As with any year, I always want to end it with my 2017 Awards, which let's be honest, are way better than the Oscars & Grammys! So read on if you like that stuff, otherwise see you on the next blog... maybe. :-p
I saw 60 films last year, down from 104 the year before, something to do with a baby in the picture than being more discerning. It's fair to say, I did not see what I think, was one truly great film, which in itself is disappointing. A few very good ones, however, but none that what I would call great, though not for lack of trying. That said, here's my Top 10 films of 2017!
Top 10 Movies
#1: Wonder Woman
Not perfect by any measure but what this film did more than any other, was not only break down stereotypes that female led movies don't work in Hollywood, but it also empowered women and potentially created a movement. Maybe I got caught up in all that, seeing women feel empowered to step out from behind the shadows and start calling out men. It was invigorating to watch and led me to call 2017, the Year of the Woman! Who better to lead the charge, than a kickarse Amazonian woman wanting nothing but a better world for all. As a superhero movie, second only to the original Superman. Enough said.
Had this contained more of an emotional character connection, this film would have been truly great. Those dogfight scenes were some of the greatest cinema to come out of last year, especially on an Imax screen. Epic war movie and courageous story that almost had everything you could want in a film (except emotion).
#3: The Shape of Water
The most beautiful film I saw last year. Just exquisite to watch on every level. A new twist on an old love story. A shoe-in for Best Picture at this year's Oscars. ;)
#4: Trainspotting 2
Did not expect a film 20 years apart to pack such a resonant, emotional punch. A trip down memory lane, sure, but told in a way befitting the original. This one surprised me.
#5: I, Tonya
The sharpest dialogue. The best writing. And a story where by the end, you felt genuinely sorry for the way Tonya Harding was treated. That's some powerful storytelling.
#6: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Quirky, dark, and original. Three of my fave qualities in any film. Frances McDormand was a powerhouse in this. Watch her claim an Oscar for Best Actress, while Sam Rockwell will also score for Best Supporting Actor. Tells you everything you need to know about this film.
#7: American Made
Tom Cruise made this role his own. Easily one of his best performances in donkey's years and a really great, enjoyable, and fun film from start to end.
#8: The Glass Castle
This somewhat slow burn of a film, left a lasting impression. Woody Harrelson was phenonemal as the drunk, abusive father, while the true story it was based on as a movie, will stay with you long after it's played out.
#9: Blade Runner 2049
With the greatest cinematographer in the world today (Roger Deakins), and arguably the hottest director in town currently (Denis Villeneuve), this had all the hallmarks to be something special. It fell short of the huge expectations, however, it was still a thrill to behold.
#10: Molly’s Game
The final film I saw of the year and the one of the sharpest written (typical Aaron Sorkin). Always a sucker for a poker movie but this goes beyond a home game.
#11: Only The Brave
A powerful, emotional tour de force of a film. Phenomenal acting (Josh Brolin gets better with age), and a story that’s bound to hit you harder than the freight train of a fire these brave men (and their women) confront. Highly recommend!
While I don't get to listen to anywhere near as much music as I once did (oh how I pine for those heady days), great music is never far away and always has a way of finding you.
'A Deeper Understanding' by The War On Drugs
This band goes from strength to strength, delivering some of the most poignant tunes you'll ever feast your ears on. They also know how to deliver an epic song, as Thinking Of A Place attests. An 11 minute piece of musical wonder.
Top 5 Singles
#1: 'My Love' by Until The Ribbon Breaks
Powerful, emotive tune that's been on constant repeat ever since I first heard it. Mesmerising and sublime. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUKl7xxRUZI)
#2: 'Break Apart' by Bonobo
One of the finest, most exquisite and haunting songs you'll ever hear. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhhkk69CxXc)
#3: ‘Do You Still Love Me’ by Ryan Adams
Sounds like the ‘80s, tastes like heartbreak, yet feels like right now. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzZ7HvSnDQo)
#4: ‘Loveless’ by Lo Moon
A lilting, grandiose, melodic single that soars and falls and then rises again. Just beautiful. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnXkMNyc794)
#5: 'Safari Song' by Greta Van Fleet
It's like Zeppelin never left us. Rock on! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odgEz8S6LZI)
Normally I'd add books, but given I had much less time than usual to read last year, I wasn't able to create a Top 5 books (fiction or non-fiction) but want to give a shout out to the one book that I thoroughly enjoyed, 'Blessed Are The Weird' by Jacob Norby. Great non-fiction read. Hunt it down or seek it out. It's for all types of creatives, and is a powerful reminder why we're on the course we're on.
See you next blog... or those who tune in just for this, same time next year!