I’ve watched fewer movies this year than in previous; between writing, spending time with family, and the occasional television program, there hasn’t been time for it. Also, my overall discontent with Hollywood and its emphasis on empty, worthless franchise projects makes finding a movie worth seeing a difficult prospect at best.
And yet I did see stuff I liked. Here are my top five movies of 2017:
- 5: The Theta Girl: Trippy and bizarre in all the right ways, The Theta Girl proved that a low budget doesn’t automatically equal low quality in filmmaking. When it wasn’t funny it was grotesque, and despite the uneven acting it had some unforgettable scenes. If you have the opportunity to see it, pop some Lemonheads and put your peepers on the screen.
- 4: Wichita: A movie I dug despite a draggy middle section, it was full of pleasant surprises. Trevor Peterson as Jeb was the stand-out, and if you’re going to hang your movie on a single actor’s performance, he was the perfect pick. Creepy but vulnerable, he made the film.
- 3: They Call Me Jeeg: This year I’ve made my disgust with superhero films crystal clear, but They Call Me Jeeg turns the entire genre inside-out, making it fresh and worth paying attention to. Enzo, the protagonist, goes from being kind of disgusting to sympathetic to heroic, which is movie magic the likes of which James Cameron has never achieved. Check it out.
- 2: Burn: It’s a short film, and in the interest of full disclosure was written and produced by Chris Barnes, proprietor of The Slaughtered Bird. Putting aside my biases, I really liked this movie. Punchy, disquieting, and extremely well-done despite the minimal budget, it takes Michael Keaton’s My Life and eviscerates it with a meat hook.
- 1: Deep in the Wood: When considering my favorite films of the year, there was never any question that Deep in the Wood was going to sit at the top of the list. We use terms like “affecting” and “unforgettable” a lot in movie reviewing, but this one takes the cake for intensity. Every scene is meticulously planned, portrayed, and produced for maximum effect. I loved it.
Next year, I may switch from movies to Top Five TV Shows of 2017, but we’ll see.