Just Keep Swimming

Dropping the Ball on Striking the Magic of 2017 Movies

At this time last year, I recommended five out of twelve movies that I had seen in the theatre. 2016 turned out to be the most disappointing year since I had started getting paid to review movies in 2012. This year I've seen thirteen movies at the theatre, and out of that number, I have so far given the thumbs up to 6. Based off comparing those numbers, 2017 looks to be mirroring 2016, which would give some reason for panic. Except it largely is accepted that the drudges of cinema seep into the big screen from the start of the year up until the Academy Awards, which means most years you should be expecting a 50% or even less hit rate at this time. The thing that really caused 2016 to take a hit was the bummer summer and a fall where some of the big anticipated flicks turned out to be disappointments, Though despite 2016 reputation, it is still important to note that it was the year that gave us great movies like Zootopia, La La Land, Arrival, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Hidden Figures, Deadpool, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Jungle Book, and I could keep going with this list for a good bit.

I'm bit more optimistic for 2017 because March has some potential big hitters like Kong: Skull Island, Beauty and the Beast, and Life. The summer at least looks more ambitious with movies far above the cookie cutter formula like Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Alien: Covenant, War of the Planet of the Apes, All Eyez on Me, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Dunkirk, The Dark Tower, Atomic Blonde, and Baby Driver. There is some pretty tantalizing movies with top flight talent coming out of the big studios with fall fare (this doesn't include all the stuff that will come to light after the festivals) like It, American Made, Blade Runner 2049, Marshall, Snowman, God Particle, Red Sparrow, Coco, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Downsizing, and The Greatest Showman on Earth.

Despite all the early year wasteland talk that most critics like to spout, last year we had two classics in Deadpool that was a necessary injection into the super hero genre and Zootopia that was a colourful, energetic, and fun animated feature with more depth and layers than most live action movies. There isn't anything this year that I loved as much as those two movies, but I would say Logan, Get Out, and Split are masterfully crafted pictures that offered fresh takes on their particular genre. All three of those movies had intriguing characters in stories that had valuable things to say, and all three also had some incredible star-making performances (James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Daniel Kaluuya, Dafne Keen). All three of these movies are definitely worth more thorough investigations and there are many great articles on numerous sites.

I have discussed all three of the movies on The Breakdown, and I actually think, in the last few weeks Scott and I have recaptured our mojo. We've had some valuable and insightful conversation about all things movies. It has showed in our listenership that has seen a drastic spike this past month. I'm really proud that we're garnering a following, but the truth is, as much I love podcasting, it has always been designed to support my writing career. I admit my writing has hit a snag, especially with my reviews or in-depth movie analysis. With great shame, I have to admit that I have a small army of unfinished movie reviews scattered over the last year.

The problem has been I jump into the movie review writing shortly after seeing the movie and I usually hit a smooth groove. But then as happens with young children, an interruption comes and I'm pushed away from finishing the review. Then as the day rolls on I have work for clients and parenting duties to eat up the day, and next thing I know, there is this several paragraph piece that I no longer have any connection, and I convince myself it is now too late to finish.

I want to sink my tentacle back into pop culture and reveal the heartbeats of movies, What I need to do is shut out the dark voices and get over my obsession that a review must be posted hours after a movie's release, and just flow with the beats of the writing. At this point, just posting something is a victory and I need to trust the quality and the speed will poke its head around the corner.

I'm confident 2017 is going to still turn out to be a rocking year. My vow is write pieces on some of the great movies that have already been released. For the rest of the year, I'll aim to churn out reviews for all the new releases that I watch along with some deeper analysis of the big movies and events of the year.