Bill Murray Bill Murray Bill Murray. One of the funniest and emotionally appealing films of the year. Bill Murray turns in an Oscar worthy performance as the curmudgeonly neighbor and Naomi Watts knocks it out of the park as the pregnant Russian hooker.
Daddy had a grip like steel
If he ever shook your hand you would surely know it
If he ever pulled you close you would surely feel it
He threw a horseshoe like a bullet from a gun
He served in tennis like a rabbit on the run
Whether it was a handsaw, a claw hammer, or a handgun,
He had a killer grip and the grip of a killer
And he could teach the hawk a few things about the handsaw.
Top 10 Best Movies for 2017
2017 was a pretty good year for the movies. What I liked was the movies I liked were spread out pretty evenly throughout the year. Although, I did have to play catch up at the beginning of this year (2018) to see all the movies I wanted and needed to see.
My criteria for making the top 10 list were that first of all I had to actually see the film, secondly I had to really really like the film. It had to resonate with me. From there I looked at acting, writing, directing, cinematography, originality, story, thought provoking ideas, and technical aspects.
Here, then is my list of the top 10 movies for 2017.
- Blade Runner
- The Shape of Water
- The Phantom Thread
- The Killing of a Sacred Deer
- Baby Driver
- Get Out!
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Misouri
- Atomic Blonde
Other films I liked but didn’t make the cut:
- The Darkest Hour
- I, Tonya
- The Post
- Lady Bird
Night of the all-night diners, the yellow window machine shop night where daylight was being prepared on lathes . Night of the thunderous anvils preparing the cities ironheart for tomorrow’s iron traffic. Night of the city lovers, the Saturday night till Sunday morning lovers, Making Love on a rented bed with the rent not due till Monday.
-Nelsen Algren, Man with the Golden Arm
One measure of how good a movie is, I think, is how long it stays with you. I have been thinking about Phantom Thread ever since I first saw it a few days ago. There is much to unpack here. This movie is essentially a love story between two strong willed, eccentric people from very different backgrounds. There is also an element of a ghost story thrown in for good measure, hence the phantom part of the title. Early in the film the main character, Reynolds Woodcock, tells his sister Cyril, “It’s comforting to think the dead are watching over the living. I don’t find that spooky at all.” He sews different artifacts and relics from his dead mother into the lining of his clothes so that she will always be with him. He also sews little secret messages into the clothes he designs for his clients, the wealthy and the Royal.
This is a movie about a famous dressmaker working in 1950’s London. Another period piece for director Paul Thomas Anderson. PTA is fast becoming one of my favorite directors. He has a collection of very quirky but well put together movies to his credit. And this one is no different. He has been nominated for five Academy Awards and has led seven actors in Oscar nominated roles: Burt Reynolds, Juliane Moore, Tom Cruise, Daniel Day-Lewis (2X’s), Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Leslie Manville. Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for his performance in There Will Be Blood (2007). My personal favorite movie of his, however, is Inherent Vice (2014), starring Joaquin Phoenix.
The fastidious dressmaker in Phantom Thread is Reynolds Woodcock played with just the right amount of fussiness by Daniel Day-Lewis. He brings to the role the same level of obsessiveness in creating the character of Reynolds Woodcock as Reynolds Woodcock brings to creating those beautiful dresses and gowns of his. It is a match made in heaven. His sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) runs the business side of things. Reynolds is a confirmed bachelor and goes through a string of girls and drops each one as he tires of them. Then one day out for breakfast he meets a strong willed young woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who catches his fancy. She moves in with him to become his muse and lover. She is more than he bargained for. His once controlled and planned life is now disrupted by love. Reynolds can be cold, domineering, moody and loathe to be interrupted in his work. Alma, finds an interesting way of getting his attention and securing his love.
The film is beautifully shot by Paul Thomas Anderson and is a wonder to behold. The original score by Johnny Greenwood perfectly compliments the film and drives the action.
I highly recommend this magnificent motion picture and give it a 9/10.
This lovely creature is found in the Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach Florida
Would you rather be a fish?
“Ya know Doc, like a Kafkaesque nightmare…”
The sad unsmiling silent psychiatrist shook his shaggy head no.
“Yes, Kafka, you do know who Kafka is, don’t you, Doc?”
“No. I’m afraid I don’t.”
And so it was I fired my therapist. Did you ever notice that the word therapist contains the two words, “the rapist?” That should have given me ample warning right there. Later, as I was explaining the situation to my mistress and I came to the part: “Ya know, Doc, just like something out of a Kafkaesque nightmare…”
“You don’t know who Kafka is either?”
And so it was I fired my mistress too. It was just about that time I began to notice how closely my life paralleled that of hapless, arthropodic, Gregor Samsa.
I just love newspapers and movies about newspapers. The Post (2017) rivals some of the best pictures from the past such as Citizen Kane (1941), The Front Page (1974), and All the President’s Men (1976). The Post probably has more in common with All the President’s Men than the others because both movies are about the same newspaper, the Washington Post, and the subject matter was similar; political intrigue. As a matter of fact, the Watergate break in happened the very next year after the publication of the Pentagon Papers and resulted in the resignation of an American president, Richard Nixon. But that is another story and another movie. These movies show the power of the press and its importance in American society. Justice Hugo Black once said, “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”
The Post gives us a nostalgic look back at what the newspaper business used to be like. From the loud, busy, bustling news room to the Linotype operators and the press room, it was a miracle they were able to get a paper out on time as it was such a huge undertaking. Things have changed in the world of journalism since the advent of computers and the internet, but I found it fascinating to see the actual operation of getting a paper out on deadline. I’ve seen it before in real life. As a young Loss Control Representative two of my accounts were the Louisville Courier-Journal and Standard Gravure. Together they published two daily newspapers. It was my job six times a year to inspect their entire operation. It was a fascinating and exciting process to witness.
The Post is concerned with the publication of the infamous and so-called Pentagon Papers. When American military analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) realizes the extent of the US government’s deception regarding the Vietnam War, he copies top-secret documents that would become the Pentagon Papers. Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post, played to perfection by Tom Hanks, discovers the New York Times has scooped them with an explosive expose on those papers. Nixon gains a court injunction on the New York Times prohibiting them from further publication of the Papers or what they have learned from them. Bradlees finds Ellsberg and obtains copies for himself and talks the owner of the Washington Post, Katherine Graham, into publishing them. Meryl Streep plays Katherine Graham in one of her best performances in years. The case goes before the Supreme Court and a ruling in favor the Times and the Post is rendered. One justice was quoted as saying, “The court rules in favor of the governed, not the governors.”
Steven Spielberg is not my favorite director, but that is just a matter of personal taste. He is unquestionably an American master filmmaker. I loved his Indiana Jones series and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But His masterpiece, in my opinion, was and always will be, Schindler’s List. The Post comes in a close second.
It was my last best hope and expectation to meet up with a very special girl from Jersey in Wildwood. I was from Philly and she was from Harlem and our lives intersected in a small town in South Jersey. She was a sweet kid and wild as Friday night and we were supposed to meet for a weekend rendezvous in the seaside town of Wildwood. It was during the off season and there weren’t too many people around, which was how I liked it.
I holed up in a cheap hotel near the beach for a few days but she never showed. So I walked the streets and combed the beach a bit and I snapped a few pictures.
Monk 1: “The wind is moving.”
Monk 2: “The flag is moving.”
Sixth Patriarch: “Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving.”
– Zen Koan