THE LIST: Drew’s (Official & Final) Summer Movie Rankings (2017)
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT
Somewhere between our last podcast and now, Michael Bay’s latest eye-sore dropped to the bottom of the barrel for me. THE LAST KNIGHT is migraine inducing, confusing and extremely dumb, yet somehow manages to be marginally better than its predecessor.
A rare misfire for Tom Cruise. I can’t say I wanted it but I do admire Universal’s idea for a Dark Universe. The idea sounds fun on paper. The problem is, it’s not fun on film. At least not this version. The Jake Johnson gags don’t work and the lead (Cruise) is so unlikable that nothing ever gels. This was at the bottom of my list for the entire summer but I’m moving it up because the running time isn’t nearly as insulting as THE LAST KNIGHT.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Bleak and boring. If I learned anything this summer it’s that I don’t care about this franchise. After two installments ranging from okay to good, the third film in the APES franchise churns up two-plus hours of Jesus/Moses metaphors without bothering to say anything new.
IT COMES AT NIGHT
Often gorgeous and chilling, the sophomore effort from director Trey Edward Shults ends up being vague and frustrating. It’s low on my list but one I wouldn’t mind revisiting in the future.
THE DARK TOWER
Delayed, delayed then ripped apart by critics and some very vocal fans. Does it deserve the hate? Ehhh, no? I don’t know. I had fun with this. It’s essentially a greatest hits from the books crammed into a brisk 90-minute movie. 90 minutes! Think about how often that happens and then come back to me. I’m sure this version of the franchise is dead, which is a shame because all three leads are great.
I liked this. Fun setting, cool characters and some good tunes. Oh, and Toby Jones.
The biggest riser on my list. I’m not going to argue that this is a good movie, but it’s fun. It’s Guy Ritchie firing on all cylinders for two acts until the end when he goes full video game mode and the whole thing peters out. It was fun while it lasted.
A surprisingly good addition to the Conjuring Cinematic Universe. This was initially much higher on the list but it’s dropping a few spots because my desire to watch it again has essentially moved to zero.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOLUME 2
The ultimate mixed bag and far from the MCU King so many have crowned it. A lot of people love her but what do I have to do to make sure Nebula doesn’t show up in Volume 3? Name it. I’ll do it.
I admire this one because it’s weird. You go in for some alien on human violence and you walk out thinking about the meaning of life and wondering why you never learned to play the flute. It’s visually stunning and that cast. Oh man. Michael Fassbender is a delight and I’ll follow Billy Crudup anywhere. Why is it getting so hot in here?
Another win for the DCEU. WONDER WOMAN embraces a lot of the elements the brain trust at WB seem so hell-bent on pushing Superman away from. I like movies that deal with time and reflecting on the past. I love that this movie begins and ends with Diana looking at a picture and remembering people from her life, including a former love who came and went but remains with her forever. We need more of that.
Works incredibly well for a few reasons including the way it captures the character and setting in ways we’ve never seen before on film. This is Peter Parker/Spider-Man! The story also benefits from a villain who fits into the story naturally. Next to Loki, The Vulture has to be one of the strongest — if not the strongest — villain to appear in the MCU.
AND all hail Zendaya, the movie’s MVP.
Lives up to the hype… mostly. Bill Skarsgard and the kids are great, especially Sophia Lillis (Bev) and Finn Wolfhard (Ritchie). Skarsgard in particular is so incredibly frightening and fun that the movie starts getting wobbly when the scares start leaning on CGI.
My other issues concern Bill and Mike. Bill — the leader of the Loser’s Club often feels overshadowed and forgettable. Then there’s Mike. For me, Mike is the heart and soul of the novel, saddled with remembering the past and bringing everyone back together to save the future. He’s severely underused in this. I think that will change with Chapter Two and depending on the actor, the character could end up being as incredible as I imagine him to be.
But enough complaining! This was fun. I had a big dopey grin on my face for the bulk of the three-hour running time.
Speaking of big dopey grins. I had one of those watching Edgar Wright’s latest cinematic exercise, BABY DRIVER. I saw it for the technical attributes but left more surprised at the intimate moments, mainly the loving relationship between Baby and his foster father.
The cast is solid all around including Ansel Elgort — a fascinating lead. Then there’s Jamie Foxx who plays it so perfectly unhinged that when he exits the movie, it’s actually detrimental to the final act. Bravo!
The rare summer movie that lingers with you long after it’s over. DUNKIRK manages to be both astounding and nauseating at the same time. I love the risks Nolan takes. Critics main sticking point is beyond its technical attributes, there’s not much under the surface. I couldn’t disagree more. Through actions, Nolan deeply develops these characters over the tight and extremely tense run time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about where some of these characters ended up. Event cinema like this is rare and if you’re like me, you walked away reeling.
Click here for Daniel’s picks.