A Look Back at 2017

2017 is history, and 2018 is here to stay. It wouldn’t feel right to start the new year with just about any article on a random subject, so then let’s all honour 2017 before turning to new and hopefully better things. Here are some memorable moments and figures about last year, in terms of films.

Star Wars returns with the 4th last entry… for now

Star Wars – The Last Jedi has been released last month/year, and has already made a crazy amount of money at the box office. Maybe not as much as The Force Awakens, since people have gotten used to the idea of a yearly Star Wars dose, but still a bit more than my monthly lunch budget. With the Han Solo prequel set for this December, Episode IX next year and another spin-off entry in 2020, the history of what happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away keeps writing itself at an incredible pace.

Superhero movies, the same as always

Look at any top featuring the highest grossing films of 2017, and you’re likely to see many titles that involve superheroes: Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider Man Homecoming, Logan, Thor Ragnarok, Justice League. All with hundreds of millions in revenues, and the tendency to bundle up as many superheroes as possible instead of focusing on clear, individual exploits. It’s funny to see the producers delivering the same, minimally re-engineered formula time and time again, and audiences worldwide beaming with excitement each and every time. Something I’ll never understand, perhaps.

A Martin McDonagh film is front-runner for Best Picture

Martin McDonagh is a brilliant playwright, and an even better filmmaker – say what you will, but In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are absolute masterpieces that never got the recognition they deserved, and often got slated for being non-PC and controversial. Nonsense! So believe my surprise when I noticed that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri got the second-most nominations at the Golden Globes, and is the odds-on favourite to win Best Picture in February. Don’t forget that our Irishman already has an Academy Award, which he won for Best Short Film – Live Action in 2006 with Six Shooter, but going for the big one is something that I’ll certainly keep my fingers crossed for!

A biopic about one of the worst films ever is considered for major awards

Yes, I’m talking about The Room and The Disaster Artist. The former holds a metascore of 9, whilte the latter, based on the former, holds a metascore of 76 and has been nominated for two Golden Globes. It’s a unique opportunity for Tommy Wiseau, who perhaps won’t get another chance to star in a film with an IMDb score of over 3.5.

Aronofsky makes another film, (almost) nobody understands it

In a world where climate change and religious fanaticism are two of humanity’s biggest problems, you’d expect an excellent film that mixes both in a subtle and clever way to get universal praise and be in line to win big at the major award ceremonies. Nope – many people have dismissed it as bulls**t, and seem incapable of getting its message. Juries are too afraid of controversy to nominate it, most likely. What a sad world we live in.

Daniel Day-Lewis returns after 5 years

Widely regarded as the greatest actor of our times, the British maestro is also known for being extremely picky with his projects, picking up an Academy Award and then spending a couple of years away from any kind of project before starring again and picking up another Academy Award. Last time he did in in 2012, with Lincoln. Let’s see how Phantom Thread turns out to be for him.

Dunkirk overtakes Saving Private Ryan as the highest grossing war film ever

It’s been a while, but Saving Private Ryan ($482 million) is no longer the highest earning war film, thanks to Chris Nolan and his most recent project, Dunkirk ($525 million). It would have been an even larger margin, if Operation Dunkirk wouldn’t have played its trick and stolen some of the audience away from the real deal.

Article written by Julian Leu for The Monthly Film Festival

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