My Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

Ryan Gosling in The Big Short with Steve Carell
Steve Carell in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy with Will Ferrell
Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory with Will Arnett
Will Arnett in The Lego Batman Movie
(I didn’t take the easy way out)

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s 2017. Welcome to my yearly attempt to rank my excitement for the next year in movies. Last year I was anticipating Midnight Special, Passengers, Arrival (formerly known as Story of Your Life), La La Land and Kubo and the Two Strings. Let’s just say that all five of those movies except for one made the list of my favorite 2016 movies.

This year we’re only blessed with one Ryan Gosling movie. He’s also in Terrence Malick’s Song to Song, but hey he may get cut out. Welcome to The Lego Batman Movie memorial list, which I saw Friday and thought it skewered superhero movies better than Deadpool. And yeah I guess I’ll see The Lego Ninjago Movie this year, too.

Here are the 41 movies I’m looking forward to the most in 2017 (I had to cut it off somewhere).

cmbyn

1. Call Me By Your Name – TBA 2017
Dir. Luca Guadagnio, Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet
You couldn’t escape the Sundance buzz that this movie had in January. Can’t wait to read the book and for all the sexual tension!

2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Dec. 15
Dir. Rian Johnson, Starring Daisy Ridley and John Boyega
Now that the groundwork for the new trilogy/universe has been laid, I’m dying to see what the characters (both old and new) will do next.

3. Dunkirk – July 21
Dir. Christopher Nolan, Starring Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy
Have you seen the trailer???

4. Annihilation – TBA 2017
Dir. Alex Garland, Starring Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh
Ex Machina was one of the best movies of 2015 so I’m there for anything Garland directs.

5. Mute – TBA 2017
Dir. Duncan Jones, Starring Justin Theroux and Paul Rudd
I didn’t see Duncan Jones’ Warcraft and still haven’t seen Source Code, but Moon! C’mon.

6. Untitled Cloverfield (God Particle) – Oct. 27
7. Baby Driver – Aug. 11

2049

8. Blade Runner 2049 – Oct. 6 (Only because I only like and don’t love the original)
9. Wonder Woman – June 2 (My most anticipated superhero movie this year)
10. Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7
11. Under the Silver Lake – TBA 2017
12. Molly’s Game – TBA 2017 (Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, which I’m in the mood for since I’m currently binging The West Wing)
13. Beauty and the Beast – March 17
14. The Book of Henry – June 16
15. War for the Planet of the Apes – July 14
16. Coco – Nov. 22 (Pixar’s next original)
17. Logan Lucky – Oct. 13
18. The Glass Castle – TBA 2017
19. The Snowman – Oct. 13
20. Logan – March 3
21. Wonderstruck – TBA 2017
22. Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson – TBA 2017
23. The Current War – TBA 2017
24. Billionaire Boys Club – TBA 2017
25. Battle of the Sexes – TBA 2017
26. The Circle – April 28 (The trailer worries me that the filmmakers tried to turn it into a thriller, but I’m optimistic)
27. Thor: Ragnarok – Nov. 3
28. Lady Bird – TBA 2017
29. Kong: Skull Island – March 10 (I’m curious to see where they go with this one)
30. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – July 21
31. Mother! – Oct. 13 (The movie that gifted us this couple)
32. Lean on Pete – TBA 2017
33. Wind River – TBA 2017 (Taylor Sheridan’s directorial debut)
34. Alien: Covenant – May 19
35. Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri – TBA 2017
36. The Greatest Showman – Dec. 25
37. Rock That Body – June 16
38. Bright – TBA 2017
39. Jumanji – Dec. 22 (What a wonderfully random cast)
40. The Big Sick – TBA 2017
41. City of Ghosts – TBA 2017 (The next doc from the director of Cartel Land)

Interestingly enough, Billionaire Boys Club and The Circle also made my list last year. Yay for release date pushes!

I can’t wait to realistically lower my expectations for each of these movies! Cheers to 2017.

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My Favorite 2016 Things

Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys and La La Land
(that was easy)

In 2016 we were blessed with not one but two Ryan Gosling movies: The Nice Guys, which opened with some critical buzz and then fizzled earlier this year, and La La Land, which continues to be the frontrunner for Best Picture. Shane Black’s latest movie was fun, but it will be the throwback musical that will bless us with Gosling red carpet appearances well into the new year. So to recap the crazy last 12 months (which wasn’t that bad, c’mon internet), below are some of my favorite things from 2016.

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>>> Movies

I saw a total of 54 movies released in 2016 (it will be 55 after I see Hidden Figures tonight). I loved:

La La Land – I’ve seen this wonderful movie twice in theaters, which features some of the most memorable sequences of the year, including the moving Audition scene. And yes Gosling actually plays the piano.
Zootopia – How could you not enjoy this (surprisingly deep) movie?
The Edge of Seventeen – I hate the phrase, but it’s honestly an instant classic.
Midnight Special – I saw this movie forever ago, but I felt like I had a religious experience watching it at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin last March.
O.J.: Made in America – This 7-hour documentary is required viewing, and strangely the most interesting parts are the moments outside the trial.
Lion – I dare you to not get emotional at the end of this movie.
Kubo and the Two Strings – Laika does it again! The studio might now have a stronger track record than Pixar.
10 Cloverfield Lane – Sci-fi at its best, and though it’s technically a “sidequel” to Cloverfield, it really works on its own.

I know, I know, I still need to see: 20th Century Women, Silence, American Honey, Hell or High Water, Sully, Hacksaw Ridge, Everybody Wants Some!!, LovingCaptain Fantastic, Nocturnal Animals, FencesToni Erdmann and A Monster Calls (yikes).

>>> Television

I watched a total of 42 TV shows on the air and web this year, which awful if you consider that there were a record of 455 scripted shows in 2016. My favorites were (in no particular order):

Atlanta – One of the most original and refreshing shows on TV (if not the most).
The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
– The writing and performances are fantastic. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to top this in the next installment of the anthology.
Black Mirror – Aside from the Shut Up and Dance episode, I would rewatch every episode from season (series?) 3 right now.
Saturday Night Live – The show is having a banner year, let’s see if they can continue it post-election.
Search Party – The Since U Been Gone candlelight vigil is one of the best scenes of the year.
BoJack Horseman – Yeah Fish Out of Water is a standout, but season 3 was great as a whole this year. And also even more depressing.
Grease: Live
– Some of the most fun I’ve had watching TV this year. Hairspray Live! tried to replicate its tricks, but didn’t come close in the seamless execution.
Game of Thrones
– The show has caught up to the books, but it’s honestly better than ever. The stakes are extermely high for season 7.

“But what about…”
In 2017 I promise to watch Black-ish, Difficult People, Fargo, The Carmichael Show and Insecure.

And here are a few of my favorite performances from 2016 (in no particular order):

Alden Ehrenreich in Hail, Caesar!
Molly Shannon in Other People
Emma Stone in La La Land
Andre Holland in Moonlight
Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen
Bryce Dallas Howard in Black Mirror
John Early in Search Party
Sarah Paulson in The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Zazie Beetz in Atlanta
Andrea Navedo in Jane the Virgin
Amy Adams in Arrival
Sunny Pawar in Lion
Lena Headey in Game of Thrones
Keri Russell in The Americans
Shakira in Zootopia
Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys (obviously)

>>> Music

In case you made it this far, I also made a 2016 playlist featuring my favorite songs from the past year (shamless self-promo!)

Thanks for reading and cheers to more great movies, television and music in 2017!

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My Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

Ryan Gosling in Gangster Squad with Emma Stone
Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield
Andrew Garfield in 99 Homes with Michael Shannon
Michael Shannon in Midnight Special

Happy 2016! Welcome to my yearly attempt predicting the highlights of the next 12 months in movies. Last year I was really excited about Avengers: Age of Ultron, Pitch Perfect 2 and Tomorrowland, and I’ve already completely forgotten about those movies (here’s my full list from last year). I was also looking forward to Dark Places, a movie I still haven’t bothered to see.

So this year I tried to do something a little different with my list. Yes, sequels, franchises and universe-building movies still made the cut, but I chose highlight wholly original movies in my top 5. (Full disclosure: I think my #3 pick is actually based on a short story, so I’m making one exception.) Regardless, 2016 looks like a promising year for original stories in film.

So here we go, my Most Anticipated Movies of Two Thousand Sixteen. Drumroll please…

jeff-nichols-directing

1. Midnight Special – March 18
Dir. Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter)
Stars Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon

BBFs Jeff Nichols and Michael Shannon reunite for the fourth time in this mysterious movie about a kid with special powers. Apparently Nichols has been trying to make this movie for a while, and I’m excited to see what he does with a big budget.

2. Passengers – Dec 21
Dir. Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game, one of my favorite movies of 2014)
Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt fall in love in space and also get paid the same amount of money while doing it. Also anticipated: the press tour for this movie.

3. Story of Your Life – TBA 2016
Dir. Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario, Enemy)
Stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Michael Stuhlbarg

Villeneuve is one of the most interesting directors working today, so naturally he’s managed to attract a great cast for and his next movie. It looks like this one’s about a linguist who becomes useful during an alien invasion. I’m guessing that traumatic things follow. (Also I think I have a thing for alien movies?)

lalaland

4. La La Land – July 15
Dir. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Stars Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons

I would see this movie based solely on the image above. This blog’s namesake and Emma Stone singing and dancing in Hollywood? I’m there!

5. Kubo and the Two Strings – Aug 19
Dir. Travis Knight (President & CEO of Laika, directorial debut)
Voices of Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes

Laika has created some of the most original animated films of the past few years (Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and in particular, ParaNorman), so I can’t wait to see what world they create next. Check out the visually-arresting teaser here.

6. Captain America: Civil War – May 6

7. Suicide Squad – Aug 5

8. HBO’s Looking Special – TBA 2016
(I’m cheating a little here but I can’t wait. Richie!)

9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Dec 16

10. Moana – Nov 23

11. Silence – TBA 2016
(Scorsese/Garfield/Driver/Neeson!)

12. Bourne 5 – July 29

13. The Girl on the Train – Oct 7

14. The Conjuring 2 – June 10

15. X-Men: Apocalypse – May 27

16. Finding Dory – June 17

17. Star Trek Beyond – July 22

18. The Circle – TBA 2016
(Based on the super popular book)

19. Hail Caesar! – Feb 5

20. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising – May 20

21. Doctor Strange – Nov 4

22. High-Rise – TBA 2016

23. Colossal – TBA 2016
(A woman has a mental breakdown during a Gozilla-like attack)

24. Ghostbusters – July 15

25. War Machine – TBA 2016
(Netflix’s latest feature)

26. A Monster Calls – Oct 14

27. Deepwater Horizon – Sept 30
(Kurt Russell, Dylan O’Brien and Gina Rodriguez in a movie about the 2010 oil spill)

28. The Witch – Feb 19

29. The Lobster – March 11

30. The Neon Demon – TBA 2016

31. 10 Cloverfield Lane – March 11

32. The Nice Guys – May 20
(Welcome back, Ryan!)

Others that didn’t quite make the cut: The Invitation, Equals, Billionaire Boys Club, Top Secret Untitled Lonely Island MovieFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The BFGNocturnal AnimalsBatman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeThe Light Between OceansBilly Lynn’s Long Halftime WalkArms and the DudesDeadpool and Kung Fu Panda 3

Thanks for getting this far. Can’t wait to look back at this list next year and regret everything.

Cheers to 2016!

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Like a Virgin

Ryan Gosling in The Big Short with Finn Wittrock
Finn Wittrock in American Horror Story: Hotel with Wes Bentley
Wes Bentley in We Are Your Friends with Zac Efron
Zac Efron in The Lucky One with Taylor Schilling
Taylor Schilling in Orange is the New Black with Diane Guerrero
Diane Guerrero in Jane the Virgin

When people ask me what my favorite TV shows are, I usually freeze. Not because I don’t want to discuss my shows, but mostly because there’s just so much good TV out there at the moment. This is the age of Peak TV after all.

My usual go-to answers are Game of Thrones (the “duh” pick), Teen Wolf (my “guilty pleasure” pick) and How to Get Away with Murder (my “Shondaland” pick). But the current show that has yet to let me down and still pumps out 22 episodes a year is Jane the Virgin.

Jane the Virgin features some of the most grounded characters on TV at the moment, including Jane (a wonderful Gina Rodriguez in a Golden Globe-winning role), who is accidentally artificially inseminated with her childhood crush’s sperm in Chapter One, despite being a 23-year-old virgin. Other characters who populate Jane’s telenovela universe include the childhood crush himself, Rafael (played by former soap actor and real-life dad Justin Baldoni) and my personal favorite, Jane’s mom Xo (a charming Andrea Navedo). The characters remain grounded and relatable, which is a lot considering the pilot’s high-concept setup and the fact that two separate episodes in season 2 featured Kesha (sans dollar sign) as a next-door neighbor and a Britney Spears cameo, all while balancing storylines about Jane’s breastfeeding fears.

JaneTheVirgin-102-ChapterTwo-CW-Stereo_a2ab5854_CWtv_720x400

Sure, the show has its flaws (I’m not sure how much longer they can drag out Jane’s love triangle with Rafael and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Michael), but I usually don’t care because I love this show and the characters so damn much. P.S. just like Jane’s (*kinda spoiler*) dad Rogelio, I am #TeamMichael.

So yes, my favorite TV show right now is Jane the Virgin. And you don’t have an excuse to not watch it anymore because season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

I’m mostly #TeamMichael, but always #TeamJane.

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Jurassic Nostalgia

Ryan Gosling in Gangster Squad with Emma Stone
Emma Stone in The Help with Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard in Jurassic World

2015, where have you gone? We’re halfway through the year at this point, and I had almost lost faith in movies. When The Boy Next Door is one of your most memorable moviegoing experiences of the year*, you know that times are tough. But 2015 really turned it around when I saw Jurassic World on a fateful Thursday night. And I’ve seen it twice now.

Do I love Jurassic World for being self-aware or do I love it for wringing every ounce of nostalgia out of me? Maybe both. The latest entry in the franchise cleverly references moments from the first movie while still wholly existing on its own. The Lost World: Jurassic Park gave us two T. rexes instead of one and Jurassic Park (clawmarks) III gave us a weird-looking dinosaur whose name starts with an “S” that no one remembers, but neither evoked the same sense of wonder as the first movie. As someone who has recently re-watched the third movie on the USA Network (don’t ask), I can safely say that Jurassic World brings back the wonder to the franchise that was lacking in the last two installments. And, yeah, it has cool dinos, too.

As a kid, I was always frustrated that we never got to see the functioning version of Jurassic Park in 1993. One of the most satisfying parts of Jurassic World is seeing the park/world in its fully-functioning glory. If I was younger, I would be dying to go to the dino petting zoo, take a ride in the gyrosphere and get inside the mosasaurus “splash zone.”

jurassic

Jurassic World isn’t a perfect movie (what are you doing, Vincent D’Onofrio?), but I haven’t felt this much like a kid in a theater in a really long time. I’m not really sure where they’ll take the franchise from here, and I’m not really sure if I need another Jurassic movie, but who can deny watching dinosaurs chasing humans and battling each other?

If you’re the only person in America who hasn’t seen it yet, I definitely recommend Jurassic World.

*The author also really liked Ex Machina.

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My Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson with Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie (may or may not be reprising his role as Hawkeye) in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Last year was the Year of the Booty, but welcome to 2015 and the Year of the Sequel! But that’s okay because most of these sequels seem like they’re going to be pretty solid. Below (in no particular order) are my most anticipated movies of this year. I can’t wait to look at this list in 10 months and laugh! And also wonder why I left a lot of really good movies off this list. Let’s go!

Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1) – Joss Whedon and the whole crew return for more shawarma. I’m ready to assemble!

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (December 18) – Topping almost everyone’s lists this year. No explanation needed.

Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15) – Sorry superheroes and Jedis, this is probably the sequel I’m most excited about this year.

Jurassic World (June 12) – Excuse me while I watch that trailer again (cue the John Williams). Also, Chris Pratt with a stache.

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Magic Mike XXL (July 1) – C’mon, you know you liked the first one.

Crimson Peak (October 16) – Most definitely the most promising horror movie coming out this year.

Tomorrowland (May 22) – I’m intrigued, but this could be really cool or really bad.

Inside Out (June 19) – Pixar’s first original movie in 3 years. Hoping it’s at least better than Cars 2.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (November 20) – I think I’ve talked about how much I loved Part 1 enough. Can’t wait to see how they wrap up the series.

The Intern (September 25) – I’m ready for a cheesy Nancy Meyers rom com, okay?

Untitled Christmas Eve Project (November 25) – I loved Seth Rogen and JGL in 50/50, can’t wait to see them re-team with director Jonathan Levine here.

The Revenant (December 25) – Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Iñárritu. That’s all.

We Are Your Friends (sometime in 2015) – A young, upcoming DJ (Zac Efron) navigates the electronic dance music and Hollywood nightlife scene. Count me in!

Jobs (fingers crossed for a 2015 release) – The Social Network is one of my favorite movies, and even though The Newsroom was a pretty big misfire, I feel committed to watch any movie that Aaron Sorkin writes.

Dark Places (sometime this year) – I’m reading the book as we speak (it’s from the author of Gone Girl). Can’t wait to see the creepy Kansas cinematography on the big screen.

The Boy Next Door (out now) – And I”m probably going to see it this week. I need a good laugh.

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Best Movies of 2014

Ryan Gosling in Drive with Oscar Isaac
Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year

Happy 2015 and happy Golden Globes Sunday! It’s that time for everyone to come up with pointless lists that reflect on the year in film. So here’s mine!

Last year I saw a total of 34 movies – a little less than in previous years, but I like to think I avoided the worst ones this year. Here were my favorites:

1. A Most Violent YearThe Lego MovieThe Imitation Game
Three very different movies, but hands down my favorite three movies of the year. A Most Violent Year showcases one of the most tense final scenes of the year, and Jessica Chastain is crazy good. The Lego Movie is just flat-out the most clever and one of the most inventive movies in a while (which is insane considering it’s based on a toy line). The Imitation Game has one of the best screenplays of the past few years. And Keira Knightley’s still got it!

jessica2

2. Boyhood
A movie truly deserving of its own spot on this list. The kitchen scene at the end of the movie with Patricia Arquette is definitely my favorite scene of this past year. A pure 165 mins of nostalgia and one-of-a-kind moviemaking.

3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 / Big Hero 6
Two of the best blockbusters of the year. Though some people may disagree, I think Mockingjay benefited from being split in two and allowed the story to breathe. Big Hero 6 is a movie I wish was around when I was a kid. I want to get lost in San Franyoko.

4. Birdman Gone Girl
Both movies weren’t afraid to make bold choices, ones that I think paid off in the end. Emma Stone and Carrie Coon are standouts, respectively.

5. SnowpiercerNeighbors
I can see both movies becoming cult classics in the very near future.

That’s all.

Still haven’t seen: Selma, Inherent Vice, The Grand Budapest Hotel (which I may never see), Under the Skin, Pride, The Guest, Big Eyes or The Skeleton Twins.

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