Thursday, January 25, 2018

My Favorite Things from 2017

Better late than never, My Favorite Things from 2017:

2017 Favorite Movie #1 – Blade Runner 2049 – This film is an acquired taste, but everything about this movie worked for me.  The cinematography, the script, the score, the production design, the cast, the pace, the ending… I loved all of it.  I want a special flat screen tv up on a wall in my house to play this on repeat like it’s a piece of art.

2017 Favorite Movie #2 - The Florida Project – No film in recent memory moved me like this one and encouraged me to keep trying to do my job well.  It is so sad and so beautiful.  Plus, I never knew how much I was missing a movie with Willem Dafoe as a good guy.

2017 Favorite Movie #3 – Logan – This was the coolest superhero film since The Dark Knight.  I have always loved Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, but none of the X-Men movies felt quite right to me.  Too goofy, too tame, too much cast with hit or miss acting. But this one figured it out.  Simple, well done, and so, so sad.

2017 Favorite Movie #4 – Dunkirk – In lesser hands, this would have been redundant, but Christopher Nolan is a genius mathematician who crafted something so unique and strong here.  Plus, I’m a fan of any movie that covers half of Tom Hardy’s face.

2017 Favorite Movie #5 – Coco – I like it when Pixar works.  This is a Pixar film that works.  Beautiful, creative, and a plot that’s put together like an expensive watch.  Even when the audience can see the last song coming, it still wrecks the house.  You walk out of the theater emotional as you realize why the film was named Coco.

2017 Favorite Movie #6 – Thor 3 – I saw it in the theater twice.  I wouldn’t mind a third time.  Few things made me laugh harder than Bruce Banner jumping out of a plane and not turning into the Hulk.

2017 Favorite Movie #7 – It – Stephen King’s Goonies. What can I say?  I’m a sucker for creepy clowns.

2017 Favorite Movie #8 – Split – This is pretty much a bad movie with one impressive actor owning every scene he’s in, which isn’t much of a sell, but then comes M. Night Shyamalan’s best twist ending EVER, which went unnoticed by 85% of the audience.  Only see this if you were a Shyamalan obsessive circa 2000.

2017 Favorite Movie #9 – The trailer for Kong: Skull Island, which I thought did a better job editing music to the action than Baby Driver.  I thought the movie was just okay, but this trailer is wonderful: https://youtu.be/44LdLqgOpjo

2017 Favorite Movie #10 – The trailer for The Florida Project.  After watching this preview, I knew I’d love the movie.  Look at this 2-minute piece of art: https://youtu.be/WwQ-NH1rRT4


Favorite TV Shows in 2017:

2017 Favorite TV Show #1 - The Leftovers – This show made me cry a lot.  I feel like it was made just for me.  I haven’t recommended it to anyone and if you’re reading this, you probably wouldn’t enjoy it either.  Again, it was made just for me.  Full discloser: I liked the ending of Lost more than the ending of this show, but I still loved this show.

2017 Favorite TV Show #2 - The Good Place – I love this show not because it’s funny, which it is, but because it continuously surprises me.  The twists don’t feel forced, and they organically steer where this wild show should go.  Plus, Ted Danson has become my favorite thing on TV.

Favorite Actor in Stranger Things:
First place:  Melissa Hyrne’s daughter dancing in the background at the Snowball Dance.
Second place: The kid who plays Will Byers.  That kid can ACT!
Third place: Winnona Ryder, who I actually think is awful on the show, but I made a promise to myself in 9th grade that I would be Winnona’s number one fan forever so here we are.

Favorite Albums:

2017 Favorite Album #1 – Julian Baker – Turn Out The Lights – Honest, original, sad, hopeful, and pipes that can tear down walls.  Lyrics I want to quote in conversations about life.  No album I listened to this year inspired me like this one.

2017 Favorite Album #2 – Jason Isbell – The Nashville Sound – At first I didn’t like it because it wasn’t as good as Southeastern, but I kept listening to it and realized it was the most optimistic response to Southeastern as musician can have.  It was “the happily ever after” ending I didn’t realize I wanted until I let this album marinate.  This album is evidence that a man can indeed change.

2017 Favorite Album #3 – Grandaddy – Last Place – The sound of reconnecting with an old friend and starting conversation up again without skipping a beat.  Comfortable, safe, warm, and some more goofy keyboard sounds.

2017 Favorite Album #4 – Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound – Catchy, fast indie rock from Ohio.  In a perfect world, this band would sell out stadiums.

2017 Favorite Album #5 - Roy Orbison with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – A Love So Beautiful – This probably shouldn’t count, but it sure counted to me this year.  Old songs, remastered and rerecorded with an orchestra, sounding like an angel backed by a band of angels. 

2017 Favorite Album #6 – St Vincent – Masseduction – Mainly I miss David Byrne and she reminds me of him.

2017 Favorite Album #7 - Zola Jesus – Okovi – This musician was new to me this year.  She’s terrifying.  Classy, electronic goth with heart, for those of us left who might like that sort of thing.

Favorite Musicians whose 2017 albums I only loved half of:  Josh Ritter, U2, Connor Oberst, Flaming Lips, Bob Dylan, Weezer, and Arcade Fire

Favorite Pop Songs:  Love by Lana Del Rey, Green Light by Lorde, and all the rest were terrible.

Favorite Music Videos:

Favorite Music Video of 2017 #1 Haim – Want You Back - https://youtu.be/yPQfcG-eimk
Favorite Music Video of 2017 #2 Kendrick Lamar – Humble (on mute) - https://youtu.be/tvTRZJ-4EyI
Favorite Music Video of 2017 #3 Kamasi Washington - Truth - https://youtu.be/rtW1S5EbHgU
Favorite Music Video of 2017 #4 Julian Baker – Appointments (angels are everywhere) - https://youtu.be/MdBu21i9aEE

Favorite Live Performance on TV:  Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Perform "If We Were Vampires" on Jimmy Kimmel - https://youtu.be/eAJs3VYQ8rs

Favorite Comic I read in 2017: Tom King’s run on Batman

Favorite Book I read in 2017: Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire

Favorite Game I played with my family in 2017:  Loot

Favorite Star Wars stuff:

#1 One of the saddest lines in all of Star Wars that is also one of the best foreshadowing lines in all of Star Wars: “You don't need Luke Skywalker. You think, what, I'm going to walk out with a laser sword and face down the entire First Order?”

#2 Saddest thing I’m still wrestling with – The reveal of Rey’s parents, essentially the opposite of the big reveal in Empire Strikes Back.

#3 The Marvel Comics run of both Star Wars and Darth Vader are MUST READS for fans.

#4 The Rebels episode “Two Suns”, where we see Kenobi and Maul’s final encounter.

Favorite Movie I Watched with My Kids in 2017: Gremlins

Favorite Two Photos I took in 2017:

This pic of Chance The Rapper standing on a stage:

And this pic of my dad, my brothers, and me in Death Valley:


Favorite random Youtube clip: stupid chicken https://youtu.be/D23sMvVnrow

Favorite Trip: Working on a Young Life camp in Haiti with a lot of Cincy YL leaders and my dad and Tommy Rockwood and Ole.

Favorite YL Summer Camp Program Memory: Getting to include my kids as skit characters.

Favorite Mason YL Summer Camp Memory: Mason YL hanging out on the Saranac beach during the golden hour before dinner.

Favorite Person in 2017: Missy Mecum


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That’s it I Guess. I miss anything?  What were your favorite things in 2017?

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