It worked out by chance that this is the first official “year end” list to be published, but in a way, it feels fitting. Most years, I do my overrated, underrated and underseen films, as well as lists of what films surprised me both positively and negatively. I’ve hesitated to write up hidden gems, just because hidden gems feel like they need time to become gems. It’s in the definition of the word. A gem doesn’t just randomly occur in nature.
However, because I watch so many films each year and because there are so many out there that are awesome that people just don’t know about, I felt that I should write up a list to give as many of those their due as I can. This may bleed over a bit with my Underseen list, but in a way, that’s more about the films people know about but just need to actually go see. This is more supposed to be — “You don’t even know what this is, do you?” I want it to be about the films that are really good that most people just either have not heard of or would take a second to go, “What is that, again?”
The average moviegoer maybe recognizes a third of this list. People more into movies probably has seen a third and has heard of half or so. People who are deeper into movies than most, maybe half seen and heard of 75%? I still think there’s gonna be something here that is so under the radar that even the film people don’t know what it is. And you know how I know that? Talking to people.
The idea behind this list is — most people don’t know about these films, they’re really great, and you should seek them out, because they’re great. There are obviously gonna be a few that maybe have wider recognition than a true ‘hidden’ gem, but in those situations, I think we’d agree that people still need to see them. If I can have it be under 5 that you think are more widely known than I’m suggesting, I think I’ve done my job. I still think most people haven’t seen at least half this list at minimum. (And if you have, maybe start telling people about them.)
Anyway, here are a few (and trust me, there are more) hidden gems from this year that deserve to have a wider audience: (more…)
It’s the second batch of reviews, guys.
I’ve been gone for most of the summer, recharging my batteries after the pile of shit that was the first 60% of this year. Which really means that I’ve been laying low and watching so many movies it’s disgusting when you put a number to it. (Which I will: Blade Runner 2049, last October, was my 5,000th new movie since I graduated college. As of Tuesday, I’ve crossed 5,800. I was also at 100 movies for 2018 in April’s reviews article. Now I’m at 260. I started this year seven weeks late and I’m currently seven weeks ahead of last year’s pace. Go figure.)
In terms of 2018 as a movie year, it’s pretty much been a giant dumpster fire. I’ve hated every year of the past few pretty much up through this point (since almost all the good movies come out between September and December), but this year in particular has a very special kind of diarrhetic quality to it that makes it stick out. I can’t think of a weaker year in the last ten.
To put a finer point on it: while I disliked previous years through the summer, last year I’d already banked what would become two top ten films and three 11-20 films. 2016, I had four top ten films and two 11-20 films. 2015, three top ten films… you get the point. This year, there’s only one film I’d even consider letting near my top ten, and if it does end up making it, it would be pretty historic (more on that later). At best, everything else I’ve liked so far is at best tier two in any other year.
So, yeah, spoiler alert, this year sucks, and my thoughts on most things are pretty much, “It’s just fine” or “I don’t care.” There’s so little that stands out, the final quarter of the year better be really good, otherwise we’re looking at the weakest overall year in almost thirty.
But hey, at least you can all read what I thought about Book Club, right? (more…)
This has been a weird year so far. January and February were two of the strangest months of my life, and as such, I didn’t even start watching movies until late February. The first movie from 2018 I saw was Black Panther… and that was in its second weekend. I didn’t get going on everything else until after the Oscars. So everything you’re about to see is stuff that was all watched in the last eight weeks.
Last year at this time, I’d watched 96 movies. And that number started (as it usually does) around the end of January. I was five weeks behind this year. I originally put that in here to explain to you why the total this year is way lower than it was last year. But no. I hit 100 movies yesterday. Go figure.
Anyway, here’s the first batch of films I’ve seen so far from this year. We’ll check back after August for the next batch. (more…)
This article has become a real treat to write every year. This year, I knew I’d wait until the last minute and not have anything, so I pushed it to Oscar weekend instead of early January, so that way I could wait even longer until the last minute and rush to get it all done over like, four days. (It helps to know oneself really well.)
You remember that famous Hemingway six word short story? Well, this is me doing that for movie reviews. I came up with the idea after writing a review for the Vanessa Hudgens movie Gimme Shelter (which I’m sure you all saw). I wrote some joke and said, “There’s your five word film review for this one.” And the idea took. This whole site is ideas that took. (Too bad shutting the fuck up won’t take with me, amirite, guys???)
Notable examples of five word film reviews from last year, to give you an idea of what we’re going for: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk — Could’ve Used a Longer Walk; Suicide Squad — RIP D.C. Universe (2016-2016); Finding Dory — Maybe Just Stop Losing Fish; Snowden — The Government Watches You Masturbate; Bridget Jones’s Baby — What Happened to Her Diary?; The Dressmaker — High Plains Drifter with Backstitching; Paterson — More Like Adam BUS Driver!; Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice — HA HA HA HA… Martha.
I think you get the idea. It’s a fun exercise to try. And of course, me being me, I try it 400 times.
Here are five word film reviews of the movies I saw in 2017: (more…)
For the yin, there is the yang. And in this case, this is the more interesting half. As there were a handful of films that were much better than I thought they’d be, there’s a group of films that just were hugely disappointing to me.
All you need to know is — I had expectations, they were not met. That does not mean the movie was bad in any way or that I disliked it. It simply means that I thought I’d like these movies more than I did. My expectations are my own and my thoughts on films are my own, so that’s all this is gonna be based on.
Fortunately, this year, either because I no longer allow myself to have sky high expectations for things or because there weren’t any outright disasters I didn’t see coming, nothing here is too horrendous. Usually it’s just, “Yeah, I hoped that would be better, but it was fine.” So that’s good.
Here are the disappointments of 2017 for me: (more…)
I try to do this every year. Usually, the earlier, the better. This year, through reasons beyond my control, it’s later. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This way I’ve been able to get everything in, so there’s not gonna be that one off film I saw after I put this up that everyone goes, “What about that one?”
The idea behind this list is — which movies throughout the year were ones that, when I saw them, I went, “Huh, wasn’t expecting that”? Typically ones where either I thought they’d be dog shit and they were actually pretty good or ones I didn’t really have expectations for that ended up being some of the best movies of the year. This is based on nothing other than my perception of the film, either at the beginning of the year or right before I saw it. All that is required for this list is that the movie I saw ended up being better than I thought it was going to be.
Here are the films of 2017 that, just like the above average students on their O.W.L.s, exceeded expectations: (more…)
We’ve got all the reviews, now let’s get to my favorite part — throwing it all together and seeing what it all means.
This is where I get to mess with percentages and see how right I was. I get to satisfy my weird fascination with numbers and my ever-present narcissism. Who doesn’t like that?
Here’s all the articles, for easy reference:
2017 Film Release Calendar
2017: The Year in Reviews