Movies in 2017

Turns out I watched a lot of movies last year. I’m fairly confident that it was more than I usually watch in a year, but since I’ve never kept track before, I can’t say that with confidence. I do know that I read a lot fewer books than once was customary. The effort I made to watch and return my Netflix DVDs was consciously greater than before.

In any event, the list of movies watched has 175 entries and 173 distinct movies. (Not rewatching more than two is certainly unusual for me.) Because I use Movie Lens I have ratings on their 5 star scale for each film I watched. The movies I had seen before averaged about 3.6 out of 5 and the new movies were 2.8 out of 5. This fits pretty well; folks would be less inclined to watch a movie again if they didn’t like it well the first time and watching new movies can be hit or miss. Herewith, some thoughts on the movies.
Four of the old movies were ones that I had rated 5 stars: Late Spring, The Hidden Blade, and Branagh’s versions of Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing. The worst rewatch was a nostalgia-driven viewing of Escape From L.A. (1.5 of 5)
The best new movie was the last-minute Coco (4.5 of 5) that edged out the 15 movies tied at 4 of 5. the opposite end consists of a trio of one-star films: Now You See Me 2 (expected bad, was execrable), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (didn’t expect much, but it really underperformed), and Her (very disappointing since I’d heard it was good from a lot of people and…it was not).
13 new movies were in foreign languages; 6 in Japanese, 4 in French and 1 each in Spanish, German, and Hindi. Only four of the rewatched films was in another language (but 2 were 5 stars!), 3 Japanese and 1 French.
A number of movies surprised me in different ways. Coco was better than I thought it would be. Pixar movies command high expectations and Coco exceeded them by a significant margin. It’s one of their five best, maybe even in the top three. The message is deep and nuanced, and while I’m sure some folks will read it as supporting certain things which I would find abhorrent, the core is sound even if the application is frequently amiss.
I laughed at War On Everyone at lot harder and more often than I expected that I would. Scott Pilgrim was much funnier than it had any right to be based on the silly premise. Arrival and Mud both lived up to their hype, though each suffered from weak endings that kept them from the peak of perfection. The Guard, Mr. Right, and The In-Laws were all darkly humorous in proper measure, though in different ways. Cold Souls and All About Eve were suitably creepy fun, though very dissimilar otherwise.
The Last Jedi might have been the biggest, pleasant surprise. It was a return to the classic Star Wars. When choosing between oohs and ahs and the strict coherence of the plot, the decision was correctly made to plump for the former every time. (I can’t help but think that many critics are trying to read their adult movie conventions and expectations onto what is still a space opera franchise for 10 year olds.) This was definitely the best of the last six SW releases. To everyone who is whining about minor plot holes and such: Lighten up, Francis!
At the other end of the spectrum, I Live In Fear was the first Kurosawa film that I straight up didn’t like. Volver‘s twist was disappointing more than surprising. Allied was both bleak and predictable. Birdman was entertainment industry fan-fiction (onanism). Tracker and Demolition had a great deal of potential, but each squandered it and ended up limp and disappointing. Perhaps the most surprising disappointment was that Lego Batman apparently can’t really support a full-length movie. Full list below, movies seen for first time in bold. Onward to 2018!

  1. She’s All That
  2. America’s Sweethearts
  3. Legally Blonde
  4. Escape from L.A.
  5. Mission: Impossible
  6. Sicario
  7. Learning to Drive
  8. Christmas Eve
  9. The Ox-Bow Incident
  10. Kubo and the Two Strings
  11. Ship of Fools
  12. Spellbound
  13. Seven Psychopaths
  14. Thief
  15. Kiss Me Deadly
  16. The Italian Job (1969)
  17. The Narrow Margin
  18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  19. His Kind of Woman
  20. True Grit (2010)
  21. Macao
  22. The Paleface
  23. Cold Souls
  24. The Public Enemy
  25. The Miracle at Morgan’s Creek
  26. Stage Door
  27. The Egg and I
  28. The Outlaw
  29. Inception
  30. Catch Me If You Can
  31. In Time
  32. Man On a Ledge
  33. Sunset Boulevard
  34. Ghost Town
  35. Danny Collins
  36. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  37. The Voices
  38. No Country for Old Men
  39. The In-Laws
  40. The Guard
  41. Late Spring
  42. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
  43. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  44. Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
  45. The Killer (1989)
  46. Passengers
  47. Sympathy for the Underdog
  48. La La Land
  49. Demolition
  50. The Thin Man
  51. Hamlet (1996)
  52. Arrival
  53. Star Wars
  54. A Hologram for the King
  55. Moana
  56. Soundless
  57. What If
  58. Tracker
  59. The Art of the Steal
  60. Paterson
  61. Seven Psychopaths
  62. The Bourne Identity
  63. The Bourne Supremacy
  64. Stripped
  65. Mifune
  66. All About Eve
  67. Star Trek: Beyond
  68. Analyze This
  69. Two Weeks Notice
  70. The Accountant
  71. Galaxy Quest
  72. Her
  73. Foreign Correspondent
  74. Mr. Right
  75. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang
  76. Raising Arizona
  77. Henry V
  78. The Hidden Blade
  79. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  80. Marauders
  81. Bull Durham
  82. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
  83. Sanshiro Sugata
  84. Criminal
  85. Joe Versus the Volcano
  86. I Live in Fear
  87. Sanshiro Sugata Part II
  88. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  89. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
  90. Conagher
  91. The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail
  92. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
  93. Disorder
  94. There Will Be Blood
  95. The Gambler
  96. A Man For All Seasons
  97. A Letter to Three Wives
  98. The Magnificent Seven (2016)
  99. The Librarian: Quest for the Spear
  100. Bad Words
  101. Hudson Hawk
  102. Hollywood Homicide
  103. Pi
  104. Monsters University
  105. Ashby
  106. The Artist
  107. A Damsel in Distress
  108. The Lego Batman Movie
  109. Mud
  110. Everything is Illuminated
  111. Blade Runner 2049
  112. Volver
  113. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  114. War on Everyone
  115. The Lake House
  116. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
  117. The Italian Job (2003)
  118. The Holiday
  119. Three Colors: Blue
  120. Wasabi
  121. Birdman
  122. The Phenom
  123. Real Genius
  124. Predestination
  125. Now, Voyager
  126. Without Reservation
  127. They Were Expendable
  128. Time Cop
  129. Three Colors: White
  130. Three Godfathers
  131. The Station Agent
  132. Up In the Air
  133. Operation Pacific
  134. Four Daughters
  135. Following
  136. The Departed
  137. Big Jim McLain
  138. You Can’t Take It With You
  139. Self/less
  140. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
  141. Allied
  142. 42
  143. Hidden Figures
  144. The Women
  145. Central Intelligence
  146. Winter’s Tale
  147. Now You See Me 2
  148. Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbai Dobaara!
  149. Hail, Caesar!
  150. Get the Gringo
  151. Reunion in France
  152. Upstream Color
  153. Jason Bourne
  154. The Intern
  155. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  156. Stray Dog
  157. Dead Reckoning
  158. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  159. The Thief of Bagdad
  160. Tokyo Joe
  161. White Christmas
  162. Knock on Any Door
  163. Dance, Girl, Dance
  164. Hamlet (2009)
  165. Heaven Can Wait (1943)
  166. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  167. Out of Time
  168. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  169. The Sea Hawk
  170. Unfaithfully Yours
  171. The Thirteenth Floor
  172. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
  173. The Illusionist (2006)
  174. Coco
  175. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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