As obscure as the source of the title for this movie is, it’s also a major spoiler for the largely inexplicable events that happen in the second half, because I expect that some people would approach the movie by Googling the meaning of it. In that respect, it’s too clever for its own good. I waited until after the movie ended to do it, and you should too.
I reviewed 87 movies in 2017, five less than my first full year writing this blog, but between selling and buying homes, and moving late in the year, the second half of 2017 was thin on movie watching.
Not all of the movies I reviewed were released in 2017, so that’s my one caveat for this list. My rating system remained at 0 to 5, in 0.5 increments, which still seems like I should switch it to a 0 – 10 in single digit increments, but we’ll see.
When we saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 28 of this year, that day was notable for three reasons – my brother’s birthday, my wedding anniversary, and 40 years to the day I went to see the first movie in the franchise. 40 years – that’s almost half a century. Amazing. This was back in the day when the UK would get a movie literally months after it’s initial US release. Over the Christmas period, and a little after, it was almost a competition to see how many times you could see it more than your friends. I don’t recall if I beat anyone, but I went to see that movie 13 times in maybe a three week period, staying in the cinema to watch it two or three times in a row. That won’t be happening with the latest in the franchise.
I’m not a fan of Will Smith, and yeah, it’s partly because of his role as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but mostly because he starred in two cinematic travesties that, inexplicably, have a fan base: I, Robot, and I Am Legend. In both cases, these movies were adaptations of capital L Legendary works of genre fiction and were spectacularly awful in their execution. I was never a huge fan of Asimov’s ponderous prose, but Richard Matheson’s seminal vampire novel remains a great favourite of mine. Fresh Prince and the Zombie Vampires was the worst of the three adaptations – maybe someone will eventually do it right.
Hey, I’m no movie snob. I love some independent movies, and I favour character-driven stories over soulless plot-driven crap, but I’m not THAT guy at the party who only talks about that Chechnian 30 minute short about life on a pig farm as if it was the greatest piece of cinema in history. Despite my feeling that both Captain Fantastic and A Ghost Story are going to chart really high on my 2017 Best Of list, I remain a huge fan of populist movies. Pitch Perfect 3 is not one of them.
As someone who used to be a huge Stephen King fan, and is currently going through a kind of King renaissance thanks to Audible, I’m finding both why I liked King so much in my teens, and why I didn’t as I grew older: in terms of premise and plot I like King just fine, but when it comes to characters and exposition, his prose gets drowned, submerged as if wearing concrete shoes. 1922, a Netflix-released adaptation of the story in King’s Full Dark, No Stars collection feels pretty similar, but this time it’s the pace at which the story unfolds.
The name Guillermo Del Toro on a movie fills me with dread. Unfortunately, not in the way I’d like it to. Everything about the guy I love – his devotion to horror and sci fi, his adoration of HP Lovecraft matches my own, and he has a collection of props I would kill for. His traveling exhibit At Home With Monsters was pretty amazing – I took some pics when I went to see it earlier this year, and posted them here. So yeah, I love Del Toro – unfortunately I think most of his movies stink.