As I continue to discuss the many pop culture reasons I have no social life, today we move onto the big and small screen. I fell off the wagon a tad with regards to movies so there’s certainly a few I didn’t catch that I intend on seeing soon. However I am very pleased with the 57 movies I did catch this year, and the winners of my alternative Oscars.
Where I actually spent most of my hours was on television, catching 31 shows. So included this year are some awards for binge-worthy TV too.
Best New Television Show
Star Trek Discovery (Netflix)
American Gods (Amazon Prime)
There were plenty of excellent new television shows to sink time into this year, and the rate at which they are pumped out is exceeding furthermore. Networks and streaming services want the rights to the hottest shows as its apparent we as people love a good binge-watch. Netflix were of course the hottest property but Amazon Prime’s American Gods, the fantasy epic based from Neil Gaiman’s classic novel, is a lot of dark fun. Sky’s short series Guerilla was also a well-made look at race violence in 70s Britain.
Netflix’s forage into Star Trek was more mature than expected but is indulgent goodness. Murder and crime shows are always a favourite and Mindhunter definitely filled that spot for me this year. A worthy runner up was Alison Brie’s stylish wrestling comedy GLOW, however the winner is the addictive Riverdale.
The CW/Netflix teen flick based from the Archie Comics is marketed to the Twilight audience but has its heart in the right place. That right place being flickers of Veronica Mars, Cluedo and Glee. It’s as much full of cringe as it is full of heart, and if you can get past the former, it’s such an enjoyable watch.
The “Jumped The Shark” Award
Preacher (Amazon Prime)
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)
This award is for the show that chose to go down routes that perhaps mean it’s due to wrap up rather than carry on. Four shows sprung to mind for taking things too far this year. HBO’s Fortitude which was my favourite show a few years back really had a let-down season two opting to make it’s lead characters psychotic and giving us no real people to root for. Preacher followed up a stellar first season by doing a full season on the road. It had its epic moments but the plot became thin with less than a handful of characters to share screen time. Orange Is The New Black wasn’t bad per say but did seem to hit a point of no return for the plot. I’m not entirely sure where it can go from here. The winner though was i-Zombie which in its third season almost stuck the landing until an insane season finale exposed the show’s biggest secret not just to the lead characters but the whole universe the show is based in. It was a very daft moment from an otherwise terrific show.
Best Comedy Show 2017
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Master Of None (Netflix)
Rick & Morty (Adult Swim)
Big Mouth (Netflix)
It was a massive year for comedy on Netflix with season 2 of hipster rom coms Love and Master Of None shining through with lots of heart. The third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt tore the house down with its relentless pop culture attacks but the winner is the third season of Rick & Morty. It’s became a global phenomenon with Pickle Rick remixes and stampedes in American McDonalds over obtaining that sweet and delicious Szechuan Sauce! The show is at the top of its game, it cannot put a foot wrong and rightly deserves this award.
Best Actor in TV 2017
Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Pedro Pascal (Narcos)
Rami Malek (Mr Robot)
David Harbour (Stranger Things)
Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter)
This is a toughie as everyone here deserves the nod. Returning Pedro Pascal, David Harbour, Rami Malek and Peter Capaldi remained the best things about their respective shows. Jonathan Groff, once the dreamy Jesse St James in Glee and star of acclaimed but canned HBO show Looking takes up a very serious and demanding role as a serial killer hunter in Mindhunter. Just pipping him though is Jon Bernthal’s hardass playing the role he was born for in The Punisher. His performance, his look and his demeanour made an okay show seem great.
Best Actress in TV 2017
Alison Brie (Glow)
Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek Discovery)
Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why)
Ruth Negga (Preacher)
Freida Pinto (Guerilla)
Gillian Jacobs (Love)
A powerhouse year in TV for these actresses, I find it tricky to select a winner here too. Gillian Jacobs and Ruth Negga return for second seasons of their shows where they steal the whole thing. Controversial 13 Reasons Why in my eyes is mostly a triumph largely in part to a brilliant Katherine Langford in the central role. I loved Alison Brie’s coming out party with her excellence in Glow but it really comes down to the ace Sonequa Martin-Green escaping a bit part role in The Walking Dead to do some seriously brilliant Vulcan acting in Star Trek and revolutionary Freida Pinto in Geurilla. I think Freida just knicks it!
Best Drama Show 2017
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Doctor Who (BBC)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Mr.Robot (Amazon Prime)
When TV has been sublime this year, oh boy has it been sublime. Both seasons of Riverdale and the returning Narcos have been must see shows. The incredible Stranger Things painted Halloween and EVERYONE was talking about it. Doctor Who had its strongest season in many years with Peter Capaldi’s swansong. In it’s penultimate year, Game of Thrones broke the wheel on episode content and length, rounded off all of it’s loose ends and set in motion unbelievable plans for it’s endgame. The winner though is a show not so many people have been chatting about. Mr Robot’s third year took the show to unreal heights becoming the most exciting show on television. The complexity of it’s characters and the paths they choose is writing on the level of Breaking Bad and amongst the handful of perfect episodes this season was an hour long one take masterpiece that levels Ozymandias (Breaking Bad S5) as my favourite TV episode of all time. Mr Robot feels like it’s final few seasons will be essential television and this season certainly has been. If you’re not acquainted, get up to speed in the offseason. You seriously don’t want to miss this.
Low Buzz Film Of The Year
The Death Of Stalin
War For The Planet Of The Apes
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
Lots to love in this shortlist for me. Mark Wahlberg’s one-two disaster movies Deepwater Horizon and Patriot’s Day were both great watches. British cult director Ben Wheatley followed up last year’s incredible High Rise with the crazy Free Fire. Armando Ianucci returned to the screen with The Thick Of It meets Communist Russia in The Death Of Stalin. For me it comes down to two. The War Of The Planet Of The Apes is probably the most underappreciated blockbuster of the year but for me the winner is the marmite Valerian. Dane Dehann and Cara Delevigne both shine in Luc Besson’s undescribable world building. It’s colourful and detailed in every shot. Yes the writing is a tad off at points but this story is magic and I wish we could return to this world.
Comedy Of The Year Which Actually Made Me Laugh
The Lego Batman Movie
The Big Sick
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
Comedies weren’t really on top this year, I’m certainly looking for higher quality of comedies next year. Anne Hathaway’s weird Colossal in which she accidentally plays a Godzilla-esque alcoholic monster terrorizing Seoul was fun. The Lego Batman Movie had a lego-bucket load of puns. T2:Trainspotting somehow lived up to expectation taking us back to Edinburgh but our lovable junkies are all grown up. The Big Sick is sensational and perhaps my favourite rom com since 500 Days of Summer which is the greatest compliment I can ever pay. My top pick here is the documentary Jim & Andy in which we see into the madness of Jim Carrey’s performance of Andy Kaufman. It stunned me, it made me laugh and broke my heart. You should definitely seek it out.
Great Film You’ve Never Heard Of
Brawl In Cell Block 99
Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri
Last year’s Indy output was outstanding and this year was no different. French horror Raw stayed on the brain like the lead character’s thirst for flesh. Vince Vaughan did great in the brutal Brawl In Cell Block 99. Jackie was a sensational period drama about JFK’s assassination from his wife’s viewpoint. Three Billboards Outside Of Edbbing, Missouri followed on from In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths’ weirdness for character building in place of a fully coherent plot. It’s an odd way of making movies, but it works. The winner though is Taylor Sheridan’s conclusion of the American Frontier trilogy which captures the beautiful but deadly Wyoming snowy wilderness. Renner and Olsen are also terrific.
Blockbuster That Got Thumbs Up Critically Too
Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 2
Blade Runner 2049
There was a surprisingly lot to love here and quite a few films had to fight their way into my nominees. Marvel’s best film this year was Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 which maintained the magic and charm of the first film. DC mostly blundered but struck gold with Wonder Woman mostly down to Gal Gadot’s amazing charisma on screen. I adored the remake of IT which was the best Horror movie this year and one I genuinely think I’ll be replaying for years to come. I struggled picking a winner here, but the runner up is Logan. James Mangold’s second attempt at our favourite Wolverine is my favourite superhero film ever made. It pits Hugh Jackman’s Logan in a post apocalyptic world where he and Professor X are essentially the last of the mutants who have all been hunted down. That is until they find a new generation of children with powers. It’s a road movie, it’s a movie about growing old and it should have honestly been the perfect send off for this whole franchise. You would think that would be enough to seal it but words cannot express how perfectly crafted Blade Runner 2049 is. Denis Villeneuve creates stunning visuals in every single shot of the movie and the full cast shine. This might be the most impressive Sci-Fi ever made, but like the original, I think it’ll take us years to find that out.
Live By Night
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
John Wick 2
Live By Night, Mindhorn & The Snowman had good trailers and set-ups but turned out trash. Kingsman: The Golden Circle literally obliterated the world built in the first movie within the first five minutes making us lose so much charm. Colin Firth returned but it never felt like he was playing the same person. My pick here though is John Wick 2 which despite being so much better than all of the rest of these films still really failed to live up to expectation for me. When I watched the first movie I wanted to talk about it. When I watched this sequel, it didn’t impact me either way. That’s kind of worse than it sucking.
Surprisingly NOT Garbage
Beauty And The Beast
Kong: Skull Island
Shout-out to all these films I was worried about pulling out blinders. Disney’s Beauty And The Beast was well crafted and lovely to see. Patriot’s Day followed Deepwater Horizon in being really weighty and a good watch. Kong: Skull Island had all the ability to be a corny follow-up to Peter Jackson’s classic but it pulled through as one of the best military shoot em up’s since Aliens. We finally have a Spider-Man universe that feels right with fantastic performances and a story to go with it. Winning here is M. Night’s Split which is a massive return to form. James McAvoy’s performance is a must see.
The Skidmark Of Cinema Award 2017
King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
These were absolutely the worst of the worst that I saw this year. Michael Fassbender turned in a corker with The Snowman and Assassins Creed both being rubbish. King Arthur and The Mummy were probably about as bad as expected but Matthew McConaughey starring as a crazy Gold mine prospector had no right to be this bad. Shame on you Gold.
NO VIDEO COZ GARBAGE 😦
The “Casey Affleck Award” for Best Actor
Jeremy Renner (Wind River)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
James McAvoy (Split)
Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Look, if you haven’t seen Manchester By The Sea you really need to. Casey Affleck’s performance is going to stay with me and haunt me for years. It’s the realest portrayal of grief and emptiness I’ve ever seen. He deserves to win. Everybody here deserves a look in. Renner’s quiet hunter in Wind River is his most mature and physical performance yet. It suited him well. Daniel Kaluuya evoked the true horrors of Get Out perfectly, and James McAvoy brought true horror into Split with his psychotic, crazed performances. Denzel Washinton’s Fences performance would be the outright winner in any other year if not for Affleck. They deserve to share a win but I’m not copping out sorry. Spend time watching Manchester By The Sea and Fences and make up your own mind. They’re both winners but Affleck takes it for me.
The “Natalie Portman Award” For Best Actress
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards)
Ana De Almas (Blade Runner 2049)
Garance Marilliar (Raw)
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Once again I apologise, but it’s a travesty that Natalie Portman didn’t win the Oscar for Jackie. During no seconds of that movie did I feel like I was watching an Actor. It was Jackie Kennedy down to the mannerisms and the accent on every letter and everything in between. It’s a perfect performance.
Gal Gadot made Wonder Woman the coolest superhero on the planet, Garance Marilliar shone becoming unhinged and animal like as Raw progressed and Ana De Almas had a breakout making everyone fall in love with a hologram. Frances McDormand deserves special mention for what might be her best performance of her career. She is the Queen of pissed off in movies now, I kind of hope she takes this role into everything she takes forthcoming.
ACTUAL Film Of The Year (Top 10)
10. Get Out
8. Wind River
5. Baby Driver
4. Blade Runner 2049
3. La La Land
2. Manchester By The Sea
Get Out was a pop culture phenomenon and a piece of genius. IT was my favourite horror movie this year and one of my favourite of all time as it portrayed nightmares and the way we felt as children perfectly. Wind River is the ice cold and deadly conclusion of the American Frontier trilogy we wanted. Silence is an epic with extraordinary sacrifices and performances all round. Logan is my favourite superhero film ever made. Baby Driver is note by note perfect as Edgar Wright flexes his imagination and attention to detail as a director. Blade Runner 2049 went where no Sci-Fi had gone before. La La Land is a timeless classic, an unforgettable musical romantic adventure. Manchester By The Sea affects me still 11 months after watching it. The best movie of the year though must be Christopher Nolan’s technical masterpiece Dunkirk. The infamous story of 400,000 men stranded at Dunkirk trying to escape the Axis forces pushing them back. Starring a supreme ensemble cast headed up by Hans Zimmer’s earth shattering score plus Christopher Nolan’s complex time scales. It’s stunning and in IMAX I had never had a cinema experience like it.
Thanks for reading.