Things I Wrote: January 2018

I’ve been doing a terrible job at linking out to things I’ve written for other sites, and that changes this year. So each month, I’ll do a round-up of articles and reviews I’ve contributed to other places. Here’s this month’s:

REVIEWS
The Post – Central Track
The Commuter – College Movie Review
12 Strong – College Movie Review

ARTICLES
Coming Attractions – Central Track

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What I Watched This Week: 28 Jan 2018

NEW SHOWS
Saturday Night Live – “Will Ferrell/Chris Stapleton” (B)
I’m grading this on a curve, since that’s a requirement for a show that can vary wildly from week to week and sketch to sketch. Ferrell is arguably the greatest performer to ever come from the show, and while he’s committed and game in every single bit, there wasn’t any one sketch that had me holding my sides. His Bush was solid (and had more teeth than some of their political sketches) and nothing was outright terrible, yet I couldn’t help but feeling that he could have given us a little bit more.

Crashing – “Bill Burr” (B+)
An entertaining, provocative episode about male friendship and controversial jokes. Were they not both comedians, there’s no way Pete and Bill would hang out in real life. But both need each other to blow off steam, even if it’s just for a few days.

Waco – “The Strangers Across the Street” (B)
A step back from the strong premiere. It’s through no fault of John Leguizamo or the cast, but the writing is both repetitive and seems to stall to get to the inevitable showdown that will play out over the last four episodes.

The Good Place – “Somewhere Else” (A-) / season finale
Though it’s the first episode that felt like it needed to be double-length, it sets up (yet another) thrilling new direction for next season.

AP Bio
“Catfish” (A-) / series premiere
“Teacher Jail” (B+)
“Burning Miles” (A-)
A sharp but sweet series, even if it won’t admit the latter. It already knows its voice, and while it could be called mean-spirited, that nastiness is never directed at the kids. Glenn Howerton is aces, even if he’s just doing a variation on Dennis Reynolds, and Patton Oswalt is just as good as his hapless principal. Now, I just have to wait until March to get a new episode.

CURRENT SHOWS
Waco – “Visions and Omens” (A-)
A mesmerizing premiere that delivers two strong protagonists: the charming David Koresh (Taylor Kitsch, finally finding another suitable role) and the straight-arrow negotiator (Michael Shannon, more subdued than usual) who will eventually collide. Both men view themselves as righteous men in a corrupt world, but as we’ll see, neither is pure.

OLD SHOWS
Community (Season 4) – “Herstory of Dance” (A-)
By far the best episode of Season 4, with a wonderful (and sadly never reprised) guest appearance by Brie Larson as the perfect match for Abed. But of course the Sophie B. Hawkins Dance is one of the best gags the show ever did.

Parks and Recreation (Season 3) – “Flu Season” (A)
One of the series’ best episodes. Not only does it feature some of the show’s best lines, it also finds every single character being more open-hearted than they had ever been before. Just a delight to watch, even if I felt like Chris while I watched it.

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Streaming Picks: February 2018

FILMS
Top Picks
Manhunter – Amazon and Hulu 2/1
Mute – Netflix 2/23

The former is Michael Mann’s excellent adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon (aka the first time we saw Hannibal Lecter onscreen, played indelibly by Brian Cox). It’s easily the second-best Lecter movie, and it’s got a much different vibe from the films starring Anthony Hopkins.

The latter is Duncan Jones’ long-in-the-works sci-fi film, about a mute bartender (Alexander Skarsgard) working to solve the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend.

Recent Selections
Beach Rats – Hulu 2/5
The Emoji Movie – Netflix 2/8
Good Time – Amazon 2/11
Lucky – Hulu 2/11
Tom of Finland – Hulu 2/12
The Ballad of Lefty Brown – Amazon 2/13
Logan Lucky – Amazon 2/16
Once Upon a Time – Hulu 2/21
The Villainess – Hulu 2/21
Detroit – Hulu 2/23
Jeepers Creepers 3 – Netflix 2/24

Originals
On Body and Soul – Netflix 2/2 (Academy Award nominee)
Grand Prix Driver – Amazon 2/9
Seeing Allred – Netflix 2/9
The Ritual – Netflix 2/9
The Trader (Sovdagari) – Netflix 2/9
When We First Met – Netflix 2/9
Love Per Square Foot – Netflix 2/14
Human Flow – Amazon 2/16
Irreplaceable You – Netflix 2/16
Forgotten – Netflix 2/21

NEW SHOWS & SPECIALS
Top Picks
The Tick (Season 1, Part 2) – Amazon 2/23
The Looming Tower – Hulu 2/28

The former is the second part of the first season of Amazon’s excellent reboot of The Tick, which has a lot more to do with mental illness than it does with big explosions, and it’s all the better for it.

The latter is Hulu’s adaptation of Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book about al-Qaeda and how the lack of communication between the FBI and the CIA led to 9/11. It’s got Jeff Daniels AND Michael Stuhlbarg, so you know I’m in.

Originals
Absentia (Season 1) – Amazon 2/2
Altered Carbon (Season 1) – Netflix 2/2
Coach Snoop (Season 1) – Netflix 2/2
Luna Petunia: Return to Amazia (Season 1) – Netflix 2/2
Queer Eye (Season 1) – Netflix 2/7
Fate/Apocrypha (Part 2) – Netflix 2/9
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman: George Clooney – Netflix 2/9
Stinky & Dirty Valentine’s Day Special – Amazon 2/13
Greenhouse Academy (Season 1) – Netflix 2/14
Re:Mind (Season 1) – Netflix 2/15
Dragons: Race to the Edge (Season 6) – Netflix 2/16
Everything Sucks! (Season 1) – Netflix 2/16
First Team: Juventus (Season 1) – Netflix 2/16
Mozart in the Jungle (Season 4) – Amazon 2/16
The Frankenstein Chronicles (Season 1-2) – Netflix 2/20
Atomic Puppet (Season 1) – Netflix 2/22
Marseille (Season 2) – Netflix 2/23
Seven Seconds (Season 1) – Netflix 2/23
Thunderbirds Are Go! (Season 4) – Amazon 2/23
Ugly Delicious (Season 1) – Netflix 2/23

OLD SHOWS
Cougar Town (Complete Series) – Hulu 2/1
Dirt (Complete Series) – Hulu 2/1
Everwood (Complete Series) – Hulu 2/1
Nightcap (Season 2) – Hulu 2/1
Z Nation (Season 4) – Netflix 2/1
Broad City (Season 4) – Hulu 2/4
Archer (Season 8) – Hulu 2/5
Valor (Season 1) – Netflix 2/6
The Expanse (Season 2) – Amazon 2/7
Imposters (Season 1) – Netflix 2/7
Gary Unmarried (Complete Series) – Hulu 2/8
Perception (Complete Series) – Hulu 2/8
The PJs (Complete Series) – Hulu 2/8
Brockmire (Season 1) – Hulu 2/9
Deep Undercover (Collection 2) – Netflix 2/15
Parenthood (Complete Series) – Hulu 2/15
Cardinal (Season 2) – 2/16
The Long Road Home (Season 1) – 2/17
Bates Motel (Season 5) – Netflix 2/20
El Vato (Season 2) – Netflix 2/26
Sin Senos Sí Hay Paraíso (Season 2) – Netflix 2/26

COMEDY SPECIALS
Top Pick
The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale – Netflix 2/18
After a semi-disastrous one-season run on a multi-cam sitcom, the star of Community and The Soup is back in his comfort zone: making snarky comments about current events.

Other Specials
Kavin Jay: Everybody Calm Down! – Netflix 2/2
Fred Armisen: Standup for Drummers – Netflix 2/6
Derren Brown: The Push – Netflix 2/27
Marlon Wayans: Woke-ish – Netflix 2/27

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What I Watched This Week: 21 Jan 2018

NEW SHOWS
Saturday Night Live – “Jessica Chastain/Troye Sivan” (B+)
Another consistently solid episode. That makes two in a row, which is something of a miracle. Chastain is both game and breathtaking in every sketch, even if they’re better in concept than execution (the real-life Bart Simpson bit).

Crashing – “Pete and Leif” (B+)
A purposefully meandering episode that chills Pete out after being racked with guilt over his one-night stand. It also made a sympathetic (rather than simply pathetic) character out of Leif, which I didn’t know was possible or that the show was interested in doing that. I’m interested to see if this season will continue to follow Pete literally each day of his life now, or if we’ll jump ahead any time soon.

This Is Us – “That’ll Be the Day” (A)
The strongest ensemble episode of the season, perfectly melding the modern day and flashback scenes and giving us our biggest hint yet as to how Jack died. It’s still dangling the whole thing from us, but it doesn’t feel like a cheat anymore.

The Good Place – “The Burrito” (A-)
Maya Rudolph has a blast as the Eternal Judge, but I can’t help but feeling there was too much hype for a solid but not shocking guest star. I literally cheered when Bad Janet revealed herself as Good Janet, and I can’t wait to see how the show breaks the rules again next week in its finale.

CURRENT SHOWS & SPECIALS
XTC: This Is Pop (B)
An entertaining if not revelatory documentary on one of Britain’s best post-punk bands. For as much as lead singer Andy Partridge enumerates his hatred of rockumentary clichés, there are still plenty this indulges in.

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Reactions to the 2018 Oscar Nominations

Biggest Snubs (in order from most to least egregious)
1. Call Me by Your Name – Supporting Actor
“Nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot.” And boy did I feel weak after knowing one of our greatest character actors (Michael Stuhlbarg) and one of the best supporting performances of the year would go unheralded for another year. He likely split votes with Armie Hammer (also worthy, though he’s arguably a lead), which is a real shame. Guess I’ll go cry by the fire.

2. Phantom Thread – Actress
Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film had a surprisingly strong showing. In addition to Actor and Costume Design, it also picked up nods for Picture, Directing, Supporting Actress and Original Score. While all of that is nice, it’s a damn shame Vicky Krieps wasn’t a recipient of that love. The relatively new actress from Luxembourg went toe-to-toe with arguably the greatest actor alive, and won. That’s an incredible feat, and would have been worth snubbing Meryl Streep for (and yes, I’m glad Meryl is nominated).

3. The Big Sick – Picture, Supporting Actress
Though I’m happy with the Original Screenplay nomination (which wasn’t a guarantee given the stiff competition in that category), I’m a little miffed such a joyful movie didn’t get nominated for Best Picture, and that in the Year of Moms, the radiant Holly Hunter didn’t make the cut in Supporting Actress.

4. Mudbound – Picture, Director
Netflix’s biggest foray into feature films yet wasn’t totally ignored. It got the expected screenplay nod, in addition to nominations for Mary J. Blige (twice!) and Rachel Morrison’s excellent cinematography. But it should have been a much bigger player, and I really would have loved for it to have been up there for the biggest award, as well as for Dee Rees to make history as the first woman of color to be nominated for directing.

5. Molly’s Game – Actress
A stacked category, I’ll admit. Yet once again, the best actress on the planet (Jessica Chastain) gets snubbed, which has sadly happened the last four years. At least Sorkin didn’t get the shaft again.

6. Lady Bird – Supporting Actor
Greta Gerwig’s lovely debut picked up several nominations, all of them deserved. But in the absolutely loaded Supporting Actor category, there was unfortunately no room for Tracy Letts, so great (in a more subtle role) as Lady Bird’s father.

7. The LEGO Batman Movie – Animated Feature
Why oh why does the animation branch hate LEGO movies? The only reason I can think The LEGO Movie got snubbed in 2014 was because it featured some live-action sequences. This one didn’t, was a huge hit, and with the rule change allowing members of other branches to be part of the nominating process, it seemed like a shoo-in. I get the competition in the categories above may have made nominations for those people and movies impossible, but there’s no excuse when The Boss Baby and Ferdinand made it in.

8. The Disaster Artist – Actor
The L.A. Times story about James Franco’s sexual misconduct allegations broke two days before voting ended. While it played a factor, it certainly wasn’t the only factor. I long thought Franco’s performance was too “out there” for most Academy voters. Plus, hearing his name called in the midst of #MeToo would have made for an awkward morning and telecast. His performance is worthy of acclaim, even if he is not. Still, I’m not going to lose any sleep over this one.

9. Wonder Woman – Costume Design
Even after all that campaigning for the last half of 2017, Wonder Woman came up empty. I just re-watched it and think it’s one of the better comic book movies of the year. But it honestly didn’t deserve any Oscar nominations, except for this one. Its costumes – both the armor of the Amazons and the war fatigues of the troops – were fantastic, and certainly deserved a spot over the more drab outfits of Darkest Hour.

10. Wonderstruck – Original Score
It was never going to happen, but this was Carter Burwell’s best score this year, and the best score of the year period.

Most Pleasant Surprises (in no particular order)
Phantom Thread nominated for Picture, Director and Supporting Actress
Released at the tail-end of 2017, and missing out on a lot of nominations from most award-giving bodies, it seemed that it would only get love for Daniel Day-Lewis’ final performance and the exquisite costumes (and maybe Jonny Greenwood if he was lucky). But lo and behold, it surprised with three well-deserved nods on top of that (though sadly no love for Vicky Krieps).

Logan nominated for Adapted Screenplay
Though technically beaten to the punch by Ghost World and A History of Violence, Logan is the first true comic-book movie to get nominated for its screenplay. I didn’t think a superhero movie would ever be honored in this category, but the excellent script from Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green (2017’s writing MVP) got its due.

Mudbound nominated for Cinematography
Rachel Morrison made history as the first woman ever nominated in this category. Even if it wasn’t history-making, it would be well-deserved, as the shot composition is essential to the story being told.

A solid Original Screenplay category
Even with a ton of competition, and at least another five good-to-great nominees, this is one of the most satisfying categories of the year. A horror movie, an exceptional coming-of-age story, two offbeat romances and the most polarizing movie of 2017 all together, all deserving.

Victoria & Abdul nominated for Make-up & Hairstyling
Even though it might have been your grandma’s favorite movie of the year, this one was actually quite good. While I predicted a nomination for its period costumes, its top-notch make-up and hairstyling wasn’t assured. But the Academy didn’t go for any comic book or sci-fi flicks in that category this year, giving us this delightful nod instead.

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What I Watched This Week: 14 Jan 2018

NEW SHOWS
Saturday Night Live – “Sam Rockwell/Halsey” (B+)
One of the show’s most consistent episodes in a while, with Rockwell gamely playing whatever was required of him. Unsurprisingly, its reliance on pre-filmed bits was a major factor.

Crashing – “The Atheist” (A-) / season premiere
Starts like later seasons of a lot of HBO comedies, with everything sucking for our protagonist. But a mid-episode conversation with Penn Jillette about the uncertainty of religion is one of the best things the show has ever done, and that life-changing moment for Pete sends him in search of any sort of connection. It ends with a sexual encounter he will almost certainly make awkward the next morning, but it was nice for something good to happen to him.

This Is Us – “Clooney” (B)
A decently written, well-acted episode that was also completely pointless, save for one dramatic shot of a smoke detector at the end (dammit).

The Good Place – “Rhonda, Diana, Jake and Trent” (A)
Boldly going where they’ve never gone before: the actual Bad Place, the show delivers its funniest and most heartfelt episode of the season. On top of that, its ridiculously attractive cast looked even more attractive as their Bad Place alter egos.

OLD SHOWS
Community (Season 5) – “Cooperative Polygraphy” (A)
Almost certainly the best episode after the Season 3 finale, this goodbye to Pierce (and the start of a goodbye to Troy) is the show at its best: rapid-fire jokes, excellently deployed guest stars (Walton Goggins, in an early showcase of his comedic chops) and a heartfelt conclusion that reminds us why we love these characters. And “the obligatory semen.”

The Simpsons (Season 3) – “Homer at the Bat” (A)
Frankly, most of the cast is dead wrong. This is an all-time classic episode with some of the best guest stars the show has ever assembled. Now get rid of those sideburns!

Springfield of Dreams (B-)
A fun look back at “Homer at the Bat,” but it’s wildly unnecessary and certainly didn’t need to be an hour long.

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Final Oscar Picks 2018

It’s been a crazy year in every regard, but especially in awards season. There’s really been no consensus on the best movie of the year from the critics’ groups or guilds. That’s kind of exciting, but makes this guesswork particularly difficult. So here are my best guesses for the feature categories. There could still be a lot of surprises on Tuesday morning.

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird
BEST PICTURE
The Big Sick
Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Dark Horse: I, Tonya
Long Shot: The Florida Project
Total Shock: Mudbound

The skinny: In all the years I’ve been taking a stab at this stuff, this is the oddest year I’ve ever encountered. There’s no true front-runner at this point. Sure, Lady Bird and The Shape of Water have critical adoration, but none of the precursors have formed anything resembling consensus. The only thing I can go by is recent trends, thus I’m settling on eight movies in the running. There are seven locks in my mind. The Big Sick got a big boost from SAG, so I think it gets that eighth slot. But the momentum among later releases seems to favor I, Tonya. Though if it gets a boost anywhere, it would be in the screenplay category. Many prognosticators still have faith in The Florida Project, despite zero love from any of the guilds (aside from Willem Dafoe’s performance). They’re basing that off the success of the similarly themed Beasts of the Southern Wild and Room, both of which earned both Best Picture and Best Director nods. I think The Florida Project is an all-or-nothing prospect: it gets neither or it gets both. Sadly, there’s still no room for Mudbound, Dee Rees’ criminally underseen family drama that’s just sitting there on Netflix. A few years ago, it would almost certainly be a frontrunner. And while it’s a shoo-in for an Adapted Screenplay nomination (and in play for supporting actress and cinematography), it should be getting showered with accolades.

Guillermo del Toro of The Shape of Water
BEST DIRECTOR
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Dark Horse: Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name
Long Shot: Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049
Total Shock: Darren Aronofsky, mother!

The skinny: As I mentioned above, if The Florida Project gets nominated for Best Picture, Sean Baker will also be nominated for Best Director. So who’s out? Probably Jordan Peele, sadly. But if there’s a third route, then that most likely leads to Italian director Luca Guadagnino picking up his first nomination. And while I would love to see the visions of past nominees Denis Villeneuve and Darren Aronofsky honored, there’s no chance of that happening.

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour
BEST ACTOR
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Post
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Dark Horse: James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Long Shot: Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Total Shock: Robert Pattinson, Good Time

The skinny: Gary Oldman has this in the bag, so the bigger story is the rest of the nominees. I often thought James Franco would be on the outside looking in for his performance as Tommy Wiseau, and that was before the stories of sexual misconduct. Those may have hit too late to change any voters’ minds, but he’s still in contention. So it all comes down to which two-time winner will make it in: The Post is excellent but has lagged recently, yet far more people have seen it than Roman J. Israel, Esq., which was pretty bad but featured another great Denzel performance. I’d rather see another young actor get in: Robert Pattinson as the corroded soul of Good Time, and he’s magnificent.

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
BEST ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

Dark Horse: Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Long Shot: Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Total Shock: Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman

The skinny: Once again, it’s coming down to which living legend makes that fifth slot: Meryl Streep might undeservedly miss for only the second time in her career – yeah, I’m going to bat for The River Wild here – at the expense of Judi Dench reprising her role as Queen Victoria in Stephen Frears’ sequel to Mrs. Brown. Ordinarily, I’d roll my eyes at such a thing, but Dench crushes it as usual. There’s been a lot of support in recent weeks for Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game, but it may have come too late. Of course, I’m of the opinion that she should have been nominated at least three more times since she got robbed for Zero Dark Thirty. And while people have been clamoring for Wonder Woman to get something big since the summer, it’s not going to happen, though Gal Gadot’s star-making turn wouldn’t be the worst place to honor it.

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What I Watched This Week: 7 Jan 2018

NEW SHOWS
This Is Us – “The Fifth Wheel” (A-)
Its resolution is much too tidy and it features an absolutely dreadful monologue from Randall, but the rest of the episode – most of it set in just two locations, plus one in flashback – is right up there with the best the show has ever done.

The Good Place – “Best Self” (A)
The show proudly burns it all down once more, setting up the rest of the season (and possibly Season 3), as our sextet forge into the real Bad Place in their attempt to escape to the Good Place. Possibly the show’s warmest episode to date.

CURRENT SHOWS & SPECIALS
Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation (C+)
There are moments when Chappelle stumbles into something brilliant about capitalism, racism and sexism in this country. Yet he undercuts his insights with weak, offensive jokes that he delivers with an “Ain’t I a stinker?” grin. It makes for an uneven special, one that’s not nearly as focused and funny as Equanimity.

The Good Place – “Leap to Faith” (A-)
The best party on TV, complete with a roast, double-crossing, a heist and DJ Bad Janet, who alternates between Puddle of Mudd’s “She Hates Me” and “Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer.”

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2017 in Review: Box Office Report

Another year, a few more record-setting films and still fewer tickets sold than any time since the 1990s. It’s only going to get worse, but it seems audiences may finally be wising up: rejecting some tired franchises and championing original films (or at least ones that aren’t based on comic books, theme park rides and toys).

SURE-FIRE HITS – The Kings of the Box Office
*Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($517.2 million)
Beauty and the Beast ($504 million)
Wonder Woman ($412.5 million)
It ($327.2 million)

SURPRISE SUCCESSES – They got there through word-of-mouth or succeeded where others failed
Get Out ($175.4 million)
*Wonder ($121.5 million)
Girls Trip ($115.1 million)
Baby Driver ($107.8 million)

CONSOLATION PRIZES – Didn’t do so hot here, but made up for it overseas
Despicable Me 3 ($264.4 million) – made $767.7 million outside North America
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales ($172.5 million) – made $622.2 million outside North America
The Great Wall ($45.1 million) – made $289.3 million outside North America
Wolf Warrior 2 ($2.7 million) – made $867.6 million outside North America

DISAPPOINTMENTS – Movies that should have done better
*Justice League ($225.5 million) – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice made $330.3 million
War for the Planet of the Apes ($146.8 million) – previous film made $208.5 million
Transformers: The Last Knight ($130.1 million) – previous film made $245.4 million
Alien: Covenant ($74.2 million) – Prometheus made $126.4 million

FLOPPIEST FLOPS – These cost a lot and didn’t come close to returning their investment
The Mummy ($80.1 million) – cost $125 million and killed Universal’s Dark Universe
Ghost in the Shell ($40.5 million) – cost $110 million
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ($40.4 million) – cost $177.2 million
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword ($39.1 million) – cost $175 million

LOW BUDGET VICTORIES – Low-cost, high-yield successes
Annabelle: Creation ($102 million) – cost $15 million
Happy Death Day ($55.5 million) – cost $4.8 million
The Big Sick ($42.8 million) – cost $5 million
Wind River ($33.7 million) – cost $11 million

SADDEST STATISTIC – The Emoji Movie made $86 million.

*still in release

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2017 in Review: The Best Performances – Film

Unlike years past, there were very few performances that I absolutely adored this year. Plenty I liked, but there was a real dearth of those memorable roles that I’ll be thinking about for years to come. So while some of the choices may come from left field, these were the performances that made the most lasting impressions or, in some cases, stood out as being the most interesting.

Best Ensemble Cast

The cast of Mudbound
Mudbound
The sprawling ensemble of Dee Rees’ Mudbound all rise to the occasion, showing all the hurt, anger and resentment that’s built up over years of having their dreams taken from them and how hard they’ve had to work just to eke out an existence in a world that wants nothing to do with them.

Best Actor in a Drama

Robert Pattinson in Good Time
Robert Pattinson in Good Time
I’m not quite as enamored with the Safdie Brothers’ wild crime drama as everyone else, though I appreciated that it was the rare movie that I had no idea where it would go from scene-to-scene. Robert Pattinson fully sheds his modern day matinee idol persona with a fully committed performance as a two-bit crook who will stop at nothing to get his mentally challenged brother (and patsy) out of jail. It’s a fully committed performance for a character that will commit crime after crime just to make up for a crime that cost him more than he gained.

Best Actress in a Drama

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Whether or not time is kind to Three Billboards, we’ll always remember Frances McDormand’s performance as Mildred Hayes. She’s all fire and fury as the mother of a murder victim who’s killer hasn’t been (and might never be) caught. Her character’s anger makes sense, even if her actions rarely do.

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