Last year, my sister and I decided to create a 2017 Movie Challenge reminiscent of the ubiquitous book challenges that list so many categories of books and challenges people to find and read stories that fit each category. We thought movies would be easy and set the bar low at 26 — just one movie every two weeks.
I don’t know how she did or if anyone but us played, but of the 26 categories, I completed five. Buuuut…I also binged some Star Trek movies, and that’s got to count for something, right?
The categories I filled were:
No. 1: The one that got away (A movie you’ve never seen with one of your favorite actors.)
Inclusion of Kingsman: The Secret Service is kind of a cheat, because I didn’t realize Mark Hamill was in it when I started, but 1) You don’t know how desperate I am to feel like I accomplished things this year, and 2) You don’t understand how many things I was only sort of interested in (as was the case with Kinsgman) that I’ve watched for Mark Hamill. Of course there’s Star Wars, and I’ve seen a lot of animated Batman just for the best Joker, and The Big Red One might have birthed my interest in war movies, but Corvette Summer, Slipstream and The Guyver are definitely movies I probably wouldn’t have turned to without some extra motivation. I went into Sleepwalkers thinking he’d have more than 30 seconds of screen time. And don’t get me started on his delightful turn as murderous baddie Justin in Midnight Ride or Discount Kyle Reese, which I joke about but honestly Time Runner — think The Terminator but with aliens going back in time to take over the world — is one of my favorite movies I can never find.
So, when I recognized Hamill in a two second shot with half of his face obscured in Kingsman: The Secret Service, I could not have been more pleased. He chews a lot of scenery but it’s fitting for a movie that is at times delightfully absurd as an action-packed spy movie that’s very self aware of all the spy movies that have come before it.
No. 12: Second childhood (An animated film you didn’t watch as a child)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire was the only movie I specifically sought out because I wanted to fill a spot on the challenge. All the others were movies I saw for other reasons and realized they’d fit. It was fine. I wish I could say this Michael J. Fox-led flick inspired a lot of thought and feelings one way or the other, but mostly I just came away from it wanting more than it gave me. Check out the full review here.
No. 13: Something new (A movie new to theaters this year)
I saw Logan, and wrote a proper spoiler-free review and a deeper dive into more specific aspects of it, but overall I really enjoyed it. More so for the quieter character moments than all the gratuitous violence, but its action is indeed spectacular, too.
No. 22: In memoriam (A movie featuring someone who died in 2016)
I don’t like thinking about Carrie Fisher being gone so much that it wasn’t until I was halfway through putting this list together that I realized The Last Jedi could fill this spot. I had to go up and amend my count from four to five for it.
I wrote about the movie (spoiler-free and spoiler full), but I didn’t go too much into Fisher or her role as Leia, the princess turned general. She was amazing. Tough when she had to be tough, soft when she was able to be soft, and given more to play with than she had in The Force Awakens, this Leia, nearly 40 years on, is a character I could believe that skin-saving, take-charge princess in A New Hope would become.
No 26: They’re people too, right? (A movie prominently featuring an animal)
I’ll say this for the Jaws franchise: It commits to the Brody family, even when most of the Brody actors have long since bailed. The only original Jaws actor to return in Jaws: The Revenge is Lorraine Gary as matriarch Ellen Brody, and it’s understandable why everyone else would run for the hills. Jaws 4 is not a good movie, but in its ridiculousness, it swings around to at least being somewhat entertaining. Follow the link above for the full review.
So, that’s as far as I made it. Did you play? How far did you get? Because I did so abysmally here, for 2018 I’m going to keep the categories I didn’t finish and replace the ones I did with something else. So look for that post Monday and the full 2017 Media in Review posts tomorrow.
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