Films in 2017: January

We’re officially a month into 2017, and it’s already been quite a year… but as I do on my blog, we’ll just focus on the movies I watched, and I kicked off the first month of the year with a great selection of movies. For starters, I had the immense pleasure of seeing Singin’ in the Rain, my all-time favorite movie, on the big screen! In fact, since I have a special movie pass, I went ahead and saw it twice, because how often does one see their favorite film in theaters? Aside from that, I made quite a few trips to the theater, catching up on Oscar contenders. I had actually seen seven of the nine Best Picture nominees by the time they were announced, and four of them I saw in January. And I did enjoy what I saw (as you’ll see later on in this post). Later in the month, I’ll post my Oscar picks and predictions once I catch up on films in the major categories. But anyway, onto what I watched in January…

New-to-Me: 23

Re-Watched: 5 (another re-watch of Singin’ in the Rain is not included in this tally)

New-to-Me Films by Decade:

  • 1920s – 0
  • 1930s – 4
  • 1940s – 2
  • 1950s – 3
  • 1960s – 0
  • 1970s – 1
  • 1980s – 4
  • 1990s – 1
  • 2000s – 2
  • 2010s – 6

List of New-to-Me Films:

  1. The Right Stuff (1983)
  2. Adaptation. (2002)
  3. The Young in Heart (1938)
  4. The Accidental Tourist (1988)
  5. Hidden Figures (2016)
  6. Fences (2016)
  7. Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016)
  8. Brother Rat (1938)
  9. Brother Rat and a Baby (1940)
  10. Close to My Heart (1951)
  11. Taxi! (1932)
  12. The Stunt Man (1980)
  13. Lion (2016)
  14. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
  15. Rollerball (1975)
  16. Hollow Triumph (1948)
  17. The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)
  18. Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  19. 20th Century Women (2016)
  20. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
  21. The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
  22. Three Guys Named Mike (1951)
  23. Pollock (2000)

A Few Favorite Discoveries:

The Right Stuff (1983)

The Right Stuff (1983), directed by Philip Kaufman

I decided to begin my new movie-watching year with The Right Stuff because I’ve been meaning to check it out for the longest time, and also because the city I live in now is nicknamed “The Rocket City”. The news station I work at runs NASA-related stories every day, sometimes looking back at historical moments. So it was really the perfect time for me to finally watch this movie, and to get a real sense of what the Space Race was all about. Despite running more than three hours long, it’s engrossing throughout and is just well-made all-around, from great sound, wonderful cinematography, to a terrific ensemble cast embodying these trailblazers.

Adaptation. (2002)

Adaptation. (2002), directed by Spike Jonze

Written and directed by the same filmmakers behind Being John Malkovich, I knew I would find Adaptation. as another sort of weird, but wholly enjoyable movie. Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman turned his real-life troubles in adapting The Orchid Thief into a film that looks at all the frustrations that come with the creative process. Nicolas Cage portrays a version of Kaufman, as well as his fictitious twin brother Donald. It’s an intriguing look at the demands of writing a successful screenplay, as cultivated by the characters portrayed by Cage, as Charlie struggles with his artistic integrity while Donald attempts to create something more commercially successful. There’s a lot of meta moments that make this movie fun to watch, and it boasts some really fantastic performances from Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper.

Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures (2016), directed by Theodore Melfi

After learning more about the Space Race in The Right Stuff, I was even more excited to see Hidden Figures and made sure to see it opening day. It’s a really enjoyable, refreshing watch, and I’m so happy that it’s done so well at the box office, and I do hope Hollywood takes it as a sign that people do want to see more stories like this, especially ones that are virtually unknown to the general public. The movie boasts a great cast all-around, but the real draws are the three women at the center, as portrayed by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae. All three are compelling in their own scenes away from one another, but the film’s best moments are easily when the women get to be brilliant together.

Lion (2016)

Lion (2016), directed by Garth Davis

After seeing Slumdog Millionaire back in 2008, I had a mini-obsession with that movie and Dev Patel, which really only led to me binge-watching Skins, the British teen show he was in a couple years before his breakout role. Aside from the first episode of The Newsroom, I hadn’t seen him in anything else, but I always hoped he’d get more enriching roles to show off his potential. So six years later, I’m so elated to see him not only shine in a great role, but also earn an Oscar nomination for his performance! I hope this means he’ll go on to score bigger and better roles in the future; I look forward to seeing where his career goes after his success here. I also have to add that Sunny Pawar, who played the younger version of Patel’s character, gives a really outstanding performance and helps make the movie even more captivating.

20th Century Women (2016)

20th Century Women (2016), directed by Mike Mills

This was another timely watch, as I ended up seeing 20th Century Women the night of the Women’s March that happened around the world. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to participate in a march as there weren’t any close enough to me, but the weekend that I did see this movie, a portion of ticket sales went to Planned Parenthood. So watching 20th Century Women felt like I joined in a small way, especially with how much the film advocates feminist ideologies. But anyway, this was one of my more anticipated 2016 movies, as I had really enjoyed the director’s earlier film Beginners, and the film exceeded my expectations. Annette Bening is superb in any movie appears in, but this just may be my favorite performance of hers I’ve seen (and I’m sad that she missed an Oscar nomination for it!). And Greta Gerwig is really growing on me as an actress, as she gave a heartfelt performance here as well. This is truly a movie that more people should see, especially in the time we’re living in now.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), directed by Pedro Almodóvar

I posted my first entry for the 2017 Blind Spots series a few days ago with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, a great film to kick off the series. My thoughts on the film can be found here.

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3 thoughts on “Films in 2017: January

  1. With that list of ‘new to me’ films, it was funny to see ‘Rollerball’ in there…what got you to watch that one? I haven’t seen ‘The Accidental Tourist’ in years, but I remember really liking it, as well as the book; I’ll have to watch it again and see if I feel the same way about it. And cool that you have a pass to see classic movies on a big screen!

    • Rollerball was one of those movies that always sort of interested me because of the premise, and TCM played it recently so I thought I’d check it out. Plus the story takes place in 2018, so I wanted to see what might be in store for us next year ! 🙂

      • I would never have guessed that you’d seen it on TCM! Sounds like they’re getting a little avante-garde with their programming; what next…Phantasm? (10 points if you make the vague connection!)

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