Friday, February 16, 2018

My Favorite Films for 2017 Oscars

Now that it's Oscar season and the nominations are out, it's a wonderful opportunity for my to declare my favorite films of last year.  Because of my busy schedule (I just completed a 30-minute long set of music videos for Jackie Greene) I have to admit that I haven't seen all of the nominated or eligible movies, so this list will be just from the films I've watched. 

I'll start with the foreign films, with a brief description of each: 

"The Insult", a very engaging look at the long-simmering political battles between Catholics and Muslims in Beirut.  A very dramatic film directed by Ziad Doueiri.

"Foxtrot", directed by Samuel Maoz.  A wonderful mix of amazing style, great acting, humor and tragedy on the Israeli border. 

And "The Square", directed by Ruben Östlund from Sweden.  A hilarious look at an avant-garde art gallery director and his problems with thieves, the press and a crazy lover.  Not to be missed!

And next, here are my favorite films of the year:

7. "Good Time", directed by Benny and Josh Safdie.  The darkest and strangest film of the year.  Robert Pattinson stars as a totally corrupt grifter who attempts to save his mentally deficient brother.  And he barely escapes one disaster after another using his lying charms.  A crazy move that was barely seen. 

6. "I, Tonya", directed by Craig Gillespie, starring Margot Robbie.  My sister was one of Tonya Harding's teachers in West Linn, Oregon, and she said that the portrayal of her mother in the film is not really a caricature - it's true!  I loved this film!  And even though it's a true story, it's still the funniest film of the year.  Every character is true-to-life and hilarious. 

5. "Get Out", directed by Jordan Peele.  It's a true horror film, with a racial twist.  I'm not usually a big fan of the scary film genre, but this one is so well done and truly frightening, I'm putting it on my list.

4. "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets", directed by Luc Besson.  A truly visionary film.  His visuals are wonderfully mind-blowing.  A while back I did a blog post about stoner films, and this one should be at the top of that list.  The only problems is that it ends on a whole bunch of talking, which ruins the momentum.  Too bad, because I loved the movie.

3. "Coco", directed by Lee Unkrich.  I've written about this Pixar movie before in an earlier post, nevertheless, it's still an amazing and emotional film. 

2. "The Shape of Water", directed by Guillermo del Toro.  It's got everything I love in a film - 1950's alien paranoia, surreal monsters and an alien/young girl romance.  One of my favorite films from one of my favorite directors.

1. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", directed by Martin McDonagh.  Both Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell should win Oscars for this movie.  A very powerful story told with wit and very dark humor.  You've got to go see it, my favorite film of the year.

And here's the film that I think is the most overrated film of the year - "Call Me By Your Name".  All the reviews say how beautiful it is and what a terrific love story it has - but I've seen a lot of films that were more visual, I thought the acting was mediocre and the music sucked.  They must have spent a lot of money on promotion, because to me, the film's a big loser.

--Bill P.

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