It is the end of June and that means 2017 is now half over! ...Thank God. 2017 has been a whirlpool of suck. It seems to fly by at the speed of light but at the same time it feels like we’ve all aged a decade since January.
No doubt my, um, disapproval of America’s new administration has something to do with how I feel the year has gone. But I expect others on the other side of the debate will share the sentiment that 2017 has been an exhausting year.
It’s been a disappointing year for me personally as well. I’ve slowed down my writing in part because I can’t seem to unplug and detach myself from the endless cycle of BREAKING NEWS as well as I’d like. By slowing down, I’ve also been led to doubt my writing, and self-doubt never leads to anything good. So I’ve been in a crummy mood, both angry at the things I cannot change and just as angry about my struggle to change the things that I can (or at least should).
But I guess it’s not been all bad.
In 2017, I’ve made some good friends online. (I’m on Twitter and Facebook, yo.) To whoever said that you should not express strong opinions online, I say phooey. Sure, I’ve lost some contacts as a result of speaking out against what I thought was wrong, but I do not care. Or at least, not much. There is more unity in a shared viewpoint and more comradery in a resistance than there is in shutting yourself off from the conversation.
2017 has also given us some pretty fine pieces of art.
I will now talk about them.
LOGAN (available now on Blu-ray) is an emotionally charged superhero drama and a fine farewell to Hugh Jackman’s work as the gruff Wolverine. Rated R without feeling like it’s looking to justify that harder rating at every corner, it serves as further proof that there are new ideas and new avenues for superhero cinema to traverse.
WONDER WOMAN. Hey, more superheroes! A totally different film than Logan in approach and tone and still a huge success. It’s a movie full of heart, humor, adventure, and yes, wonder. I knew only the basics about Wonder Woman going in and fully enjoyed the feature. If there’s a flaw, it’s that the finale action is outdone by two earlier action sequences (including a No Man’s Land sequence that is fantastic). A wonderfully enjoyable fantasy adventure and a big step in the right direction as DC hopes to launch its news cinematic universe.
JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2 (now available on Blu-ray) is amazing and I disagree in advance if you say anything to the contrary. Love the action and style but the thing about this series I really dig is the world-building. Every little thing has an idea, a little twist. It gives the films charm and a bit of heart, which is nice considering the rest of the time is spent blasting brains against the walls. Not enough films work in world-building to such a level. Wick feels like a beautifully realized comic adaptation. But there is no comic. Haha. Crazy. And that ending to John Wick Chapter 2 is PERFECT. Of course there are better films out there but even they may not have such a perfect end. John Wick Chapter 2 even manages to make a mirror maze sequence feel new again. Chapter 3 cannot come soon enough.
EAGLES OF DEATH METAL: NOS AMIS (OUR FRIENDS). A documentary about that fateful night in Paris when terrorists entered a rock concert and started shooting innocent people at random. The doc talks about the band’s history before making its way to the events of that night and is all the better for it. It’s an intense documentary, to be sure. Emotionally raw. I cried more than once. But I give it my highest recommendation, as it shows the spirit of togetherness overcoming great tragedy.
KONG SKULL ISLAND. Guys. Hey, hey, you guys. I am GEEKING OUT about the Godzilla shared universe with Kong, known as the MonsterVerse. So that’s reason enough for me to be a big fan of this movie, but then you consider the amazing use of color, the whizz-bang action, and the genuine sense of wonder and you get a monster adventure like few others. Bring on Godzilla vs. Kong. (And Legendary, I’m still willing to write a kaiju movie for free. CALL ME.)
And I also want to show some love for TICKLING GIANTS (a hilarious and important doc about satire vs authoritarian government), GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (I’m Marry Poppins, ya’ll!), GET OUT (one of the most original horror films in years), and LIFE (space horror movie that deserves a bigger audience).
In TV, it’s been the year of weird. No, I’m not just talking about the news, but by God it’s been a weird year in the news. I mean new shows LEGION and AMERICAN GODS, plus the return of TWIN PEAKS. Love what they’re doing, changing what you expect from the TV medium. TABOO and BETTER CALL SAUL have also been great this year. Looking forward to checking out THE HANDMAID’S TALE and others at a later date.
In books, um, I must admit I’ve not read too many 2017 releases. I’ve been reading older stuff, heh. But there’s a lot of good stuff out there! I know it! In fact, if you’ve read any 2017 book you loved, feel free to share it. Same goes for your favorite art in other mediums this year. Share away!
So… again… 2017 sucks. In fact, I think we owe 2016 an apology for all that ‘Worst Year Ever’ shit. But just the same, it’s not been all bad. Artists continue doing their thing, giving us much-needed escapes into worlds unknown. And, perhaps more importantly, we’ve seen an awakening of a people unwilling to accept this horror show as Business As Usual. Marches… Defiant protesters… Passionate pleas… Free press… Proud Americans… 2017 sucks, guys. But amongst the suckage, 2017 has given us countless heroes. And I’m thankful for that.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of books and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
Blog notice: mostly this blog is for sharing my thoughts and talking about my books. From time to time I will also comment on books, films, music, sports, and/or videogames. During these times I may use images of the creative works under discussion. I'm posting the images under the "fair use" allowance, for purposes such as criticism, comments, reporting, teaching, and research. If you have any issue with images used on this blog, please contact me and the images will be removed.
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