2017 was a weird year for pop culture and entertainment. There was some terrible content given to us, and we made the best of it. However, there were also some real gems among the garbage. Being the procrastinating aficionado that I am, I took it upon myself to compile my 3 favourite movies and 3 favourite TV series of 2017. What this means is that I spent an embarrassing amount of time reviewing these 6 things instead of studying for my finals.
A horror movie with a little something extra, ‘Get Out’ was Jordan Peele’s director debut. Richard Roeper, esteemed film critic, gave the film 3½ stars, saying, “the real star of the film is writer-director Jordan Peele, who has created a work that addresses the myriad levels of racism, pays homage to some great horror films, carves out its own creative path, has a distinctive visual style—and is flat-out funny as well”. Roeper and I just happen to agree. While the official genre of ‘Get Out’ is horror, there is a wonderfully placed satirical wit present that speaks volumes about the treatment of the POC body. What sets ‘Get Out’ apart from other horror films, besides the much-needed original concept itself, is how relevant it is regarding the current state of racism in North America.
Finally, a coming of age film that doesn’t make me cringe. This movie has all the drama, angst, and eye-rolling moments that one can expect from a movie about a teenage girl who is trying to find herself and, yes, there is a romantic plot line. What I love about ‘Lady Bird’, however, is that much of the focus is on the character development of the leading female role herself rather than paying a ridiculous amount of time focussing on her love interests. What is also refreshing about this movie is how the dynamic of the mother-daughter relationship is presented. The relationships are raw, the dialogue is witty and, most importantly, the events are realistic. Almost too realistic at some points, which forces the viewer to self-reflect on habits and relationships in their own lives.
I am a sucker for historical movies, and this may be one of the most well-done ones I have seen. Set during the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II, this film gives the viewer three different perspectives from land, sea, and air. What makes ‘Dunkirk’ unique is that there is very little dialogue, forcing the cinematography and soundtrack to create the chaotic feel of a war movie. This movie is not just entertaining, it is art. Like any artistic endeavour, ‘Dunkirk’ proves to be just as thought provoking as it is beautiful.
She’s Gotta Have It
Based on the Spike Lee movie by the same name (1986), Netflix has recently released the forward-thinking remake. Following the life and love of Nola Darling, a sex-positive, uncompromising, unapologetically black artist living in Brooklyn, this hard-hitting comedy both entertains and teaches. The wonderful world of Nola extends the message that ownership is not love, sexual freedom is not shameful, and sheds light on some concerning aspects of society as it exists in 2017, such as slut shaming, racism, and sexual violence. This is a must-watch.
A friend recommended this to me and described it as a “Netflix original cartoon about puberty, but it’s for adults. There’s a puberty monster. It’s hilarious”. I was not sold. Then I was forced to sit down and watch it. I was obsessed. This Netflix original is hilarious, relatable, and often cringy…. but in the best way possible. It respects the changes that teenagers go through, while at the same time humiliating them. Which, if we are all being honest, is probably one of the best comedic situations to watch because we have all been there. It’s funny because it’s true, and we all know it to be true. If you’re looking for a light hearted, mind numbing, but very entertaining new cartoon to watch, give ‘Big Mouth’ a watch.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Finally, the dystopian genius of Margaret Atwood is bestowed upon us. The series is just as haunting and vivid as the novel, which is something I was incredibly impressed by. I don’t want to be that girl who says “well, the book was better” often, and I am so glad that, this time around, this isn’t the case. The series has Atwood herself as consulting producer, which may be the very reason that they haven’t completely disgraced the novel (yet). Even for those who have read the novel, there is something raw about seeing Atwood’s story acted out on screen. We, of course, imagine the horrors while we read them, but it is completely different seeing them come to life. And, like all successful dystopian stories, what you see makes you both thankful for what you have, but fearful of the possibilities. Ah, anxiety. Such a great entertainment tool.