The Year That Was: Films in 2017



And that’s about it for this year in film! There have been some great movies, there have been some not so great movies. I hope this summary has thrown up at least a couple of films for you to check out, and if your favourite movie from this year hasn’t been mentioned, let me know! That’s all from me, I’m off to create my Elton John for Best Supporting Actor campaign website. I’ve been @hannakin__, thanks for following, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Alan Wilson

Thanks Hannah and some great pointers to films I've missed (quite a lot in fact).

Finally, December! Oscar bait aplenty with ‘The Shape of Water’, ‘The Greatest Showman’, ‘I, Tonya’, ‘The Post’, ‘All The Money In The World’, ‘Molly’s Game’ and ‘Phantom Thread’ all coming out this month. In addition, James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist’, about the best worst movie of all time ‘The Room’ has been a surprise hit. I didn’t expect to ever get emotional during a James Franco movie, but here we are. Two Christmas blockbusters get their releases this week: the ‘Jumanji’ remake (have I mentioned I love The Rock), and ‘Pitch Perfect 3’, but December this year belongs to one movie…. ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ scored the second biggest opening weekend of all time, surpassed only by, you guess it, The Force Awakens. Now I’m aware that not everybody will have had a chance to see The Last Jedi yet so I’m not going to discuss it in any real detail here. All I will say is that Rian Johnson has made a movie that is quite unlike any of the other films in the franchise. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is for you to decide.

November! A good Thor movie! For me the Thor films have been my least favourite part of the MCU, but Ragnarok is bloody brilliant. I genuinely think this film could work as a standalone comedy. It’s that funny. The director Taiki Watiti also lends his voice to a character named Korg who steals the show. We also had ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. The adaption of the classic Agatha Christie novel had a cracking cast, but I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed. DC put out ‘Justice League’, which wasn’t ‘Batman vs Superman’ level bad but still wasn’t a patch on the MCU ensemble movies. Maybe the biggest surprise of November was ‘Paddington 2’, which I genuinely have yet to see a bad comment about. My favourite release of this month though, was ‘Call Me By Your Name’. It’s a romance set in Italy at the height of summer which somehow manages to be heartwarming and utterly devastating at the same time. It’s gonna be an awards season heavyweight. You’ll never look at peaches in the same way again. There are a couple of other films that got their US releases in November including ‘Lady Bird’, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and ‘Darkest Hour’, but they won’t be in UK cinemas until the new year. Sad face.

October also marked a watershed moment in Hollywood (and society in general) as the New York Times published their initial story detailing allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Even two months after the story broke it seems like new people are coming forward every day. Other big names have also been exposed, including Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K, and Brian Singer. The true extent to which sexual assault and harassment is prevalent in Hollywood is shocking, perhaps more so because so many people in the industry don’t seem to be shocked by it at all. The revelations have spurred a wider reckoning with sexual harassment throughout society thanks to the rise of the #MeToo movement, leading to the TIME Person of Year honour being given to ‘The Silence Breakers’. Long may it continue.

October! Let’s start with ‘Blade Runner 2049’. Harrison Ford seemed a lot more keen on this one than he did The Force Awakens, so it was bound to be good, right! One of the most visually stunning movies I have seen in a long long time, and there were plenty of nice callbacks to the original film. There were a couple of other releases that are starting to generate some awards buzz: ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’, directed by the same person who made the excellent and twisted ‘The Lobster’, and ‘The Florida Project’, which I can’t wait to watch. There was also a film about the Winnie the Pooh books called ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’, but the trailer alone made me tear up so I gave it a miss.

A quick google tells me a movie called ‘9/11’ starring Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg was released in September. I’m almost scared to ask. The Weinstein Company probably thought that ‘Tulip Fever’ bombing at the box office would be their biggest bit of bad news this autumn. Little did they know. ‘Mother!’ starring Jennifer Lawrence was easily the most polarising film of the year, and also the most disturbing. If you are a fan of babies (or just generally not a psychopath) do not watch this movie. The second instalment of the Kingsman was released, featuring Elton John with what I firmly believe is an Oscar worthy performance. If he doesn’t get a nomination I’m boycotting. The biopic ‘Battle of the Sexes’ is one for the tennis fans, a really great movie about the famous match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. ‘It’ was also released, apparently it was more of a comedy but the trailer creeped me out enough that I flat out refused to see it. And I also want to mention ‘Loving Vincent’, an animated documentary about the life of Vincent Van Gogh. Every frame is an oil painting. Makes Wallace and Gromit look proper rubbish.

August was pretty quiet. ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ saw Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson essentially playing themselves, but with more shooting. Steven Soderbergh came out of retirement to direct ‘Logan Lucky’, a super entertaining heist film starring Kylo Ren and James Bond. And while ‘Leap!’ failed to strike the same chord for Disney as ‘Moana’ (starring The Rock, who I love) and ‘Frozen’ have in recent years, it did bless us with basically the best Carly Rae Jepsen song of all time.

Some great summer blockbusters were released in July. The latest reboot of Spiderman debuted, and within about half an hour of the film starting you began to wonder how anyone other than Tom Holland could ever have been cast in this role. Sorry Andrew Garfield. Following hot on the heels of The Big Sick’s unlikely success was ‘Girls Trip’, which became the only comedy of the year to gross over $100 million in the US. Luc Besson tried his best to recreate the magic of his best known film, ‘The Fifth Element’, with ‘Valerian’, and failed. Maybe next time don’t cast Cara Delevingne in the main role. ‘Atomic Blonde’, starring Charlize Theron and James MacAvoy as Spies in East Berlin, was a film I enjoyed, largely because I’m a sucker for an 80s soundtrack. But the biggest blockbuster of the summer was undoubtedly ‘Dunkirk’. Christopher Nolan’s epic retelling of the evacuation of British forces from Northern France had it all; Britain’s finest actors (and Harry Styles), an eerie Hans Zimmer soundtrack, and some genius Nolan timeline manipulation to drive the plot. One of the most intense movie-watching experiences of my life, but so good that I saw it twice in the space of a week. All the awards, please.

June was a pretty good month as far as films go. The biggest release was the highly anticipated ‘Wonder Woman’, a film which proved DC can still make good superhero movies, and also firmly disproved the idea that female fronted superhero movies don’t make money. Three other great movies from May: ‘The Big Sick’, a rom com written by Kumail Nanjiani that explored how interracial couples face cultural differences; ‘Okja’, a Netflix release that will turn you Vegetarian for at least a couple of hours; and finally, ‘Baby Driver’, a heist movie in which the on screen action is almost entirely choreographed to the film’s soundtrack. Also probably the last movie to star Kevin Spacey. That was June, the less said about Transformers and The Mummy the better.

May. More sequels and reboots! Some successful. Some not so much. First up, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2.’ Just as much fun as the original, with an equally killer soundtrack. We’ll be seeing the Guardians in 2018 as part of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and I, for one, can. not. wait. The latest Alien prequel, ‘Alien: Covenent’ was also released. Not universally loved by fans, not the worst thing Ridley Scott has ever done. Less successful offerings included a ‘Baywatch’ remake even The Rock (who I love) couldn’t save, an ill-advised ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ sequel and a truly tragic attempt to retell the legend of King Arthur by Guy Ritchie.