In 2017 I watched 72 new releases, mostly in movie theaters (I am a junkie) and while there were a few films I really hated, mostly I saw a lot of films I really enjoyed. I discovered a love for documentary cinema (I saw fourteen documentaries this year!). I watched 32 new release films directed by women (with my total new-to-me directed by women clocking in at 79 this year; more on that when I do my year-end review tomorrow). For the second year in a row my favorite film of the year was not directed by a woman, but as per tradition it was also a queer romance. I am pretty easy to please. As a final reminder, I am not a fan of the term best. Film is an art that allows the viewer to bring themselves in conversation with it, and therefore what each person sees in a film will be different from what anyone else sees. This is a list of favorites and why these films resonated so with me. There are some spoilers, so beware.
Here we are again! April mostly consisted of continuing my binge rewatch of Frasier – and I finally finished! Yes, 11 seasons, 263 episode – watched! That show really holds up, jsyk. I also spent a good deal of April in Los Angeles for the TCM Classic Film Festival (the highlight of my year every year!) and stayed an extra week on vacation. Despite all that, I did almost make it 30 films in April, thanks mostly to FilmStruck. So many films, so little time! As always, you can see everything I watched after the cut, as well as some highlights.
Lately I’ve become more and more frustrated with the various “best ever” lists that have been released because they rarely feature films by women, or if they do it’s usually one or two films. I think this is more a reflection of those who are polled for these kinds of lists, as well as a compounding of history on itself. For so long films by men have made up the bulk of the film canon and I think people are afraid to add new films to these revered lists. I also think many people haven’t seen very many films by women, or if they have it’s always the same handful of films. In an attempt to create a better, more inclusive list of great films by women, I polled over 500 critics, filmmakers, bloggers, historians, professors and casual film viewers, asking them to tell me what films directed (or co-directed) by women are essential viewing. Some people only responded with as little as five votes, others submitted hundreds of films. In the end, I received over 7,000 votes for 1,100+ different films. After tallying up this data, with ties factored in, I then had a list of 103 essential films directed by women.
I finally got to see An Education and absolutely loved it. The one-sentence summary: 16 year-old Oxford- bound British Schoolgirl Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is wooed by the suave, and much older David (Peter Sarsgaard) in 1961 London.
There are a few odd things in this list, but keep in mind these are for Britain, so some films that are eligible for Oscar haven’t been released there yet.
The one thing that is certain is Jeremy Renner is closer now to being a lock for a Best Actor nomination by the Academy.
Full list of nominees and my analysis after the cut.