The Big Movie House Presents: Five Disappointments of 2017



Every year there are the films that we find to be the best of the year and the films we find are the worst of the year. Here are five films that I may or may not have liked, but I was disappointed with them for one reason or another. These films are presented in alphabetical order.

78/52


Alfred Hitchcock has to be a filmmaker with the most documentaries made about him. There seems to be a bunch of them every year with some hitting theaters, but most ending up as dvd/blu-ray extras. 78/52 was one of the lucky ones that got a small theatrical push. I was very excited to see this as I figured this would be the definitive breakdown (ie the final word) about one of the most famous scenes in the annals of film: the shower sequence from Psycho. I thought that there would be a breakdown of how Hitchcock came up with the scene, a look at the shots he chose for the scene. All with film critics and historians talking about the impact of the scene.

While all of that is accounted for and present, the film dives into an ass-kissing session really fast. There are countless filmmakers and critics on hand to polish Hitchcock’s knob and tell us how great of a filmmaker he was. We all know this. There are many docs and featurettes about the shower scene that take the same approach to the subject. I have no idea why the filmmakers or the company releasing this film thought that this would stand out among the other docs, but it really doesn’t. It has higher production values than some of the other docs, but it covers the same ground.

All is not lost as I did learn a thing or two here, but it felt like it was too little too late. I wanted more out of this doc, but all they wanted was to be feed me the same meal that I have had before, this time with a new topping.

Free Fire


Everyone is obsessed with Ben Wheatley. He has been around for a bit, directing episodes of tv and making small films like Kill List and High Rise. Before Free Fire was released everyone talked about how it was going to be one of the best films of 2017 and the trailer made it seem that way. A bunch of criminals trapped inside of a warehouse during a shootout. You also have a cast that includes Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, and Sharlto Copley. How could this be bad?

The thing that makes this film a disappointment is the fact that once the shootout stalls, the film becomes a slog to get through. This is a giant shootout that takes up the entire runtime of the film and it stalls out about halfway through. What we are left with is people lying on the ground, trying to make deals with others to get them out of the situation. All of it is mind-numbingly boring and nothing is added to the film to up the ante. Once the shoutout is over the film is over. That’s it. I just felt that there should have been more to the film while, at the same time, providing us with something interesting to watch.

This is the first film by Wheatley that I have seen and I have to say that this is not a good start. I will watch some of his other films before writing him off, but it doesn’t look good.

Hitman’s Bodyguard


Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson can be funny men. Both of them have carried films where they have had the bulk of the jokes come from them and they have also been in films where they stole the show from their leads. You would think that a film with the two headlining would be a fun film.
It is not.

The film is your run of the mill action film (which has little to no shaky cam so there is a positive) with two guys who are trying to be funny but failing most of the time. This results in a very slow film that is way too long (almost two hours) and is almost devoid of laughs. Sure, the pair gets a few laughs here and there, but for the most part, the film is laugh-free. The only saving grace is Salma Hayek, who plays Jackson’s kidnapped wife. Her scenes are among the highlights of the film and have a much different sense of humor than the rest of the film. I really wanted to like this film more, but it seems to be trying to make you not like it. It is like the film is saying “Oh, you like action scenes? Here is some of the most boring action you will see all year”. I don’t like films that do this
and The Hitman’s Bodyguard suffers from it a lot.

Spider-man: Homecoming


I like Spider-man: Homecoming, I like all the Spider-man films. The thing with all of the other films is that they have something that makes them stand apart from other comic films and other films in general. The first Spider-man film had the upside-down kiss in the rain scene. The second film had the “Horror Hospital” scene (How many comic book films, aimed at children, are going to have a horror scene in it?) The third film had the “Awakening the Sandman” scene. The Amazing Spider-man had the brilliant pairing of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, who were great together and more believable as a couple than Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

The last Spider-man we got, Amazing Spider-man 2, carried on with their relationship and gave us one of saddest scenes in any comic book film. For some, a film can be made or killed by one scene and in Amazing Spider-man 2, the clocktower scene makes the film.

So that brings us to the latest film, Spider-man: Homecoming. The film is fine. It is a bit too long and doesn’t really do anything with the Aunt May character, but overall the film is good. So why is it on this list? Because it doesn’t differentiate itself from any of the other comic book films out there. There is not a scene in the film that feels original and it even lifts scenes from earlier Spider-man films to pad out the runtime. The film is just “good”. I know that is weird to say, but with the film coming off of these other Spider-man films that had their own identity, this film strangely does not.

War for the Planet of the Apes


This is it. The last film in the prequel trilogy of Apes films. The one that leads right into the first film. Oh, it doesn’t? Huh. Well it was good, right? Yes and no? How can that be? The first two films were amazing.

I don’t know what happened, but the filmmakers made a completely different film than what audiences were expecting. Instead of making a “war” film, the filmmakers made an ape version of Apocalypse Now, which wasn’t so much a war film, but a meditation about what war is.

Normally I like when films do this, make something that is different from the other films in the series, but make it fit in with the timeline that was established. The problem here is that there really has not been a war to meditate on. Sure, there was that whole thing that happened in the second film, but this is a film that is supposed to take place on an entire planet of apes and yet it takes place in the same place as the previous film. What I am trying to say is: how can you meditate on something that hasn’t happened yet?

If the previous film had been bigger and contain the “war” that this film eludes to, then this film would work, but Caesar hasn’t seen what man has seen. He has seen many apes die, but that is only a small portion of what man has seen over the last few centuries. Being meditative now makes it seem like the apes have been through far more than they have. Having a fight on a bridge and one film that has many action scenes in it does not equal all the war and death that humans have seen. Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now talks about something bigger than anything the apes have seen or been through.
The film seems to want to be small and reflective before the “war” even starts and that is not how that happens. Make the “war” film than make the “we have lost so many” film.

There are my five disappointments of 2017. There were actually more, but I wanted to keep it at five. We will see what 2018 brings us. Hopefully, it is better than 2017.