Brian reflects on the year in film, with a year end list of the Best Movies of 2017 that includes “Baby Driver,” “Dunkirk,” “Detroit,” and more.
I have no interest in making a year end list that speaks to life under Donald Trump or that reflects the cultural consciousness of 2017.
These are among the more tiring of critical, shorthand cliches for summing up the year in movies. And bold-faced political films like “Get Out” and Americana rich dramas like “Three Billboards” and “The Florida Project” all perform very well in that context. But I don’t want to read the analysis for what “The Shape of Water” has to say about healthcare any more than I want to pretend as though that’s how I shaped my list.
The other cliche is the critic who wants to recommend as much as possible. News flash: there are a lot of good movies readily available at your fingertips, but you know as well as I do that there are only so many hours in the day. Critics often bemoan these lists as pointless and would rather devote their column inches to movies that won’t appear elsewhere. But if I can be the umpteenth person to say you should really see “Lady Bird,” hey, maybe you should really see “Lady Bird.”
So here’s what I’ve come up with instead: the movies on my Best of the Year List are ranked based on what I’d most want to watch again right now. And in my book, there are about 18 truly great movies I saw in 2017 that stand above the rest. These are the ones I’ve most wanted to tell people to see, the ones that have lingered in my mind for weeks and months and have made me want to revisit them. Isn’t that enough? Continue reading “The Best Movies of 2017”
Crank up the volume. “Baby Driver” is Edgar Wright’s masterpiece.
You know that feeling when you get behind the wheel and YOUR song comes on? That song belongs to you and no one else, and it makes you feel like you can do anything, like you can tear up the road, and like you’ve never felt an emotion this strongly before. As you tap on the steering wheel and sing along to the lyrics, someone on the outside looking in might think you look pretty stupid. And you know what? You do, and you kind of know it. What crazy song is that you’re listening to anyways?
Edgar Wright knows that feeling. “Baby Driver” is that feeling. You could be listening to some ‘50s soul song that would be humiliating if anyone knew what you were jamming. Your name could be something silly like “Ansel Elgort,” and you could be wearing a cheap pair of drug store sunglasses as you strut down the road awkwardly avoiding foot and street traffic. But you are in that perfect moment. No one looks cooler. You’ve never felt more confident, inspired or uplifted. This feels awesome.
“Baby Driver” is in love with itself, with its style, its soundtrack and its energy. But Wright gets that to some degree this is just a little lame. If it was trying to be cool he would’ve filled it with Top 40 bangers and jukebox favorites. Instead he picked the deep cuts you dance to when no one is watching. “Baby Driver” is a heist and action movie with the volume turned up to 11, but Wright has selected a soundtrack so in tune with the movie he’s always wanted to make that it feels like a deeply personal statement. Continue reading “Baby Driver”