Films are a major source of inspiration for me, and have been all my life. I try to see everything good each year. Below is what I thought of 2016. Also included are least favorite films, favorite performances, and favorite soundtracks.
FAVORITE FILMS 2017 (in order)
I like films that hit me emotionally and/or feel original. I'm not interested in guessing what other people like or what should win an award, so these are only films that connected with me personally.
Raw (Julia Ducournau)
Jane (Brett Morgen)
I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie)
Ladybird (Greta Gerwig)
Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Florida Project (Sean Baker)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
Logan (James Mangold)
Brawl in Cell Block 99 (S. Craig Zahler)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos)
The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro)
Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow)
Mudbound (Dee Rees)
Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
On Body and Soul (Ildikó Enyedi)
Thelma (Joachim Trier)
The Disaster Artist (James Franco)
Call me by my name (Luca Guadagnino)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson)
The Lost City of Z (James Gray)
The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola)
Good Time (Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie)
Princess Cyd (Stephen Cone)
Battle of the Sexes (Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris)
Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)
A Ghost Story (David Lowery)
Una (Benedict Andrews)
It (Andy Muschietti)
LEAST FAVORITE FILMS 2017 (in order)
I mostly try to see films I think will be good, so consider this relative to what I actually watched I'm sure there are a lot of films released that are worse than these in the past year. Despite these criticisms, I do have the utmost respect for anyone who is brave enough to make a film. I'm also a fan of most of the directors below. That said we all don't connect with some art and I like talking about why.
A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies)
Windriver (Taylor Sheridan). If you are a backcountry skier or even a novice alpinist, it’ll be hard not to laugh at a pivotal scene in this film. Taylor Sheridan clearly has not spent much time in snow (he’s from LA/Texas), and related choices based left my disbelief not suspended.
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assaya)
The Big Sick (Michael Showalter). I’m a Michael Showalter and Kumail Nanjiani fan, but I have a hard time with films that dance around religion and religious tradition without digging deeper. For me, it leaves the characters lacking in depth and curiosity. Why not explore Islam a bit more? Answer questions about the beliefs and doctrine? Understand why it’s important Kumail’s character should marry a muslim woman? Also the experience of someone living life to please their parents is something I find completely unrelatable/difficult to watch. I get that’s a real struggle for some and can appreciate that, but it makes me cringe.
Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello)
Logan Lucky (Steven Soderbergh)
John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski). I was a fan of the first due to what felt like an original approach in portraying action-movie violence. This sequel didn’t add much to that, and eventually I got bored and didn't even finish the film.
Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins). Wonder Woman had too many unnecessarily illogical aspects to the plot that took me out of it (recognizing the rules of that universe). When I decide if I like a film, the social significance of said film is just something I keep separate. If a film is boring, or has elements I generally just don’t like, I won’t value film more because of what it signifies outside of the boundaries of the actual film content. I still can appreciate externalities to a film, but it never makes the film “good” for me if it didn’t stand on its own first. Another example of this is the film Loving. I feel like critics often mix the two.
I Love You Daddy (Louis CK). Again, removing all externalities to the film I still found this didn’t work and felt kinda pretentious/derivative. That said, I appreciate the risks taken and effort/desire to try something less ordinary.
FAVORITE CINEMATOGRAPHY 2017 (in order)
Loving Vincent (125 painters over 4 years)
Thelma (Jakob Ihre)
FAVORITE PERFORMANCES 2017 (in order)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Daniel Day Lewis (Phantom Thread)
Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread)
Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
William Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Saoirse Ronan (Ladybird)
Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
Mara Rooney (Una)
Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer)
FAVORITE SOUNDTRACK/SOUND DESIGN (in order)
Blade Runner (Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch)
Phantom Thread (Jonny Greenwood)
Dunkirk (Hans Zimmer)
A Ghost Story (Dark Rooms)
Call me by my name (Sufjan Stevens, music by Ravel)
Good time (Oneohtrix Point Never)
Thelma (Ola Fløttum)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (John Williams)