Wednesday, January 03, 2018

45 Movies I Missed from 2017

Wow. This is my longest "missed" list since I started doing these posts in 2013. That's partly because this was a great movie year, but it's mostly because the way that I've watched movies has changed. I've gotten pickier about what I care to see in the theater, so I've only seen 39 so far of the 2017 films that interest me. Another factor is that some of these actually haven't been released yet, except maybe in festivals. That's always the case with some every year, but this year seems especially heavy in that category.

I tend to be about six months behind when catching up to these in home viewing, so I might try something new this year and revise my rankings around July when I've actually seen everything. In the meantime, this list will explain why some movies didn't make it into my rankings. And as usual, I'm listing them more or less in the order that they were released.

The Last Face

This one's mostly about the cast. Theron and Bardem play relief workers trying to help an area during a revolution and I'm curious to see director Sean Penn's view on that story.


This one's also about the lead actors, but they play sisters who claim to see dead people, so that sounds cool, too.

The Limehouse Golem

Bill Nighy in a Ripper-esque movie in which the murders may be the work of a golem. I really wanted to see this around Halloween, but couldn't get my act together.

City of Tiny Lights

Looks like a modern film noir with Riz Ahmed (Rogue One) as the detective. I'm not sure what Billie Piper's doing, but I'm betting that I'll love it, whatever it is.

The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani always makes me laugh and I've heard great things about this non-traditional romantic comedy written by him and his wife, Emily V Gordon. Plus: Holly Hunter!

Ingrid Goes West

I'm pretty close to being done with Aubrey Plaza's particular comedy shtick. She may go on the same list with Seth Rogen, where I only let myself watch one of her movies a year. This will help decide that though. And regardless of how I feel about Plaza's grumpy glaring, I expect to be impressed as usual with whatever Elizabeth Olsen does.

Wind River

Speaking of Elizabeth Olsen, I'm looking forward to watching her hunt bad guys with Jeremy Renner on a snowy Indian reservation in Wyoming. Especially since Graham Greene's going to be there, too.


I'm getting to the point where I'll watch anything with Dave Bautista in it, but I've never seen him lead a whole movie. Can't wait to see how he does. I mostly know Brittany Snow from the Pitch Perfect movies, so it'll be interesting to see her in an action role, too.


One of Anton Yelchin's last films, but the real appeal here is Anya Taylor-Joy after her performances in The Witch and Split.

A Ghost Story

I don't really know what to expect except that it's not a horror movie and the trailer is beautiful. David Lowery also directed the 2016 Pete's Dragon, which was an emotionally powerful genre movie, so I'm hoping for more of that.


I always like Peter Dinklage in dramatic roles, so he's the big draw here. But the movie has the potential to say something interesting about the impact of memories on our lives. I hope that's what it's interested in and isn't just a scifi thriller.

American Folk

A post-9/11 movie about healing and the kindness of strangers is exactly what I need right now.

Baby Driver

Man, I hate that title. But it looks great and it's Edgar Wright and I will watch anything with Jamie Foxx in it anyway. Would've seen this in the theater, but I could never work out the timing on it.

The Ballad of Lefty Brown

The first of several Westerns on this list. I was more excited about it before I realized that it's not actually the Coen Bros' Ballad of Buster Scruggs, but I'm very curious to see Bill Pullman as a cowboy. And it reminds me that I still need to check out writer/director Jared Moshe's other Western, Dead Man's Burden.

I Remember You

That poster makes the movie look like a generic horror flick, but I like the concept of a couple moving into not just a haunted house, but a potentially haunted town. And putting it in Iceland makes it even better.


I love movies about connections between people. This one sounds especially cool, with the connection being between a modern boy and a girl from 50 years in the past.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Wow that title is crazy pretentious. But I like Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson and the positive buzz around Adam Sandler's performance is shockingly high. I need to see for myself.

The Beguiled

This was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, but a couple of things happened that lessened my enthusiasm. I heard that the 1971 movie it's based on isn't so great, but that by itself wouldn't have affected how I felt about the remake. What really did it was the trailer that gave away too much story and suggested that the movie goes in a direction I'm not so excited about. Adding that to poor reviews of the original - which I assume has the same basic story - and now I think there's something fundamental to the plot that I'm probably not going to like. But that cast and the setting still make me curious and I'll get around to watching it.

In the Fade

I'm all about Diane Kruger going after the terrorists who killed her family.


I know we already had an action-adventure take on Groundhog Day with whatever we're calling that Tom Cruise movie now, but I'm up for another one. That's just always going to be an intriguing plot device for me.


The trailer is horrible and that tag line is even worse, but I like most of these guys and I'm usually interested in a new take on Wild Bill.

Mary and the Witch's Flower

Studio Ponoc is trying hard to inherit the mantle of Studio Ghibli and by most accounts they're doing a pretty good job. At least with this film.


John Boyega and Anthony Mackie in a Black Lives Matter-relevant film by Kathryn Bigelow. This may be the movie on this list that I'm most sorry I haven't seen yet.

Logan Lucky

I'm really embarrassed that I haven't seen this one yet, either, but we were in the UK when it came out and I never caught up with it once we got back. But that cast, man. And Steven Soderbergh. Really eager for it.

The Hitman's Bodyguard

This one would probably be the one I'm least sorry to have missed. It looks like it's got one joke. But a) it's a pretty funny joke and b) I'm hoping that there's more to it than just that.

The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is a frustrating director for me. He's interested in all the same things I am, from giant monsters and robots to gothic romance and gill-men. But he's always interested in them in slightly different ways that go places I don't care anything about. Exhibit G: The Shape of Water. You want to make a movie about outsiders connecting and one of them is a fish-person? YES, PLEASE! But you want them to have sex and I'm suddenly looking at you out of the corner of my eye.


I was looking at that poster and trying to remember why in the world I wanted to see this movie. But then I remembered that the gold is at the bottom of a lake in Bosnia, so it's an underwater treasure-hunting movie.


Another of my most anticipated movies of the year, but it hasn't had a wide release yet. It debuted at the Telluride Film Festival last year and hits everywhere else on the 19th of this month.

Sweet Country

A Western set in Australia with Hamilton Morris playing an Aboriginal man on the run for shooting a white man in self-defense. It's got Sam Neill, whom I love in these smaller films, and Bryan Brown, whom I don't think I've seen since Cocktail.


I must have heard something about this that I can't remember. It's Alicia Vikander and Eva Green as a couple of sisters arguing their way across Europe. I like Vikander and Green just fine (and Green a little more than fine), but that plot is not grabbing me. I put these things on the list as they get my attention, so there's no telling what hooked me at the time. I tend to trust Past Me, though.

Gun Shy

I don't know who I want to see more: Antonio Banderas as a rock-star action hero or Olga Kurylenko playing any role whatsoever.

Woman Walks Ahead

There's an aura of Importance around this that turns me off, but I expect to find the story compelling anyway. Jessica Chastain plays an artist who becomes involved in the struggle of the Lakota people to hold onto their land. I'd rather see this from the Lakota point of view, but I'm still interested.


That poster is awesome and it's really all I need to know about the movie.

Goodbye, Christoper Robin

I don't think I need this movie, but I would've said the same about Saving Mr Banks and I'm glad to have seen it. The only thing I know about the real life Christopher Robin is that he resented the Winnie the Pooh books and what he considered his father's exploitation of him. That's going to put a dark shadow over this for me, but I'm curious to see if/how the film handles that aspect.

Killing Gunther

I'm really enjoying Old Schwarzenegger. Hannah Simone is pretty great, too. At least she was the last time I watched New Girl.

Last Flag Flying

Fantastic cast and I'm interested in this take on war where Vietnam vets contemplate the US' current military situation.


I went to college near the Ozark Mountains. It's beautiful country with lots of nooks and crannies and should make a great location for a mystery story involving supernatural folklore.


Everybody loves this movie and I should be more excited about it, but I can't help thinking that I've already seen the best Día de Muertos movie with The Book of Life. That's totally unfair and I know it, so I'm gonna see this. But that's why I haven't rushed out or anything.

The Bookshop

All I really needed to know was that there's a movie about a woman opening a bookshop, but then they went and put Bill Nighy in it, too. Not to overlook Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson, who are also awesome.

Crooked House

We went through a very long dry spell in which cozy mystery movies were out of fashion. I'm glad that's over.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

I'm gonna try and see this before it leaves theaters. I'm not crazy about the original movie, but I like all these actors and it looks super funny. The only reason I haven't seen it yet is because Christmas is busy and I spent all my free time rewatching Last Jedi.

Pitch Perfect 3

I'm getting less and less eager for this. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two and guessed that I'd probably enjoy a third, but the trailer wasn't so funny and I'm wondering if this isn't one too many trips to the well. Only one way to find out though.

Scorched Earth

Gina Carano playing a bounty hunter in a post-apocalyptic Western. And it's not even my birthday.

Gold Dust

Another treasure-hunting movie, but it also has a buried ghost ship and an evil drug lord with an army of children in ultralights.

The Price of Death

Sounds like Maverick meets 3:10 to Yuma. A former gambler has to get a famous outlaw to his hanging before the outlaw's gang catches up to him. But unlike 3:10, the gang is mostly after the location of some cash the outlaw hid.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I saw more movies at the theater this year than I have in a long time so its no surprise that most of these titles are completely off my radar.

Wind River: Between Jeremy Renner playing a government agent in this, The Borne Legacy, The Hurt Locker and two Mission Impossibles there has to have been someone who has put together an amazing fan trailer for a Hawkeye solo movie by now. Clearly I need to learn me some editing.

Shape of Water: Sounds like you and I are on a similar path with del Toro. I haven't disliked anything he's done but I rewatched a lot of his english language films this summer and was surprisingly underwhelmed.

Baby Driver and Logan Lucky are two I got to see in the summer, but both have an action heist momentum thats ideal home viewing for gloomy January now that they're out on home media.

Coco I would strongly recommend. Once that last song hit, it had me bawling right there in the theater. Typical Pixar, once I think I'm out after Cars 3, they suck me right back in. Some theaters are giving moviegoers the option of seeing it with or without the "Frozen" short at the beginning. If you had the choice, which version would you rather see?

Siskoid said...

Yay! My favorite part of the new year!

I didn't just break my record for most times at the theater this year (which was in the low 40s) but completely blew it up. 67 times! Of those, three were repeat viewings, 3 were "live theater" presentations, and 3 were older films. That's still 58 new movies in 2017 (although of course some were "Oscar season" type stuff that technically came out in 2016. The same is true of several movies on your list. We've only YET to see them (like The Shape of Water and Hostiles, but I think I've seen the Gina Carano movie scheduled for a lot later in 2018, I may be wrong).

As usual, you earmarked a lot of movies I've never heard of, but this is where I take notes for future viewing. The movies I HAVE heard about are the ones I've seen, or else never came to our market but are on our list for home viewing (like The Beguiled, A Ghost Story, and Crooked House if it's really not going to come out in '18). Except for The Hitman's Bodyguard which seems Netflixable, but not much more. I think I was probably done with Pitch Perfect after the first one.

Specific thoughts...
The Big Sick was indeed excellent. Holly Hunter yes, but Zoe Kazan is always delightful too, and Ray Romano surprisingly effective. I'm enjoying this type of semi-autobiographical comedy (a category also represented this year by Lady Bird). It certainly feels very truthful, and not "written" or artificial.

Wind River: Bleak and haunting, though not without humor, but the subject matter can be disturbing. The screenwriter of Hell or High Water is responsible for this, so it's got things to say.

Baby Driver: One of the films I saw twice. Just such an entertaining experiment in matching music to action that I consider it a musical. Funny, exciting, and just a ton of fun. Was on my list of year's best.

2:22: Not sure what this is, but you speak as if you didn't see Happy Death Day, which is also a Groundhog Day rip. Well, if it's not on your list, I totally recommend it! It's fun and clever and PG-13 so it's not very gory.

Detroit: Stayed like a week, but I managed to see it. The core of the film is gripping, but it suffers from a condescending contextualizing sequence and too much epilogue.

Logan Lucky: You don't have to ask me twice to go see a Soderbergh heist movie and this one was great fun. Memorable characters, location, etc.

Coco: I had the same misgivings, but I will also confirm the two films are nothing like one another. If you can hold back the tears, you're a stronger man than I.

Jumanji: So fun I saw it again with friends just to hear them laugh. I'm not a particular fan of the first one either (and respect Zathura more), but Welcome to the Jungle is more logical, all four leads are very funny, and the action is fun. I'm glad it's turning out to be a hit.

Can't wait to read what you HAVE seen!

Michael May said...

Erik, I'd go without the Frozen "short." My understanding is that it's not really a short, but a animated special that never aired on TV. I don't wanna sit through that.

Siskoid, you've talked me into adding Lady Bird to my list. I'm embarrassed to admit why I haven't been interested in it, but you and some other trusted people have aroused my curiosity.

Happy Death Day is on my Need To Watch list, but I forgot to mention it, because I have a whole separate list for movies I intend to watch next Halloween. I need to rethink my organization. :)

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

This short does feel more like it was meant as a TV Special, but I understand using a successful franchise as a draw before an original and hard to market film. Its unfortunate because I've lobbied to keep seeing these characters as shorts rather than hastily assembled sequels. I've been impressed with the follow ups they've done with the Toy Story and Tangled spots and think you could do the same with a lot of their recent additions like Judy Hopps, Baymax or Wreck It Ralph. What I'd love to see 2-D Animation on the big screen again and showcase Disney icons like Ariel or Belle and what they're up for a short story.

The short itself is okay and it plays to Olaf's strength of being cheerful naive. Sadly all the other character are just there to play set up for his story or the next song. I recognize that the 20 minute run time means you can only do so much development but its got me worried (unnecessarily I'm sure) that a brand is such a cash cow that they won't explore these people in any new direction when they do get the actual sequel. That and John de Lancie voices a village elder who only has one line. C'mon! Give this guy some more work!

Anonymous said...

Bless You, kind sir, for introducing me to the existence of KILLING GUNTHER and GUN SHY (these look like exactly the demented Action Movie nonsense that cheers a chap up after some fairly humourless years).

in return one can only say that you should see JUMANJI 2 as soon as possible (and shame on your for neglecting such a splendid entertainment in favour of yet ANOTHER outing with a solid STAR WARS effort that by no means deserves to be seen more than twice in cinemas!).

Oh and THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD is genuinely entertaining, but can safely be seen as a Home Movie; you won't miss anything if you don't see it on the Big Screen.

Thank You again and keep up the Good Work with your very excellent blog!

Michael May said...

Ha! Thanks!


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