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March 2, 2017

Our top picks for 2017

Not everyone agrees with the academy results.  Rather than predicting who would win the big awards, we’ve decided to wait for the elites to pick their winners and then list the films that we enjoyed the most.

Adapted Screenplay:  The Lego Batman movie

A great, 19th century French dramatist once said that he created plays for people who can’t attend university or read novels.  Now, “it seems that 21st century Hollywood makes films for people who can’t read memes or comic books.”  (Vasco de Sousa said that.)

Yes, we’re kind of sick of Superhero films, even comedy spoofs of superhero films.  And, we don’t have any plans to make adaptations in the near or distant future.  How many people really need mood music to understand Marvel, Tintin or the DC universe?

But, it seems that brick toys can be much more entertaining than masked muscle-heads in spandex.  Lego Batman sends up the genre in more ways than one.  From the time the first logo appears, he takes you into his admittedly-fictional world in ways that the surrealists and Brecht only dreamed of.

This film is, in a word, fun.  And that’s what every movie, even serious fare made for intellectuals, should be.

(Okay, so technically Batman only came out in 2017, and therefore would be ineligible under standard rules.  However, this film breaks all the rules in a good way, so we’ll let this one slide.)

Original Screenplay: Ballerina

If there were a Razzi for worst marketing, it should go to Ballerina.  The trailer never seemed to appear in the cinemas.  The title sounds so “girlie” that even most girls wouldn’t want to see it.  Even in the trailers, there’s little to challenge the stereotype that ballet is too simplistic to build a story around.

However, the movie itself does a great job of shattering false stereotypes.   This retake on Karate Kid (minus the violence) is much better than the name lets on.  While it doesn’t have the iconic music of Rocky, or the laughs of Kicking and Screaming, it does feature perhaps the most inspiring mentor to hit the big screen since Mr Miagi.   This is a sports movie about artists.

Anyone who can take the concept of a Ballerina and make it people who have no interest in ballet is doing something right.  Expect more great films from this team in the future.

Weird but wonderful:  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

While this doesn’t reach the comic heights of PeeWee’s Big Adventure, or epic status of the director’s Batman films, Miss Peregrine’s Home is probably the most suspenseful film of the year.

And, part of it is set in North Wales, which also makes it funny for us.  (Sure, “Sing” has a guy from Aberystwyth in it, but he plays a one-dimensional gorilla in a “film” that probably won’t survive on video.)

That’s it for now.  The creators of this film can contact us any time to pick up their trophies. (If you take this offer seriously, please let us know ahead of time, so we can order said trophies.)