HAPPY OSCARS! Thoughts on 2017 Movies

Lately, I've been feeling a lot better about movies! Recent years had left me cynical about the state of the film industry; major Hollywood studios just wanted to reboot the same stories over and over again, while independent film festivals were accepting original stories made by big names, over new content by new creators.

However, I think 2017 was one of the best movie years in recent memory. That doesn't mean I enjoyed every movie I saw this year. But in this post, I'll be discussing the movies I saw this year and my thoughts on the Oscar nominations.

I'll start off with my thoughts on Best Picture, as well as my favorite movie of the year. I'm really hoping The Shape of Water wins as many categories as it can, including best picture. In my opinion, that movie definitely deserved best picture of the year. It was a totally original story, beautifully shot, with fantastic acting. I think having this type of movie win will send the message that creativity and innovation gets rewarded. I'm a little torn over who I want to win Best Actress. Sally Hawkins was fabulous in this, but so was Margot Robbie in I, Tonya. Same thing with Supporting Actress. I absolutely loved every second that Octavia Spencer was onscreen, but I also loved Allison Janney in I, Tonya as well. It seems that my problem this year is that there are two movies I like too much. That hasn't happened in recent memory, so I'm pretty happy about that. It's a good problem to have.

I feel kind of bad judging Call Me By Your Name, because I haven't seen it. However, so much about it (and maybe it's just the way it's marketed) is really, really off-putting to me. It's a shame, too, because I love seeing more LGBT romance stories, so I really wanted to like the concept of this movie. But everything about it just looks like shameless hipster bait. Like, I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but it looks like someone went into a fair-trade coffee shop in Portland, found a bearded independent photographer sitting there, and got him to jerk off on a film strip. I mean, they had Sufjan Stevens do the music. And this is coming  from someone who played part of the concept album Illinois at my wedding. If even I think this movie looks like hipster trash, that has to say something. There's also the fact that the vast majority of this movie's marketing relies on bisexual erasure, but what should I have expected?

Staying on the topic of movies I don't like, but moving onto one that I actually saw, let's talk about The Book of Henry. I don't even know how well I can review this movie, since Esquire fabulously captured the feeling of this movie in the first line of its review: "I feel like I've been mugged by a Decemberists song." This movie was so, so weird, and it did not work at all. I have a suspicion that they took the ninth Star Wars movie away from Colin Trevorrow after he fucked up so badly with this movie, which means now we have to deal with stupid J.J. Abrams again. Ugh. Anyway, this movie was tonally inconsistent, it had a plot twist that came out of nowhere and did not work, and there were gaping plot holes so huge I thought I was going to fall in. I would dissect each one of them but then I'd have to give away all the spoilers. The one positive of this movie was that Tyler and I snuck entire Chipotle burrito bowls into the theater when we saw it.

I was a little upset that the only thing The Disaster Artist was nominated for was Adapted Screenplay. Honestly, the adaptation from book to script was probably the worst part of the movie. If you read my full review of The Disaster Artist, you saw how I broke down which parts of the book the movie left out, which was crucial to the emotional significance of the story. Other than Cinematography (which was nothing to write home about), I don't think they could have picked a worse category to nominate this movie for. This movie was all about the acting, when it came down to it, which is why it's a shame it didn't get any acting nominations. Still, I am hoping it wins Best Adapted Screenplay, because I loved the movie so much and I want it to win something! (Plus I don't really care about any of the other movies nominated for that category.)

I think the nominations for Star Wars: The Last Jedi were spot-on. The movie was gorgeous to look at and had some fabulous sound effects, so I'm happy to see those efforts rewarded. I know this movie is really controversial. Honestly, I don't think the world really needs more Star Wars movies. Especially not this new Han Solo thing they're trying to do. Just make new things already! But I had so much fun watching this movie that I immediately begged Chewie to buy me a Rey Barbie doll for Christmas. Which he did. But I had to go to Target to pick it up because they don't allow dogs in Target. At the same time, I'm not a die-hard Star Wars fan, so I totally understand the complaints of those who didn't enjoy this movie. It's kind of like how some people liked the Star Trek reboot in 2009, but I'm really upset that it even exists, because SO MUCH IS WRONG WITH IT. Come to think of it, J.J. Abrams is responsible for that movie too. Hmm. I may have to start a war with J.J. Abrams. 

So, to end this on a positive note, I'm going to talk about two more movies, both of which I LOVED. First, we have Guardians of the Galaxy 2! The only thing this movie was nominated for was Visual Effects, so I'm definitely hoping it wins that category. Like a lot of people, I think the world really needs to stop making a new Marvel movie every ten seconds. But one type of their movies that I'll always see is Guardians of the Galaxy. They're so well done! I think the way they incorporate music into the narrative is just beautiful, and it creates so many different tones at once. I'm the kind of person who goes out and buys all the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks on vinyl. Even though I should really be buying them on cassette tape. If anyone knows where to get them on cassette tape, hit me up.

Finally, other than The Shape of Water, my other favorite movie of the year was I, Tonya. I was so excited when I watched this movie. I was like squirming around in my seat at the movie theater, even though I was in the front row. I didn't want this movie to end. It was emotional, it was funny, it was dark, and it was honest. This movie doesn't really try to answer the question of whether Tonya Harding is guilty or not. It explores all sides of the issue, with the over-arching theme of "everyone has their own truth." I loved the way the movie incorporated scenes based on transcripts of real interviews, and intercut between film and digital to show interviews versus narrative. It was very cleverly structured. There were also a ton of shots that had me almost saying "Woah!" out loud. Every once in a while, you see a movie that aligns with your future goals as a filmmaker, and helps you identify all the places where you need to step up your game. For me, this movie was it. I'm hoping I, Tonya wins Best Editing. As I said before, I'm torn on the acting awards.

What are your thoughts on the Oscars? What did you think of the movies that came out in 2017? What are you looking forward to seeing this year?

Happy Friday!



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