Friday, December 29, 2017

My Year in Movies 2017 Part 1 - The Big List

          I have put too much sweat into this already. I kicked around ideas for a way to put this together with the top 10%, 15%, or even 20% of the total movies I watched this year, but there is too much I want to talk about. Not to mention the annual feelings of holiday malaise that have kept a few must-see movies either off the list or too far down in the numbering. I do not typically write a lot about movies aside from a few random reviews I have done online over the years in various places like IMDB and my recent foray into Letterboxd. I do not consider myself a critic, and I like being critical even less. I may be the only person who found a silver lining in Psycho Shark, and you can read that review on Sci-Fi Japan. I tend to be overly kind even with a difficult movie outing. I will not deny that I have gone to some effort to express my displeasure with a few movies and franchises *cough Transformers and Spider-Man 3 cough* in the past, but, even for those, it took a little while for the sour aftertaste to set in because a first-time viewing for me is an immersive and attentive experience. No matter how painful some scenes or performances might be, I generally fall into the world being presented before me, and I usually do not walk away from any movie disappointed... until I start to think about them after the fact.

          No matter what I think of anything, people can like what they like. This is just a year's worth of worthless movie opinions you can take or leave. I just want to talk about what clicked for me in a movie, and events that make me angry or frustrated do not necessarily mean I dislike a particular movie. Case in point, films like Ordet and A Christmas Tale are classics but struck me in a strange way or hit too close to home when I saw them for the first time. For those two in particular, I have far too much emotional baggage to attempt to review them. A film like Ordet leaves me speechless, and A Christmas Tale hits me with a few too many rough family memories of petty holiday get-togethers.

         Logging the movies I see in a year is not something I usually do, and this was an interesting experiment to see how my viewing habits measure up. Unfortunately, I think that 2017 as a whole was not typical of an average movie-viewing year for me. I do not get out to the movie theater as often as I used to in the past several years. More often than not, I go to the theater with my nephew to see the latest Marvel superhero movie or something special like Shin Godzilla, which we both enjoyed quite a bit. Marvel movies are a tradition between the two of us going back to Thor, and there is a bittersweet feeling with our latest outing together to see Thor: Ragnarok. We have grown apart a little as he gets older and no longer stays with me after school to help with homework and watch television. He has friends of his own now and, I am told, even a girlfriend. He just turned twelve, and he reminds me a great deal of his father. My nephew is a lot more polite, but he cannot help that he has grown out of a few of the things that we used to enjoy together. It happens. Most of my movie viewing is done at home, but I made it to the theater a few times this year.

          The big difference in my viewing this year was that this list pushed me to discipline myself a bit more to see new things, but there are some instances in which I feel like I am forcing myself to watch something when the mood is not right. I have developed a poor first impression of a few movies and come back to realize on a second attempt that the emotional atmosphere is very important to me. This is part of the reason that I missed Rogue One in theater and did not get around to it until almost exactly one year after its release. That holiday malaise. The movie-viewing mood has been unusual, and I still find myself falling back on multiple viewings of old favorites. With the state of my life and free time the past several years, a lot of my viewing leans toward movies and shows I have seen enough to know by heart. Much of that time is devoted to some classic favorite droning in the background. I run through Godzilla movies and episodes of MST3K a lot, and I come back to a lot of my favorite horror movies as many as two or three times a year regardless of the Halloween season. After joining Letterboxd a year or two ago, I see that I watch over 500 movies a year, but I think it is fairer to say that I listen to about 300 movies a year while I am doing something else and watch about 200 movies a year to make up the difference. If you look at my total for 2017 on Letterboxd, then that is mostly what you will see (surprisingly, however, one of my biggest comfort movies, Legend of the Dinosaurs, is not on the list despite the fact that I ran through almost the entirety of MST3K's KTMA season again). It is soothing to me to hear the sounds of giant monsters destroying cities or a guy and his robot friends cracking funny jokes during a movie. My television is almost always on. Even when I am out of the house, I will have my headphones in and listening to an episode of MST3K or some stand up comedy special on Netflix on my phone, or I am listening to a movie score of some kind that allows a movie to play in my head with the melody. Plus it cuts the social anxiety just a bit.

          2017 has been a... different year. I think that part of my increase in first time viewings might have been as a result of trying to drown out the world more than trying to adhere to my viewing goal. Originally, it was set for 104 movies for the year, but I had that many down within about five months. I doubled it to 208 and had that knocked out before the end of the summer. Things slowed down a little with Halloween favorites like Poltergeist and Halloween III as well as November's MST3K Turkey Day marathon (which always sends me into watching a few dozen episodes again), but I hit a comfortable final goal of 260 movies with two days left to go in the year. I stayed true to some annual Christmas favorites like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, the Star Wars Holiday Special (with RiffTrax commentary, of course), MST3K's Winter classics like Jack Frost and their Santa Claus episodes, and RiffTrax essential Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, but none of those managed to get in my way of seeing about a dozen more new-to-me movies during the last two weeks of December.

          My list for 2017 is a doozie, and I cannot think of a single movie on the list that I do not recommend. A large selection of these viewings came from group livetweets, many of which were with my fine friends in the Filmistines, and I make it no secret that they have far better taste in film than I do. Simply running off the list is exhausting and leaves me with such a large jumble of mixed thoughts about dozens of movies that I have a hard time focusing on one particular movie at a time, and my approach to this has been nowhere near as organized as this post suggests. It is a little overwhelming to attempt this feat when I initially thought that the list itself was all I was going to compile. It was not until around September that I thought that I should, for archival's sake, put something a little more thorough together outside of my obscure little #104for2017 Twitter hashtag. Here goes:

  1. THX-1138 (Laserdisc Cut)
  2. The Dragon Lives Again
  3. The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak
  4. The Long Good Friday
  5. Layer Cake
  6. Osen Chitai (Yellow Line)
  7. Hips, Hips, Hooray!
  8. Yoga Hosers
  9. The Low Budget Time Machine
  10. War of the Planets
  11. Invaders from the Deep (MST3K K01)
  12. The Woman in the Window
  13. M
  14. When Were You Born?
  15. Bad Girl
  16. Hollywood Vice Squad
  17. The Blancheville Monster (Horror Hotel)
  18. Tales That Witness Madness
  19. The Vulture
  20. The Killer
  21. The Hidden
  22. The Projectionist
  23. They Made Me a Criminal (Cinema Insomnia)
  24. Hello Down There
  25. Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars (MST3K K02)
  26. Coma
  27. Intrepidos Punks (Sleazy Pictures After Dark)
  28. Scanners II
  29. Larceny, Inc.
  30. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
  31. Bikini Car Wash Company
  32. Lady Vengeance
  33. Odds Against Tomorrow
  34. Black Widow
  35. The Wrestler (1974)
  36. The Neon Demon
  37. Valhalla Rising
  38. The Wrestler (2008)
  39. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  40. Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare
  41. Hakujasho (White Snake Enchantment)
  42. Creeping Crawling
  43. Phantasm RaVager
  44. American Ninja 4: The Annihilation
  45. Heavy Traffic
  46. Tokyo Drifter
  47. Arrival
  48. Two Evil Eyes
  49. Munich
  50. Sweden: Heaven and Hell
  51. All Through The Night
  52. Action in the North Atlantic
  53. Miami Vice
  54. Belladonna of Sadness
  55. Fantastic Planet (original French version)
  56. Sorority Girls and the Creature from Hell
  57. The Forest
  58. In The Mood for Love
  59. Minbo (The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion)
  60. Infernal Affairs
  61. The Ruling Class
  62. Logan
  63. Kong: Skull Island
  64. Terror Is a Man
  65. 24 Hour Party People
  66. Zootopia
  67. Lost in Translation
  68. Get Carter
  69. Audition
  70. Possession (US theatrical cut)
  71. Unforgiven
  72. Blood and Black Lace
  73. Bloodbath at the House of Death
  74. Withnail and I
  75. Barton Fink
  76. Big Eyes
  77. Burn After Reading
  78. Evolution
  79. It Follows
  80. La Belle et La Bete (1946)
  81. Late Spring
  82. Hanuman and the Five Kamen Riders
  83. The Love Witch
  84. Monster of Frankenstein (Marvel animated)
  85. Cry Wilderness (MST3K)
  86. Avalanche (MST3K)
  87. Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (MST3K)
  88. Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (MST3K)
  89. Carnival Magic (MST3K)
  90. The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t (MST3K)
  91. Amour Fou
  92. Heathers
  93. Ms. 45
  94. Beef
  95. Goodfellas
  96. Longitude
  97. Exterminators of the Year 3000
  98. Train to Busan
  99. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  100. Lady Snowblood
  101. Lady Snowblood 2
  102. City Hunter
  103. Frank
  104. Hanyo (The Housemaid 1960)
  105. The Housemaid (2010)
  106. Something Wild
  107. The Glass Menagerie (1966 CBS Playhouse)
  108. Cromartie High The Movie
  109. Woman of Fire (1971)
  110. Beyond The Gates
  111. The Handmaiden
  112. Kubo and The Two Strings
  113. Sahara
  114. The Secret Life of Pets
  115. Fire and Ice
  116. Diary of a Telephone Operator
  117. Home
  118. Tamara
  119. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  120. John Wick
  121. L’Atalante
  122. Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid and Ghost with the Legendary Riders
  123. When Animals Dream
  124. The Guyana Tragedy
  125. Le Samourai
  126. Nightmare City
  127. To Agistri (The Hook)
  128. Death Haunts Monica
  129. She Done Him Wrong
  130. Spasmo
  131. Paths of Glory
  132. The Barbarians
  133. Zombie Lake
  134. Black Belly of the Tarantula
  135. The Red Shoes
  136. Heat
  137. Tougher Than Leather
  138. Wonder Woman
  139. All The Colors of the Dark
  140. Five Dolls for an August Moon
  141. Hatchet for the Honeymoon
  142. The Duke of Burgundy
  143. Voodoo Island
  144. Gomorrah
  145. Gloria
  146. Fatal Call
  147. Attack of the Supermonsters
  148. Haunted House of Horror
  149. The Mission
  150. Nightwish
  151. Starhops
  152. Sector 7
  153. Baba Yaga (1973)
  154. The Fifth Cord
  155. Stagefright (Aquarius)
  156. Advantageous
  157. Man On Wire
  158. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  159. Phantom of the Opera (Hammer 1962)
  160. The Void
  161. Stoker
  162. Scorpion with Two Tails (Murder in an Etruscan Cemetery)
  163. The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  164. Amazons
  165. Martin
  166. Monsoon Wedding
  167. The Student Body
  168. Chungking Express
  169. The League of Gentlemen
  170. The Salvation
  171. No Man’s Land
  172. Seven Blood-Stained Orchids
  173. Three
  174. A Bay of Blood
  175. Okja
  176. Dead & Buried
  177. Jules et Jim
  178. Don’t Torture a Duckling
  179. The Trip
  180. The Trip to Italy
  181. Killer Nun
  182. Nymphomaniac
  183. Ixcanul
  184. The Secret in Their Eyes
  185. Cyberjack
  186. Lunch Wagon
  187. The Unholy Rollers
  188. A Taxing Woman
  189. The Double Life of Veronique
  190. Volver
  191. Out of Sight
  192. The Chase (AKA The Shanghai Killers)
  193. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh
  194. Vampire (1979)
  195. Raise The Red Lantern
  196. Play Motel
  197. Three Colors: Blue
  198. Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
  199. Border Cop
  200. Amuck!
  201. Strip Nude for Your Killer
  202. Homework
  203. Three Colors: White
  204. Spaced Out
  205. The Big Short
  206. The Young Nurses
  207. Narc
  208. 3 Dev Adam (Turkish Captain America and El Santo vs. Spider-Man)
  209. Three Colors: Red
  210. Miller’s Crossing
  211. Paris, Texas
  212. Inglourious Basterds
  213. Gerald’s Game
  214. Cult of Chucky
  215. Tremors 5
  216. Love & Peace
  217. Kamen Rider vs. Super Sentai Chou Hero Taisen
  218. Waxwork
  219. Maniac Cop
  220. The Devil’s Backbone
  221. Prince of Darkness
  222. The Lure
  223. The Devil’s Honey
  224. Alucarda
  225. Daughters of Darkness
  226. Machete Maidens Unleashed
  227. Dracula Istanbul
  228. Spontaneous Combustion
  229. Three Extremes
  230. Raw
  231. Don’t Look Now
  232. Thirst
  233. Fade To Black
  234. Messiah of Evil
  235. The Horrible House on the Hill (Devil Times Five)
  236. Thor: Ragnarok
  237. Midnight Run
  238. Michael Clayton
  239. Legend
  240. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  241. Crest of Betrayal
  242. Marta
  243. Hero At Large
  244. Candy
  245. Gremlins: Recall
  246. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
  247. Sada
  248. Ironfinger
  249. Ghost World
  250. Get Out
  251. Tabeta Hito (Nobuhiko Obayashi short)
  252. The Wolf of Wall Street
  253. A Christmas Tale
  254. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  255. Force Majeure
  256. The Trip to Spain
  257. The Amphibian Man
  258. John Wick: Chapter 2
  259. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  260. Colossal
         I have a great deal written down about several movies on this list, but it felt like a good idea to get the master list out of the way in its own section (since I yammered on a bit) before getting to the guts. I had hoped for number 260 on the list to be The Shape of Water, but weather, added theater distance, and seasonal holiday depression have kept me from making the trip so far. I am procrastinating a little now that I know that its local run is a bit longer than I anticipated, but I do intend to see it while it is still in theaters. I have little doubt that I will come out of it glowing from every seam, but chances are I will not see it until just after the clock strikes 2018.

          Stay tuned as I try to organize this mess of random movie reviews I have written down into something more coherent and meaningful.

No comments:

Post a Comment