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Posts tagged “Top Ten

Mike’s Favorite Film Scores of 2017

I make it a point to write this article every year because it forces me to listen to film scores. Like the movie poster, the art of film music writing is something that has been slowly deteriorating over the past twenty years. Now, it feels like so many of the scores sound exactly the same. There’s always a handful of really good ones, but by and large it all feels homogenized and by-the-book.

I am by no means someone who understands the complexities of music, but I do enjoy a good film score. The really good ones I tend to spot during the film. I’ll catch the score doing something interesting and make a mental note of it. But that happens so rarely now, because so many of the scores are underscoring the action rather than working alongside the action. To my point, name me one new movie theme you found yourself humming after you left a theater.

So I do this article to see where the good stuff is. I feel like, if we all individually listened to a bunch of scores on their own, without comparing notes, and then came back and listed our favorite ones, we’d all generally have the same group. And then we each have our own preferences on top of that. I don’t fanboy over Michael Giacchino the way others do, while I think Alexandre Desplat is the best working composer today and regularly have at least two of his scores on my list every year.

As I said, I’m no music expert, nor do I claim to know anything about music. I just pick whichever films scores sounded the best to me. Also — scores, not soundtracks. Because, yeah, we get it, Baby Driver had a lot of cool songs on it. That’s not a film score.

Anyway, let’s get into the picks. Here are my favorite film scores of 2017: (more…)

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Mike’s Favorite Movie Trailers of 2017

I have an ambivalence toward movie trailers. I don’t think they’re particularly any good anymore. But then again — have they ever been good? It’s not like they’re the movie poster, where you can make a great one. Generally, trailers are there to sell you on a film and nothing more. They’re not really their own art form.

So many trailers nowadays typically spoil the entire plot for you ahead of time, which makes them hard to take on their own. And also ruins some of the movie for you ahead of time. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be artfully done. So what I do, at the end of the year, after I’ve seen all the movies, is go back and watch the trailers and see which ones were actually quite good. Some of them I see throughout the year, and I do tend to remember the good ones, but by and large I watch everything I can afterwards to see what actually sold a movie well.

So here are my picks of my favorite movie trailers of 2017: (more…)


Mike’s Top Ten Movie Posters of 2017

I say it every year — the movie poster is a lost art. That statement is even more relevant this year. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it — this year sucked for movie posters.

In today’s marketplace, about half the product is based on built-in IP that can trade off iconic images in previously known versions of that product. The other half are smaller movies that maybe get one poster at most, and usually that poster is created off the same generic template as most posters and is designed to make you think of other movies that you went to see in the past. Or, the new wrinkle is that a bunch of movies are now being released on Netflix, who doesn’t need to bother marketing the films and doesn’t even bother giving you posters for them. As such, there’s really no great use of imagery out there anymore.

Last year, I felt, was actually a really strong year for posters. This year, it felt like every poster I saw was either trading off its own brand (Disney, Marvel, even Blade Runner) or reminiscent of some other movie poster from years past. Few posters actually gave a shit to give you a great image. Usually at least one of a movie’s posters is great — because, as I usually say, there are like five different posters for every major movie. Teaser, first official, second official, character posters, IMAX poster, etc — but this year it didn’t even feel like they tried on those.

A good movie poster is one that sells its stars and its subject matter, boiling down the themes of a film into a single image. Ideally, you look at that poster, know exactly what it’s about, and are left with the thought of, “Oh, I wanna see that.” Did anything really stand out to you this year? (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Movie Posters of 2017 (30-11)

I say it every year — the movie poster is a lost art. That statement is even more relevant this year. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it — this year sucked for movie posters.

In today’s marketplace, about half the product is based on built-in IP that can trade off iconic images in previously known versions of that product. The other half are smaller movies that maybe get one poster at most, and usually that poster is created off the same generic template as most posters and is designed to make you think of other movies that you went to see in the past. Or, the new wrinkle is that a bunch of movies are now being released on Netflix, who doesn’t need to bother marketing the films and doesn’t even bother giving you posters for them. As such, there’s really no great use of imagery out there anymore.

Last year, I felt, was actually a really strong year for posters. This year, it felt like every poster I saw was either trading off its own brand (Disney, Marvel, even Blade Runner) or reminiscent of some other movie poster from years past. Few posters actually gave a shit to give you a great image. Usually at least one of a movie’s posters is great — because, as I usually say, there are like five different posters for every major movie. Teaser, first official, second official, character posters, IMAX poster, etc — but this year it didn’t even feel like they tried on those.

A good movie poster is one that sells its stars and its subject matter, boiling down the themes of a film into a single image. Ideally, you look at that poster, know exactly what it’s about, and are left with the thought of, “Oh, I wanna see that.” Did anything really stand out to you this year? (more…)


Mike’s Favorite Movie Posters of 2017 (50-31)

I say it every year — the movie poster is a lost art. That statement is even more relevant this year. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it — this year sucked for movie posters.

In today’s marketplace, about half the product is based on built-in IP that can trade off iconic images in previously known versions of that product. The other half are smaller movies that maybe get one poster at most, and usually that poster is created off the same generic template as most posters and is designed to make you think of other movies that you went to see in the past. Or, the new wrinkle is that a bunch of movies are now being released on Netflix, who doesn’t need to bother marketing the films and doesn’t even bother giving you posters for them. As such, there’s really no great use of imagery out there anymore.

Last year, I felt, was actually a really strong year for posters. This year, it felt like every poster I saw was either trading off its own brand (Disney, Marvel, even Blade Runner) or reminiscent of some other movie poster from years past. Few posters actually gave a shit to give you a great image. Usually at least one of a movie’s posters is great — because, as I usually say, there are like five different posters for every major movie. Teaser, first official, second official, character posters, IMAX poster, etc — but this year it didn’t even feel like they tried on those.

A good movie poster is one that sells its stars and its subject matter, boiling down the themes of a film into a single image. Ideally, you look at that poster, know exactly what it’s about, and are left with the thought of, “Oh, I wanna see that.” Did anything really stand out to you this year? (more…)


Mike’s Top Ten Films of 2017

This is it, folks, the moment nobody has been waiting for. Here I am to do what absolutely nobody else on the entire internet has ever thought to do — tell you my ten favorite films of the year.

Every time I begin one of these lists I feel compelled to mention how strong or weak the year felt as a whole. This one felt pretty weak from the start. A month ago, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish a top ten list. I barely had ten films I felt comfortable labeling as my ten favorite. As it stands, I barely got to that finish line. But I probably say that every year.

What has happened in the previous few years is that, in trying to work my way into a list that works for the future, rather than how I feel this year, I overthink it and put on stuff that ends up coming off within a year. So this year, instead of trying to do that, I just listed the ten films I liked best. If all works out, they’ll continue being my ten favorites of the year. If not, oh well. (more…)


The Unforgivable Films of 2017

I think you guys know what this is by now. The tens of you who read this look forward to this day, don’t you?

On December 31st every year, I post my Top Ten list. On December 30th, however, it’s something else entirely. If the Top Ten list is the Oscars of this site, the Unforgivables list is the Razzies. Or the Indie Spirit Awards. Rather than wearing tuxes and being all formal, we’re all getting shit-faced in a tent somewhere, ranting about how our childhoods were ruined and how Adam Sandler is a piece of shit now.

I always like to begin with two notes. First, this list began in 2010, when I saw the movie The Switch (Bateman, Aniston, jizz cup) and was so angry at what I was watching that I stopped the movie to write up an angry rant about it, which was so well-received that it became tradition. This is the 8th Annual Unforgivables List. Previous ‘winners’ (on top of The Switch, of course) include: Batman v. Superman (2016), Vacation (2015), Heaven Is For Real (2014), Identity Thief (2013), Big Miracle (2012) and Just Go With It (2011).

And second, for what you’re all sure are the stringent criteria for inclusion on this list — one thing. Just one thing. The movie has to make me angry while I watch it. That’s it. I could enjoy the movie. But if it pisses me off, it’s a contender. Last year, Suicide Squad made the list. I was fine with it. I even enjoyed small parts of it. But it made me angry on a bunch of different levels (not to mention it being post-Batman v. Superman, which made me so angry I began writing up its Unforgivable entry in April. Which you can check out here, because it may be some of my best work), so it made it on.

Oh, the other ‘rules’, I guess you can call them: 1) no sequels, and 2) no films we all knew would be shitty to begin with. So as much as you all wanna assume Monster Trucks was gonna make it on (and yes, that was this year. I know it was a while ago), that’s not what this is about. (more…)