Least Favorite Films of 2017


The difference between the "worst" and "least favorite" is a necessary distinction here because these are all films that had potential to be worthwhile. Therefore, Adam Sandler Netflix cash grabs, animated poop emojis, Will Smith/Orc actioners, and Michael Bay wank jobs will not be represented here. These are the year's greatest follies. The ones that tried and failed to make me forget the horrific reality of being alive and coherent in 2017. When people claim cinema is alive and well, I'll point them to these turkeys. 


10

Alien: Covenant

 

Like a bored technician checking off the appropriate boxes during an exam, Ridley Scott trots out a greatest hits demo reel of the Alien franchise with this uninspired clunker. A rag-tag crew gets trapped on a planet, makes regrettable decisions, and becomes infected by squiggly creatures ready to burst out from every orifice of the human body. Meanwhile, the audience hits the Xenomorph snooze button. 

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9

Mother!

Darren Aronofsky's latest is the worst kind of unironic self flagellation; a meta deconstruction of the artist's ego coupled with Biblical allegory. Had the film leaned into its satirical premise, it could have been absurdist pulp entertainment. Instead, Aronofsky loves himself too much to party.


8

Loving Vincent

A case where spending years creating thousands of impressive animations results in a project which renders Van Gogh's art less mysterious. Directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman have concocted a bland coming-of-age story instead of digging into the past and present power of Van Gogh's art, and the results are agonizingly simple-minded.

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7

Downsizing

Matt Damon stars as a bland schlubby white guy who undergoes a scientific shrinking procedure in Alexander Payne's toothless satire about consumerism, global warming, and liberal guilt. A grand statement on humanity this is not, with the inclusion of a downsized Vietnamese woman (Hong Chau) representing the absolute nadir of cheap shot accent jokes. This film needs to shrink until it disappears. 


6

Wakefield

Bryan Cranston plays a man hiding out in the abandoned attic above his family's garage in Robin Swicord’s banal chamber drama. Of course, he learns valuable life lessons while growing a gnarly beard and getting enjoyment out of his wife's distress. Just another story of an upper-class white male asshole in 2017. 

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5

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The aesthetic tics of Yorgos Lanthimos finally get the better of him with this Kubrick rip-off about a surgeon's weird relationship with a high school teen. Everyone speaks in clipped sound bites, Bach blares on the soundtrack, and the revenge plot spirals into nonsense. Yorgos seems to hate humanity, and who can blame him, but these people are too dull to care about hating.


4

Wind River

A simple tale of revenge and loss is made nearly unwatchable due to sloppy hand-held camerawork and exploitative flashbacks in Taylor Sheridan's wannabe Cormac McCarthy thriller. Indigenous Native cultures being used as a backdrop for a stoic white man playing avenger is yet another narrative that needs to be buried under ice in 2018.

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3

The Dinner

A group of rich intellectuals sit around a table over the course of one very long meal complaining about their lives in Oren Moverman's misguided sermon. The hypocrisy of American capitalism is laid bare with a sledgehammer as characters are used as mouthpieces in order to indict an audience who has probably already passed out due to sheer boredom. Check, please!


2

Kong: Skull Island

A bloated monster mashup where every edit, lame needle drop music cue, and incomprehensible set-piece is so shrill that you can't even appreciate John C. Reilly's goofy turn as a bearded island dweller. Kong may be huge, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' tonal aim is tiny. There's no humanity here. Just a feature-length movie trailer of CG-laden vomit.

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1

A Ghost Story

Those with a keen understanding of foreign slow cinema will see David Lowery's painfully self-conscious A Ghost Story for the turkey that it truly is. Casey Affleck wears a sheet with eye holes cut out, wanders around his surroundings, and watches Rooney Mara eat an entire pie. The rest is a cosmic-spanning meditation on "Big Themes" that never bothers to embrace the audience. The worst kind of smug art-house noodling, and 2017's greatest folly.