Saturday, January 06, 2018

My Ten Favorite New-to-Me Movies of 2017

Time for my end-of-the-year list of the ten movies I saw for the first time this year and liked better than all the others.  PLEASE NOTE that these are not necessarily the "best" movies I saw for the first time in 2017, they're they ones *I* liked the best.

I've linked to the titles of the ones I've reviewed, as usual.  And if you want to read my lists for 20142015, and/or 2016, click on those years to visit their respective lists.


1. Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and new pal Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) work together to get off a wacky planet ruled by Jeff Goldblum (Jeff Goldblum) so they can stop Hela (Cate Blanchett) from taking over the Nine Realms and unleashing murder and mayhem, etc.  I've seen this four times in the theater, and if only they'd show it at a workable time, I'd go see it again in a heartbeat.

2. Logan (2017) In the bleak future, Wolverine/Logan (Hugh Jackman) is slowly dying, poisoned by the adamantium grafted to his skeleton.  He's clinging to the dregs of his existence so he can care for Professor X (Patrick Stewart), really just waiting out the days until one or both of them can die.  Then a young mutant (Dafne Keen) on the run from a brutal opportunist (Boyd Holbrook) gives him one last chance to be more than a lonely old man.  I cry a lot over this movie.

3. The Greatest Showman (2017) P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) dreams and schemes his way through life, searching for a way to be important and successful.  Finally, he realizes that he's already important and successful because he has a wife and two daughters whom he loves and who love him.  Also, there's lots of singing and dancing and fun circus stuff.

4. China (1943) An American profiteer (Alan Ladd) and his best friend (William Bendix) reluctantly help a teacher (Loretta Young) shepherd her young female students across war-torn China to safety.  Once again, Ladd excels at convincing us that a sour, cynical character is worth caring about.

5. Lucky Jordan (1942) A racketeer (Alan Ladd) gets drafted into the army, where he causes trouble, deserts, helps save a McGuffin from the enemy, and ultimately... really doesn't change much, which charms me somehow.  He does learn to care about the woman (Mabel Paige) who's posing as his mother, at least.  A rather fluffy, yet very adorable movie.

6. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up lean and mean on the Londinium streets, not learning he's the son of the late king (Eric Bana) until he's an adult.  He reluctantly agrees to take on his uncle, Vortigen (Jude Law), who killed Arthur's father and usurped the throne.  This one is a fun ride.

7. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) When a middle-aged governess (Frances McDormand) loses her job, she accidentally takes a new position as personal assistant to a glamorous singer (Amy Adams) who makes very bad life decisions.  Over the course of one day, Miss Pettigrew sorts out a variety of the singer's problems, be they romantic or professional, and finds a new path for her own life.  I really must review this one here soon.  SO good.

8. Open Range (2003) Free-range cattlemen (Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Diego Luna, and Abraham Benrubi) tangle with a corrupt lawman (James Russo) over whether or not they can graze their cattle near the lawman's town.  There's also a love story.  Another one I want to review here, though I need to rewatch it before I do.

9. Sense and Sensibility (2008)  When their father dies, sisters Elanor (Hattie Morahan), Marianne (Charity Wakefield), and Margaret (Lucy Boynton) must leave their home with their mother (Janet McTeer) to live in a much smaller, cheaper place.  The sisters fall in love with various gentlemen (Dan Stevens, Dominic Cooper, David Morrissey) and... why am I even explaining this?  It's the Jane Austen story, you probably already know what it's about.  (Yes, it's technically a miniseries and not a movie, but whatever.)

10. O.S.S. (1946) New spies (including Alan Ladd and Geraldine Fitzgerald) get trained by the Office of Strategic Services, then are sent on a mission behind Nazi lines during WWII.  An entertaining and fairly accurate portrayal of wartime spying.

Any surprises here?  Probably not.  Alan Ladd, Hugh Jackman, westerns and superheroes and musicals and action and drama.  Kind of my usual things, huh?  I suppose the one surprise might be that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is not here.  Doesn't mean I hated it, I just didn't love it.

Happy new year!  Here's to all the movies 2018 will bring :-)

32 comments:

  1. S&S 08. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

    I'm so happy it made it onto your list!!! I was just thinking about that movie again today and how much I adore it <3

    If I made a list like this for myself, this year . . . I'm not sure what I'd put on it. Definitely "The Last Jedi," though; and "The Breakfast Club" and "Stand By Me" and "Rain Man." And "Dick Tracy." And "Lilo and Stitch." And probably "Wonder Woman," too.

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    1. Jessica, yeah, it's just full of goodness. I watched it a second time just last month so I could show it to my mom.

      Nice list! Rain Man, oh, my heart -- what a movie.

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    2. "Rain Man" makes me cry. A lot.

      Plus, it's a road trip story, and I adore road trips <3

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    3. Road trips, huh? Interesting!

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    4. Road trips are kind of my family's Thing. It's probably my favorite part of the whole year, going on road trips with them. I love sitting in the car and talking. Or listening to music. Or daydreaming. Or watching the scenery. It's the best place to be.

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    5. Jessica, nifty! I've traveled to all of the lower 48 by car, and yeah, I love road trips too.

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  2. Oh! What a fun list! I will be getting mine out soon. I see Alan Ladd still reigns as king. ;) I ssssssooooo want to see Sense & Sensibility! I know the 1995 version will still be my favorite, but I do want to see Dan Stevens...

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    1. Thanks, MC! Looking forward to your list. I'm woefully behind on reading blogs right now, but I'll get to it eventually.

      Yeah, I watched a bunch of new Alan movies this past year. Need to review more of them.

      The 1995 S&S is still my fave too, esp cuz Emma Thompson is one of my top fave actresses. But the 2008 is excellent! Well worth seeing.

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  3. I'm still trying to draft my favorites-from-2017 list, but The Greatest Showman would definitely be on there, and I'd put S&S put there too. (Miss Pettigrew has been a favorite for several years--I finally got it for Christmas last week and I was THRILLED. Such a charming movie!)

    I think my other favorites this year would definitely include The Shape of Water, Wonder Woman, and Their Finest. And that's just the movies from 2017! I saw so many pre-2017 movies that I enjoyed, too. It's been a good year for movies, for sure. :-)

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    1. Oh, how have I forgotten Beauty and the Beast?! Definitely the movie I saw the most in 2017 (five times in the theatre)--the original is incredibly dear to me, and I was delighted to love the new one almost as much. I guess March was so long ago that it felt like it was part of an entirely different year, LOL.

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    2. Claire, nice list! I agree, 2017 was actually a good year for new movies.

      How cool you loved the new BATB so much! I saw it in the theater, but not since. But I bought the soundtrack, and it's so great for jumpstarting a lagging morning. I listen to it quite a bit.

      I need to review Miss Pettigrew here... but that means I need to rewatch it. Possibly in a week or two, if I'm lucky! It's really just such a delight.

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  4. What a cool list! 2 Hugh Jackman films! I love all the Alan Ladd, of course, and am delighted that Open Range made your list! Hm. Did I even have 10 new-to-me favorites this past year?

    Okay, top four favorites in 2017 are easy:
    1. The Great Wall, 2. The Nice Guys, 3. Slow West, 4. The Salvation

    Then:
    5. Black Sea, 6. A Royal affair, 7. The Fall, 8. xXx: Return of Xander Cage

    Okay, going with those 8, unless I think of something I missed later. After those 8, I have movies I enjoyed, but they wouldn't make the favorites list.

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    1. DKoren, I know, TWO Hugh movies! Such a great year for new movies, after all.

      Slow West should've been on my list last year, except I only just was sort of mind-boggled for it after that first viewing, and only loved it after the second one.

      Those are a good 8! I need to see The Fall again -- that was also a boggler that I need to process with another viewing before I decide if I love it or just like it.

      Anyway, good 8! I've seen half of them :-) With you!!!

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  5. I've always loved Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day. Both the characters are so lovable, and it's such a sweet/funny movie. :)

    Yay for Thor: Ragnarok!!! It wasn't my favorite of the Thor films, but I still loved it very much.

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    1. Evangeline, I'm kind of sad it took me this long to see Miss Pettigrew, but better late than never, eh?

      Ragnarok was far and away my favorite Thor movie, and my fave MCU movie since The Avengers. But definitely not the BEST one, just... the one I love most dearly :-)

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  6. Really? Or is that just a misprint? The planet is actually ruled by Jeff Goldblum or did you just forget to put the character's name in the encapsulation? If its really Jeff Goldlum playing himself then I have GOT to see it just for that...:-D

    I found Open Range to be on the boring side myself, and that was even before I became the rabid Costner hater I have become now. I wanted to enjoy it but it did nothing for me.

    Stll waiting for the library's copy of Logan to be available. It's very popular.

    Haven't done my favorite list, but nearly every movie I watch these days is for the first time and not a lot of them have been memorable. Of course, I rarely go to the theater, so most of them have been what already have on DVD, but just haven't gotten around to watching. Only a couple have I actually posted reviews on my blog however.

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    1. Quiggy, well, technically the character played by Goldblum is called The Master, but he's basically just being Jeff Goldblum on an alien planet, so... I thought it was fairly accurate AND funny to just put his name twice.

      I've always been kind of lukewarm toward Costner, never loving or hating him, but in Open Range for the first time, I REALLY liked a character he played. I watched it for Diego Luna and Robert Duvall, but came away more impressed by Costner than either of them, which was kinda mind-boggling.

      I think my movie-watching is about 60% new-to-me movies and 40% things I've seen before. But it varies.

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  7. Forgot to mention (in my Facebook comment) that I want to see Logan (which is a bit weird, since I don't have any interest in X-Men films in general) but I was reading a review of it that used gifs and one of the gifs was of the 'knife through the head' bit and I was like "NOPE". So, I'll watch it on VidAngel if it's ever available there 'cause I can filter out that kind of violence, but until then...not happening. :P

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    1. Eva... yes, you 100% must have a filter to watch Logan. No ifs, ands, or buts. It's full of bad, bad, bad cursing and borderline-horror-movie violence. I spend a lot of it looking away now -- I've seen it often enough to know which parts I need to just not watch for a second here and there.

      In fact, if VidAngel gets it, let me know, because I would really rather watch it with a filter myself.

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    2. I will! I think Logan might be produced by one of the companies that's battling VidAngel, but I'm not sure.

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    3. Well, it's owned by Disney now, thanks to their buying Fox.

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    4. Right.

      By the way, speaking of Hugh Jackman - have you watched Pan? Because I did semi-recently and I'd be interested to get your thoughts on it.

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    5. Eva, yup, I've seen Pan. My overall impression was that Hugh Jackman was enjoying himself immensely, but it wasn't one I felt I needed to rewatch.

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  8. I haven't seen most those you listed, I do concur on Open Range. An awesome movie. Costner has a tendency to take himself too seriously, but he's good in this one. Duvall is always outstanding. I did see The Last Jedi just this weekend...did not love it. I may do a post on it, but probably not, unless an interesting angle strikes me. If you have vidangel, as I do, I recommend Allied with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.

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    1. Stanley, you have hit it exactly! Costner tends to take himself too seriously, and then I can't take him seriously. Except in this, and I liked him pretty well in Wyatt Earp for the most part, and I do love him in Silverado except he's not serious there at all.

      I did not love The Last Jedi either. I will see it again on DVD with my hubby at some point, but not in a big rush. Sigh.

      I thought Allied looked interesting! Brad Pitt tends to do well in period pieces.

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  9. The Greatest Showman, yaaasss. S&S '08, yaaaaaaaaaaaassssssss. Sounds like you had a good movie year!

    Oh, and I'd be Most Interested in hearing your thoughts on Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, because I saw the trailer and thought it looked cute but that there'd also be quite a bit of Content in it.

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    1. Oh, ALSO, YOUR NEW HEADER AGHHHHHH!!!! I think you probably know why I'm excited. ;D (Oh, and is the girl on the far left of the bottom row Rosamund Pike?)

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    2. Olivia, it really was a good movie year, over all!

      So, yes, I will do a post in the nearish future on Miss Pettigrew because it is quite adorable, but it does have Content. Most of it is... humorous content, if that makes sense? It's a lot like a '30s screwball comedy in a lot of ways, cheeky and flirty and provacative, but not... icky. But very solidly PG-13. I wouldn't let my kids watch it until they were much, much older than 13.

      As for the new header... it's a boost of inspiration for me, really. Those are the casting for 8 of the characters in Dancing in Doughnuts, which I am thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to finishing. The girl on the far left of the bottom row is actually Lauren Bacall.

      Here, this is who they all are, left to right. Top row: Bobby Darin, Alan Ladd, Christian Kane, David Boreanaz. Bottom row: Lauren Bacall, Shirley MacLaine, Beth Reisgraf, Ellen Corby.

      So yeeeeeeeeeah, you can kinda tell what TV show I've been watching lately, huh?

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    3. *pops up and screams*

      LEVERAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE

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    4. Yup :-) I mean, I was already a Timothy Hutton fan from Nero Wolfe, and I was already a Christian Kane fan from Angel, but both of them together with con games and and and and and... it's much too fun. I wish I had time right now to inhale all the seasons, but instead, I'm managing 1 or 2 eps a month, sniffle.

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  10. My 2017 "best of" movies is pretty much simply a list of favorites too. I always recognize they aren't "good" compared to Hollywood's standards, but they're the films that made me smile or think, and I think that is what's most important. :)

    LOVE (lovelove) the more recent Sense and Sensibility mini series. SO good.

    Alas, I haven't seen the new 'Thor' yet, but CANNOT wait to get my hands on the Bluray. I'm sure it's marvelous! Same goes for 'Showman.'

    Aw, another favorite: 'Miss Pettirgrew.' So cute. I liked the new King Arthur well enough, but just now, trying to think back, I don't really remember much about it. I guess this means a re-watch would be in order if I wanted to review it. :)

    Fun post!!

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    1. Rissi, yeah -- I almost never read movie reviews from "real" critics any more because they either make me angry or annoyed or sad. I like what I like.

      The Greatest Showman is still in theaters around here. I took my kids to it last month, and both my girls want to see it again. We'll see if I manage to make that happen...

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Agree or disagree? That is the question...

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