But for now, strap in and get prepared to agree, disagree and deeply question my tastes, as we look back on 2017 at the cinemas.
- Assassins Creed - Not quite as terrible as others have made it out to be (read: Darren), but it's nothing outstanding: Painful gaps between decent actions scenes with a truly horrible ending.
- Rings - The token bad horror movie released early in the year for reasons of poor quality. Dull, plodding and it commits the cardinal sin for horror movies; it doesn't even remotely scare.
- Split - Why do people like this movie? Everything outside of James McAvoy is horrible and even then I got tired of the over the top acting. Anyone celebrating the universe building ending is a fucking moron.
- Hidden Figures - An average genre movie that clawed it's way to Oscar nomination by pandering to, trivialising and profiting from it's majority female audience. Out of context, a by-the-numbers underdog story; in context, an oversimplified and untruthful betrayal of the inspirational women it depicts.
The Worst Movie of 2017 - Death Note
I've said it before, Death Note was supposed to be the easiest anime to adapt. The thing that should have presented the biggest challenge, Ryuk, they actually did really well. Amazingly, it's the bits that are seemingly easy to set up; a high school perfectionist who finds and uses a supernatural notebook to cleanse the earth in his image, are the bits that were completely screwed up. This movies existence shall forever have a single purpose: To drive people toward the anime once you've been disappointed by the movie.
10 - Power Rangers
Reasons - In any other context, Power Rangers wouldn;t be making anyone's top ten list, let alone both mine and Darrens. However, now that 80's nostalgia is beginning to wain, 90's nostalgia is prime to take it's place, and none better than Power Rangers thus far. Plkeasingly, the movie sticks to the schlock and cheese that made the original series so beloved, as well as delivering an ultimately smart and fresh modern take on what it means to be a teen outcast and how a modern Sentai team comes together and bonds. That, and they consistently make series callbacks and oh my god I loved Power Rangers back in the day you guys I am so amazingly weak willed this movie could have been launching ebola needles directly into my eyes and I still would have been saying mostly favourable things about it.
Best Bit - Anything with RJ Cyler's Billy is pretty outstanding as the first superhero in film on the spectrum, however few things compare to the reason that Power Rangers made the list: "Go Go Power Rangers" and the revival of the original theme. Pure, unadulterated, nostalgia-boner inducing crack.
9 - The Disaster Artist
Reasons - The Franco brothers delivered on their promise to make a movie that would make us see the enigmatic Tommy Wisaeu in a new light. Whilst this movie does move through the motions of all the memery you expect (You're tearing me apart, oh hai mark, breast cancer, Spoons, etc.), it truly shines in moments where it explores the mystery behind the production of The Room. Amazingly, it's the darker moments when the creative team do not shy away from showing how Wiseau, who is a bit of a mythological figure at this point, was actually a complete scumbag to almost everyone he knows in an attempt to realise his dream. James Franco fully takes you a range of audience emotions through his portrayal, giving you time to love, hate, pity, ridicule, idolise and empathise with Wiseau, in a performance that (I can't believe I'm saying this) it's so bad it's good and deserves an Oscar nod.
Best Bit - The final third of the movie that contains the premiere of The Room and any time the original movie is being replicated is far more pleasing to me than it should be. There's also a post credits scene that was eerily engrossing and I can't truly explain my feelings about THAT cameo.
8 - John Wick: Chapter 2
Reasons - The original John Wick was the total embodiment of lightning in a bottle, so it wasn't a huge surprise that it's sequel is not as good as the original. However, everything that was promised to use by the filmmakers, and Keanu himself as he further trained his gun-fu skills, was realised in this outing. It is bigger, flashier, more complex, bloodier, it has a deepening of it's lore and world. It does suffer with a rocky ending that baits for a third and hopefully final chapter, but everything before that point is extremely violent fun. And yes, the dog lives!
Best Bit - Hard to pick, but the standouts are the incognito shootout in the train station and the embodiment of "He did it, the absolute madman" that is the deadly combination of John Wick and pencils.
7 - Wonder Woman / IT
Reasons - Another year, another cop-out! Two movies I completely couldn't separate for quality this year came from completely unexpected corners of the movie world. A good DC movie? A good modern Stephen King movie?! Both of these things are apparently more likely than you;d think. Wonder Woman is one of the best superhero origin movies of modern years, finally putting to be the fears of most movie pundits; yes, a woman can front a superhero movie, of course she can, stop being a fucking idiot. It falls down with a less than stellar ending, but that seems to be a trend this year that I can honestly forgive considering the quality of the rest of the movie.
On the other side of the fence, IT was a breath of fresh air that was completely unexpected from a horror reboot movie. One of the best young casts in years, plus the excellent Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise lead this movie away from campy horror territory and deliver a beautifully realise 80-chic buddy movie, where the buddies go up against and honest-to-god scary monster that genuinely got the jumps out of me. I wouldn't say it's utterly terrifying, but there's a lot to be said about the quality of the movie, especially in the performance and aesthetic departments. Some of the stories that the movie chooses to tackle as well... oh boy, they could have ended up so tasteless and yet they're done so convincingly and genuinely grip you throughout. A class goddamn act from a horror movie. Nobody could have seen this coming.
Best Bit - A two way tie between Wonder Woman cannonball-ing a church and the garage scene where Pennywise turns the scares up to 11.
6 - Thor: Ragnarok
Reasons - This really could have gone either way. I'm a big fan of Taikia Waititi's work thus far, but even I was concerned as to how his style of comedy was going to mix with the MCU's most stoic hero thus far. The answer, apparently, was really well! Whilst the cast is rather large, nobody feels especially wasted (Save maybe for Karl Urban, who always deserves better in no matter what he is in, #MakeDredd2) and the comedic potential of almost every character is bought out in droves. On top of that, it's a beautiful looking movie. The run down, trashy futuristic look for Sakarr is a wonderful aesthetic choice and there are some sequences that honestly look more like Renaissance paintings than they do stills from a superhero movie. Beautiful and funny in equal droves, it really makes you wonder what we were missing out on from all of Thor's previous appearances. What could we have seen? Why didn't we get something as good as this?!
Best Bit - Korg. Korg is all, Korg is best.
5 - Logan Lucky
Reasons - I'm as surprised as you are. Stephen Soderbergs "Oceans 11 but for rednecks" amazingly took that concept and made a humbling, smart and thoroughly entertaining movie that set out to do one thing really, really well: make a blue collar heist movie. And it excels in it;s mission, delivering a bunch of things I didn't expect at all: a justification for Channing Tatum as a leading man, Adam Drivers best performance of the year, Daniel Craig is a great character actor now, I actually felt something when hearing 'Take Me Home, Country Road', smart rednecks and smart redneck humour, the best prison riot (sort of) put to film and yet another child performance that I actually liked. It's a movie full of surprises, full of laughs, but mostly full of character. It's the complete package and stands with IT as this years biggest surprise for me.
Best Bit - Is it cheating to say the whole thing? It is? Fine... I guess the beauty pageant scene is great. But the best bit is still the way that Adam Driver says 'cauliflower'.
4 - Logan
Reasons - As X-Men movies go, this is just about the most perfect story about Wolverine we have ever got. Hugh Jackman's last outing as Logan is easily his best performance yet and truly captured the model of mutants oppression unlike any of the previous X-Films before it. Patrick Stewart gives a frighteningly real performances as an Alzheimer's addled Charles Xavier that comes close to the most Intense and oddly Shakespearean of any his movie outings. Add this to a movie that has a thick neo-western style with arguably the best child acting we've seen in a year that had a ton of it from Daphne Keen as Laura/X23, a convincingly detestable villain in Boyd Holbrook's Donald Pierce and one of the best ending sequences of the comic book genre, and you have a movie that deserves any accolade that's coming it's way.
Best Bit - The most perfect ending, AND I MEAN ENDING WITH A GODDAMN CAPITAL E, in any superhero movie and possibly any movie period. The most fitting send off for Hugh Jackman imaginable.
3 - Spider-Man: Homecoming
Reasons - Can we just say it? Can we say this is better than Spider-Man 2 now? Because whilst nostalgia is a strong and ever-present mistress, we have to admit that we finally have a Spider-Man movie that everyone can be proud of. Tom Holland is the perfect Peter Parker and Spider-Man in equal measures, Michael Keaton's Vulture is a humbling and human villain that had a tragic streak that gives Alfred Molina a run for his money, and the supporting cast including Ned and Michelle round out the near perfect cast for a high school movie with proper villain menace in it. The effortlessness in which it all goes to in order to make Spider-Man feel like a huge, intergral part to the MCU is a real spectacle. It's funny, it's exciting, it captures the duality of young adulthood perfectly and it proves that the Marvel machine has serious legs for the years to come in this latest and hopefully final reboot.
Best Bit - There's something beautiful about the part where Vulture realises that Spider-Man is dating his daughter, I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the undertones of menace and fear, maybe it's the excellent cinematography when the penny finally drops, but in an action movie this good, it was the emotional beat that hit me the hardest.
2 - La La Land
Reasons - This Oscars darling missed out on the top spot by an absolute hair. And let me be clear, TECHNICALLY this is the best move released this year. As a movie, it's almost perfect: beautiful colour drenched photography, a catchy and iconic musical soundtrack, stunning imagery from promotional and release material, the two best leads currently working in Hollywood, a bittersweet fairytale story and genuine passion for creativity and the struggle that comes with being a creative. It's honestly flooring how quickly and strongly this movie captured me and stayed in the front of my mind for 12 full months almost uncontested. But inevitability, it lost out to something I think we all saw coming...
Best Bit - The scene on Mt Hollywood Drive where the number 'A Lovely Night' takes place. It's musical perfection. From the artificial moonlight to the colour pallette of the scene, how it contrasts nicely with the costume choice, the choreography is great, the number is the best of the movie... everything here is instantly iconic. Technically speaking, it's the best scene in cinema this year.
1 - Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2
Reasons - This was a hard won battle for my favourite comic book team of all time. In a year of strong comic book movies and La La Land cracking my all time top 20, it's no less a miracle that the Guardians came and took the top spot. It's a brilliantly funny and somehow incredibly emotional movie, featuring one of the best stories and villains in an MCU movie, both of which revolve around the excellent Kurt Russell's turn as Ego The Living Planet. Everything that was slightly off in the original movie has been fixed here. The side characters are more involved and interesting, the villain is important and memorable, the team dynamic is stretched into ways that haven't been explore yet and the soundtrack, whilst admittedly a little weaker, is far better fitting to the plot of the movie and moreso feels like a character than it did in the previous movie. But what made it rise into first place?
No word of a lie or exaggeration here, GOTGVol2 literally changed my life. Whilst La La Land had the advantage of technical depth, true star power, Hollywood kitsch and a creative resonance with wannabe filmmakers, Guardians 2 had something that all movies this year have failed to have: direct impact on my life. After deciding I wanted to cosplay as Star Lord, I lost a shitload of weight, rethought my everyday style, grew facial hair and started taking pride in my appearance. This film physically changed me. Is it wrong to give a movie the top spot because of superficial lifestyle change decisions? Maybe. But in my 25 years it's the first movie to ever accomplish this level of impact upon me, and I intend to celebrate that. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2: The most influential movie of my life
Best Bit - Yondu, Rocket, Groot and the song 'Come A Little Bit Closer'. Not the best characters of the movie, not the best plot thread of the movie, not even the best song of the movie. But, to fully demonstrate how amazingly consistent and high quality the movie is, this scene with Yondu's famous psychic arrow is hands down the best bit of the year.