Well, no more putting this off. There were a lot of great movies to come out of Hollywood this past year, but for every great film, there was a bad one to boot. While I "accidentally" missed some of the obvious low-hanging fruit, like Flatliners and The Bye Bye Man, I did see my fair share of bad cinema over the past year. So let's talk about it, ya? As usual, I have my beverage of choice, (cider mixed with apple pie moonshine-it's delicious) and am ready to talk about the worst movies of 2017. Let's go!
For my review of each film discussed here, click on the picture.
(Dis)Honrable Mention: The Boss Baby
Kicking the list off is a film that SOMEHOW received an Oscar nomination. (OSCAR! IS....IS THAT RIGHT? HOW CAN THAT BE CORRECT? HOW COULD THE ACADEMY THINK THIS IS OSCAR-WORTHY? IS THIS REAL LIFE?) The Boss Baby is a perfect summary of everything wrong with modern American animation. I will openly admit I'm not a huge fan of animation as a whole, but even I am upset that this got an Oscar nod over something more deserving like Your Name. It's erratic. It's messy. It doesn't even have that good of voice acting! And so. Much. Baby butt. Like, ok guys: we get it. Baby butts can be cute! It's something that people go "Aw!" over, for some reason. (Obviously I'm not one of those people) But every other scene here features a baby's butt in some way. To the point that this film is uncomfortably obsessed with them. STAHP. Oh! And the "rules" of this movie? They don't exist! Like....do the parents know that the baby can do all the things he does? Why do I even care about this when everything else about this movie is so bad? Beats me.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: The Greatest Showman
Next up is a film that may come as a surprise to some, but....man. I did not like The Greatest Showman. I will admit that its big single "This is Me" has grown on me a tad since the film came out, (though "Mystery of Love" is still SO MUCH BETTER) but otherwise there isn't much here that I enjoyed. The film is just SO superficial. It makes P.T. Barnum into a hero, it villainizes everyone who took issue to the circus, and it glances over some of the more interesting aspects of his life like, you know, the part where Barnum exploited people that were different for his own gain. Nothing to see here, right? And....poor Rebecca Ferguson. I wanted to laugh out loud when her character, an opera singer, belted out a Celine Dion-lite number halfway through the movie. Oh, just enjoy it for the fact that it's a musical? Well, the choreography isn't even all that good! None of the dance numbers, save one, even utilize the props surrounding the circus itself. Y U NO USE CIRCUS? And the way it's shot....it's so freaking erratic! You can't get a respect for any of the dancing or singing when the camera is moving at a hundred miles per hour! The only sequence I enjoyed was the Efron/Zendaya musical number, which made good use of, you know, the circus, (and was the only number with good choreography) but this good sequence just frustrated me even more because it showed what could have been SIGH.
Alright, at this point I must've put a dent in this list, right? (Looks and sees that only the dishonorable mentions are done.) Oh no. NO. GOD NO. PLEASE GOD NO. (Starts crying into drink)
10) It Comes at Night
Next up on the list is a shockingly terrible film from A24. The studio had one heck of a 2016, including being the studio behind the shocking Best Picture winner, but they had something of an off year (for them, at least) in 2017 because they managed to drop a couple of bad films. (Don't worry though, they still dropped PLENTY of good movies too) Their latest crack at the horror genre was one of these bad films. There's a single good idea in this movie: a hallway that writer/director Trey Edward Shults gets a lot of suspense out of. Aaaaaaand that's it. Most of this movie is spent inside a house, which means frustratingly little happens for the vast majority of it. There's no pacing, and everything up until the final 15 minutes is just....boring! "Hey guys! Let's create a world where going outside risks imminent death, and then spend the entire movie inside!" - the creators of It Comes at Night. This is one house that you should avoid at all costs. (Don't worry, I'll be here all night. Maybe Oscar will take over for a bit? Oscar? Hello? .....)
9) The Mummy
Of all the crappy summer blockbusters we got this year, (there were many) this one made me the most frustrated. Sure there was a new Transformers movie this summer, (don't worry....it's coming) but unlike most, I was excited at the idea of a well-executed "Dark Universe" that Universal promised us would start with the release of this movie. I mean, c'mon! A universe where some of the iconic horror films of the 20th century are remade and interconnected starring some of the biggest names Hollywood has to offer? Where do I sign?? Unfortunately, the first film in this supposed new universe was rushed and featured a TERRIBLE exec/focus group influenced script. It was such a weak start to this new universe that Universal is already considering scrapping it. Which makes me so sad! I want my remake of a classic horror flick like Creature from the Black Lagoon! (I know, Oscar! The Shape of Water is a thing!) Ok. A TRUE remake, and not a spiritual one. Why did you start with The Mummy, Universal? Sure, it's a recognizable name. But it's also been barely 10 years since the last installment in that franchise! (Also mediocre) Why didn't you lead with something we haven't seen in a while, like Invisible Man? Oh, ya. And this movie is terrible. Did I mention that? WHY OH WHY is Sofia Boutella, the Mummy, barely even in this? (She's also the best part of the movie, which makes it even more frustrating) If you were going to ultimately make Tom Cruise the Mummy, (spoiler, I know, but who cares?) why don't you just lead with him?? Questions that we'll never get an answer to. RIP, Dark Universe. Gone too soon.
Ugh! Remember movies like this are why I need alcohol to get through this post. Hong Chau is wonderful. That's LITERALLY all you need to know about this movie. Because everything else about it is a disaster. (Man, I'm already tossing words around like "disaster" and I'm only on number 8!) It's so messy. This film is basically two stories thrown into one, and neither are particularly interesting. But at least the second half had Hong Chau! The first half was COMPLETELY pointless, as we get this big setup from Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig to do this procedure, just to have Wiig change her mind at the ABSOLUTE last minute for NO REASON AT ALL. Her character is completely pointless, which sucks! Then in the second half there is this apocalyptic message about global warming, which I'm all for, but it is SO overbearing. That word is putting it lightly, and it's all bound together by some TERRIBLE exposition. Just a big ol' can of nope. It's a real shame because this film is directed by the great Alexander Payne. He's made great films before, and he will again. This one, however, is a dud. But, hey. Hung Chau is wonderful in it, so there's that.
7) The Belko Experiment
This one is one of the lesser known films on this list, but it was nooooot good. For those that don't know, The Belko Experiment was a horror/slasher hybrid film that was centered around an interesting premise: kill each other, or we kill you. But, sweet baby Jesus was it anything but interesting. The characters sucked, the pacing was awful, and it ends up playing out almost EXACTLY how you expect it to. And, at the end, when it's time to talk about what it was all for, this film has the NERVE to go with "We're not at liberty to say." It's at this moment I would like to remind you that the script of this film was written by James Gunn. You know, the same guy behind the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Seriously? Unfortunately, this film is nothing more than yet another terrible installment in the slasher/horror genres.
Alright, while you ponder over the idea of James Gunn writing one of the worst scripts I have ever seen, I'm gonna go get a refill on my drink. I'm gonna need it to get through these last few.....
6) The Circle
Hey! I bet most of you saw this one and said, "Oh, ya! This movie was a thing!" (That was you, wasn't it, Oscar? I know what you're thinking....) It was hard to miss-its trailer was in front of nearly every film I saw in late 2016/early 2017. The marketing budget behind this was substantial, and I'm not really sure why. it was. Sure, they got Emma Watson to take a break from her wonderful philanthropic endeavors and paired her with the great Tom Hanks, but I think the die-hard Emma Watson fans were going to go and see this regardless of what the marketing budget was. Unfortunately, though, what we got was AWFUL. The story here is so freaking generic! And it's going to be a heavily dated film in just next few years with its absurd science fiction view on technology. But, things happen here that are so freaking stupid, and it's all centered around a "Oh! Look at what will happen to our privacy!" story that we've seen a million times before.It also doesn't help that Emma Watson is not that good. Sure, she's given nothing to work with, but guys like Patton Oswalt and Tom Hanks can clearly sleepwalk through a performance, (as they do here) which really brings Watson's shortcomings out even more. If you pair Watson with the right director, she's great. (Just look at The Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Bling Ring) But, when she's not....it can be somewhat hard to watch. It also makes me so sad that this is Bill Paxton's last role. RIP, man. You deserved better than this. :(
Five more to go! Oh no. I have to talk about Suburbicon again? NOOOOOOOO. This movie sucks! And it still blows my mind with all the A-list stars attached to it that it does. I still have no clue what happened to this film, but it is an absolute dumpster fire. It's a "whodunit" flick with the most obvious "dunit" in the freaking world. So, you figure out the mystery in the first 20 minutes. Now what do you do? Well, walking out is a good idea. Because if you stick around you're in for a story that is horrifically uninteresting, predictable, and messy. It can't figure out what it wants to be, all while being so obvious it was painful. And the acting is whatever. 2017 was a bad year for Matt Damon, and Suburbicon was no exception. He was clearly just in it for the paycheck, which makes no sense since it's George Clooney who directed this! And it was written by the Coen Brothers! WHAAAAA? (OSCAR! IS.....IS THAT RIGHT? HOW COULD THIS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY THE COEN BROTHERS?) The main story isn't interesting, (there's a side story that tries to tie into modern systemic racism that is very forced too) the acting is lackluster given the talent, and, well, everything short of the production design (which is at least OK) is so bland! It's like every other movie about the 50s wrapped into one cliche mess. At least Oscar Isaac took his screen chewing prowess up to eleven....
4) Transformers: The Last Knight
You knew this was going to be on the list sooner or later! Like Downsizing, this movie has exactly one redeeming quality: Isabela Moner. Unfortunately, she and the film's other major female star, Laura Haddock, are forced into constantly answering the "Why are you single?" question every other freaking minute throughout yet another trainwreck installment into this franchise. Which is a shame, because when they aren't being forced into relationships, they are both (but especially Moner) pretty awesome! Sadly, they are the only things that even remotely good about this film. The pacing is awful, (why are these things STILL 2.5 hours long?? OSCAR! WHO THINKS IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO MAKE A BIG STUPID ACTION MOVIE 2.5 HOURS LONG? Wait. Michael Bay? Ohhhhhh) the dialogue is awful, and the CGI is a giant clusterbomb. Michael Bay has a very distinct style. "Bayham," as it's called. But Michael Bay's unquenchable desire to throw as much visual stimulus as he can at you at any given moment makes this film a REALLY tough watch. You just can't decipher anything that's going on in front of you! And, of course, you have no idea where anyone is in any given moment, which means you simply don't care about any of the characters. Also, and maybe this bothered me more than others, but WHY is this film shot in THREE different aspect rations? THREE? (Just imagine Angry Joe said "aspect rations" there instead of "hours") It was so jarring and so distracting. Did he just not think people would notice the black bars on the screen constantly changing, sometimes shot by shot? Or did he just not care? How did this movie gross over $600 million? Oh, that's right. Because it was one of only a few American films to get a release in China. Least it didn't do too well there, either.
Oh, man. We're getting to the REAL bad stuff now. I don't understand what people see in Bright. Even though it's on Netflix, I wanted to walk out on this dumpster fire, sorry excuse for a sci-fi film. The "world" created here is TERRIBLE. Please, tell me what's interesting about the world Bright created. I'll wait. The effects are terrible. The action setpieces are hilariously corny. The overarching message on systemic racism is overbearing. There are literally ZERO redeeming qualities about this thing, and yet.....Netflix is planning a sequel? WHAT? Who thought....who thought this was a good idea? The acting isn't even all that good, which is sad because this film features Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, AND Noomi Rapace as the villain. I've been dreaming of the day Rapace would play an awesome villain, but today isn't it. The film hides her under a lot of BAD makeup, which means she isn't given the chance to do much of, well, anything! She's just sort of.....there. Like the rest of the film. Oh, and did you know that this film is trying to make an analogy to racism in modern America? Because if you didn't, you must've fallen asleep while watching this. Because it reminds you of its ties to modern American SO FREAKING MUCH. "Batting you over the head" is putting it lightly. What is there to like about this? The fact that orcs and humans hate each other? Because if that's all it takes to create an "interesting world," give me about 5 minutes and I'll think of something for you. Hard pass.
2) November Criminals
This film, however, I did walk out of. Most of you have probably never heard of this movie, to which I say.....congratulations. But, do you recognize anyone in that photo? Ya. That's Chloë Grace Moretz and Ansel Elgort. I'm guessing they got roped into this low-budget murder-mystery with massive paychecks. Them AND Catherine Keener and David Strathairm. (SERIOUSLY, OSCAR?) But, no one cared. I can hardly say I blamed them: this script is TERRIBLE, and there is literally nothing else going on here to stay invested. Every aspect of this film is just.....bad. Moretz/Elgort looked like they were reading a script off screen as they were saying their lines, and they had absolutely no chemistry. Their "romance" was the reason I actually turned this film off about halfway through. The movie establishes a relationship between them with some of the most disgusting logic I have ever seen. In today's #MeToo era, there is no place for this in cinema and, after the film decided to force another sexual encounter down our throats with the same despicable logic, I turned it off. Oh! And there are racial stereotypes here, too! Because of course there are! I still don't know what happened in this film, but.....honestly? I don't care. Neither should you.
Alright, guys! I'm almost done! I can tackle this last one, right? I mean....how bad could it be.....? Oh no, Oscar. You couldn't possibly....
1) I Love You, Daddy
NO, OSCAR. I DON'T WANNA. I DON'T WANNA TALK ABOUT THIS FILM EVER AGAIN. HOW WAS THIS TRAVESTY OK'D BY ANY STUDIO EXECUTIVE? WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? OSCAR? DO YOU HAVE ANY ANSWERS FOR ME? GAH. Even if you somehow, SOMEHOW, took this film out of the overall context of 2017, you don't get something that's even remotely good. The black and white? Doesn't add anything. Everyone outside of Louis C.K. and Charlie Day (there are some vulgar words I want to throw his way, Oscar) are sleepwalking, and the third act is as rushed as anything I've ever seen.
NO. I'm not done. Because you CAN'T take this out of the context of 2017. (My rage is building, Oscar!) This sorry excuse for a piece of cinema is indescribably misogynistic, and it made me legitimately sick to my stomach as I watched it. For those that don't know, this atrocity centers around Chloe Grace Moretz striking up a relationship with a Woody Allen-like character. A character who's faults are cast aside with "Oh, they're merely accusations, so it's ok, right?" NO. NO IT'S NOT OK. YOU CAN'T WRITE THIS OFF. And the projection in this movie!! Louis C.K. projects his own personal feelings onto the poor women in this film so much, as I guess in his sick, twisted mind he thought the premise of this travesty would be ok because Rose Byrne's character said it was! Ya, that'll do it, right Oscar? WRONG. I don't understand how this script was ok'd by a studio executive. I don't care if it was pre-Harvey Weinstein. Anyone with half of a heart could look at this and say, "Whoa, guys, we need to rethink basically all of this." Then, when you combine it with the fact that it was set to release in 2017, in the new era of #MeToo? Its distributor (The Orchard) deserved to lose every penny it spent backing this thing. There are no redeeming qualities to be found here, and there is no doubt this is the EASY winner for worst film of 2017.
(Takes a deep breath) It's done. It's over! I've made it through! I never want to think about these travesties ever again. You have been warned about these films, folks. Anyway, I'll be back again with MUCH happier posts. Next up is the Fourth (wow, fourth?) Annual Awesome Actor Awards, so stay tuned! And, you know what? I hope you found joy in my sorrow. After all someone's gotta take one for the team, right?
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BZjBhYmVmZGUtNjA4MC00NjFjLTgxNjEtY2VmYjk3N2FlODlmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDg2MjUxNjM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,736_AL_.jpg (The Boss Baby)
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http://img.wennermedia.com/social/louis-ck-i-love-you-daddy-2546ddf4-dc9e-4eb7-9dd8-48e88aae27a7.jpg (I Love You, Daddy)
Hello, friends! Enter the Movies recap of 2017 continues today with the best films no one saw in 2017! This list includes films that grossed under $15 million at the domestic box office according to Box Office Mojo. Now, keep in mind there were a TON of films that grossed under $15 million in 2017 that I did not see. So take this list with a grain of salt. However, of the films I did see that grossed under $15 million, these were the best! Do make an effort to see at least one of the films on this list. After all, almost all of them deserve your money more so than the latest summer blockbuster that'll gross $100 million. These are the films that come to you courtesy of filmmakers that are doing what they love for the sake of, well, doing it. Forget all the focus group tested BS. These films were made for the love of the craft. Check them out!
Honorable Mention: Your Name. ($5 million)
5) Loving Vincent ($6.6 Million)
4) A Ghost Story ($1.5 Million)
3) The Florida Project ($5.7 Million)
2) My Friend Dahmer ($1.3 Million)
1) Call Me by Your Name (around $15 Million)
There you have it! Hopefully I've given you at least one recommendation you'll find useful. As always, thanks for reading! I'll be back soon with the biggest disappointments of 2017! Ohhhhhhh boy.........
I could watch this alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll day.
Oh hai, guys. Today we're talking about the most disappointing films I saw in 2017. Ugh. Keep in mind these are the disappointing films, which does not equate to worst movies of the year. Don't worry, though. That one's coming. This list is a list of films that I really wanted to be good, and had high hopes for, but sadly didn't meet those expectations. So, without further ado, let's talk about sadness and stuff!
For my reviews of each of these films, click on the movie poster.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: The Fate of the Furious
3) Alien: Covenant
2) VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
1) Logan Lucky
Hope you guys enjoyed my look back at the most disappointing films of 2017! I'll be back again with a favorite of mine - the best films no one saw.Till next time!
Hello, friends! Enter the Movies recap of 2017 continues with my favorite movie moments of the year! I had a BUNCH of moments that I loved throughout the year. To the point that I actually expanded this list from the usual 5 + honorable mention to 10 + 2 honorable mentions. WHOA, RIGHT? I know! So shocking. But there were so many great moments last year in film! I actually had to edit this list down from 15+ to the 12 you see below. But, enough talk. These are my favorite movie moments of 2017!
Editor's Note: These are my personal "favorite" movie moments, as opposed to the "best" movie moments. So take that with a grain of salt. There are also spoilers below for Star Wars and other films.
Honorable Mention: I, Tonya - Wheres My Story?
Honorable Mention: Thor: Ragnarok - Immigrant Song
10) Star Wars: Hyperspace Maneuver
9) Call Me By Your Name: Armie Hammer Dancing
8) Logan - Wolverine's Death
7) It - You'll Float Too
6) Atomic Blonde - Stairwell fight scene
5) Phantom Thread - Kiss Me, darling
4) The Fate of the Furious - Prison Break
3) Lady Bird - Opening Scene
2) The Disaster Artist - Even the worst day....
1) Baby Driver - Opening Scene
Well folks, there you have it. My favorite movie moments of 2017! I'll be back tomorrow with my biggest disappointments of the year, so stay tuned!
https://media.giphy.com/media/26Ff68gV7hXgOtVni/giphy.gif (Armie Hammer Dancing Gif)
By: Joseph Kathmann with a special contribution in the animated features section from Peter Kosanovich
It's Oscar season! My favorite time of year, and I'm glad it's in full swing. This year's batch of Oscar nominees were a pretty solid overall list, (check out my initial reactions here) but now it's time to talk about my favorites within each category. So sit back, take notes, (least with the "who's the favorite" part....the "who deserves it" section doesn't mean much) and enjoy my complete list of predictions for the 2018 Academy Awards!
As usual, this list goes in reverse alphabetical order, (up through the acting/directing/picture awards) and each award has two picks: a "who deserves it" pick, which is my favorite in the category, and a "who's the favorite" pick, which is based off Vegas odds found at this site. Those guys out in Vegas look at who won at the awards shows preceding the Oscars and do have a pretty good success rate, so if you want to win your local Oscar pool, take a look at those. See? Being way too into this has its benefits, right?
Writing: Original Screenplay
Writing: Adapted Screenplay
Short FIlm, Live Action
Short Film, Animated
Makeup and Hairstyling
Foreign Language Film
Best Supporting Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Well, friends, there you have it! My complete predictions for this year's Academy Awards! Hope you enjoyed the ride. While I do have way more fun than I should writing these predictions, I think it's important to remember that, at the end of the day, these awards do not matter. I can barely remember who won Best Actress in 2017, (It was Emma Stone. I remembered after about 20 seconds. I know who won Best Actor because he was accused of sexual harassment and poor Brie Larson, who won for portraying an abused woman the year prior, had to hand him the award. Least Casey Affleck won't be presenting this year!) and I'll be saying the same thing next year. It's all for fun. Just.....don't give the award for Best Actor to Gary Oldman, PLEASE. Let's not go 2 straight years with giving Best Actor to men with questionable pasts, can we? Please? Thank you. Anyway, thanks for reading, guys. Y'all rock! My full recap of 2017 will continue tomorrow with my favorite movie moments of the year, so stay tuned!
http://www.oscars.org/sites/oscars/files/styles/news_image_default/public/jimmyannouncement_website.jpg.jpeg?itok=kxquMKR5 (Jimmy Kimmel)
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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjQyNjUyMzkwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODkyOTg1MzI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_.jpg (Faces Places poster)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTc2MzI2NDE0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTYwMTY5MzI@._V1_.jpg (Allison Janney in I, Tonya)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMmQzMDcwNmYtN2Y2Zi00OWNiLWEwNmQtMTA0NDAzZDQ2ZGFlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk1MzcwNTI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_.jpg (Richard Jenkins in The Shape of Water)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BOGM0NzE2MTUtYTk3Mi00YjhiLTgxODEtZjBlZmU1ZWIxNDk0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDg2MjUxNjM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_.jpg (Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water)
https://s.abcnews.com/images/Entertainment/levy-gerwig-ladybird-ht-mem-180202_4x3_992.jpg (Greta Gerwig)
RIP Jóhann Jóhannsson, gone far too soon. :(
So, I wanted to try something new this year. Instead of talking about trailers, I figured I'd step more into my wheelhouse and talk about some of my favorite scores of 2017! The past year had its fair share of great scores, with the top few here in particular finding themselves on repeat on my Spotify playlists. Here mare my favorite scores in film in 2017!
Honorable Mention: John Williams, Star Wars
5) Michael Giacchino, Coco
4) Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
3) Hans Zimmer, Blade Runner 2049
2) Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
1) Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
Well, there you have it. My favorite scores of 2017! Hope you enjoyed it. I'll be back with more recaps of Hollywood's 2017 in the shape of my favorite movie moments of 2017!
By: Joseph Kathmann
Editor's Note: This article begins Enter the Movies recap of 2017 in film and takes the place of the "Biggest Controversies of the Year" post.
No controversy has engulfed the entertainment industry since I started this blog five years ago like the Harvey Weinstein scandal has. What started (at least in Hollywood) as a few brave women coming forward with a single story in the New York Times (who, let's not forget, has had its own issues with sexual harassment arise since) has turned into a nationwide movement of force and change, represented by the hashtags #MeToo and #TimesUp. I will admit: when I first saw that initial story on Weinstein in the NYT, I thought, "Wow, this is awful." But, unfortunately I didn't think much more of it. I, an oblivious white male, never thought this story was just the tip-of-the-iceberg for a much larger and widespread problem in both Hollywood and the rest of our culture. (Women, of course, knew it was) I was stupidly naive, and looking back I wish I had seen this problem for what it is far earlier than now. But, up until this point, I've remained largely silent on the issue. I am lucky enough to be a white male in America, so I feel I don't have much of any right to talk about something (or, mansplain it, I know) that women have been dealing with since society decided that, for some reason, men should be in charge of everything. But, every year on Enter the Movies I recap the biggest controversies of the previous year in Hollywood, and it just didn't feel right to give this story a little blurb at the top of some list and leave it at that. It's easily the biggest story, and the biggest force of change, I have ever seen in the entertainment industry since I started following it as a near-unhealthy obsession. At the very least it deserves a full essay, even though I, a white male, am the one writing it.
Anyway, if you don't want to read this because my opinion on sexual harassment doesn't mean much to you, here's the TL;DR version: the men that abused their power over women are monsters. Anyone who thinks otherwise is part of the problem. Personally, I will struggle to support any future film that stars or is produced by any of the men accused of harassing women, no matter gravitas of the accusations. (It will be impossible for me to separate the film from the man going forward.) To me, someone like Aziz Ansari is just as guilty of assaulting and harassing women as Harvey Weinstein, and I want no part in their attempted comeback stories. Their time is up.
So, now for the long version. I want to start this essay by quoting Jessica Chastain from a recent actress roundtable at The Hollywood Reporter, (link in the pick above-it's absolutely fascinating) because she sums up the current state of Hollywood better than I ever could. "I hope the entertainment industry will never be the same. You can look at Louis Mayer and "Fatty" Arbuckle and Jack Warner. [Early titans of the entertainment industry that allegedly traded jobs for sexual favors.] You read Shirley Temple's book and find out what happened to her as a child.... [Temple said in her autobiography that a producer pulled his penis out in front of her when she was only 12] there is a history of abuse against women in our industry. And, it's never been addressed. And.... I'm devastated by all the stories that have come out because it's heartbreaking, but at the same time I feel hopeful, because we're not ignoring it anymore. It's painful for change, but it's needed. It was needed many years ago.....[and] I think the industry will come extinct unless we show a more modern version of the world that we're presented with."
When I first read the Harvey Weinstein story, I was angry, but I (unfortunately) never imagined that this problem was as widespread as it was. The story surrounding Weinstein specifically has been a frustrating one-from him allegedly hiring ex-Mossad agents to silence actresses and track journalists to the fact that many, including (but not limited to) the board of the (now disgraced) Weinstein Company to directors like Quentin Tarantino knew that this was happening and just stood by and watched. (More on Tarantino later) The amount of sexual assault Weinstein was able to get away with is not just insulting to Hollywood, it's insulting to the entire male population. It's disgusting. It's humiliating to me. I mean, look at this picture below. That's just a PORTION of the women who have accused Weinstein of harassing/assaulting them, and that doesn't even include the anonymous ones. (Like the unnamed actresses that have accused him of rape)
Knowing that each of the women above (and many more) have had to deal with a traumatic experience that forever changed their lives makes me incredibly sad. But, Harvey Weinstein is just a fraction of the problem and the dozens of stories that have surfaced over the past few months prove that. Over a hundred men in power, both within the entertainment industry and outside it, have been accused of sexual harassment. (You can check out a handy running tally from the music site Consequence of Sound here) Weinstein was just the tip of the iceberg, as stories like Dustin Hoffman groping an actress on set, or Kevin Spacey being a monster and SOMEHOW thinking he'd be excused for it by coming out, (seriously-that may be the most disgusting response I have ever seen) or Louis C.K. thinking it's somehow OK to whip his penis out and masturbate in front of women became commonplace in the final months of 2017. It's so bad that now when I see yet another powerful man accused of sexual harassment, my friends and I just "add them to the list." We're getting desensitized to it, which is an incredibly depressing thought. This has to stop. What will it take, if not this, for women to finally be on equal footing as men? I want to get to the point where I don't even have to ask that question, because the equal footing is so ingrained in our society that we're not even thinking about it anymore. But, instead, we are left with seeing yet another powerful male being accused of sexual harassment. And those that have had allegations leveled their way are already planning their comeback stories. As long as they're "truly" sorry, right? Disgraceful.
I must admit I am getting angry just typing this article. (I can't even imagine how women must feel) It's hard not too - women like Julia Wolov and Dana Min Goodman have been traumatized by their experiences with Louis C.K. disgusting assaults, and they're just two of the many, MANY women that have been affected by sexual assault in the entertainment industry. And our society (aka the men of our society) allowed this culture to persist for decades! The men would just laugh it off, or WORSE, think a woman was "looking for her fifteen seconds of fame" by coming forward with stories of sexual harassment against a powerful bro. That excuse disgusts me now. I remember when that rationale was tossed around rather nonchalantly as the accusations against Bill Cosby emerged. Heck, just two years ago we elected Donald Trump president despite numerous accusations of sexual assault against him, and Hollywood itself found it OK to hand Casey Affleck a bunch of awards for Best Actor despite numerous accusations of sexual harassment. While we've come far over the course of 2017, it's important to remember we still have a long way to go.
(Fun fact: I thought giving Affleck the award for Best Actor was wrong in early 2017 too, especially when you consider Brie Larson, who won a lot of awards the year prior for playing a woman who was herself the subject of male abuse, had to hand him these awards. At least I thought that one was messed up.....)
I have an infinite amount of respect for the women that have come forward with charges of sexual harassment or assault against their powerful male counterparts. They have more courage than I could ever dream of, and, as former Olympian Rachael Denhollander pointed out in a recent op-ed, are willing to destroy their personal lives in order to do the right thing. I wish these women didn't have to put, well, anything on the line to say something. Why are their houses burned down for doing the right thing? Men: why do we have to be such stubborn pieces of crap? As Chastain said, "It's painful for change, but it is needed." Also, let's not forget: even now there are thousands, if not millions, of women that get up every day and go to work with someone that has harassed them in some way. While that thought is devastating, it's important for us, the bystanders, to remember that these women are just as brave as those that have spoken up against their accusers. I know I admire them and are envious of their courage every bit as much as those who have spoken up. I just hope the men in power realize that the time for change is NOW. Not five years from now, but NOW. They better be shaking in their boots.
Anyway, I'd like to take a brief moment to talk about my own personal journey as a male through the rise of #MeToo and #TimesUp. (So, all in all, this is a rather pointless sidenote.) I never could have imagined how widespread this problem was until the #MeToo hashtag was trending. Around mid-October of 2017, I saw at least a dozen of my female friends post the simple but powerful Facebook status "Me Too." This hit me so close to home, and opened my eyes to just how widespread the problem of sexual harassment in our culture was/is. It's easy to say this is just a problem in Hollywood, but it's not. It's happening all around us I ask myself frequently what I would do if I knew someone like my boss was abusing female co-workers. What would I do? The easy answer is: I'd speak up. But would I really? I don't know. It takes courage to speak up in a situation like that, but I hope I will look at the brave women (and men) that have spoken up in this new era to find the courage to speak out against the abuse myself.
As far as my personal stance on the industry going forward and the men accused of sexual harassment, I have come to this conclusion: I will do my best to never support any future projects that star or are produced by men accused of sexual assault. They do not deserve my money, nor do they deserve yours. This includes something produced by an entity like The Weinstein Company. As prestigious a company it once was, it used its immense power to cover up the accusations against its founders Harvey (and his brother Bob) Weinstein. It, like Fox News for covering up accusations against Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly, are now dead to me, regardless of what they try and do in the future. However, I don't think it's fair to throw entire films that were made before these accusations came to light under the bus. A film like Baby Driver should not be discarded simply because Kevin Spacey is in it. That film was the work of a massive amount of men and women, and it shouldn't be cast aside and forgotten simply because of the actions of one man. So, going forward I will still celebrate overall films like Baby Driver or The Disaster Artist. (there have been several disgusting allegations leveled at James Franco in recent weeks, for those who were wondering why Denzel Washington was nominated for Best Actor over him) However, I will not celebrate the roles the men accused of sexual harassment played in those movies. They do not deserve it.
One final story about yet another woman dealing with sexual assault in the entertainment industry. The badass that is Uma Thurman just came forward to tell her personal story on the monster Harvey Weinstein, and it is heartbreaking. It goes to show just how widespread the problem with him was, not only with Weinstein, but with male power in Hollywood in general. The amount of complicity Thurman lays out, from director Quentin Tarantino to her freaking talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, is harrowing. Everyone was in on it. Every man in power knew Weinstein was a sexual predator, and yet they did NOTHING to stop him. The piece is gut-wrenching, but the highlight (if you want to call it that) I want to point out was a sequence from Kill Bill that Thurman was coerced into participating in. In this sequence, Thurman drives a shoddy convertible into a palm tree herself, no stuntwoman replacement, and is seriously injured in the process. She was forced into this sequence by the director, Quentin Tarantino. You can watch it below. Thurman says she spent fifteen years trying to get this video for her own personal closure on the incident, and just recently got it back. Let me warn you: it is painful to watch.
The level of coercion and harassment Uma Thurman faced could not be a more perfect summary of what needs to change in both the entertainment industry and our culture as whole. This goes beyond sexual harassment. When someone says no, it means NO. It doesn't mean "No, but...." it means NO. Too many times have women been told their "No" isn't good enough. It's unacceptable. It doesn't matter if it's "inconvenient" for you, the director, to have to find a stunt double to film a scene. If Uma Thurman doesn't want to do something, guess what? She doesn't have to do it! Why is this so difficult, guys? If a woman says "No" when Aziz Ansari asks if she wants to have sex, guess what? THAT MEANS NO. That doesn't mean you can try and "seduce" her with.....something that will (and somehow this part is shocking to a lot of men) make her feel uncomfortable. It means NO. I hope that men in power at least understand that now, in 2018, if they don't accept the "No" they are given, women have the platform to speak up and say something. And DEAR GOD if I ever find myself in a position of power, I hope I remember this movement as well, and understand and respect that NO MEANS FREAKING NO. A woman shouldn't even have to say no! If they look uncomfortable in a situation, maybe....just MAYBE, oh, I don't know.... they don't want to do something? Revolutionary, right??
This reckoning for the male power structure we've had for decades is LONG overdue. I hope we reach the point where we don't even have to think about this because it's so ingrained, but the fact that there's even a discussion over BASIC things like income inequality show just how far we have to go before we reach the point we SHOULD be at. But I hope that day comes quickly. Anyway, in a brief conclusion to this piece, I'd like to refer to a great quote from Salma Hayek in her emotional op-ed about Harvey Weinstein molesting her. It's a powerful line that sums up the changing tides 2017 brought within the entertainment industry, and our society as a whole, better than I ever could.
"Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can."
Times up, guys.
Final Editor's Note: I couldn't figure out a way to integrate this into the piece, but check out Brit Marling's The Economics of Consent if you want another phenomenal piece on sexual harassment in Hollywood and Harvey Weinstein.
A really solid list with just a few faults
We are now in the height of the most wonderful time of the year, better known as Oscar season, and the Academy has finally released their much-anticipated list of nominees. While it is important to remember at the end of the day these don't matter, (the only thing that matters is Enter the Movies film awards, after all! Right? Guys?) and we just get hyped up about the Oscars for fun, I must admit: I'm pretty impressed with this year's nominees. While there are a few glaring snubs (more on those later) I think overall this is a well rounded, diverse group of nominees. Unlike with the Globes, there weren't any major categories that made me throw my arms up in the air and question everything I know about everything. (Oh ya, getting deep over here) The Shape of Water led the way with 13 nominations, which I am ok with. That film has continued to grow on me since I first saw it, and will find itself a deserving place well within my top ten best movies of 2017 list. It's a great film worthy of 13 nominees, and I hope this Oscar love boosts its sales in the process. I wasn't too thrilled that Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri received a bunch of nominations too, but I'm pretty confident that the momentum it has right now through the early part of awards season will wane as we get closer to Oscar Sunday. There have been some issues raised with this film's take on race, and for good reason. I wouldn't be too surprised if Sam freaking Rockwell wins Best Supporting Actor and that's it for the movie come Oscar Sunday. Anyway, let's talk about the winners, losers, and the more perplexing moments of this year's Oscar list!
For those that don't know, this post is just some immediate reactions to the list of nominees. Enter the Movies will continue its coverage of 2017 cinema with more film reviews in the upcoming weeks, as well as a comprehensive look back at the year for film. And look for my annual comprehensive guide to the 2018 Oscars to drop on February 25th, so stay tuned!
Big Winners: Lady Bird, Get out, Music, #MeToo
Let's start with my favorite thing about this entire list: Lady Bird. The little directorial debut from my spirit animal, Greta Gerwig, snagged five Oscar nominations, including Gerwig's (ironically) first ever Oscar nods in both directing and original screenplay. I loved this movie so much, and am beyond thrilled to see it receive some very deserving Oscar love. I'm not going to lie: I may (or may not) have let out a quick scream when I saw Gerwig's name in the Best Director category. Gerwig is an amazing individual, and she is the reason Lady Bird has been so successful. She came from some very humble beginnings in the mumblecore movement and has worked her tail off to get to where she is now, and I could not be more happy for her!
So how about Get Out, eh? While I wasn't as big a fan of it as others are, I'm still quite happy to see what's ultimately a slasher film run away with four Oscar nominations, including the undisputed surprise of the entire list for me: Daniel Kaluuya nominated for Best Actor. After the allegations against James Franco surfaced, I was quite happy to see Kaluuya receive a Best Actor nod over him. This is a great segue to the #MeToo movement showing up in this list of nominees.....I was quite worried that there would be a mistake somewhere in this list, whether it be the Best Director category being all men, or James Franco being nominated for Best Actor, but the Academy did an excellent job having an all-around diverse group of nominees, and removing (almost) all potential missteps within the individual categories. Hopefully that continues into the Oscar ceremony itself. Also, on this note, thank GOD Ridley Scott didn't receive a Best Director nod over someone like Greta Gerwig. I still scoff at his Golden Globes nomination over someone more deserving like her. Also, speaking of the Best Director category, we can now say "Oscar Nominated Jordan Peele" and I am VERY ok with that. I'm sure he's texting Keegan right now about it.
I also want to highlight the strong music categories this year. While The Greatest Showman's "This is Me" did receive its inevitable nomination for Original Song, (I will be sad if it wins, which it probably will because it's the most popular song on the list) I was thrilled to see Sufjan Stevens "Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name make the list too. I haven't dropped the review of Call Me by Your Name yet, but this film is one of my favorites of the year and "Mystery of Love" was not just my favorite song in film from 2017, it was one of my favorite songs, period. It's a beautiful and touching song. At the very least I look forward to seeing it performed at the Oscars by Stevens! We'll also have performances from Miguel, Common, and Mary J. Blige to look forward to. Those should all be great. Also, I LOVE the Best Original Score category! About the only film with a great score they missed was Blade Runner 2049, but I am very ok with the Academy only giving Hans Zimmer one Oscar nomination. Hopefully that'll increase his chances of FINALLY snagging his first ever Oscar (somehow) for Dunkirk but if Phantom Thread or The Shape of Water get called instead I wouldn't be mad. They all feature mesmerizing scores, and highlight a very strong year for music in film.
Big Losers: Wonder Woman, Hostiles, The Best Actress Category, Ross Lynch
Hey, Academy. How's it going? I have a simple, innocent question for you: Where's Wonder Woman? Go ahead, I'll wait.....I am SHOCKED by the omission of this film that had almost as much audience buzz behind it as Get Out did. The fact that Wonder Woman did not receive a single nomination is easily the biggest loser for this year's Oscar nominees. For anything! C'mon, guys! You mean to tell me that Kong: Skull Island deserved a nomination over Wonder Woman? (More on that in a bit) I'm ok that Patty Jenkins didn't get a Best Director nomination. (Even though she contributed greatly to the film's success) Much as I would've loved to have seen her name in the category, there were just too many other great directors in 2017 for her to be on that list and not feel like there was a snub elsewhere. (Who do you remove for her? Jordan Peele? You couldn't possibly convince me Jenkins deserved to be on that list over Guillermo Del Toro or Christopher Nolan.) But between visual effects and costumes and even something like original score, (I think it's safe to say Wonder Woman's theme is pretty iconic) surely there was space for it somewhere! The Academy definitely needs to take superhero films at least a little bit more seriously.
There was another no-show I was surprised by in Hostiles, mostly because of how desperate that crew was to make it awards eligible for this year's Oscars, but I haven't seen that film yet so I can't really comment about it. But, given that it opened on about 2 screens right before December 31st to be eligible, I wouldn't be surprised if they just couldn't get the "for your consideration" screeners out to the Academy in time. But there was an easy opportunity to give a distinguished Native American actor in Wes Studi a Best Supporting Actor nomination over someone like Woody Harrelson. (Three Billboards did not deserve two supporting actor nominations)
Speaking of acting categories, let's talk about the Best Actress category. Why is Meryl Streep on this list? She's the most nominated person in history, does she really need another nomination she stands no chance of winning for a character that didn't even need to be in the movie it was in? Don't get me wrong: I love Meryl Streep. And she is Meryl Streep in The Post. She's as charismatic as ever. But Best Actress this year was stacked, and giving this final slot to someone like her took away the opportunity for far more deserving actresses to be in the category. This slot could've been given to Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman. This slot could've been given to Jessica Chastain for Molly's Game. But EASILY the biggest snub by Meryl Streep's inclusion is Vicky Krieps for her career-defining role in Phantom Thread. I'm honestly at a loss for words on this one. Krieps puts in a performance as good as Daniel Day-Lewis, who's likely the favorite to win Best Actor because it's Daniel Day-Lewis, but she doesn't even get a nomination? What's up with that? Her performance in Phantom Thread will be in my top five performances of the year, and Meryl Streep's won't even make the cut. Unfortunately though, once again, Hollywood's favorite poster child gets another head-scratching nomination instead.
Speaking of snubs, let's talk about Ross Lynch for a second. I hadn't heard a peep out of the My Friend Dahmer camp this awards season, so I'm honestly not surprised the former Disney star wasn't nominated for his haunting performance as the future serial killer Jeff Dahmer, but this performance has resonated with me as much as any other performance has in 2017, and I wish someone, ANYONE, would give him an award or two for the role. It was something to behold. Oh well.....
Perplexing Moments: Best Animated Feature Category, Best Visual Effect Category, Darkest Hour Snags Six nominations?
What's going on in the animation category? I haven't seen that many animated movies in 2017 (hardly any, actually) but I'm smart enough to know that The Boss Baby does not deserve to be on this list. I laughed about it at the Globes, and I will laugh about it again here. Was the world of animation just that bad this year? It's also voiced by Alec Baldwin, who's been getting himself into trouble recently for saying some pretty stupid things. (He took to his foundation's Twitter account to defend Woody Allen last week for some strange and likely disgusting reason) But The Boss Baby, with it's lovely 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Alec Baldwin leading the way, can now call itself "Oscar Nominated The Boss Baby." Yikes. At least Loving Vincent, the world's first fully painted feature film, got a nomination. Hopefully it can beat out the Disney/Pixar powerhouse that represents itself as Coco and take home the Oscar, too.
SPEAKING OF crazy categories that make no sense whatsoever, and films that have no right to call themselves Oscar nominated, the Visual Effects category! Ohhhhhh the visual effects category. Kong: Skull Island is the real head-scratcher here. Even when you remove the fact that it snubbed a potential nomination for Wonder Woman, its effects weren't anything special. Why is it on this list? And why is Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 on this list over Wonder Woman? I guess the Academy will take Marvel superhero movies seriously, but not DC ones. Also. And this makes even less sense to me. Where's Dunkirk and The Shape of Water? This is dumbfounding. Not only did I assume these two films would make the cut, I assumed they would be the front-runners to win the entire category! The Shape of Water received a whooping 13 nominations and its entire premise is built around Sally Hawkins falling in love with a visual effects-created amphibious creature, but it doesn't deserve a visual effects nomination? Even if it was just some guy in a suit that could light up, then it should be in the Costume Design category over something like Beauty and The Beast. What happened there? And Dunkirk's calling card was its visual effects. How was that not nominated? I guess I just don't know visual effects when I see them.
Finally, let's talk about Darkest Hour. I'm all for Gary Oldman getting his Best Actor nomination, as well as makeup team. Those were inevitable, and I suspect the makeup team will walk home with that Oscar, too. But I was SHOCKED to see this film snag six (SIX?) Oscar nominations. (Hey! That's the score I gave the film too! Coincidence? I think NOT!) Including one for Best Picture. Seriously? Overall, the Best Picture category was pretty good this year. It often has at least one or two head-scratchers since they expanded the field to ten, but this year I couldn't believe that Darkest Hour made the cut for the category while the VASTLY more deserving I, Tonya did not. Where's its six nominations? Oh well. The Academy can't get them all right, right?
Well, there you have it! Hope you enjoyed reading my initial reactions to this year's Oscar nominees. Thanks, as always, for reading and I will be back soon with a look back at 2017 and more Oscars coverage. Sayonara!
The Gaffe Heard Round the World
Well, as usual, the Oscars just concluded and I'm tired. But I wouldn't have it any other way writing this post. I love doing it in my current loopy and slightly depressed post-Oscar state. (Depressed because writing this post is like closure on the year for me, and I feel like I've come to the end of a long journey reviewing film for 2016. Not depressed because of who won or who didn't win because at the end of the day.....who cares, really.) Anyway, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way right off the bat: the moment everyone will remember for 2017's Oscars is when La La Land's name was erroneously called for Best Picture. I'm sure we'll hear plenty more about that as time goes on, so I will just address how much I appreciated the class of the La La Land crew for not only being willing to hand over their awards to Moonlight, but they were actually eager to. It felt like the moment Adele beat out Queen Bey at the Grammys a few weeks back. They showed no negativity to getting on the stage just to realize they were on there by mistake, and the look on Barry Jenkins face when he realized that his film actually won the award made me a little emotional. I love Barry Jenkins, and while you all know what took home my Best Film of 2016, I have no problem with the Academy handing their award to Moonlight. Any other year I would've been right there with them, and I know years down the road Moonlight will be the film that everyone remembers, so I'm totally content with that choice. To be fair, I've only agreed with the Academy's choice once over the past ten years, so there's that. And we ALL know between Enter the Movies and the Academy Awards which award is more coveted. Uhhhhhhhh Enter the Movies. Obviously.
Anyway, where I disagree with the Academy, however, is in some of the more technical categories. The fact that Suicide Squad can now say "Academy Award Winner Suicide Squad" is pretty hilarious. Also Hacksaw Ridge for Best Film Editing? Really? La La Land and Moonlight must've split that vote, but you thought Hacksaw Ridge was number three on that list? Over Arrival and Hell or High Water? C'mon man. The biggest controversy for me, though, is in the Best Actor category. Anyone who read my Biggest Controversies of 2016 list will know why, but for those who didn't.....Casey Affleck winning Best Actor shows us that, for all the progress we've made for diversity in Hollywood, there's still a long way to go. Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation was shunned by the Academy when allegations of rape surfaced against him, and yet when similar allegations rose against Affleck.....he wins Best Actor. Now please, tell me that those allegations don't go ignored by the Academy if Casey Affleck was black. Go on. I'll wait.
I know we should take the wins where we can get them. After all Denzel Washington is the white man's black person, so it isn't like there was some super glamorous replacement in the running for Best Actor. (Makes me wonder if the story would've been different had Dev Patel been in that category where he should have been instead of Best Supporting Actor) And I'd say the defeat of La La Land at the hands of Moonlight is a pretty terrific feat and ABSOLUTELY a result of the diversification of the Academy, so I'm very excited to see where this diversification leads us next year. And there were some terrific feel-good wins in the lesser categories, including The Salesman winning Best Foreign film and The White Helmets winning Documentary Short. Both films were directly impacted by the orange menace's travel ban, with director Asghar Farhadi from The Salesman boycotting the Oscars because of it and the cinematographer for The White Helmets, Khaled Khatib, actually being denied entry to the United States by, well, the United States.That second one in particular was an unscripted moment for the Academy-while Farhadi made his boycott of the Oscars known far in advance during the voting period, so voting for The Salesman was an easy protest vote to Twump by the group, Khatib's issues came just a day before the event itself, long after the votes were cast. Also touching was Mahershala Ali becoming the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, and Viola Davis becoming the first African American actor to hit the acting trifecta-acting wins from the Tonys, Emmys, and Oscars.
Anyway, speaking of unscripted moments, let's talk about Jimmy Kimmel! The host of this year's Oscars was.....fine. On the one hand, he had a few good gags. His ongoing beef with Matt Damon continued to be hilarious, highlighted by my favorite moment of the entire night-playing Matt Damon off the stage as he was presenting an award. He also took a few good jabs at Donald Trump, and threw in bits from his late night show, like a "Mean Tweets: Oscars Edition" bit. In other words, he, like James Corden at the Grammys, was up there just to plug his own late night show, he just did it a bit more subtly than Corden did. He also had a few misses. His "food raining down from the sky" bits were humorous, but not particularly memorable. But his totally not staged gag with the tour bus? C'mon, man. That was easily the weakest moment of the night, as everyone knew that those people would've had to have been screened EXTENSIVELY before they strolled into the Dolby Theater. That moment was right there with Neil Patrick Harris's bit about "successfully" predicting the Oscar picks when he hosted. Chances are those "random people" were just members of the seat filler corps that make the house look full every year. Or they were people that had been sitting out in the crowd on the Red Carpet beforehand. All that is my way of saying.....Jimmy Kimmel was fine, but LAWD next year can we PLEASE not have a late night talk show personality host the Oscars? Please?
As for everything else, it was....fine. The Moana performance was the lowlight of the musical performances for me, (that Lin-Manuel intro felt very tacked on) but overall outside of Justin Timberlake all of the performances weren't particularly memorable. I already can't remember Sting's song, and La La Land's montage would've been significantly better had Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling joined John Legend at one point during it. Also the speeches were shockingly contained. This may be the biggest surprise of this year's Oscars. While it was a pretty good night for liberals outside of Casey Affleck's win, there was no Meryl Streep or David K. Harbour (Stranger Things) kind of moment. I really thought that someone was going to provide that soundbite that everyone would play for weeks and months to come, but the most "soundbite" political moment came when Jimmy Kimmel Tweeted at Donald Trump during the broadcast. The speech of the hour, in my opinion, belonged to Viola Davis, who delivered an emotional speech as she accepted her first Academy Award. Emma Stone was a close second, but that may only be because I am partial to Emma Stone. I was hoping for a better speech from Damien Chazelle (if the speeches from those who did win in technical categories for La La Land told me anything, it's that that crew REVERES Chazelle) but hey. Dude is still the youngest director to ever win an Oscar so that's pretty cool.
What else? I can't think of anything, so that's it! That's all I got. At the end of the day.....I think I liked 2016's Academy Awards more than this year's. While the picks for winners showed that the Academy is starting to step outside its comfort zone, I was still pretty infuriated by some of the choices, most notably Casey Affleck for Best Actor. And, while there were quite a few great moments, (I just glanced over it but that opening with Justin Timberlake was pretty awesome) there seemed to always be a frustrating moment to go along with it. That freaking tourist gag. Really? "Hey, we just parked this bus right outside and no one noticed the Red Carpet or anything!" But it was still an overall good night for the Academy. Even though it will be highlighted by the gaffe to end all gaffes, their pick of Moonlight for Best Picture is a pretty telling sign that the persona that the Academy is just a bunch of rich old white dudes may finally be coming to an end. No doubt their diversification efforts are paying off.
My Number: 7/10 Good
Well, that's it. That wraps up Enter the Movies coverage of 2016 for film. Overall? I'd say we had a good run, 2016. The year was certainly not as good as 2015 was, but we did see a couple of strong films come out of this year. Films like Arrival, Moonlight, and La La Land are why I love doing this, and walking into that theater giddy with high expectations then having those expectations met or even exceeded? That feeling will never get old. While the same post-Oscar depression is already sinking in as I slowly realize another year is done, I can't help but be uplifted by what 2017 has in store. With new films coming from the likes of Edgar Wright and Paul Thomas Anderson on the horizon, I can't help but be excited for what's in store. But all of that is for tomorrow. As for now....it's very, VERY late over here, and my pillow is desperately calling for me. I think it's time for me to answer the call. Thanks so much for reading, everyone! I love all of you, and I'll see you next time here on Enter the Movies. DEUCES!
Another year is done. Hard to believe this blog has been going for almost four years now. Each year it gets bigger and biggers, as 2016 saw me review almost 90 films, a personal best. Hopefully in 2017 I can go for 100, but that's later. Now, it's time to recap what I think are the best films of 2016. We all know what my number 1 is, but hopefully the rest of this list will be somewhat revelatory and insightful for you. So, without further ado, these are, in my opinion, the best films of 2016. Enjoy!
Honorable Mention: Jackie
Hard to believe that the very first film on this list is Jackie, but as you'll see the back-end of 2016 was very good in Hollywood. However, it was simply unjustifiable for me to leave this film off the list, because even though I wasn't fully sold on Natalie Portman's performance as the lead here, it was still an outstanding film featuring great costumes, great set design, a wonderful score, and a good cast, all set around a pretty unique way of telling a biopic in focusing on just two weeks of the character's life. Also, I should mention that that score is one of my favorites of the year, and it is certainly worthy of an Oscar nomination. While Jackie will likely not pull out any Oscars unless it upsets La La Land in the costume department, it is certainly deserving of a mention on this list.
Honorable Mention: The Purge: Election Year
When I wrote my review for this film, I really didn't think it was going to make this list. But then it turned into the best film of the summer, and arguably the best film of the year until the "important" films of Oscar season started rolling around, so I felt it deserved a spot on this list. This movie is absolutely awesome, and as much as I may still call this franchise a "guilty pleasure," they just keep getting better and better! This one had some great cinematography (and certainly the best for the year as far as action films are concerned) and they even added an established actress, Elizabeth Mitchell, to the mix. If you have even a slight soft spot for slasher flicks, The Purge: Election Year was by FAR the best one of 2016.
10) Hacksaw Ridge
The calling card of this film about a pacifist who refuses to touch a gun is exactly what you think it would be: the war sequences. The war sequences of Hacksaw Ridge are EASILY the best looking sequences since Saving Private Ryan, which is about as good a compliment as you can dish because Saving Private Ryan still is the standard-bearer for best war sequences ever put on film. However, there's no doubt that these sequences caught many off guard who went into this film, you know, expecting a story about pacifism. On top of these exhilarating war sequences you had a great performance from Andrew Garfield, the man who won the coveted (totally) "Feel-Good Comeback Story" award at the Third Annual Awesome Actors Awards on this blog. This performance also netted him an Oscar nomination, (though I think could've been better suited to receive that nomination for Silence) and the film also saw several more thanks to strong showings in the technical departments, highlighted by some great sound editing. Also, why were the visuals of this film not nominated for an Oscar? I mean, Deepwater Horizon? Really? Anyway, there are definitely things that keep this film at number 10, most notable the hilariously awful performance of Hugo Weaving and a rushed story-line, (since, you know, we had to get back to the war sequences) it is still an excellent movie, and if you're into WWII films this is definitely one that should not be missed.
This movie earns a spot on this list because it is quietly beautiful. The whole film is incredibly intimate and features two wonderful performances, one from Joel Edgerton and the other from the quiet Ruth Negga. While that's pretty much all this film is, I loved it as much as I did because....well because that's all it needed to be. The film slowly builds over the course of its runtime, and it does so in a way that you don't really realize that it's building. Then, suddenly, they win their case, and Negga's simple look just ruined me. That look alone is enough to warrant this film a place in my top 10. While there were some imperfections with this film, it's a hard one not to love, and is definitely worthy of your time if you like films about the silent heroes of the Civil Rights movement!
8) Hidden Figures
I really can't believe this film only made number 8 on the list. I absolutely loved this movie! It featured a strong ensemble cast, a great score from titans Hans Zimmer and Pharrell, and an amazing script. Ah! I can't get over Taraji P. Henson. She's so good in this film! And Janelle Monáe! And Octavia Spencer! And let's not forget Glen Powell is charismatic as heck as John Glenn! AH. While you are acutely aware that this film is plucking on your heart strings, I know at least I didn't care about that at all. It's just a fun, fun film. Easy to watch, easy to be inspired by it, and easy to adore it. The only thing really keeping it from being higher on this list is the standard execution of all the technical departments. They didn't need to be anything better than standard to make this one of the funnest movies of 2016, but those aspects do need to have a part to play in a film to be higher on this list. Either way, Hidden Figures is a great film that you will have a blast watching and dancing along to.
7) Love & Friendship
I guess you could say that it's time for a WILD CARD. YEEEEHAW. Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this film deserved a spot on this list. It's very rare for you to see a comedy turn into such a gut-wrenching drama on a dime, but that's exactly what happens here. One second I was laughing and having a good time, but then the next it was like OH CRAP I feel emotions! Where did those come from? Additionally this film honors it's period extremely well, with some awesome costumes, hairstyling, and a great set design. Finally, to top it all off, you have a wonderful performance from Kate Beckinsale that just narrowly missed my top 10 this year. Like it's right behind Natalie Portman's high-profile performance from Jackie kind of narrowly missed. Beckinsale carries this film, and I hope giving it a deserving place in my top 10 makes up for her not making my best performances of the year. If you like films set in Early Modern Britain, or comedies that have an emotional punch at the end, put Love & Friendship at the top of your list.
6) Hell Or High Water
There's a lot of good things happening in Hell or High Water. It's really hard to pinpoint a specific reason why it deserves a spot in the top 10, other than the fact that it's just an overall masterfully executed film. Director David Mackenzie did a terrific job here, and I'd say his achievement starts with the characters. All the main characters here are written beautifully and have terrific chemistry with each other. Despite the fact that he's devastatingly charismatic, Chris Pine manages to ground himself, and his counterpart Ben Foster is even better. On the flipside you have wonderful chemistry and a pretty unique storyline between Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham. But I think what really does it for me are the details. The set design, costumes, and cinematography all come together here to create a nitty, gritty, film. I mean, look at that picture! Look at the dirt on Pine's jeans. Who thought to put dirt on Chris Pine's jeans? Look at how rusted out those chairs are! That's what makes Hell or High Water as great as it was. Every detail was adhered to, and I really respect this film crew for taking the time to get everything right. If you like films about Texas, or a different way of looking at the 2008 financial crisis, check this one out.
So my top 5 films this year are in a world of their own. Obviously my number one towers above all of them, but these five films really were in a whole nother stratosphere. Kicking off the top 5 is Lion. A film that made me cry more than any other film in 2016, Lion features an emotionally devastating story, great performances from Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, and of course Nicole Kidman, who put in my second-best performance of 2016 in this film. I think one of the big reasons I love this film is because it doesn't hammer you over the head to feel, well, feelings. This film gets you with looks. Kidman's entire performance was second on my list primarily because of her eyes, and Sunny Pawar (Young Saroo) is asked to portray his feelings with just his face. On top of all this, you have a great score from composer Dustin O'Halloran, despite the similarity of its main theme to Ramin Djawadi's "Light of the Seven." I also really liked the mashup of Bollywood and Hollywood. You have actors and actresses that are on top of the world in Bollywood showing up here for some super minor roles, just because they wanted to be apart of this film and let the western audience see what they're capable of. All of this combines to make an awesome film, and given how emotional I got watching it, it's more than deserving of a top 5 spot. If you need a good cry, the buck stops at Lion.
4) 20th Century Women
I. Love. This. Film. I watched this film the day the orange menace was inaugurated, and it was the pick-me-up I needed then and there. It features three great performances from three wonderful women, (Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, and Elle Fanning) and it was (and still is) a beautiful remind of the power, strength, and influence women have in our lives. It features my second-favorite score of the year, and also has a STRONG soundtrack of musical selections outside just the score. Warner Brothers could really learn something from A24 when it comes to picking what songs should be in your film. Just saying. But I just absolutely adore this film. These women have so much depth to them, and they each have compelling story arcs. The rest of the film is beautiful in its simplicity, but you could still tell that every aspect of the set, costumes, and makeup were meticulously chosen. I'm really quite sad that this film didn't receive any more Oscar nominations than it did, because it did a better job in the technical departments than most films did in 2016. The film also has some great cinematography, even though I wasn't the biggest fan of the editing. That, and some of the more dubious voice-overs were the only things that kept this film from getting a perfect score. However, there's no doubt that this was the strongest 9 I handed out all year. It also happens to be, in my opinion, the best film A24 put out this year. That's saying something in a year of extremely strong films for the new king of Hollywood. If you're looking for the best pick-me-up film of 2016, check out 20th Century Women.
So, before we get into my top 3 favorite films, let's fly through a couple of genres and talk about what I felt were the best films to come out of each of them in 2016!
The Best Comedy Was.....
2016 was another bad year for comedy. However, we did get Central Intelligence, so it wasn't a total loss. One sentence is all you should need to be excited to see Central Intelligence: Dwayne Johnson wears a fanny pack. Do I really need to say anything more? I mean, don't get me wrong: Kevin Hart is one of the funniest people alive. And he's hilarious here. However, he ain't got nothin' on Dwayne. The Rock steals the show in this film, as he plays a character that actually struggles to be charismatic. And the entire time the film is almost winking at you because it's Dwayne Johnson! He walks into a room and his charisma has already been there for about 20 minutes. But he does things in this film, like wear a fanny pack, that makes his character absolutely hilarious, and of course he's a badass secret agent so he's also awesome. On top of that, there's actually an engaging story here! It's not just lightly edited improv. Amy Ryan is mysterious as the CIA agent and there's a cameo towards the end of the film that's out of this world. If you like to laugh, move this one to the top of your list.
The Best Summer Blockbuster Was....
Ok so 2016 was a terrible year for the summer blockbuster. There were really only two that made any sort of splash for me: The Purge (which you saw earlier) and Ghostbusters. I know a lot of people hated this film, but I think they hated it for the wrong reasons. They saw the terrible marketing campaign that proceeded it, and had their minds already made up about the film before they even saw it. But if you did try and see it with open eyes, you would've found yourself having a great time. I know the room I was in had a blast watching this film. Is it particularly meaningful? No. Do I wish they had actually incorporated the previous two Ghostbusters films rather than just try and pass this off as a new IP? Yes. But, all that aside, I laughed constantly. Even more than Central Intelligence. These two could've been swapped and no one would've blinked, but I always thought of Ghostbusters as more of a summer blockbuster than a comedy, so that's why it's here and Central Intelligence is in the comedy slot. But I laughed, had fun with the intentionally cheesy special effects, and even loved Chris Hemsworth. He had a performance very similar to The Rock's in Central Intelligence, and both of them were quite hilarious. Not to mention the four leads, all of which are fantastic. Heck Kate McKinnon won my (coveted, obviously) Best Actress of the Year award in part because of this film. I've watched it a couple times since it came out and I'm still having fun. Ultimately, that's what a summer blockbuster is about, right? You don't go into those films expecting some profound message or anything. You go in to find some A/C, turn the brain off, eat some popcorn, and have a good time. And if you went into Ghostbusters without any expectations, that's exactly what would've happened.
The Best Action Flick Outside the Top 10 Was....
So you knooooow it was a bad year for action flicks when the film I'm saying is the best of the year received a 5/10 on my blog. Yup. A FIVE. But ultimately I handed this award to Hardcore Henry because at least it tried to do something different. It may not have done this different thing in a super-effective manner, but the idea of a first-person action film shot entirely on GoPros is pretty cool. Not gonna lie. Hopefully in a few years we'll get a film that executes that idea better, but hey. This attempt is still better than any other crap we got out of this genre this year. (Outside of Hacksaw Ridge, obviously) Additionally, I did enjoy Sharlto Copley just being absolutely nuts in this movie. I mean he plays like 50 different characters, and is screen-hogging to no end, so that was pretty awesome. Oh! And Haley Bennett was good! And if you want guns and action sequences that's pretty much all this film is because the story is garbage. But, hey. In a year of crap action films, at least this one dared to be different, and I can respect that.
The Best Sci-Fi film Outside the top 10 was....
2016 was a pretty good year for the sci-fi genre, especially since some of the highest grossing films of the year were sci-fi films, so many may disagree with me when I call Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the sci-fi film of 2016 outside my top 10. But I did absolutely adore this film. It actually just narrowly missed being in the top 10 itself, which I'd say is a pretty strong statement. Heck if this list had been a top 15 it would've definitely found a place. But Fantastic Beasts, to me, recaptured the magic of one of my favorite series in Harry Potter. Sure there were problems, most notably the blatant and shameless sequel-baiting with Johnny Depp, but Eddie Redmayne to me was perfect for the role of Newt and Katherine Waterston showed off her diversity with her performance here. She's actually becoming one of the best character actresses in the business right now. Additionally, I just really enjoyed this premise. The lore as a whole here is really what did it for me. We got more world-building here than we did in any of the Harry Potter films, and this world-building was really quite cool. Additionally, this film had some of the best visual effects of 2016. (why it wasn't nominated for an Oscar in this category is beyond me. Deepwater Horizon.....c'mon....) So while many will probably pick Captain America: Civil War or Star Wars: Rogue One as their favorite sci-fi films of the year, I'm going with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Because we can all use a little more magic in our lives.
The Best Horror Film Was.....
My two big regrets from 2016 was not delivering reviews of 10 Cloverfield Lane (which I started, but never finished) and The Witch. Both of these films I loved, but life just got too busy at those times for me to deliver reviews when the stories were fresh in my mind. Someday I'll rewatch them and maybe then I'll finally write reviews of both of them. However, I will take a moment to highlight A24's The Witch, because it was ultimately the best horror film I saw in 2016. It tackled horror the way I want it to be tackled: with resonating scares versus simple jump scares. I mean I still get nightmares about that freaking goat, man. On top of that you have great dialogue from all these characters and a career-defining performance from the young Anya Taylor-Joy. Put all of this together on top of some absolutely haunting scares, and you have the best horror film of 2016. It's not It Follows levels of scary, but hey.... a masterful horror film only comes around once every couple of years, so I'm not too sad about that.
The Best Superhero Movie Was....
This one was easy. If there was any film that truly turned the powerhouse that is the superhero genre on its side more in 2016, it was Deadpool. The pet project years in the making from Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool finally showed the big studios that they could make an "R" rated superhero movie and sell loads of tickets. This concept is already being embraced by Fox (with Logan earning another hard "R" rating) and the DC cinematic universe, and I think sooner or later Marvel will throw out an "R" rated superhero movie as well. Maybe Black Panther? We'll see. It's definitely coming. But hey, on top of pushing the boundaries of the genre, Deadpool was also really, really funny. If it wasn't for the fact that I knew it was gonna find a place here it would've made a strong case for Best Comedy of the Year as well. And it films its action sequences right, which nowhere near enough movies managed to do in 2016. Put all of this together and sprinkle on some fun editing and fourth-wall-breaking, and you have the clear and obvious choice for Best Superhero Movie of 2016.
The Best Animated Film I Saw Was....
So I really didn't see many animated films in 2016. That's my buddy Peter Kosanovich's department. But of the ones that I did see, Finding Dory was my favorite. I think this definitely can be contributed to my love of the original film and Pixar successfully taping into that nostalgia factor, but I think it also has to do with some well-written characters from not just Dory herself but also the huge supporting cast of characters that help her along her journey. And of course, in true Pixar fashion, you get a good cry in before the end. It's a great film that's fun for the entire family, and it was certainly the best animated film I saw in 2016.
The Best Sequel We Weren't Expecting to Be Good Was.....
YES. I FINALLY get to talk about Ouija: Origin of Evil! The original Ouija from 2014 was, well, terrible. It was just another crappy horror film with nothing but lazy pop scares, so when they announced a sequel, everyone and their mother's was just like, "Oh boy. Not again." But holy CRAP did they turn this franchise around with the second installment, Ouija: Origin of Evil flew to the other side of the spectrum and was really the best horror film of 2016. Yes I took a cop-out by putting it here, but given the fact that the expectations were SO low, it was easily deserving of this spot as well. I mean, this is a film made by Hasbro Studios, for crying out loud! Champions of such classics as My Little Pony and Battleship. It's based off a freaking board game, for crying out loud! How can it be good? Well, it's not just good.... it's great. It's great because it focuses on being creepy versus trying to get a cheap pop scare in. Sequences like "Do you know what it feels like to be strangled?" which made my favorite movie moments of 2016, resonate with you, and are all told in ways that are trying to be innovative in the genre. There's good bits with the lighting, with the editing, and with the cinematography here that all add to the scares and the overall experience. Additionally, Lulu Wilson and Annalise Basso are excellent in this film and really hold everything together. Just.....man. If you're looking for something to scare the crap out of you from 2016, look no further than Ouija: Origin of Evil. I know a lot of people said "Hard pass," to this one because after all how could a sequel to the TERRIBLE Ouija be good, but trust me. It's not just good. It's fantastic. Move it to the top of your list with The Witch if you're into horror films.
The Best Film No One Saw Was....
Speaking of films no one saw, remember when I was really disappointed when The Nice Guys didn't reach nearly the level of publicity that it deserved and has failed to receive much recognition since? I mean, not a single nomination from the Academy. Really? Heck, outside of La La Land this film had, in my opinion, the best set design of 2016, and it didn't even get a nomination for it. This set has Wes Anderson-levels of attention to detail, and it was simply incredible to watch on screen. This film, to me, puts director Shane Black in the same realm as a Paul Thomas Anderson or a David O. Russell, and yet no one even blinked an eye at it. It featured great performances from Ryan Gosling and even Russell Crowe, and both of them were nearly outplayed by child-star Angourie Rice. It would've found itself in my top 10 if I didn't already know that I was going to call it "The Best Film No One Saw" for 2016. Sure, it made $50 million+, but for all that it didn't gain nearly the amount of traction it deserved. I guess Shane Black is just going to have to direct another great film to finally be held in the same regard as some of the greats, but I think when he inevitably does people will finally look back at The Nice Guys as his big breakout film. He had one hit in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang back in 2005, but he finally showed that he could follow it up with 2016's The Nice Guys.
Alright, so we're done with the genres and now it's time to hit my top 3 best films of the year! Nothing but 10s from here on out, too, so you know the competition is fierce!
Kicking off the top 3 is Arrival. The best sci-fi film since Ex Machina, Arrival features an engaging and actually realistic storyline for how the human race would respond to the idea of the discovery of alien life, and I thought its story was executed brilliantly. In the middle of all of it is Amy Adams, who put in a performance that landed in my top 10 this year and should've netted her an Oscar nomination. This film also features some of the best sound design of the year, from both an editing and mixing standpoint, as the crew had to create an alien language using only sounds for Adams to decipher and did so beautifully. I also really enjoyed the global tension this film had. Too many sci-fi films go for an intimate atmosphere or fall flat on its face when they address their issue on a global scale, but not here. Not with Arrival. This global tension adds to the story and makes for one of the best final acts in cinema in all of 2016 as the global politics come to a head. This film also had a unique score from Johann Johansson, and also great, Oscar-worthy editing from Joe Walker. (Were it not for La La Land) Finally, there's a twist at the end of this film that was certainly the "best twist" of 2016. All of these elements come together for a perfect film with perfect execution, and the only thing that prevented it from being higher on the list was that it wasn't as perfect as the next two. However, whether you are a fan of sci-fi or not, this one is more than worthy of your time.
Alright. So this entire time I've been struggling to figure out how I would address these final two films, because I know a lot of people are complaining about La La Land and its inevitable sweep at the Oscars beating out Moonlight in every category where the two are going head to head in. It really is a damn shame that these two films came out in the same year as one another, because any other year Moonlight would be the clear and obvious winner of every Oscar imaginable. This movie is a career-defining film for director Barry Jenkins, and it features career-defining performances from the soon-to-be Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and the equally fantastic, but sadly not soon-to-be Oscar winner (just nominated) Naomie Harris. Both of these performances received recognition by me in my Third Annual Awesome Actor Awards. It also features the best story of 2016 hands-down, and if La La Land and Moonlight were going head-to-head in that category you better believe I'd be expecting Moonlight to win. This story is bold in its novelty as it tells the story of Chiron across three different actors. I really respect the challenge that brings to the director-each of these actors has to study each other and be able to play off each other so that the transition between them is flawless- and Barry Jenkins makes this look easy. This film also features the second-best cinematography of the year as a whole but does feature my single favorite moment for the cinematographer in 2016 at the very end of the film. The final exchange between Chiron and Kevin in the last moments of the film is shot better than anything else I saw all year, and it elicited an emotional response from yours truly simply because of the message the camera conveyed. Not to mention it had my third-favorite score of the year, this one from Nicholas Britell that did feature a wonderful theme for Chiron that changed keys each time we stepped into a new part of his life. This film will be studied at a molecular level for years to come, and will likely be studied and dissected far more than La La Land ever will. But more on that in a minute. Moonlight is a perfect film and is worthy of everyone's time. If it wasn't for La La Land, it would easily be my favorite movie of 2016.
1) La La Land
However La La Land happened, and so that hope for Moonlight is not the case. Never did a film take me through a roller coaster of emotion in 2016 like La La Land did. I hit every emotion throughout the film, culminating with an ugly cry courtesy of the single best moment of 2016 in the final moments. I think that, while this film isn't necessarily trying to make a grand statement about any specific issue, it's an inspiring film. It's not just dedicated to those trying to "make it" in Hollywood, it's dedicated to those pursuing a dream, whatever it may be. It may not feature the best story of 2016, but it does feature the best cinematography, editing, set design, costume design, lighting, musical score, and the performance of the year from Emma Stone. It's story was my second-favorite story of the year, and it also would land in my top 3 for sound design too. No other film is executed this brilliantly in every technical department, and it all falls into place thanks to director Damien Chazelle. He's already shown me that he can make a masterful film from a technical side with Whiplash, and in this film he's even better.
One of the smaller moments of this film is actually a really good example of why this is my top film of 2016. During the "Summer Montage" sequence, all of these technical departments come together to film a thrilling and brief 2-minute sequence. You have Gosling and Stone showcasing some wonderful choreography behind some great editing early on, and as the sequence goes on you have great lighting behind Gosling in a jazz club as he plays piano and Emma Stone dances off to the side. Not to mention there are some great pans between the two of them as Gosling gets a piano solo for a measure then the rest of the band comes in and we pan to Stone dancing just to pan back to Gosling getting another piano solo for a measure just to pan back to Stone dancing as the rest of the band plays just to do it all again! All behind a wonderful sequence from composer and soon-to-be Oscar winner Justin Hurwitz. And that little sequence would barely even crack the top 10 for best moments of this film. Then you add in incredible and masterfully choreographed and shot dance sequences during "Another Day in Sun," "Planetarium," "Someone in the Crowd," "A Lovely Night," and of course the exhilarating "Epilogue" sequence that combine every technical aspect of filmmaking to create the best moments in cinema in 2016. And I haven't even mentioned the "Audition" sequence which is more than enough to net Emma Stone an Oscar. And I STILL don't know how they pulled off the opening oner that is "Another Day in Sun." That 4-minute single take sequence shot on location on one of the most popular overpasses in LA is simply incredible, and the film just gets better after that.
While it may not feature a meaningful political statement on anything, it will still inevitably inspire thousands, if not millions of people to follow their dreams. So you can disagree with me all you want and say Moonlight is the best film of 2016, and that's fine. If you judge a film simply by the strength of its story, I'll agree with you. But here at Enter the Movies I do my best to respect every aspect of filmmaking, and if you look at these two films from these lens, it's pretty hard for Moonlight, or any other film in 2016 for that matter, to compete with La La Land. I said it when I first reviewed it and I will say it again: La La Land is the best film I have ever reviewed on Enter the Movies, and it is more than deserving of as many Oscars as the Academy can give it. La La Land is a perfect film and can be enjoyed by anyone who breathes air.
Well, there you have it: my best films of 2016! Thank you for joining me once more through another magical year here at Enter the Movies. I have had an absolute blast watching so many films in 2016, and I hope 2017 is even better. So, here's to the fools who dream, and here's to a wonderful 2017 for cinema! Thanks so much for reading, everyone. I love all of you! DEUCES!
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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNDc0NDQ2OWYtZDg4NS00ZWVjLTk3MGEtOTA0Y2Q0OGE1YmEwL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjk3NTUyOTc@._V1_.jpg (La La Land)
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