Top 2017: Movies

The movies I most enjoyed in 2017 mainly consists of comic adaptations, funny that. I’ve looked back through my diary and considered what most stands out in my memory as the best new films I’ve seen this year. I’m not really including older films in this, even those that I saw early this year but were within the catchment area of the last awards season. Please note though that if I was including those, my number one without any doubt would be ‘Arrival’.

Again, I wanted a top 10, turns out that due to the above criteria, I have less, and a few things I’ll mention at the end. Unlike my Top TV of 2017 list, I have tried to rank these in an order though some are really close and some I’d need to see at least once more to be sure.

1. Baby Driver – It’s wonderful and completely my kind of thing, a slick heist movie with a cracking soundtrack and some beautifully choreographed stunt driving. I think it’s so good that ideally it should be getting considered for awards, though there’s a chance it’ll get largely overlooked if not completely. I’ve seen it at the cinema and at home, effective both times and I’m confident it’ll become one of my go-to films for when I want something that won’t fail to entertain me, as has long been the case with Edgar Wright’s ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’.

2. Thor: Ragnarok – Sadly I’ve only seen this once but I’m looking forward to seeing it again. A stand-out in both the Thor franchise and the larger MCU, it strikes a unique tone and takes the characters and story in ways that could’ve been risky but work so perfectly. Far more enjoyable than ‘The Dark World’ this may spell a new style for Marvel if Taika Waititi returns to direct again for them, if not, I think it’ll go unmatched for a long time.

3. Dunkirk – It’s about to be considered an awards frontrunner, there are many reasons why. I’ll be posting a full review very soon but I was waiting to see it again at home before putting all my thoughts together. Nolan is a masterful storyteller and here it’s done through the action and edition far more than the minimal dialogue. All the film elements are brought skillfully together to keep it concise but powerful, truly a film that will hold up under future scrutiny.

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming – Rebooting really closely to films that were of moderate success is not an easy proposition, and as a fan of Andrew Garfield in the role I was dubious. Marvel’s expert leadership was the key to success this time round, giving us a younger version of Peter Parker that the other films minimised to insignificance, with a deliberate John Hughes feel that it falls slightly short on but being in that ballpark is good enough to distinguish itself refreshingly.

5. Wonder Woman – I don’t love the film, but I do love the tone and what it represents for the DCEU, a brief glimmer of hope that they could do better, though it was all but extinguished with ‘Justice League’, a film that’s not close to making my list even if I went for 10. If the third act had been different this would have been higher on my list and I might have actually loved it but I think the final battle scene and how the film develops into that lets it down.

Honourable mentions: Many of these are films I need to see again to know better how I feel about it on repeat viewing. ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ really entertained me as a regular Sci-Fi fan, though I know many hardcore ‘Star Wars’ fans were less happy with it. ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ is a brilliant third act to the ‘Apes’ trilogy and I feel the fourth film is warranted though sadly unlikely. ‘Split’ has also stayed in my mind for months, not that I loved the majority of the film but the very end made it genius and I need to see it again in the new light of the twist. Also, I predicted months ago that ‘Blade Runner 2049’ would be excellent and in line for awards, though somehow it underperformed at the Box Office, those ‘flop’ hinting headlines really belie a film that’s incredibly shot (by the ever-nominated Roger Deakins) and the perfect balance between a respectful sequel and compelling original. All of these bear a second viewing and would likely round out my top 10 if I was sure enough to enumerate that far.


Top 2017: TV Shows

My Top 10 5 TV Shows of 2017

I’m not up to date on most of the latest season of shows, some I’ve stockpiled a few episodes ready to get me through the winter months, but here are my top picks of the shows that I have really enjoyed this year. I wanted to do a top ten list but then realised I’ve not watched as much TV this year and only a few shows really stand out in my mind as being deserving of praise. What would be much longer is the list of shows that have disappointed me and lost my interest, but that’s so negative and I’d rather make a positive list today, that other one might come later.

Unusually, these should be considered as in no particular order, in fact, reverse the order below and it’s much closer to where I might have assigned a ranking:

  1. Big Bang Theory – After a really unimpressive tenth season, the latest season has been a lot better and I’m really pleased to say that it’s gone back to being something I look forward to watching each week, rather than as it was last season, a show I would leave a few episodes of until I was bored or had nothing else to watch. I do think they’re running out of steam with it a bit but maybe that’s why things have improved in quality, the writers don’t want to let the biggest sitcom go out in shame.
  2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine – With a major romance progression, some shows lose their way and spark, this hasn’t, they have kept the characters true to themselves and don’t put all the narrative focus on one key couple. All I ask for with a sit-com is that it’s consistently funny and this is, I can sit down to watch each episode with confidence that it will make me laugh a good few times and the storylines are always entertaining.
  3. Rick and Morty – I was late to the party on this one, now I’m totally on board. Some episodes I don’t enjoy very much but a couple of the latest season were particularly good. There are certain ideas and plotlines starting to emerge as strong threads through what seems on the surface to be a very random and unconnected show. I hope a few of these do actually pay off in the next season and give it a compelling arc to make it even more rewarding.
  4. The Orville – Billed as a sci-fi comedy, this has turned out to be so much more than it was advertised as. It’s quality science fiction with a little extra comedy rather than the other way round. I’ll write a fuller review very soon.
  5. Legion – this shocked me with how different it is, it feels like a series of connected arthouse films. My full review of the first season is here and I’m now looking forward to the second season in 2018 to see if it can continue to surprise me.

Honourable Mentions: Gilmore Girls – Yes I know, it’s old and ended years ago but there’s this little online service called Netflix. I’ve not yet seen the revived short ‘Year in the Life’ series but I loved watching Gilmore Girls steadily over the past year and it holds up well even though some references are now a bit old. Writer Amy Sherman-Palladino is getting some attention now for her new show ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’ which has been nominated for Golden Globes, so I don’t know if Netflix will get another short season out of her anytime soon.

I’m yet to binge watch some others, the second season of ‘Stranger Things’ being one I have set aside for this week, as well as catching up on the whole CW set of DC shows which I usually really enjoy, though I’ve seen the first half dozen episodes of the latest season of ‘Supergirl’ and it’s struggling to hold my attention and the first handful of episodes of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ prove it’s stuck in a rut. ‘The Flash’ so far has been really very good but I’m only up to the crossover episode and will have to wait to see if the season can stick the landing on it’s second half.

There are a few shows that are recently returned to screens or that are relatively new that I need to see more of before they can be reviewed, such as ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ and ‘The Good Doctor’, but I expect I’ll write more about them towards the middle of the year as the main TV season wraps.