Michael’s top 20 films of 2017

There were a lot of great films in 2017. So many, in fact, that this year I have decided to do a top 20 list instead of my usual top 10. It means more writing, but trust me, this is a problem any movie buff loves to have.

2017 was a good year for superheros and small indie films, for action and drama and comedy alike, sometimes all within the same movie.

So, what was the best? Let’s get to it!

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The 75th Golden Globes are over. Here’s everything they got right! (Commentary)

Last night’s Golden Globe Awards were a welcome surprise for me.

I have gotten used to, in my time as a film and television enthusiast, the entertainment I support being consigned to the “also ran” bin. My favorite TV shows get cancelled. Many of my favorite movies have been ignored by critics and audiences alike. If they are nominated, they are the window dressing for the film or show that gets the glory.

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John’s top 10 TV shows of 2017

We’re living in a historical transitional period for TV, as streaming services compete with traditional networks and cable/satellite channels for our entertainment dollar. As such, television has never been better, regardless of how it gets to us. Appropriately, my list of the year’s best shows consists of half network shows and half others, and kicks off with a streaming series.

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John’s top 10 movies of 2016

These were my 10 favorite movies of 2016:

1. “The Witch” – This horror film set in Colonial America delivers a striking sense of time and place (so much so that you might want to put the subtitles on to grasp the language), with life-threatening poverty as an omnipresent invisible character. On top of that, it invokes another layer of foreboding horror: The religion-fomented fears are so real to this family – including Anya Taylor-Joy in a breakout turn as teenager Thomasin — that they become real to us. Against this backdrop, the idea of “living deliciously” as a witch becomes a viable — although still creepy as hell — escape hatch. (Full-length review)

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John’s top 10 TV shows of 2016

These were my 10 favorite shows of 2016:

1. “Atlanta” (Season 1, FX) – Donald Glover’s brainchild is a crazy mix of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-esque wry observations (Earn’s inability to order a kids’ meal), envelope-pushing storytelling choices (the pundit roundtable parody) and outright horrific violence (Earn witnesses a murder, then moves on like it’s just another day in the ATL). It comes together as an on-point – albeit still crazy — portrait of being a dead-broke young adult on the backstreets of a collapsing American city.

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John’s top 10 movies of 2015

These were my 10 favorite movies of 2015:

1. “Spotlight” — This chronicle of the Boston Globe’s 2001-02 probe of rape allegations in the Catholic Church is a thank-you letter to the dying art of investigative journalism. An all-star cast of actors including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber does a marvelous job of capturing the small details of how reporters live and behave – particularly Ruffalo, whether he’s boiling hot dogs for dinner of scrounging through his bag for a pen. Meanwhile, the case itself works as a meat-and-potatoes procedural potboiler. (Full review.)

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John’s top 10 TV shows of 2015

These were my 10 favorite TV shows of 2015:

1. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (Season 1, The CW) – In blending musical numbers, broad comedy and genuine character drama about a troubled 20-something, Rachel Bloom’s brainchild is the most ambitious show of the year. By doing all three of those things well (particularly the musical numbers, which are consistently clever and catchy in the way they explore Rebecca’s and other characters’ neuroses), it’s also the best show of the year. I’ll be following whatever Bloom does next, but I hope this series defies the low ratings and sticks around awhile, at least long enough for an official soundtrack release. (Here are my 10 favorite songs so far.)

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John’s top 10 movies of 2014

These were my 10 favorite movies of 2014:

1. “Dumb and Dumber To” – Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels effortlessly slip back into Lloyd and Harry’s born-of-stupidity mistreatment of animals and their fellow man, but this isn’t merely a reunion tour. The sequel has lots of great new hits, like Harry getting into Arizona State and being mistaken for an eccentric genius and Lloyd being attracted to Harry’s daughter. (It’s not like he’s going to go out with someone his own age — “Gross!”) (Full review.)

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John’s top 10 TV shows of 2014

These were my 10 favorite shows of 2014:

1. “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (Season 6, Netflix) – “The Clone Wars” saves the best for last with arcs delving into the Order 66 brainwashing, Palpatine’s manipulations to take over the galactic banking system, and Yoda’s surprising encounter with a dark avatar and his first communication with a beyond-the-grave Qui-Gon. Even the “Jar Jar in Love” arc works due to the Gungan’s odd-couple banter with Mace Windu. While Ahsoka is certainly missed in this straight-to-Netflix season, she nonetheless feels like the absent center of this canceled-too-soon series. We can only hope that the storylines will continue in books, comics or “Star Wars: Rebels.”

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