Top 20 of 2017

There were plenty of shitty films last year, luckily I had a ton of good experiences too. Now, gather 'round the campfire children and let me tell you all about it....


20. Better Watch Out

A genuine surprise of a movie. Read nothing about it. Just watch it at the earliest convenient Christmas. Ostensibly a home invasion movie, this little 'nightmare before Christmas' has a few tricks up its sleeve. It's cheeky, a bit more rough than it lets on, and it'll make you want to hug everyone in your family a bit harder when you see them at the Christmas dinner. Yes, even the ones you don't really care for.

19. Zootopia

I'm told that when kids get the latest animated movie on DVD they watch it incessantly for months. I hope that's the case with Zootopia. I hope kids from every corner of the Earth watch this film on repeat and learn from its lessons. This film could literally make the world a better place. Oh, and it's really funny too!

18. Girl Flu.

Yeah, it's a film about menstruation, get over it. It's also a little gem of an usual coming-of-age film, which manages both a nostalgic magic, and a certain raw honesty. Jade Pettyjohn is fearless in the lead as the 12-year old girl who is woefully unprepared to bleed for a week, every month for the foreseeable future, while Katee Sackhoff absolutely kills it as the girl's ditzy mother. Sackhoff has always been cool as hell, but she rarely gets to play this type of naturalistic, vulnerable role. It's delightful to watch. And so is the film.

17. Table 19

Anna Kendrick takes the lead as the discarded maid of honor who is forced to suffer through a wedding from 'the worst table with all the losers', after she's dumped by her best man boyfriend.

It sounds like a dumb comedy, it looks like a dumb comedy, but there's more at play here than meets the eye. As Table 19 begins to nurture its lovesick heroine back to life, it becomes obvious that the traditional rom-com solutions hold no interest for the film. Having said that, this is still a fun comedy, cute as a button, and full of amusing supporting characters and zany moments.

16. Justice League

Most people will probably agree that flawed, struggling heroes are more interesting than perfect saviors who never doubt themselves. I guess for me that extends to the actual quality of the films in which those heroes appear. That would explain why I'm much more drawn to DC's stumbling cinematic efforts than Marvel's soulless assembly line productions. Yes, Justice League is a mess. A deeply flawed, barely contained, doomed to fail, mess. I can't wait to see it again!

15. War on Everyone

Now, this is a silly one, I admit that, but what's wrong with a bit of silly? Especially when it's as well done as this. Alexander Skarsgård is the Will Smith to Michael Peña's Martin Lawrence, but in the hands of writer-director John Michael McDonagh these Bad Boys break the conventional cop-buddy movie in two, stuff the pieces up the rear end of the nearest suspect, and push the poor sod off a roof. That's the kind of film this is. Rough around the edges, anarchistic to a fault, and utterly unconcerned about making nice with everyone, to insure a sequel. That is refreshing as all hell.

14. The Conjuring 2

The original The Conjuring was a tough act to follow, but James Wan pulled it off! It wouldn't hurt The Conjuring 2 to be about 20 minutes shorter, but once it gets going it gets going with a vengeance. Few films can really scare me these days. This one terrified me to the core! I'm not sure I can watch it alone again. THAT means it's doing something right.

13. February (The Blackcoat's Daughter)

February takes place on an almost empty boarding school during the winter break, when two girls are forced to stay behind. The cold weather, the empty halls, and that feeling that they're trapped with something dark soon gets to them and then.... murder.

This is a sinister, dark, and quiet film. It's also a bit more complex than it initially appears. This is not just a film about a serial killer stalking some girls. It's much more original and much darker. The film requires a certain amount of patience, and it's important to watch every detail closely, but if you do, this is a very rewarding one-way ticket to hell.

12. Colossal

What an inspired story. The link between a lost girl, forced to return to her hometown and a giant monster on the lose on the other side of the world, turns into a strange combination of twee rom-com, vicious wannabe-superhero movie, and dark satire.

The star of this show is Anne Hathaway, who manages a careful balance that makes you both hate and love her character, as she makes one catastrophic decision after another. While the finale may be a tad too silly for most, I must admit that I enjoyed every second of this crazy ride. This is the definition of a unique film. It's worth watching for that reason alone.

11. Super Dark Times

Two teenage boys, best friends for life, get caught up in a terrible incident that slowly begins to tear them apart. The film takes place in the 90's - Clinton is on the TV, CD's are a new thing - but it still has that unmistakable Stand by Me, Spielbergian, suburban vibe in its blood.

80's nostalgia is on the verge of becoming a lazy shortcut to the hearts and minds of a certain kind of audience. Super Dark Times may be the cure for that. Slowly the film starts to veer off the predictable path. Soon it takes a sharp turn, and then we're in super dark times indeed. It's not a pleasant film to watch, there's a near constant feeling of uneasiness once the film gets going, but it's a wonderfully assured film, with some great performances from the young cast.

10. Feed

When her twin brother dies a young woman's life begins to unravel. As she struggles to hold on to reality, her brother returns. Is he a ghost, a figment of her imagination, or something much darker? Feed takes the shape of a supernatural thriller, but lead actress Troian Bellisario wrote the story based on her own, very real experiences, as she suffered from body image problems. It's the convergence of those two completely different storylines that makes Feed so compelling. It's not just a ghost story, but it IS a frighteningly intimate and disturbing portrayal of a woman, who's falling apart at the seams, delivered with relentless honesty by Bellisario.

9. Kong: Skull Island

Every summer we get a couple of films that everyone proclaims to be 'just like the old school adventures movies' or 'like a great 80's action film'. It's rarely true. It is with Kong: Skull Island, though. It's a fast-paced, fun, inventive action movie, and even though we know the story by heart, it still manages to surprise and enthrall. Grab your riffle, turn up that Black Sabbath and let's get to that fucking choppa'.

8. The Bad Batch

Defiantly off-key from the first to the last frame, this post-apocalyptic film is hard to categorize, as it goes through various permutations. Is it a revenge story? A love story? A cannibal story? Perhaps all of the above? Whatever it is, it requires you to zone out, forget the real world and just get carried away by the carefully assembled visuals, the hypnotic soundtrack and the mesmerizing tempo.

Suki Waterhouse seems refreshingly game in the lead. She has no qualms about getting down and dirty for this film, coming off like an adventurous indie actress, rather than the supermodel she looks like. Her scenes with Jason Momoa simmer with equal parts attraction and fear. It's quite irresistible.

7. 20th Century Women

Though somewhat narratively challenged, this insightful, thoughtful, and delightful trip down memory lane is utterly charming and heartwarming. It's just the story about a mother, her son, and a few scattered friends, at a particular time in their lives, but within that simple framework, the movie delivers a whole universe of emotions, guaranteed to bring you both heartache, an appreciation for life, and a smile now and then. "So what was the fight about?" the concerned mother asks her son, as she tends to a bruise, suffered in a fight with another boy. His matter-of-factly reply? "Clitoral stimulation."

6. What Happened to Monday

What's better than Noomi Rapace? Seven Noomi Rapaces of course - is how a hack writer would start his review of this film. Luckily I'm above such frivolities, but I won't deny my fascination with the mere technical aspects of having one actress play seven identical sisters. It's never not absolutely fascinating when multiple versions of this Swedish beauty run around in the same scene and interact with each other. On top of that, What Happened to Monday also tells a mean, little dystopian science fiction story, full of intense set-pieces!

5. Ghost in the Shell

Possible one of the most unfairly maligned major motion pictures of the year. This live action version of the classic Japanese animé is a near-perfect translation of the original animated story to alive-action format. The changes in the characters and plot are reasonable and work well, and only a weak bad guy prevents this from reaching the top 3 on this list.

Scarlett Johansson delivers a haunting, muted, melancholic performance. Her physical attributes take a backseat, and instead I find it impossible to look away from her face, out of fear of missing the slightest sign of that soul - or ghost - that the makers of the Major's robotic shell claim to have retained. It's a fascinating, beautiful film that goes above and beyond other similar big budget blockbusters.

4. Una

By all accounts the story of the confrontation between a man and the young woman he abused when she was thirteen, should play out a certain way. Una, however, refuses to follow that dictate. It's on a completely different and much more complicated mission. It's based on a play, so of course it's a simple story, with few characters and a limited scope. That story, those characters, and this scope, however, make for a bone-chillingly naked film, both tantalizing and revolting. Few films manage to be as raw as this one, without spilling a drop of blood. Much praise must go to Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn who deliver two incredibly nuanced and intriguing performances in the leads. Sans pedophilia, this would have been a surefire Oscar contender.

3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I have watched The Force Awakens a total of 7 times so far. It holds up beautifully. I'm not entirely sure how The Last Jedi will compare. It's not without its problems, but perhaps they will fade with time and repeated viewings. If they do, what's left is a sprawling, adventurous story similar in parts to Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi, much the same way The Force Awakens echoes A New Hope. And yet, this is also a film determined to break new ground, move in new directions, and make bold choices regarding characters and plot. I applaud it all. Even the parts that aren't working completely for me (yet). I get a giddy tingle in my stomach just thinking about rewatching this film. That's a good sign.

2. Dunkirk

Strictly speaking, on paper, the focus of Chris Nolan's Dunkirk makes the movie seem almost trivial. The plot is basic and the characters are almost non-existing. And yet, by choosing an inspired and bold angle for his storytelling Nolan elevates the material into pure movie-magic.

On top of that the sheer intensity, with which he tells his story, makes it an almost unbearable, heart-pounding ride from start to finish. One long action sequence that zeroes in on pure emotions - fear, hope, panic, isolation - rather than getting carried away with the spectacle of war, or the blood and guts of combat. Even with all this going for it, it's the somber mood that's so striking about this film, and it's there from the first moment to that last black frame. This is the work of a true master, a rare craftsman with a unique voice. Essential viewing.

1. Blade Runner 2049

What. Just. Happened? How in the world did Denis Villeneuve manage to make a film that not just matched the original Blade Runner, but surpassed it? A three-hour art film. A gorgeous $150+ million blockbuster. A satisfying detective story. It's both emotionally rewarding and intellectually stimulating. Villeneuve builds on the original movie, but expands the world, deepens the themes, and the film is even more gorgeous than that classic 1982 flick. I'm stunned, flabbergasted, floored. This film is an instant classic, and I'm filled with a near-constant desire to rewatch it.


We got through it! Unlike last year I managed to get the traditional top/bottom lists online in a descent time frame. A win for the good guys, surely. And with that, we're ready for 2018. I'd say 'do you worst 2018', but I'm afraid that's now 2017 turned out the way it did, so how about we just end this blog with a quiet plea... 2018, be gentle.


Bottom 20 of 2017

What's all this then? A list of the worst film experiences from last year? Why, yes it is! And we're still early in January! Such fortune! Oh well, no need to for complicated explanations, let's get on with it....


20. A Cure for Wellness

Gore Verbinski's feast of weirdness seems to tick all the right boxes, but as the movie drags on, it'll slowly start to dawn on you that the wizard behind the curtain is a monkey banging a steel drum. It's a gorgeous, beautifully shot film, but it's hollow, and ultimately pointless, and at 146 minutes you may even grow tired of it, before you realize it's got nothing to say.

19. The Fate of the Furious

Vin Diesel, you're a charmless douche. I can't wait for your candy ass to leave this franchise and turn it over to The Rock. Or better yet, bring back Gal Gadot and turn the whole show over to her, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and Elsa Pataky. That's a movie I'd like to watch! At this point I only watch this franchise in the hopes of seeing Diesel, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris die a horrible death. There's a joke here about Paul Walker, Diesel, Lennon and Yoko, but I'm not touching that.

18. Nocturnal Animals

If I had to sum up this film in one word it would be 'infuriating'. Sure it's a classy film, the actors are top-notch and the designs are stunning, but the story, oh dear, the story! The most unsatisfying non-story ever put on film. When the penny drops, when you finally find out how it all fits together, you'll feel a sting of disappointment, you haven't felt since Kanye West's fall collection was revealed. That's right, folks, we do fashion jokes here too.

17. Underverden (Darkland)

Someone was asleep at the wheel on this film. Or really high (yeah, I've heard stories). It's one of those movies that proclaims to tell a certain story, and then forgets to actually do it. Underverden would like to think it's a raw revenge tale, but it's dull, dumb, and - most crucially - it forgets that whole revenge part. The only thing its got going for it is the brilliant cinematography by Danish lenser Kasper Tuxen. Those pictures deserve a better film.

16. Arsenal

Who did Nicolas Cage's hair and glued-on moustache for this film? That's all I want to know. Was it an intern? Did this person have a drinking problem? Let's call this person Barry. Perhaps there was a death in Barry's family, and the only way he could cope was to work through it, and the nice people on this film let him, despite the end result. 'Look at this moustache! And what's up with the hair?!' someone blurted out, and then they were immediately hushed by a kind soul. 'It's Barry, he's going through some rough times, we all have to be here for him, don't mention it again'. I imagine the crew party, when the producer took the stage for the obligatory speech to the troops. Everyone on the crew was thanked, but the most important name was saved for last. 'And finally I want to thank Barry, who - despite his recent loss - managed to pull through and deliver this stunning facial hair for Mr. Cage, in a thousand years, when we're all dead and gone, this facial hair will still be remembered!' You got that part right.

15. Kate Plays Christine

This is just a misguided idea. A semi-documentary following an actress who prepares for a role in a project that doesn't exist. Yeah, how could that fail?

14. Sleepless

This is the very definition of Hollywood incompetence. Take a great, intense French film. Move it to a new location that doesn't work as well as the original. Hire a guy, who can't capture the raw nervousness the lead character requires. Write a bad script. If I didn't know any better, I'd think they did this shit on purpose.

13. Hacksaw Ridge

This is competently made, I'll give it that much. Mel Gibson can actually put a solid film together. The problem is the hypocritical story and the unbearable, holy message. It's too raw and has too good a cast to fall into the same category as those garbage 'faith based' movies. Nevertheless I'll judge it alongside those with equal amounts of disdain and irreverence.

12. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

This one baffles me. The first Jack Reacher was a tight thriller. This one feels like a double episode of one of those CBS shows only grandfathers watch. The story is uninspired and crushingly dull. Tom Cruise is completely off his game here, and Cobie Smulders is about as interesting as a wad of wet toilet paper. What say you, Hollywood? Have we learned something about prophetic titles by now?

11. xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Ah yes, the hero no one liked, returns to do a sequel no one wanted, in a franchise no one remembers watching. Vin Diesel is still trying to get a career going outside of the Furious franchise, and inexplicably people are still letting him do that. And from the collected world of the round-eyes, can I just say one thing? Fuck you, China! xXx 3 made $164 million there - FOUR times what it made in the US! Fuck you, China, for not helping us send a loud, clear message to Vin Diesel. Now he's gonna think he's a movie star for another decade. Burn some incense for that depressing idea.

10. Alien: Covenant

Ridley Scott fucked up on Prometheus. I know it. You know it. He knows it. That's why he decided to go back to something that more closely resembles the style of the original Alien film. What he should have done was abandon every single idea that has anything to do with Prometheus, but unfortunately he didn't. Instead, this is a hybrid of the bad ideas from Prometheus, combined with a weak copy of Alien. The worst of both worlds! And the most disheartening thing is that Scott has no idea that he failed, or why.

9. Underworld: Blood Wars

I had no expectations for this film, yet it still managed to disappoint. It's so crushingly bland that it's hard to describe. The plot is less exciting than watching paint dry. At least when you're done with that, something has been accomplished - the wall is now a new color - but the same can't be said for this film. Nothing happens. It doesn't mean anything. And the plot doesn't generate a single genuine human emotion. Unless complete and utter boredom counts. It even manages to make the stunningly sexy, leather-clad Kate Beckinsale boring!

8. The Assignment

Michelle Rodriquez plays a man in this film. And there's a full frontal nudity shot where we see her entire naked, hairy body and her giant schlong. That's it. That's all I got.

7. The Hitman's Bodyguard

The tone of this action-comedy is all over the place. One moment we're expected to laugh when Ryan Reynolds is stuck in a bus with singing nuns. The next moment a truck full of explosives plow through a group of people protesting at the trial for a war criminal. But the worst part of this fundamentally unlikable film is Samuel L. Jackson. He has never been more annoying than here. Not in Kingsman: The Secret Service, in The Spirit, or in Sphere. You'll want to punch his face until the skin slides off in bloody lumps. Not even another delightful, if misguided, turn from Ryan Reynolds can save this film. That's right, even Deadpool can't save this film! That's how much you fucking suck, Jackson.

6. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

The franchise that started as a cool, modern, zombie-horror-action movie has mutated into a grotesque beast that no longer bears any resemblance to a zombie movie, a horror movie or an action movie. Despite a careful 'last week on Resident Evil'-prologue, the film is incomprehensibly nonsense from the word go. Surprisingly, it manages to become even more preposterous and nonsensical along the way, as useless as the badly designed CGI monsters that populate the scenery. The action scenes are unintelligible, a blurry mess of quick cuts and shaky images, literally impossible to decipher 90% of the time. And don't get me started on the once cool heroine Alice. She's gotta be the worst military strategist in human or zombie history. She walks head first into like 3 traps within the first 20 minutes. And to top off this abomination, the movie, this so-called final chapter I'll remind you, ends with the line 'my work is not done yet'. Fuck you Paul Anderson.

5. 13 Hours

It's obvious why Michael Bay wanted to tell this story. It's about really cool military dudes, right? And they like shoot stuff and save lives, bro'! It's like totally awesome and like patriotic and stuff - is how I imagine the pitch meeting went. With the subtlety of a 3-foot spiked dildo, Michael Bay forces his tone-deaf, bullshit, macho attitude on a harrowing drama that deserves better. Undoubtedly, in different hands, this would have been a story worth telling, but with Michael Bay at the helm it's reduced to a long, loud and listless shootout. It would be bad enough if he just turned the event into an action film, but turning it into a dull action film is borderline unforgivable.

4. Assassin's Creed

This is not just utter nonsense. It's violently aggressive nonsense. The story is a rambling pile of utter garbage, the most idiotic mess imaginable. The action scenes are just collections of random clips, the effects are barely functional, and the whole venture seems shrouded in a dull, perplexing blanket of complete lack of effort. It makes Michael Fassbender look like he's the next Michael Paré. He might as well get started on that drinking problem now.

3. Hangman

Did you watch Al Pacino in 88 minutes? If you did you probably, like me, thought "well, it can't get much worse than that." And then Hangman arrived. I'm not sure what's most depressing, how little this resemble something put together by adults with normal brain function, or how utterly disillusioned Karl Urban looks.

Never mind that the story makes no sense, and contradicts itself every 5 minutes, what's really crushing here is watching a once respected actor, stumble around in a partially catatonic state, while mumbling incoherent, seemingly improvised lines. Some of those old school Hollywood actors had the right idea. Die in a car crash, drink so much your heart explodes, or just fucking retire and write books instead, because this - a slow dissolve into mulch in front of our eyes - is just too damn heartbreaking.

2. mother!

It's hard to invest in a movie, or take it serious, when it feels like nothing is real, and everything is just a dream or an illusion. That's the case with mother! and that's simply because the whole film is one giant, thick, labored metaphor. You can go online and read interpretations, which seems to point to a very specific intention behind the film. I saw a completely different and much more interesting intention, though, but that's beside the point. What IS the point is that this is a laughable and dreadful assault on conventional narrative. A reverse clown-car of forced weirdness, without any immediately recognizable plot or purpose. In the middle, a desperately lost Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a permanent mask of shock and bewilderment - much like most viewers, I suspect.

Coming across like a fifth grade student, who just discovered symbolism, writer/director Darren Aronofsky clumsily, and with little regard for the viewer, stages a spectacularly unwatchable film, so unlikable that if you came across it in an dark alley, you would beat it to death with an tire iron. Oh, it's a unique work of art, no doubt about that. Monkeys throwing poo at a wall would also produce a unique 'work of art', mind you. You may have some fun, trying to figure out what the conceited director is trying to say, but it's an exercise in futility. Despite the blood, the gore, the grotesquely over the top finale, and all those precious metaphors, it turns out that there isn't much there, when all is said and done. Don't get me wrong, mother! creates a beautiful mess along the way, it also makes an awful lot of noise. Empty barrels often do.

1. Twin Peaks: The Return

David Lynch would like for us to pretend this 18 episode TV-series is a film. Very well, I shall grant him his wish. If this is a movie it's an 18 hour long slog. Don't get me wrong, there are moments of utter brilliance, truly terrifying scenes and spectacularly interesting ideas. They make up about 15 minutes of running time. The rest is cheap-looking, awkwardly staged, often inept buffoonery. Viewed in one-hour segments a week apart, this was a torturing experience. I can't image how it would feel to try to watch this in one sitting. The scattered plot is mostly made up of loose ends, slapstick comedy, and scenes where characters stare into thin air. Kyle MacLachlan plays a retarded copy of himself whose only dialogue is repeating the line just spoken to him. For SIXTEEN HOURS! It'll make you wish they had just left well enough alone.

Twin Peaks: The Return wasn't the show we expected, it wasn't the show we wanted, and it sure as shit wasn't the show we deserved. See you in 25 years, Mr. Lynch? Nope. Not if I see you first.


And there you have it. Next up: The best films from last year.


2017: The Stats

2017 was the year where I resigned to the fact that I can't watch 400 films in a year, while watching 700 TV-episodes. So I didn't. And I stopped feeling bad about it. Yay me. So, no complaints that I managed less than 300 films in the past year. Besides, the quality is what counts, right?

And so, we've once again reached that time when I have to come up with my lists of the best and worst film experiences of the year, but before we get to those: Here are the stats.....

Number of films watched in 2017:


- 2016 (288) - 2015 (307) - 2014 (331) - 2013 (401)
- 2012 (405) - 2011 (343) - 2010 (338) - 2009 (302)

- Films watched for the first time: 158
- Re-watched films: 105

Films in play for the top/bottom lists:


Quality distribution (of new films):
- Good: 63
- Meh: 32
- Bad: 20

Format distribution:

Blu-ray: 167
DVD: 5
VOD: 74
Cinema: 17

Decade-of-release distribution:

1920's: 1 film
1930's: 1 film
1940's: 1 film
1950's: 2 films
1960's: 3 films
1970's: 5 films
1980's: 20 films
1990's: 36 films
2000's: 30 films
2010's: 164 films (2016: 66 / 2017: 62)

Most watched films:

Rogue One (4 times)
Arrival (3 times)
Ghost in the Shell (3 times)
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (3 times)

Number of TV-show episodes watched:
(not counting old episodes of Mythbusters or game shows)


Number of different TV shows watched:


Complete seasons watched:



And just like that 2018 is off to a great start! Now, if I can just get those damn Top/Bottom lists online earlier than December.... Watch this space....