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2017, part II. (Movies, my escapism and rambles.)

December 27, 2017

2017, was markedly a year of movies for me.  I have always loved movies, and I enjoy pop culture. Movies are not only my escapism, they are a means to alleviate all of the other surrounding chaos in my life. If I medicate at all from life’s troubles, I do it with movies. I love stories, and I am particularly fond of Science-fiction, Action and Thriller movies. I enjoy a good comedy once in a while. Periodically, there are some good dramas. This year, Science-fiction won the lion’s share of my viewing. I am thankful that I can go to the movies. However, with the increasing prices, it has become harder for me to feed my escapism, and I have often had to wait and see some films when they release to Blu-ray. I am still waiting to watch Kong: Skull Island. I missed that in theaters.  I think I mentioned that I saw Wonder Woman in the theater, alas, I was mistaken. I saw it on Blu-ray. I did see Aliens: Covenant in the theater, and I liked it. It was not as good as Prometheus, yet, I liked the direction they took the movie.

This has been a year where movies on occasion exceeded expectations, or viewers were severely butt-hurt over their own delusions and grandeur of what a movie should have been. I am speaking of a very recent movie where fans were extremely outraged by the turn of events in Star Wars: The Last Jedi ( a commentary for another time.) Just a side note, even though I thought there were problems with The Last Jedi, I still liked the movie. Perhaps I benefited by going into it with little expectation, rather than relying on fan theories and ‘what if’ notions?

Money was sparse for me this year. I have been dealing with a disability from a car accident I had a few years ago, and I have not been working. This is why I go to the movies often. I have felt like I could do little else this year. Even though it is only a band aid on my emotions, I feel like it has allowed me to get out more and not isolate. I would be lying if I said this year was good. Contrarily, it has been much like the last several years, a clone of misfortune, disappointment in myself, hardship, and self-doubt. I am not saying this whole year was bad. I have had little victories, and good moments, too. There have been many times I have reflected and seen the growth in my life. And, I attribute some of that growth to movies because, I have made new connections, set new goals, learned to think more positively, decided on new directions. I see the coming year a great year yet to be.

In July, I saw Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a movie adapted from the comic books. Although this movie was long, it was a fun and fast action paced movie. It was really difficult to follow the plot at times, but I enjoyed the little love story that was going on. I felt like it was a movie about living fearless, and fighting for hope and love. In some ways, Valerian reminded me of The Fifth Element. I would recommend this film just to enjoy the visuals and awesome graphics. For rest of the summer, I do not think I got to see many movies at all, and I was short on cash.  I had a difficult summer.

In November, I saw Thor: Ragnarok and The Justice League movies. I enjoyed both films. For me, Thor was the winner this time, but I am biased, as I am a huge Thor fan. Justice League fell short at times as it was slow at the beginning, and it often felt like there was a lack of cohesion with the relationships of the characters. It was a great film, but it was daunting at times. However, I felt Justice League was better than Batman/Superman: Dawn of Justice. I really think DC is better when it comes to their animated features rather than the epic blockbuster movie. Marvel often seems to almost always “up one” with DC.  I am still thrilled because the Thor and the JL still made November a really good month for me. There were other films in November, but these were two I picked to see.

In December, this month, all of the long awaited anticipations came to conclusion. I went on the Thursday release to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. (Spoilers! If you have not seen it yet, do not read beyond this, as I will be sharing thoughts and details about the film). Star Wars: The Last Jedi (TLJ for short) was a phenomenal movie. I liked it. You will undoubtedly hear from many hardcore fans that TLJ was a flop, and that it was a terrible movie, and that Rian Johnson made a terrible film, and it did not feel like a Star Wars movie. It did feel like a different Star Wars movie. It felt like its own story, one that was being established for a new future trilogy. I could be mistaken. The things that happened in TLJ were not enough for me to be enraged. Even Mark Hamill was quoted as much as saying that “It is just a movie.”  He basically said that if you were going to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi to relive your childhood, you would be disappointed. With that summary in mind, I think many were disappointed, but for different reasons.  When Luke battles Kylo Ren in an epic scene, Supreme Leader Snoke is dead (supposedly) and Kylo had given himself completely to his rage, Luke shows Kylo that he does not really need his lightsaber to fight him. Luke is actually on Ahch-To, not Crait. I was not expecting Luke to die in this film. I k new he would die, I had just assumed it would be in Episode IX when JJ Abrams takes the directorship of the final film. How Luke dies is more of an homage to past Star Wars films like Obi-Wan vanishing or Yoda fading. It is something I think that is important for the film to move forward and to prepare viewers for future stories where somethings have to end, and “Endings” seem to have been solidly established in the film as were new beginnings.  I was greatly shocked when I saw Luke vanish after looking at the twin suns from Ahch-To. It was an “Oh-my” moment. I know many people are unhappy with this in the film as other aspects of the film left people disappointed, but I actually felt that it was a fitting closure to Luke’s character. I just hope Mark Hamill will get to return as a force ghost. —

I think, as I saw Rogue One in 2016 to close out my year, Star Wars: The Last Jedi closes this year out for me with a more somber note. I will still be a fan, and an avid lover of all things Star Wars. In closing, I did get to see National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation shown in theaters for a limited engagement. It was great to bring out all of those awkward feelings again. I was never truly a fan of Chevy Chase, but he had his moments in this film. I liked him best with Goldie Hawn in Foul Play and Spies Like Us. I just think this year, it was cool that the theaters were showing older films for $5, and I could see  and appreciate some of the films that helped shape my adolescent years.

I know I sometimes ramble and get off-topic (purposely), and popcorn is random, too. One of my goals for the new year is to see as many movies as I can and write about them, and be more focused.

If you are reading this, I wish you well, and a Happy New Year for 2018.

 

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