I know a top three for an overlook of films in a year seems odd, but the biggest reason I am only doing a top three is to make it more focused. I have easily seen more than just three this year, hell I bet I could do a top ten. While thinking though I wanted to be more focused on these three films. Not only did I fully love these films, I feel they are important. Not only did these films mean something to me, but I feel like I am excited for future things to come since I watched these films. Not only did these films impress me with just how they are, they even impressed me on different levels of entertainment.
If you know me and this blog already, you already know I will be talking about this film again.
3. Disaster Artist
I love entertainment in general as the biggest one is clearly film. I mean this is a list about films in general, so of course I feel like I love films in a high regard. I have tried to watch whatever I can with films, I have seen bad films, disgusting films, and mind-boggling films. Now if you do not know what the Disaster Artist is about, well all you need to do is to look up Tommy Wiseau. This man tried something big which was direct, produce, write, and even act as the lead in his own film. All four of those tasks are not easy to do and well the final product shows the struggle of that film. There is a book about that process and wow things were hard. Now I will admit this film did butter things up compared to the book where the actor Greg Sestero revealed many things. Many people talk about how much they want to witness those events and while the book paints that image not so great, the film version still does show the conflicts, but again makes it a bit uplifting. The thing is I am not saying that is a bad thing, a big theme of the film is showing what Tommy’s ambition did to him while the book straights up slanders him as this person with a lack of common sense or human senses to begin with. Wiseau is a mystery as well and he is no hero. I still do not want to hate the guy though since I do feel like there are previous events that caused him to be overly blunt.
The big purpose of this movie though is to be a tribute to The Room, the film that Wiseau released. It is known as the best worst movie of all time. If you want to study film, this can actually be a great lesson since there are many mistakes that are so glaring. The Room does come off across as an ambitious attempt though which is why it resonated so well with people. Still to this day The Room is shown in theaters for midnight events and it is actually getting a nationwide release. So, the Disaster Artist did well in giving a spotlight to The Room. Another big part that amazed me was that my doubts for the cast were not needed. To be honest hearing The Franco brothers and even Seth Rogan working on this worried me because their recent films have been the same act and even for their acting roles. I remember enjoying both Rogan and James Franco, but that stopped around these recent years. Hopefully these guys can continue to do projects like these because I enjoyed how this film was made.
There are many things that were spot on and the most important one had to be James’ performance as Tommy Wiseau. There are many people who do Wiseau impressions, but sometimes it really just comes off as jokes, even I do it. Franco though gets it perfect and I cannot remember the last time I was happy to see him perform. Even his brother Dave Franco did nice playing as Greg. Even Rogan’s performance reminded me of his early days. There are also so many comedy film stars in this film and even Tommy and Greg themselves get cameos. I also started to lose it when we got to see clips of their own version of The Room, it was amazing how shot per shot accurate they were. For a fan of The Room, this did bring tons of joy and while it is clearly being a tribute to the film itself more than being more about the actual story, it does nice doing both. A film like this reminds me of how even failed attempts can become bigger than we think and at times people need to really get out there and try themselves, failure is the best teacher.
2. Lupin the Third: Goemon Ishikawa’s Spray of Blood
Not a big surprise I am talking about Lupin again because the series just had a film this year. I brought up my vexations with current anime and the more I talk about this I feel like Miyazaki himself. There are many things that I agree with Miyazaki about the current scene and it is still not looking good for the genre. I know people think things look good with things like One Punch Man and Boku no Hero Academia, but two shows cannot save this. To be honest people focusing only on these two shows is one of the reasons why it is hard for anime to get bigger. Still to this day, I feel like people just show the same things over and over again. There are clearly franchises still sticking around and while some have changed with the times for better or for worse. A product like Lupin the Third really shows how well this formula still even works today. This actually makes me a bit more optimistic about anime, I still know the facts, but I feel like if there can still be films or shows that hit hard like this film, at least I can say the last years can be good ones. I do not blame the quality of the shows or films for this problem… well some shows are clearly a problem (ecchi is poison now these days). To be honest I know some people only know Lupin for the sexy scenes and the sexy Fujiko. By actually looking into the franchise really shows me the what Lupin has to offer, it can be quite adult and sometimes that can get a bad image. There are some adult products that personally act more childish, Lupin is that rare product that really shows off what adult entertainment can be like, anything else. Adult media can be silly there is no problem with that and it can be graphic, but the big thing is that it is art regardless. I do feel some nudity and blood can be done wrong in creative media. God of War really makes blood spill out like water, and again ecchi anime really flop out the tits too much. While I feel some great creators can do tons of things with nudity, blood, and even both. Nudity can simulate erotic tastes, but it can even bring great comedy or even the most disturbing moments. The same can be said for blood and some products really can misuse it, so something like Lupin is a rare sight to see.
This film is a sequel to Jigen’s Gravestone which is still the same team who worked on the Fujiko series. I really adore of these guys bring back the original flavor of Part I Lupin back in these current times. The original series had a huge focus in crime and what can come from it. For Jigen’s Gravestone it shows how warring countries can stoop low and how humans can simply turn themselves into weapons. With Goemon’s film, it showcases how honor is dead in crime and how people can lose their humanity. Things focus around Goemon for a change which that can be rare to find. Goemon is the least focused character in the series out of the main five. I will say though whenever he gets a focused story it can be hit or miss. Some people try to make him too similar to Jigen, while that is not his character at all. Goemon is a samurai in the age of crime which really paints an interesting character. Goemon tries to keep his honor and the challenges he must endure for that while dealing with crime lords is great. Jigen is a man who does not hold his honor that often, he is quite the realistic man of the group. There are even times Jigen is fine with running away so he can live. The film has Goemon try to restore his honor because of a yakuza boss he was supposed to protect got killed, even if his death was because of his actual men. The son blames Goemon for what happens and Goemon must kill the man who destroyed the boat and lead to the man’s death. His target is a man who does not fear death since he is a man who should be dead to begin with, The Hawk, The Ghost of the Bermuda.
One aspect that I love about both films is how they create great opponents for both Jigen and Goemon. Jigen faced off with a man who treated himself like a living weapon and lives with his pride. Goemon faces a big American cowboy with dual axes! Goemon’s fight easily makes this feel like an East versus West concept. The two only have three fights in total and they are fascinating. The first fight makes you think Goemon stood a chance, but The Hawk was clearly focused on the mission at hand. The second fight shows you the truth of the matter. At the end, the final fight is one of the best duels I have ever seen and for those who loved the level of detail of gore in Jigen’s Gravestone, this film delivers way more of that. The animation really strikes gold yet again with some great shots of gore. The detail they had with skin, bone, and blood is top-notch. There is even a funny sexual scene where Lupin is giving Fujiko a massage. The best scene hands down have to go to when Goemon awakens his new sense and unleashes it onto people he tried to warn. This film even has Zenigata unlike Gravestone and if you are familiar with the Fujiko series, this Zenigata is more serious than other ones. I personally like this choice for this change since Zenigata still has some nice blunt scenes that come off as comedic. I cannot also recall the last time a recent anime production got me on the edge of my seat and had me jump out of it. There are clever surprises in the film as it knows how to raise the levels of excitement and know when to change it for a shock. Overall, Goemon’s film still keeps me impressed with Lupin’s adventures and I cannot wait for Part V to come out.
1. Baby Driver
I know I did a post on Baby Driver before, but I just have to talk about how great this film was to me. I went to the theater eight different times to watch this film. This is not only my favorite film of the year, but one of my personal picks of all time. I have an odd sense of my favorites since I have some personal ones where they are not the best, but have quirks to them that get my attention. Then I can admit that even if a film is not a personal favorite of mine, I can still call it one of the best films around. For my big personal selection, it has to be a mixture of both. What I basically look for are those little quirks being done masterfully. Baby Driver easily has that for me since not only am I an Edgar Wright fan, but I can be brought in by great music. The choice of music for this film is not an original soundtrack, but a compilation of other music. Which this has been done before and recently even, Guardians of the Galaxy has some nice moments where the music can carry the story. Baby Driver takes that to a whole new level where the music is the movie’s story. Not only that the music is moving the film. Edgar Wright has done scenes with perfect timing with music before, but he takes to a new level with his dream project. Literally every scene is in sync with the music and it is simply not a gimmick. When it is being done to this level, it just becomes the style of the film. In a strange way this film is the best musical around since it moves with the music. On top of that there is a great cast of actors and their stories are cleverly hidden in the dialogue. Wright loves to hide details in his movies and I feel this is the best he has done it. Not only they are done well so paying attention is important it makes things feel impactful when you do find them. I can barely recall a movie where I love every scene because picking around is so much fun with Baby Driver. Again, finding how the music fits with the scenes is great and when you find that rhythm you get in sync with the movie itself. There is no film like this as Edgar Wright really shows what he can do in the modern times. I love the Cornetto Trilogy, but after debating so long with myself, Baby Driver is easily my favorite film from Edgar Wright since the passion this film has is amazing. This just keeps me excited to see what his next films will be since he has a new trilogy coming up with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
I know the Baby Driver section was shorter than the other two, but I have talked about the film before on the blog. Also, this is not the last time we will see this movie on the blog. I do know there are many other films that came out this year, but these three were the most important to me. Not only as films, but showcasing aspects that I extremely love from the medium. I bet many of you have other films that you want to talk about and I will accept those comments with a full heart. I bet I will see tons of Star Wars talk with the recent movie, which I actually really liked and maybe later down the line I will talk about my experience with that film and Star Wars in general, even if it is not one of my favorite things.