Wrapping Up 2017: Best Movies of the Year With a Special Guest Writer
[The following article is the transcript of a previously recorded exchange between main writer Nathanael Molnár and special guest writer Rob Giachinta, as they talk about their favorite movies of the year, as part of their Wrapping Up 2017 editorial series. You can read all of the entries into this series here. This was recorded on Tuesday, January 30th]
**There will be spoilers for the movies**
Nathanael: Hello, and welcome to The Movie Paradise. I am your host, Nathanael Molnár, and I am joined today by a special guest writer, Rob Giachinta.
Rob: Hey, what's up?
Nathanael: So, this is one of the final parts of our Wrapping Up 2017 editorial series. We'll be talking about what we believe are our best films of the year. They're not necessarily the best made films, but they're our favorite movies of 2017. And I think this will be a pretty good discussion. We've got a good list of films here. So how this is going to work is that I'm going to talk about my honorable mentions. Then Rob will talk about his honorable mentions. Then I'll talk about my #10-6. Rob will talk about his #10-6. Then I'll do my #5-2. Rob will do his #5-2. And then we'll both say what our favorite of 2017 was.
Nathanael's Honorable Mentions
Nathanael: Just to kick it off, my third honorable mention is The Disaster Artist. I thought this was a really funny movie; it was really well made. Since I've seen the movie, I've read the book The Disaster Artist, and it's just... it's very well adapted. The screenplay is fantastic; it was just nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay [at the Academy Awards]. James Franco is excellent as Tommy Wiseau. Say what you want about him, about the allegations, but he gives a great performance in this film. And I think Seth Rogen was right up there with him. The movie is just really funny. It's really entertaining, and I got a big kick out of it. [Read our review for The Disaster Artist here] My second honorable mention is Get Out. This is such a great comedy/social commentary/horror film. Jordan Peele, as a first time director, does a marvelous job crafting this film. It really had me on the edge of my seat, and I just had a really great time watching that movie. It's a horror film and it's entertaining, but it also has something really profound to say, and I think all together it was a really good film. [Read our review for Get Out here] And my last honorable mention is The Post. I think the first act of the film is somewhat lacking, and it meanders a bit, but once it gets going it doesn't stop. The Post is really excellently made, excellently crafted. Great performances by Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and Bob Odenkirk. Steven Spielberg does it again. It's very timely, but it never comes across as preachy. It's a very well done film, and I really enjoyed it a lot, especially as a person who really likes these kinds of investigative journalism movies. [Read our review for The Post here] So Rob, what are your honorable mentions?
Rob's Honorable Mentions
Rob: Well, my third honorable mention is M. Night Shyamalan's Split. A lot of people say the best part of that movie is the reveal at the end when you find out this is a story that takes place in the Unbreakable universe, but, in my opinion, that reveal basically makes it make sense... but the movie was already pretty good before. I thought it was a really good movie, and then that reveal at the end kind of made of sense of why he was climbing on the walls and stuff, because they had already previously set that up [in Unbreakable]. So that's what made the film special, in my opinion, and I really enjoyed it. And I thought James McAvoy was terrific.
Nathanael: Yeah. Split doesn't end up on my top ten anywhere, but I definitely really enjoyed it, and I thought it was a great film. It probably would be just outside of my honorable mentions. [Read our review for Split here]
Rob: Huh. Interesting, interesting. My second honorable mention is Blade Runner 2049. I'm a big fan of director Denis Villeneuve, because I'm a huge fan of movies like Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival. While I wasn't a big Blade Runner fan, I thought this one looked like it could be something different than the original. And, in my opinion, it was. I thought the technology they showed, through Roger Deakins' cinematography and all the special effects, was honestly groundbreaking work in that field. And I found this movie had a more tangible plot than the first one. With the first one, you don't really see where the story's going for a lot of it, but with this one I thought it had more of a clear-cut story. And I thought Ryan Gosling, and especially Harrison Ford, did really good in the movie as well. [Read our review for Blade Runner 2049 here] And my first honorable mention is a movie I was pretty excited for, and that's Detroit. Detroit was on my list for a while, but then it got bumped down by a bunch of other films that I liked more. But again, this was a really good movie, and I really do think Will Poulter got snubbed for an Academy Award nomination, because he was truly haunting in that role. You hated him the entire movie, because he was just a despicable human. But I thought Algee Smith was really good. His and Jacob Latimore's story was honestly my favorite part, because you have their friendship and what happened at the end, and how he gives up on show business because he doesn't want to do this stuff for white people. I thought that was the most interesting part of the story to me. One of my main problems with it was that I didn't really find John Boyega's character [to be] of any use. It was kind of like the Mark Wahlberg character in Patriots Day, where it's the character that you as the audience feel you are, and you're watching all of this [through his eyes], because I thought [Boyega] was just watching a bunch of it and didn't really do much.
Nathanael: Yeah, that's a great comparison. I totally see what you mean by that. [Read our review for Detroit here]
Nathanael: My #10 is the Gary Oldman film, Darkest Hour. I really enjoyed this movie, and I thought it was going to be one of those films, similar to what Jackie was in 2016, where the film is fine--it's good--but what really makes it is the performance, and that's what I thought Darkest Hour was going to be. And in some place it is, but I found that the film as a whole really works, and it works outside of just Gary Oldman's performance. Of course, Gary Oldman is brilliant in this movie. He is going to win the Oscar; he deserves to win the Oscar. But the film itself is also really well done. It's beautifully shot. All the costume, production, set design is great. Great score, great supporting characters. Ben Mendelsohn's really good in it. Lily James is good in it as well. So there's enough in there that's outside of Gary Oldman for me to say that I really enjoyed this film, and it was very well done. [Read our review for Darkest Hour here] My #9 is Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now, Spider-Man was further up on my list, but then I watched it again. It's not that I didn't like it; it just didn't have the same effect that it had when I watched it in the theaters, so it dropped a few notches. But still, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a great film. If you want to hear more about our thoughts on Spider-Man, definitely check out our ranking of the comic book movies of 2017. And you can check that out for our thoughts on Logan as well, because with that one we really go in depth with our thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming and Logan, which Logan--spoiler alert--does show up later on the list for both of us. So if you want to find out our full thoughts on those movies, go check out that list. [Read that here]
Rob: Yeah, so honestly, go fuck yourself if you were expecting a Logan review in this.
Nathanael: [laughs] Yes! Go check out the other list, you piece of shit! So, anyways, I really enjoyed Spider-Man: Homecoming. I thought it was a great return to the franchise and to the character. So it ended up being my #9. [Read our review for Spider-Man: Homecoming here] My #8 is Lady Bird. This film was just so enjoyable and so much fun. It was entertaining and hilarious. I thought Saoirse Ronan gave a great performance. It was very well directed as well by Greta Gerwig. It's very well written. Just, overall, it's very well done. I really find myself getting into these kinds of teenage coming-of-age films, whether it's Edge of Seventeen, I find I really get into these kinds of movies. And I feel that Lady Bird, although the events of it aren't necessarily different from the rest of these other coming-of-age films, the craft behind it is so much more superior, and just on a technical level it's brilliantly done. I just got into these characters so much, and so into this world. And Laurie Metcalf is excellent in this movie. So Lady Bird ended up being my #8.
Rob: I was going to ask you, so which one did you like more: Edge of Seventeen or Lady Bird?
Nathanael: I think I have to give the slight edge to Edge of Seventeen.
Rob: Me as well.
Nathanael: Yeah, I think Lady Bird is a better made film. Like, in terms of all the technical things. But I don't know. I think I buy into Hailee Steinfeld's character more, and I think I sympathized with her in Edge of Seventeen more than with Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird. But I would say Lady Bird is the better directed film, it's a better made film. You know what? I honestly think Hailee Steinfeld gave a better performance in Edge of Seventeen than Saoirse Ronan.
Rob: Yeah, this is why I'm a little mad about Lady Bird getting all of these nominations, because I feel like a superior film--with the same exact kind of story--came out last year, and nobody talked about it, and now this film comes out and it's getting nominated for all this crap, when I feel like Edge of Seventeen is kind of the superior film and it got nothing.
Nathanael: Yeah, I mean... I think it's more of a preference thing. Like I said, I think Lady Bird is better made, which is why I think it's getting more buzz around it than Edge of Seventeen. But I think Hailee Steinfeld gave a better performance. However, of the two [movies], Laurie Metcalf gave the best performance of either film.
Rob: Yeah. I also thought Woody Harrelson was really good in Edge of Seveteen as well.
Nathanael: Woody Harrelson was very good in that film. He was great in that. So, both of them are very good movies, but if I had to pick between the two I'd give the slight nod to Edge of Seventeen. [Read our review for Lady Bird here] My #7 is the aforementioned Logan. Once again, if you want to know my full thoughts, go check out our ranking of the comic book movies. But I thought Logan was just stunning. I thought it was an excellent movie. Hugh Jackman gives one of the best performances of his career, if not his best. Same could be said for Patrick Stewart. Dafne Keen, excellent introduction to her character and her as a performer. It's just a very well done and very well realized film. I think it's definitely one of the best X-Men movies put to screen. It's definitely in, like, the top three, if not the best one.
Rob: I would say it's either one or two with Deadpool, to be honest with you.
Nathanael: Well, you do have X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Rob: Yeah, I'd say those three are the best.
Nathanael: Well, and X2 I'd say is up there as well.
Rob: I'd say X2 and X-Men: First Class are pretty good movies, but I'd say those three are the best.
Nathanael: Yeah, but it's safe to say that Logan is one of the best X-Men movies ever made.
Rob: Yeah, I'd say it's one of the top three best X-Men movies.
Nathanael: Yeah, it's definitely in that top, top level. So, Logan's just fantastic. I loved watching it. [Read our review for Logan here] My #6 is The Big Sick. I thought The Big Sick was just fantastic. Kumail Nanjiani does a great job not only co-writing this film, but also starring in it. His chemistry with Zoe Kazan is fantastic. They have excellent chemistry. And honestly, I just believed they were this real couple. I never for a second thought they were acting or anything; they just felt so natural together. You don't often get chemistry that's so natural and organic like that in a movie. It may not be my favorite comedy, but it's definitely the best romantic comedy of the year, easily. It's just such a great story. You have an excellent supporting performance from Ray Romano, who I think steals the movie.
Nathanael: Everyone was talking about Holly Hunter, who is great in the movie, but I think Ray Romano absolutely stole it. He just stole it and ran with it. He's excellent. Holly Hunter is also great in the film. Everyone who plays--I don't know the actors' names--but everyone who plays everyone on Kumail's side of the family all gave great performances. It's just so well done, and it's clever. It also has the right amount of emotion to it. It's a film you can watch endlessly.
Rob: One last thing about The Big Sick, it feels like nobody ever talks about the directing by Michael Showalter. He originally put out comedies people didn't really like, but now he's kind of progressed his career with a film like this, and I feel like nobody's really talking about it.
Nathanael: Yeah, I mean, he did a great job directing. I feel like a lot of other elements kind of outshine that. But then, if you're going to praise the performances, you do have to give credit to the director for that [as well]. They kind of go hand-in-hand.
Rob: Exactly. [Read our review for The Big Sick here]
Rob: My #10 is Brawl in Cell Block 99. It is, without a doubt, Vince Vaughn's best performance. I'm not the biggest Vince Vaughn fan; I'm not a fan of his shtick...
Nathanael: Woah, woah, woah, woah, what about Fred Claus?
Rob: [laughing] That movie's so bad! That movie's terrible! Oh my God, I don't want to even think about that. Anyways, I thought this was Vince Vaughn's best performance because he's not doing his shtick. He's giving a real performance as a character you really believe in. You get to see this hard, brutal struggle he has to live and the choices he has to make to keep his family alive. He's going prison to prison, fighting inmates and fighting guards-- it's just an absolutely brutal movie. And, in the end, it kind of haunts you. I just feel nobody really saw it, and I wish more people did.
Nathanael: Now, that was a movie I didn't have a chance to see, but I really wanted to. It looked really good.
Rob: It was excellent. S. Craig Zahler is the director, and next year he has Dragged Across Concrete coming out with Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, and it's a police brutality movie.
Nathanael: Oh yeah! I remember hearing about that.
Rob: I think that's something that could finally get his name out there, because he also did Bone Tomahawk, which is a really good movie. Alright, #9 is Get Out. This is a movie I was really, really excited for, and not a ton of movies this year fully met my expectations, but I'd say this is one of them. It was everything I wanted. It had humor, which you can tell came straight from Jordan Peele's creative comedy mind. But it also had something we didn't know he had, which was kind of a social commentary/thriller [aspect], and it was one of the only movies this year that had me really on edge, especially the scene where he's screaming at Allison Williams to give him the keys, and how she's pretending to look for them and she doesn't actually give them to him. Oh, that was one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Anyways, I found it to be really groundbreaking, and I don't know if I personally agree that it deserves all these Oscar nominations, but part of me is excited it got all these nominations, so I can't say that it didn't deserve them. But if someone said to me it didn't, I wouldn't fight them on it.
Nathanael: Some of the nominations I wouldn't have given it myself, but I can understand why it was nominated. Like Best Picture, alright, I can see that. Best Director, Best Screenplay. The only one that really makes me scratch my head is Daniel Kaluuya for Best Lead Actor. Because I think he's really good in the movie, but I don't see anything that's Oscar worthy that would make me think he gave one of the five best performances of the year.
Rob: In my opinion, James Franco from The Disaster Artist and Robert Patterson from Good Time--and Christian Bale from Hostiles-- gave better performances.
Nathanael: And on top of those, I would add Tom Hanks from The Post and Hugh Jackman from Logan.
Rob: Yeah, yeah. Hugh Jackman too.
Nathanael: But of all of [Get Out's] Oscar nominations, that's the one that really makes me wonder.
Rob: Anyways, back to the list, #8 is a movie that I don't think you had even heard of it until I told you about it...
Nathanael: Yeah, no I didn't.
Rob: It's called Super Dark Times. You can watch it on Netflix now, so you have no excuse not to watch it! It's a really sick movie, and I loved it for that. It takes place in the 90's, and you have all these boys who hang out together. And you think they're all friends, but through a certain event you see the dark turning of one of their minds, and how some of them react [to it] and how others react differently--I'm trying to not give much away, but I thought it was a gripping movie, and once a certain incident happens I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen. Because honestly, at first when I was watching it there was one character that was annoying and blah, blah, blah, but then when one thing happens, I was like "Holy shit!" and I couldn't not watch it.
Nathanael: Well, after that review, I have to check it out.
Rob: I'll watch it with you!
Nathanael: I actually do want to see it. I don't know when I'm going to have time to watch it, but at some point I will watch it.
Rob: Watch it tonight man! [Nathanael did not watch it that night, and still has not watched it] Alright, my #7 is a movie I literally just saw, and in my mind this movie is just awesome, and I thought it was better than The Revenant in my opinion.
Rob: Yeah, it's a movie called Hostiles. And, I thought it was a strong tale about showing human emotions, and how we deal with loss, and how war can affect us. The cinematography was great, and the score was fantastic.
Nathanael: Yes, those things were excellent.
Rob: And Christian Bale's performance, I thought he was really haunting as this man who had all these demons in his past. And my favorite part of the movie is when he talks to Ben Foster, who says, and I'm not saying the line exactly right, but he says to Bale, "You know damn well you could be the one in chains here instead of me". That line stuck with me after the movie. You have Christian Bale with one set of views, who has to change them by the end of the movie after experiencing that not everyone is this evil person out to get you. I thought every single person in the cast was great.
Nathanael: I liked Hostiles a lot. Personally, I wouldn't put it anywhere near a top ten list. The middle of the film meandered a lot for me. It has a lot of repetition in the middle, and I would have liked maybe one more action sequence just to shake things up. But I really liked the beginning and the end of it. I thought those were really strong. Loved the cinematography and the score. Christian Bale was really good. I wasn't that big on Rosamund Pike. She had a couple scenes where she was excellent, and then she had a couple scenes where I thought she was honestly kind of bad.
Nathanael: But Ben Foster was great when he was on.
Rob: I know he had limited screen time, but I thought he was one of the stand-outs of the movie.
Nathanael: No, I agree. He was. [Read our review for Hostiles here]
Rob: Anyways, my #6 is a movie I was pretty excited for, and I'm glad all the people who saw it with me--including Nathanael--appreciated it just as much as I did, and that's I, Tonya. I thought it showed a situation that I knew a little bit about, but I wanted to learn more about it. It doesn't just give you all the facts about this certain situation; it uses a very creative style such as with confessionals to show every character's side of the story, and I just thought it was really good. I also liked Paul Walter Hauser. I thought he was the stand-out of the movie. Every scene he was in, we were dying laughing! I also really liked Allison Janney and Margot Robbie in it. I thought they were stripped down from what they are in other movies, and were entirely different in this film. I'm glad to know more about the story as a result of this movie.
Nathanael: Yeah, I loved the movie, which I'll talk more about it in a little bit. But I just wanted to say this about Paul Walter Hauser. So clearly Margot Robbie and Allison Janney gave better performances, but he gives the best purely comedic performance of the film.
Rob: Oh, I agree. [Read our review for I, Tonya here]
Nathanael: Okay, anyways, moving onto my #5-2. My #5 is Molly's Game. I thought this movie was just fantastic. Aaron Sorkin is my favorite writer in Hollywood right now. I just love how he crafts his films in terms of its structure--I love his dialogue--so I was very excited to see what he would do transitioning into directing, and I thought he did an excellent job with this movie. All the performances are great. Jessica Chastain's great. Idris Elba is great. My boy, Michael Cera, is really funny in it. It was great because... I've always said, for poker movies, a poker movie can't just be about poker. It has to also appeal to non-poker players, and it's pretty difficult to do that. Not a lot of poker movies are able to do that, but I thought Molly's Game did a really good job [with that]. The story surrounds poker, but it's not about poker. It's about these characters, and the game of poker is just a backdrop to that. You have plenty of exciting poker moments in the film for those who are poker fans like you and me to enjoy and buy into. But also, there's plenty in there for people who aren't necessarily poker fans, and they're not going to be lost watching it. And really, the reason why this movie works is because Molly Bloom (Chastain) is the center of it, and you buy into her character, and you understand why she's doing what she's doing and, because of that, the other pieces fall into place.
Rob: I thought the film was pretty good. I wasn't riveted by it or anything. It's not a movie I would really ever need to see again. It was good. I enjoyed it. I thought the performances were really good. I thought Jessica Chastain was excellent. And it ran a little bit too long for me, and not all the story I was really interested in. I thought the script was very good, but, I don't know, it wasn't top ten worthy for me in my opinion. But I would recommend it. [Read our review for Molly's Game here]
Nathanael: Alright, my #4 is I, Tonya. You touched upon it before, but I love this movie. This is my favorite comedy of the year, and I wasn't expecting it to be a comedy like this. I was not at all. It was just so funny. It took something serious, a serious thing that happened that affected people and hurt people, and it was able to make jokes and laugh and make fun, but it never lost sight of how serious that was. It wasn't making fun of it, or laughing in its face to the point where it would offend people because, you know, this shit really happened. But, it was able to have fun with it and be comedic and be lighthearted without ever losing sight of the fact that this was a serious thing that happened. That's a tight line to walk, and I thought they did a really good job with it. Margot Robbie's excellent. Allison Janney is phenomenal. Paul Walter Hauser was really funny. Sebastian Stan was a little on-and-off. Sometimes I really liked him, and sometimes he was a little weak, but that's a minor issue. Overall, this is just one of the most purely entertaining films of the year. I learned a lot about a story that I really didn't know anything about [beforehand], while also just having a really fun time at the movies with my friends. So, that's all you can ask from a movie, really. My #3 of the year is a film we just talked about a little while ago, Detroit. This movie was devastating when I watched it. [Going in] I didn't know much about the actual story, and I thought this was just going to be a look at the Detroit riots as a whole. But what Kathryn Bigelow did, and the choice she made in how to tell the story, was even more powerful. She told just one single story--one single night--and it was just heartbreaking to watch. When you're watching this film, you know that what's going on is not a done deal. It's not finished. This is still plaguing our society today, and it's hard to watch, but at the same time you come to a different kind of realization when you watch it, and you find a new meaning within it. The performances are excellent. Will Poulter is... it's hard to say he gave a good performance, because you just hate him so much, and you believe him as this person so much and he's so despicable, that it's hard to quantify it as a performance. You just associate the character with him so much, and that's just a testament to how excellent of a performance he gave. All the performances are great. The directing is great. It's just such a powerful and impacting movie, and it just hit me in the perfect way. It struck the right nerve. My #2 of the year is Blade Runner 2049. Similar to Rob, I'm not a huge fan of the first Blade Runner. Every time I've watched it, I've appreciated it more, but I can't say that I really like it as a movie. I like the world that they created, but I don't really like the story that they tell in that first one. But with this sequel, I thought they told an excellent story. Ryan Gosling is great in the lead. Harrison Ford is excellent. They have the right technology today in order to tell this story properly, and even though it didn't make a lot of money, I think they poured in all the resources necessary to tell this story right, and to fully realize it. As a mystery, I was on the edge of my seat. As a science fiction blockbuster, I was riveted by the special effects. As an art piece by Denis Villeneuve, I was captivated by all the technical elements he brought to it. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is easily the best of the year. He deserves to win the Oscar. The score is excellent. The costume design, the production design, the color palette... it's just all beautiful, and excellently done. This is one of those films when I watched it where I was on the edge of my seat. My eyes were glued to the screen from the beginning to the end. And honestly, it's a long movie, but it didn't feel long to me. Like, it's almost three hours, but it goes by like that because I was so invested in the film. Anyways, those are my thoughts on Blade Runner 2049. Rob, what's your #5-2?
Rob: Well, my #5 is Logan. I'll briefly say, it is Hugh Jackman's best performance, especially in an X-Men movie, and I thought it was a proper send-off for the character. Everyone did a great job in this movie. Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen... James Mangold, I felt like he finally got to make the Wolverine movie he wanted to [make], and I felt like he was a little bit held back in The Wolverine, but he finally got to do what he wanted with Logan. My #4 is Baby Driver. This is a movie I was very excited for, and it was fucking awesome. I love Edgar Wright as a filmmaker. I love Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I love Shaun of the Dead. He has a fantastic resume. [With Baby Driver] I love the action and the music, and how the car chases looked. Everything looked real. It didn't look like one of these CGI fests. It seemed real, and that's what I liked about the movie. You feel like you're actually in the environment. Ansel Elgort was really good. Christopher Plummer as the mob boss is really good...
Rob: ...and two actors that I like, but I don't think are always doing the best they can do is Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx, and I thought really came to play for this movie. They were great.
Nathanael: I feel like they both gave some of their best performances.
Rob: Jon Hamm, yes. I feel like Jamie Foxx is pretty good in that movie Ray. But he hasn't done much that great since then until this, so yes, I agree.
Nathanael: Yeah. [Read our review for Baby Driver here]
Rob: My #3 is The Disaster Artist. Me and Nathanael are big fans of the original movie, The Room. And I thought James Franco gave the performance of his career as Tommy Wiseau. Every part of Tommy's mannerisms he had done to a pat. I walked in thinking it was going to be a yuck fest, like a comedy, but honestly, I was more emotionally involved in it through feeling bad for Tommy that he wanted to do his dream, and at the end I felt humbled that he achieved his dream of making a movie and being an actor, and in the end I felt like he proved everybody wrong. Say what you want about the quality of [The Room], but hey, he made a ton of money off of it, so good for him.
Nathanael: It makes you rethink what is fame, and what does it mean to succeed. Because, in a way, he did succeed, but it wasn't the way he or anyone else thought he would succeed, or he should succeed. So, is there a right way to succeed? I thought that was a really cool thing to think about while watching The Disaster Artist.
Rob: I liked at the end when he got up on stage and said, "I'm glad you all like my comedic movie."
Nathanael: [laughs] "Funny story, Mark."
Rob: "You're tearing me apart, Nathanael!"
Nathanael: Yeah, I am. [pause] Yeah, The Disaster Artist is a really fun movie. I really enjoyed it. And I highly recommend reading the book.
Rob: My #2 is a movie I know you haven't seen, and I know a lot of people haven't seen it, and it was the Safdie Brothers' new movie, Good Time. They previously made another movie called Heaven Knows What, which was really good. That came out a few years ago. But this one I think is their best film so far, and Robert Patterson has finally broken the Twilight mold, kind of like how Kristen Stewart did with Cafe Society. That's the first role where I saw she could be a good actor, and it's the same here with Robert Patterson. He plays a character that's such a scumbag, but you can't help but feel bad for him as he goes deeper and deeper into this rabbit hole so that, by the end, which I'm not going to spoil, you start to thinking, "Yeah, you know what? Good for him". I really liked the cinematography in this movie, and how it portrayed New York as kind of like this dirty--a war zone in some ways. I'm really excited to see what these directors do next, because I know they have a new movie starring Jonah Hill as a prison guard, which looks good. So hopefully that's awesome.
Nathanael: Hopefully. Yeah, no, I never saw Good Time. That was one that I really wanted to go see, but I never had a chance to see it.
Rob: Oh, it is a...
Nathanael: Is it a "good time"?
Rob: Let me say, it's a very good time.
Nathanael: Oh, good. I think I'll go see it then.
Nathanael's #1- Baby Driver
Nathanael: Moving onto our #1 favorite films of the year. Mine is of course, of course, Baby Driver. I have seen this film five times now. Three times in theaters, twice at home. Every time I watch this movie, I am so floored by the job that Edgar Wright does on this film. How intricate everything is, and it still just blows my mind how he is able to craft it so that you have the synchronization of the music to what's going on on screen. It's not just that music is playing over it, but it's that they shot the film so that every single frame corresponds to every single beat of the music. Just the amount of care and attention that went into making sure that all of that happened. Each time I watch it--and like I said I've seen it five times now--every time I watch it I'm still picking up on new things I never saw before. All the performances are fantastic. The action choreography, like the car chases, are phenomenal. All the music choices are great. It's just such a great film, and it's one of those movies where you can enjoy it on the surface. You can just watch it and be completely entertained. But if you choose to, you can completely pick it apart and see all the little details that Edgar Wright did. Like, whenever Baby (Ansel Elgort) is listening to music, because he has the ringing in his ear, the tinnitus, if he has one earbud in and one out, you'll only hear music coming out of one speaker and you'll hear ringing from the other. Every time he has both earbuds out, you'll hear ringing. Just little details that you don't pick up on until you've gone through the movie a few times, and it's these things that make me appreciate the film all the more, and it makes me realize how much care and attention went into it, and how much of a labor of love this film is for Edgar Wright. So Baby Driver is easily my favorite film of the year.
Rob: I love how when he was walking around listening to the songs, how all the lyrics were in the background.
Nathanael: The graffiti? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Because you know they had to perfectly time every single... and it's all one take. Or it appears to be all one take. But that they had to time it perfectly so that there wasn't a second wasted so it could line up perfectly. I don't know what's more impressive: the opening car chase, or that scene with him walking around, because they're both technically brilliant, but for completely different reasons.
Rob's #1- Dunkirk
Rob: So my #1 of the year is this little obscure movie, I don't know if you've heard of it before. It's called fucking Dunkirk! Imagine being thrown right into the beaches of World War II. You're in the ocean, and you're in planes! [Laughs] In all seriousness, I thought Dunkirk was my favorite movie of the year because it was the only movie from start to finish where I didn't think about checking my phone, or eating any popcorn. I didn't think about anything else around me. I thought I was actually in this war with all these characters, and in my opinion, the main character of this movie, the actual focal point, is the actual battle, and I don't necessarily care about knowing any of these characters' backstories because in real life, in war, you weren't standing around looking for people's backstories and stuff like that. Everyone was in the hustle and bustle of the moment, and everything had to be done. You didn't have time to dally and explain your life. I thought it was one of the more realistic movies of the year, and technically it's top notch technical work. And Christopher Nolan finally got his Best Director nomination. Well deserved, because I thought this movie was the best directed movie of the year, because of all the technical aspects and all the ways the story goes. And I thought it all worked perfectly for me.
Nathanael: Look, I'm not going to go on a giant spiel about Dunkirk, because I've done it many times before. I talked about it a lot on my Most Disappointing list, so you can read my thoughts there. [Check that out here] Briefly, I think the technical aspects that you're talking about, like the stunts and the choreography and the cinematography and the score... that's all brilliant and excellent. Where it fell apart for me was the narrative, because I didn't feel like there was one. It just feels like it's a series of explosions and stunts on screen, which are spectacular, but they don't make a movie. It felt more like a roller coaster or a theme park ride rather than a film. The three time tables didn't work together, because I had no concept of where or when things were happening in relation to each other. There wasn't anything for me to be able to piece that together. I understand that whole thing about how, in war, you don't have a backstory for everyone, and I didn't necessarily need backstories. But there wasn't anything that made these people characters. They were just faces on screen, and honestly they were all teenage white English boys, and I swear to God I couldn't tell who anyone was. I swear to God, I was sitting there and I thought one person was one character, and then they cut to the person who I thought it was. And I'd be like, "Oh, okay. I guess that wasn't him." I couldn't keep track of who was who, because they all looked the same, and none of them were characters. [Laughs] They were all faces, they weren't characters. So I know I'm in the minority. I completely recognize that. I've gotten a lot of shit for it, but that's just my opinion. [Read our review for Dunkirk here]
Nathanael: So just to run through our lists, my honorable mentions are The Disaster Artist, Get Out, and The Post. My #10 is Darkest Hour, my #9 is Spider-Man: Homecoming, my #8 is Lady Bird, my #7 is Logan, my #6 is The Big Sick, my #5 is Molly's Game, my #4 is I, Tonya, my #3 is Detroit, my #2 is Blade Runner 2049, and my #1 is Baby Driver.
Rob: Alright. My honorable mentions are Split, Blade Runner 2049, and Detroit. My #10 is Brawl in Cell Block 99, my #9 is Get Out, my #8 is Super Dark Times, my #7 is Hostiles, my #6 is I, Tonya, my #5 is Logan, my #4 is Baby Driver, my #3 is The Disaster Artist, my #2 is Good Time, and my #1 is Dunkirk.
Nathanael: So that's going to wrap it up for our best of the year. Make sure to check out the rest of our Wrapping Up 2017 editorials on the site. Once again, I am your host Nathanael Molnár, and I would like to thank Rob Giachinta for joining us as our special guest writer. Thank you for checking this out!
What do you think? Do you agree with our picks for the best movies of 2017? What are some other movies you would add to the list? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: Nathanael Molnár and Rob Giachinta
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