The Year in Movies – 2017

While 2016 was the year of the sad movie, I’m not so sure there’s one theme for a 2017 slate that was all over the place.  Hollywood executives will tell you the theme is financial disaster, but box office underperformance by no means equates to a lesser quality product (and it’s their own damn fault anyways for betting big on shitty ideas like Medieval Transformers, Pirates 5, and Baywatch: The Movie.  How dumb do they think we are?).  Contrary to their bottom line, I think in between the many blockbuster duds was a really great and interesting year in film, better than most in fact.

There was certainly something for everyone in 2017.  A resurgence of turn-your-brain-off, 90’s style action movies (Atomic Blonde, Baby Driver).  A horror renaissance (Get Out, It, Split, Life).  Coming of age tenderness (Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name, Florida Project).  Scorsese-inspired American biopics (I, Tonya, American Made).  Margin spotlighting crime thrillers (Wind River, Good Time, Three Billboards).  All that was missing was a knock down, drag out comedy, but I guess Ingrid Goes West will have to do (and LEGO BATMAN).

It also wasn’t ALL bad for the blockbusters.  Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is the favorite to win Best Picture.  Disney’s Marvel movies are the best they’ve ever been (Guardians 2, Thor Ragnarok, Spiderman Homecoming).  Other big properties decided to get weird and take chances like Logan, an Eastwood-esque hard R Western disguised as a superhero movie, and the super dark War for the Planet of the Apes, which has much more in common with Apocalypse Now or The Bridge on the River Kwai than it does with other PG-13 CGI-fueled escapes.

The release activity of 2017 makes me think we’re in good shape for 2018.  The largest studios are learning that, Star Wars/Marvel excluded, a title itself won’t automatically yield a profit.  You can no longer start with a movie star, a piece of intellectual property, and a release date and then just work backwards.  Audiences are too smart for that.  The public’s reliance on Rotten Tomatoes means that it can’t just be a cool looking trailer, the finished movie has to actually be good.  Sidenote- There was a lot of debate this year on the presumed influence that RT scores have on the box office returns.  My own personal opinion: Unless it’s Marvel or Star Wars, a “rotten” score will likely spell disaster for a film’s profits (Batman and friends used to be bulletproof as well but that goodwill is rapidly declining).  However, the “fresh” scores have a much lesser correlation and will not lead audiences to the well just because it was critically approved (i.e. Blade Runner).  

Since Disney, Fox, WB, and Universal have been so focused on only hitting big budget home runs recently, a few other competitors have emerged to become major players in producing the best material amongst the smaller to medium scales. Specifically Neon, A24, Blumhouse, Netflix, and Amazon are now also getting meetings with the emerging filmmakers of today, making it that much more competitive within the industry come awards season.  I have to assume more competition can only yield to a better, more eclectic overall slate…….and less outrageously stupid movie investments from the big timers down the road (again this is just an assumption, I’m no economist, I’m just Rated Greg).

Thanks everyone for all the positive AND negative feedback in Year 2 of RG.  This is just a weekend hobby/creative outlet for me but I always enjoy your opinions online and especially in person during random nights out, whether its “We saw Lady Bird too and loved it!” or “Atomic Blonde is an A+?  Really?  What the fuck is wrong with you?”.

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The Superlative Awards and the full 2017 Movie Report Card are below:

Best Lead Actress

  1. Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
  2. Charlize Theron – Atomic Blonde
  3. Emma Stone – Battle of the Sexes
  4. Elizabeth Olsen – Wind River
  5. Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman

Best Lead Actor

  1. Tom Cruise – American Made
  2. Robert Pattinson – Good Time
  3. Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
  4. Jake Gyllenhaal – Stronger
  5. Hugh Jackman – Logan

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Bria Vinate – The Florida Project
  2. Holly Hunter – The Big Sick
  3. Elizabeth Olsen – Ingrid Goes West
  4. Allison Janney – I, Tonya
  5. Nicole Kidman – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project
  2. Ray Romano – The Big Sick
  3. Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards
  4. Steve Zahn – War for the Planet of the Apes
  5. Paul Dano – Okja

Best Kid

  1. Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project
  2. Dafne Keen – Logan
  3. Seo-hyun Ahn – Okja
  4. Finn Wolfhard – It
  5. Jack Dylan Glazer – It

Best Villain

  1. Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) – It
  2. Dennis, etc. (James McAvoy) – Split
  3. The Alien – Life
  4. Poppy (Julianne Moore) – Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  5. Martin (Barry Keoghan) – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Worst Performance

  1. Jonn Bass – Baywatch
  2. Tyrese Gibson – The Fate of the Furious
  3. Jared Leto – Blade Runner 2049
  4. Ben Affleck – Justice League
  5. Charlize Theron – The Fate of the Furious

Most LOL’s

  1. The Lego Batman Movie
  2. I, Tonya
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
  4. Get Out
  5. It


  1. It
  2. Life
  3. Ingrid Goes West*
  4. Get Out
  5. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

*Ingrid is obviously a comedy, but it’s message regarding social media is pretty damn scary.  It’s interesting that two of the funniest movies of the year are horrors and one of the scariest movies is a comedy.  Sacred deer is also very funny in a nervous way.

Most Feels

  1. Okja
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. The Florida Project
  4. Lady Bird
  5. Stronger

Best Looking

  1. Blade Runner 2049
  2. The Florida Project
  3. Atomic Blonde
  4. War for the Planet of the Apes
  5. Wind River

Best Action Sequence

  1. The stairwell brawl in Atomic Blonde
  2. The shootout in Wind River
  3. The first car chase in Baby Driver
  4. The nightclub in John Wick 2
  5. The plane scenes in Dunkirk

Best Scene, non-action (I’ll be vague)

  1. The reveal in Wind River
  2. The fatherly advice in CMBYN
  3. “Oh, Hi Mark” in Disaster Artist
  4. The epilogue of Lady Bird
  5. The sewer gutter in It

Best Use of Music

  1. Atomic Blonde – ‘Til Tuesday’s Voices Carry
  2. Lady Bird – Dave Matthews Band’s Crash Into Me
  3. Call Me By Your Name – The Psychedelic Furs’s Love My Way
  4. Thor: Ragnarok – Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song
  5. Ingrid Goes West – K-Ci & JoJo’s All My Life


Ten Other Random Scenes That I Love In No Particular Order 

  1. Batman’s solo routine in Lego Batman
  2. The only light scene in War for the Apes
  3. The alien wakes up in Life
  4. Wyatt Russell’s poolside soliloquy in Ingrid Goes West
  5. The morning announcements in Spiderman: Homecoming
  6. Judd Apatow’s cameo in The Disaster Artist
  7. Ray’s drug story in Good Time
  8. Michael Fassbender flirting with himself in Alien: Covenant
  9. The lightsaber chamber battle in The Last Jedi
  10. Rock vs Efron swole-off in Baywatch


Revisited 2016 Top Ten

  1. Hell or High Water
  2. Green Room
  3. Everybody Wants Some!!
  4. La La Land
  5. Moonlight
  6. Manchester By The Sea
  7. Patriot’s Day
  8. American Honey
  9. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  10. Other People

2018’s Most Anticipated

  1. Creed 2
  2. Sicario 2: Soldado
  3. The Predator
  4. Black Panther
  5. Hold The Dark
  6. Mission Impossible 6
  7. First Man
  8. Isle of Dogs
  9. The Irishman
  10. Bohemian Rhapsody

2017 Report Card:

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I, Tonya


Rated Greg’s Top 5 Sports Biopics

  1. The Fighter I, Tonya
  2. Rush The Fighter
  3. Cinderella Man Rush
  4. Rudy Cinderella Man
  5. Remember The Titans Rudy

Hey there.  It’s me again, the boy who cried greatest movie ever.   With 2018 rapidly   approaching, I was a little unsure about leaving Atomic Blonde as #1 in my year-end list. I hadn’t seen it mentioned in any other Top 10 lists nor have really even heard it talked about by anyone since the weekend of it’s July release.  Could I be wrong about it’s brilliance?  I don’t think so.  I just think Atomic Blonde is so specifically tailored to certain action junkie inclinations that it likely lacks something in mass appeal.  For instance, I couldn’t summarize the plot for you if I tried.  The movie so convoluted, however I could give a shit because the level of action is truly one of a kind.  Even though I was steadfast that Atomic Blonde was my favorite movie of the year, proclaiming it as the BEST movie of the year seemed a little ridiculous.


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Well, this point is now moot because my brand new favorite movie of the year also happens to have at least a puncher’s chance at Best Picture.  I, Tonya is so fucking good!  I can’t believe a Tonya Harding biopic reminded me of Goodfellas in multiple facets, but  that’s where we are in 2017.  In terms of mass appeal it’s got everything.  Family drama, true crime, athletics, unforgettable performances, a loaded soundtrack, and last but not least, the film is genuinely hilarious.  I would only recommend Atomic Blonde to a select group of friends.  But I, Tonya, the other atomic blonde?  I’d recommend it to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, dentists, Bumble matches, Uber drivers… name it.  Grade: A+

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The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist

Rated Greg’s Top 5 James Franco Movies

  1. Spring Breakers
  2. This is the End
  3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  4. Pineapple Express
  5. Palo Alto

It’s hard for a film to be great with a protagonist as unlikeable as Tommy Wiseau. On an asshole scale the director of The Room, widely regarded as the worst movie of all time, ranks somewhere between people that list “public figure” on their Instagram and people that enter an elevator before you can exit.  James Franco does an amazing job portraying Wiseau, so much so that you barely recognize it’s him, but the weirdo director that he plays is so damn hard to root for.  That was my main takeaway from The Disaster Artist. It has some entertaining moments but nothing you need to rush to the theater for.  More of an On Demand rental.  It’s just not as good as the other James Franco/Seth Rogen collabs like Pineapple Express and This is the End. Grade: B-

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Call Me By Your Name


Rated Greg’s Top 5 Summer Love Movies

  1. Adventureland
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. American Pie 2
  4. Y Tu Mama Tambien
  5. Summer Catch

Call Me By Your Name is a summer crush story set in the Italian countryside of 1983 and is based on a highly regarded book of the same name.  It’s a beautiful looking film with wonderful performances from stars Timothee Chalamet (Lady Bird) and Armie Hammer, but I was at first a little confused/surprised that it’s been pretty much universally championed without much push back against age differences of the leads (Chalamet is playing a 17 year old and I knew Hammer is in his early 30’s in real life).  However researching after the fact, I realized Hammer was supposed to be playing a 24 year old, a detail I must have missed in the bathroom.  Anyways, while that’s still a little dicey, failing the “half your age plus 7” rule, it’s not quite Roy Moore territory I guess.  Plus, again it’s based on a book.  Books get weird sometimes.

cybyn gif

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Back to the actual film. Scenery-wise you’d be hard pressed to find better a looking setting (think Master of None season 2) and the acting is definitely deserving of the Oscar buzz it’s getting.  I do think CMBYN meanders too much in the latter half (it’s 132 minutes) but there are two EXCEPTIONAL scenes well worth the price of admission.  One is an Armie Hammer dancing scene that lit the internet a fire and became a meme well before the wide release of the movie.  I won’t spoil the other, only to say that is extremely affecting and will lead you to reminisce about the your own first love.  Grade: A-

The Shape of Water

shape of water

This Free Willy meets Beauty and the Beast awards baiting snooze fest is the single worst movie I have ever seen in a theater. IN MY LIFE. No bullshit.  What kind of sorcery is Guillermo Del Toro pulling off here to make The Shape of Water a serious contender for BEST PICTURE?! I haven’t been this confused since The Artist became an Oscar juggernaut in 2012.  Grade: F

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Rated Greg’s Top 5 Woody Harrelson Performances

  1. Zombieland
  2. True Detective
  3. Kingpin Three Billboards
  4. White Men Can’t Jump Kingpin
  5. The Edge of Seventeen White Men Can’t Jump

Similar to Logan Lucky this past summer, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is another sendup to Coen Brothers crime films that probably would have been much better off in the actual hands of the Coens.  It’s worth seeing for the fantastic, vibrant performances all around, especially an all-timer from grizzled vet Woody Harrelson, but beware that there are flaws in the story ranging from minor to significant that were way too hard to ignore by the end.  There are some movies that leave you feeling underwhelmed given its grand potential and yet you’re not quite sure what you would change to make it better (i.e. Blade Runner 2049).  This isn’t one of those movies.  There are so many blatant, easily avoidable unforced errors in Three Billboards.  I would equate it to my friend Willy who’s generally a great guy but will also lie to your face about what he ordered at Burger King.  Grade: B-

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The Year in TV – 2017

There’s obviously a ton of good to great TV options these days, but only a few that can truly hold your attention without wanting to check your phone every 10 minutes.  Below are the one’s that tended to keep phone interaction to a minimum for me.

  1. The Defiant Ones (HBO)
  2. Big Little Lies (HBO)
  3. Insecure (HBO)
  4. The Leftovers (HBO)
  5. Game of Thrones (HBO)
  6. Master of None (Netflix)
  7. Mindhunter (Netflix)
  8. American Vandal (Netflix) –
  9. Vanderpump Rules (Bravo)
  10. This Is Us (NBC)

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): G.L.O.W., Stranger Things, Better Things, Friends from College, Last Chance U, Billions, Dear White People, Mr. Robot

Biggest Waste of Time:  Twin Peaks


The Defiant Ones (HBO):   This 4-part HBO documentary series on the careers of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine is hands down the most entertaining thing I saw on TV in 2017. It’s even better than last year’s O.J. documentary series. Unless you’re part of the slim venn diagram of people that don’t enjoy rap OR classic rock, this is a must watch.




Insecure (HBO) – Season 2:   There’s seemingly a dozen current shows about single life in the big city and Insecure takes the championship belt away from Master of None this year. Issa Rae’s brainchild definitely leveled up in its second season.


The Leftovers (HBO) – Season 3:   I’d put the second season of Leftovers up against any season of TV ever. The third and final season couldn’t quite reach those heights (one of the eight episodes is borderline unwatchable) but overall it was still the most emotionally stimulating show on the medium. The series finale in particular really sticks the landing.


Game of Thrones (HBO) – Season 7:   Duh


Master of None (Netflix) – Season 2:  I savor Master of None episodes the way Aziz Ansari must savor ten-course meals. I’ll never understand the appeal of devouring a season of TV in a weekend. Season 1 was better though.


Mindhunter (Netflix):  Evidently based on a real, government sponsored study, Mindhunter features two F.B.I. agents who travel 1970’s America interviewing notorious serial killers in order to grasp a better understanding of how they tick. The throwback cop show is a slow burn if there ever was one. You won’t see any high-speed chases and there’s not a big bad to be caught at the end of the season, but the thrills come from the illicit effects the project has on the two partners. Even though the show is basically just people talking in rooms, cars, and airplanes, I was quite mesmerized. Fair warning, Mindhunter doesn’t get rolling until episode 3 or 4.


American Vandal (Netflix):  A whodunit about a mass dick graffiti incident at a high school sounds like an SNL sketch, not an eight-episode mockumentary.   And if you only watch the first episode of American Vandal, you might still agree with that sentiment. BUT, if you can make it to the second episode, this becomes the funniest show on TV. Behind the dicks, American Vandal is an extremely clever satire of all the different forms of digital communication young people use today. Similar to a meme, it’s hard to explain what’s so brilliant about it until you see it for yourself.


Vanderpump Rules (Bravo) – Season 5:  All I want for Christmas is someone to talk Vanderpump Rules with.  In terms of hilarious TV sociopaths go, I’d put DJ James Kennedy up there with Eric Cartman, Gob Bluth, or Larry David.

this is us

This Is Us (NBC) – Seasons 1/2:  The broadcast television drama would have ranked higher if “Us” only constituted Randall, Mandy Moore, and the Dad instead of Randall, Mandy Moore, the Dad, and those two INSUFFERABLE twins (No one cares about your issues, Kevin!). Still, the best scripted hour of TV this year might have been the Halloween episode from Season 2.

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond


Rated Greg’s Top 5 Jim Carrey movies

  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  2. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  3. Dumb & Dumber
  4. Me, Myself, and Irene Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
  5. Kick-Ass 2 Me, Myself, and Irene


“There are a lot of people in the world that are full of shit, but nobody can compete with the comedic actor trying to take himself seriously.” – Chuck Klosterman


In 1999, Jim Carrey took on the challenge of portraying his childhood idol, Andy Kaufman, in the movie Man on the Moon.  It was a change of pace for arguably the funniest person on the planet at the time.  The man who once climbed out of a rhino’s butthole was now gunning for an Oscar nomination in a period drama.  Man on the Moon didn’t turn out to be a good movie in my opinion, but that’s beside the point.

ace rhino 2

You see, to tackle this seemingly impossible role, Carrey decided to approach it as a method actor.  For those unaware, this means that he was going to stay in character 24/7 during the ENTIRE production, and not just when Action! is called (a recent example is Daniel Day Lewis literally spending two straight years pretending that he was Abraham Lincoln).  In Carrey’s case, he wasn’t even “pretending” to be Andy Kaufman according to him.  Carrey truly believes that Kaufman’s shit-stirring soul entered his body and refused to vacate until the movie was complete.  There was no Jim, only Andy.


Carrey (or maybe it was really the late Kaufman, this is confusing) also granted a documentary crew personal access to shoot behind the scenes of this whole experience.  However upon completion of Man on the Moon, Universal actually claimed legal possession of all of the doc crew’s footage since most of it was taken on their sets.  As lore has it, they refused to release it for fear that the terrorizing footage would ruin the marketability of their precious, awards aspiring film.

Luckily for us, almost 20 years later they finally let JC have his documentary and while watching Jim & Andy, it’s easy to see why Universal was initially so uncomfortable with the idea.  Needless to say, Carrey was in fact an absolute dick to everyone involved while shooting his grandest venture.  As a society we probably shouldn’t encourage behavior like this from our worshipped artists, but as a social experiment this documentary is so damn ENTERTAINING!  The highlight is probably his antics with professional wrestler Jerry Lawler, who I guess had a fake feud with Kaufman in real life but had no idea how to take Carrey’s nonstop jabs at him, on screen and off.  It’s really telling when even a professional wrestler thinks you are blurring the lines too much between the project and reality.  Oh, and there’s also an incident at the Playboy Mansion that is just perfect.


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Anyways, this is easily my favorite documentary that I’ve seen this year.  Maybe it’s the fact that he’s kept a fairly low celebrity profile over the past decade, but I’ve always just found Jim Carrey to be very interesting when interviewed and dissected.  Sure he’s funny as hell, but like a lot of the funniest people there’s also a tragic essence surrounding him. He’s clearly still battling some demons but it’s really compelling to see him attaining peace with the Man on the Moon page of his career in real time.  Streaming on Netflix.  Grade: B+

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