t put this in a simple “horror” category, (I think it skews more towards Stranger Things/Goonies, than anything else) it did have enough scary moments to keep my heart rate high. You would think both of those would be facts that would work against IT. However, I think it’s a testament to the quality of the film that it doesn’t. As a book reader, I had very few complaints with the adaptation and as a moviegoer I had even less. This movie was a blast from start to finish.
While there are many facets that come together and make this movie as awesome as it was, what I’d really like to call attention to is the incredible performance of the child actors. Most of the time, child actors can come off as annoying. In IT they are an asset and their chemistry and charm is something that will be extremely hard to top in any future adaptations and in the sequel. I’m really looking forward to keeping this movie in my yearly “Halloween Movies” rotation for the rest of my life. While it may not be winning any Oscars, nor will it be considered a crowning achievement in film making, IT certainly stands out for me when I reflect on 2017, and was my most enjoyable movie experience of the year.
Honorable Mentions: It Comes at Night; Get Out
The Disaster Artist
Chandler: “You’re tearing me apart Lisa!” Admittedly I was torn about whether Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be my favorite movie of 2017, but it was The Disaster Artist’s brilliant, humorous and heart-warming story that stayed with me the most. I wasn’t too familiar with The Room at first or would consider myself an expert on crappy cinema. But as the trailers started to roll out for The Disaster Artist, I became eager to learn more about what many arguably consider the worst movie of all time and why there is so much fascination with the mysterious Tommy Wiseau.
In The Disaster Artist, James Franco gives the best performance of his career with extreme dedication to the source material that is so impossible to believe if it weren’t apparently true. From the moment production begins, it’s riveting to see how much The Room was plagued by in-fighting, bad acting, constant script changes, and Tommy’s ego. The film is also incredibly cringe-worthy at times as the unorthodox filmmaker manages to make every mistake imaginable while the relationships with his closest friend Greg (Dave Franco) and the supporting cast crumble around him. But while the entire portrayal is often hilarious, The Disaster Artist never comes across as directly making fun of Tommy Wiseau. The film presents a level of sensitivity and appreciation for the earnest attempts of one of the most bewildering and endearing characters you’ll ever see on screen. James Franco’s spectacular immersion in the role should also likely throw him into the Oscar mix for best actor.
Honorable Mentions: Star Wars: The Last Jedi; IT; Logan; Dunkirk
Smithers: Prior to 2016, R-rated comic book movies were reserved for only the most pretentious of storylines. Ryan Reynolds kicked through that barrier with his balls swinging in the wind as Deadpool crushed expectations with its tiny budget. A year later, we were further rewarded with the masterpiece that is Logan. James Mangold did right by Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart in their farewell performance while also delivering the prospective future Wolverine/X-23 in Dafne Keen. 20th Century Fox (RIP) is understandably in the midst a major Academy Award campaign that no one could have predicted.
If this truly was the end for Jackman and Stewart, they certainly made their death rattles heard. I’m hopeful that The Academy will recognize Stewart as Best Supporting Actor, but it will likely go to some other fart-sniffing role in a movie that no one saw. The story of Logan allows Wolverine and Professor X to stay true to form while still running the gamut of emotions. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll watch people get beheaded by a little girl, and you’ll do it all from the edge of your seat.
Honorable mentions: Thor: Ragnarok; Get Out; Spider-Man: Homecoming