Men are pigs — A look back at 2017

In 2017,

Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States;

The Nintendo Switch was released;

Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria struck the US;

Stephen Paddock killed 58 people at a Las Vegas music festival;

The Walt Disney Company announced plans to purchase 21st Century Fox;

The exposure of Harvey Weinstein as a serial abuser of women led to an avalanche of accusations and revelations about men in Hollywood;

Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey;

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller began an investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 US Presidential election and potential ties to the Trump campaign;

Inspired by Colin Kaepernick, NFL players began a controversial season long protest of racial injustices in America by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem;

Prince Harry announced his engagement to American actress Meghan Markle;

William Peter Blatty, Eugene Cernan, Miguel Ferrer, John Hurt, Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Hale, Emmanuelle Riva, George “The Animal” Steele, Bill Paxton, Derek Walcott, Chuck Berry, Don Rickles, Charlie Murphy, Erin Moran, Jonathan Demme, Michael Parks, Powers Boothe, Chris Cornell, Roger Moore, Jim Bunning, Gregg Allman, Manuel Noriega, Glenne Headly, Adam West, John G. Avildsen, Stephen Furst, Helmut Kohl, Michael Bond, Michael Nyqvist, Martin Landau, George A. Romero, Chester Bennington, John Heard, June Foray, Sam Shepard, Jeanne Moreau, Glen Campbell, Dick Gregory, Jerry Lewis, Jay Thomas, Tobe Hooper, Harry Dean Stanton, Bobby Heenan, Jake LaMotta, Hugh Hefner, Monty Hall, Tom Petty, Jean Rochefort, Fats Domino, Robert Guillaume, Roy Halladay, Malcolm Young, Charles Manson, Della Reese, David Cassidy, Rance Howard, Jim Nabors, Sue Grafton, and Rose Marie died;

The following is my list of the ten best movies released in 2017:

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It’s Logan!

It (2017)

I watched the 1990 miniseries as a preteen and read the massive novel shortly after. I have a fond attachment for the performances of Annette O’Toole, John Ritter, Harry Anderson, Richard Thomas, and especially  Tim Curry as Pennywise.

But, sadly, I watched it again a few years back and it doesn’t hold up. It’s long, repetitive, and boring.  The more graphic parts of the novel have been gutted; it feels like they took the movie’s soul.

I desperately wanted this adaptation to succeed, and it did. In fact, it’s one of the better Stephen King inspired works.  I loved that they updated the story to the 1980s and focused on the kids instead of flashing back and forth to their return as adults. Side note: Finn Wolfhard is now the go to kid for 80s nostalgia.

Bill Skarsgaard doesn’t have the charisma Curry did, but his version of Pennywise is more menacing; the clown is frightening.

Happily, this film embraces the King mythology more than previous adaptations have, even the crazier stuff (like the turtle).

I wholly endorse director Muschietti’s decision to excise the kid orgy from the novel. Such a weird scene would have dominated the movie and the controversy could have engulfed it.

As a longtime admirer of Stephen King’s works, this almost makes up for the travesty of The Dark Tower adaptation from earlier in the year.

Logan (2017)

There may be a few more X-men movies by 20th Century Fox before the characters are subsumed by Disney’s Marvel universe, but if not, this is a fitting end to one of the biggest film series.

Jackman’s Wolverine has long been the face of the franchise, with Stewart’s Professor X a close second. Both are given something increasingly rare in franchise tent poles: a final act which brings their characters to a close.

Stewart gives one of the best performances of his career as the mental giant whose mind fails him at the end of his life and I loved seeing Stephen Merchant in a blockbuster comic book movie.

I believe Jackman will eventually succumb to the massive money on the table and reprise his role as Wolverine in an official MCU film, but I hope this is the last time we see his version of the character. It gives a real depth and purpose to his torturous life and brings the adopted father-son dynamic between him and Xavier into sharp focus.

When Elvis was king, a look back at 1956

In 1956,

Bach: The Goldberg Variations was released;

Five US missionaries were killed by the Huaorani people of Ecuador;

The Winter Olympics were held in Cortina d’Ampezzo;

Elvis Presley released, “Heartbreak Hotel,”

Doris Day’s released her signature song “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be),”

Morocco and Tunisia declared independence from France,

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed over 500 for the first time,

My Fair Lady opened on Broadway,

Marty was named the best film of 1955

Pakistan became the first Islamic republic,

As the World Turns debuted on CBS,

Grace Kelly married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco;

Rocky Marciano retired without losing a boxing match in his career;

The United Methodist Church allowed women to become clergy for the first time,

The first Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast;

Elvis Presley performed a controversial version of “Hound Dog” on The Milton Berle Show;

The Summer Olympics were held in Melbourne;

Gamal Abdel Nasser became the 2nd President of Egypt;

Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller;

President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act;

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis performed their last comedy show together;

In God we trust” became the US National motto;

Elvis Presley made his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show;

The hard disk drive was introduced by IBM;

Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the World Series;

13-year-old chess prodigy Bobby Fischer defeated grandmaster Donald Byrne in The Game of the Century;

Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal;

The Huntley-Brinkley Report debuted on NBC;

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg was published;

Hungary attempted to leave the Warsaw Pact;

The United States Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling in Browder v. Gayle, holding bus segregation in Alabama was unconstitutional;

Dwight Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson for the second time to win reelection as President of the United States;

Floyd Patterson became world heavyweight champ;

The “Million Dollar Quartet” played together in Memphis;

Japan joined the United Nations;

To Tell the Truth debuted on CBS;

Bob Barker made his television debut;

Mel Gibson, Davis Caruso, Imelda Staunton, Bill Maher, Geena Davis, Mimi Rogers, Johnny Rotten, Nathan Lane, Aileen Wuornos, Tim Daly, Bryan Cranston, Dana Delany, Steve Ballmer, Ray Combs, Diamond Dallas Page, Andy Garcia, Lars von Trier, Dan Patrick, Sugar Ray Leonard, Bob Saget, Patricia Cornwell, Kenny G., Joe Montana, Randy Jackson, Anthony Bourdain, Chris Isaak, Tom Hanks, Sela Ward, Tony Kushner, Charlie Crist, Dorothy Hamill, Delta Burke, Jim Neidhart, Bruce Greenwood, Rusty Wallace, Adam Arkin, Joan Allen, Paul Molitor, David Copperfield, Gary Cole, Linda Hamilton, Christoph Waltz, Danny Boyle, Carrie Fisher, Dwight Yoakam, Rita Wilson, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Richard Curtis, Warren Moon, Bo Derek, Dale Jarrett, William Fichtner, and Larry Bird were born;

While Sir Alexander Korda, H.L. Mencken, A.A. Milne, Connie Mack, Fred Allen, Edward Arnold, Jean Hersholt, Jackson Pollock, Bela Lugosi, Alfred Kinsey, Babe Zaharias, Art Tatum, and Tommy Dorsey died.

The following is a list of my ten favorite films released in 1956:

Continue reading “When Elvis was king, a look back at 1956”