The Conclusory Monthly Update for December 2017

And so another year comes to an end — welcome to 2018, dear readers!

Before that, I’m going to spend the next week-ish raking over the remnants of the year just ended. First up: the month of December, and my final tally of new films watched in 2017.


#164 Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
#165 Her (2013)
#166 Atomic Blonde (2017)
#167 Men in Black 3 (2012)
#168 Your Name. (2016), aka Kimi no na wa.
#169 Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
#170 Hidden Figures (2016)
#171 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
#172 Forbidden Planet (1956)
#173 Elf (2003)
#174 Scrooged (1988)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
.


  • 11 new films this month sees me reach a final total of 174 for the year, my third highest ever behind 2015’s 200 and 2016’s 195.
  • But that main list total was undoubtedly decreased by putting effort into my Rewatchathon — what if I added the two totals together? Well, there’ll be more on that in my annual stats post later in the week…
  • Other than that, it’s a bit of an unremarkable monthly tally: it’s below the December average (previously 11.55, now 11.5), below the rolling average of the last 12 months (though it bests December 2016, so raises that from 14.42 to 14.5), and below the average for 2017 (previously 14.8, now finalised at 14.5).
  • Earlier this year, Empire magazine published their latest reader-voted 100 Greatest Movies list. Watching It’s a Wonderful Life means I have just 2½ to go: La La Land (yep, still not seen it), True Romance, and the film I can never remember if I saw as a kid or not, E.T.
  • This month’s Blindspot film: sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, which is still impressive in its own way but has inevitably been out-sci-fi-ed in the last six decades.
  • This month’s WDYMYHS film was more science fiction: Her, which is basically an episode of Black Mirror. A good one, though.



The 31st Monthly Arbitrary Awards

Favourite Film of the Month
I watched a few Christmas films this year, which makes a change, and one of those is also my favourite film of the month. As it’s a long-fêted classic I was a little sceptical about how good It’s a Wonderful Life could actually be. Turns out, it’s magnificent.

Least Favourite Film of the Month
No real stinkers this month, but my least favourite was another Christmas film: Will Ferrell comedy Elf. It’s alright, but no classic.

Most Kick-Ass Women of the Month
Sure, Rey could get you good with a lightsaber, and whatever-Charlize-Theron’s-character-was-called-in-Atomic-Blonde could hand your arse to you in a single-take stairwell fight, but the women of Hidden Figures fought the patriarchy for real — and racism, too, while they were at it.

Favourite Porg of the Month
Porg, Millennium Falcon, window

The Audience Award for Most-Viewed New Post of the Month
You might think the release of a new Star Wars film would walk this, but you’d be wrong: the victory goes to my monthly TV review, which this time covered The Punisher, Detectorists, The Good Place, and so on. It’s the sixth time a TV post has won this award in 2017 — that’s half the year, folks! (The Last Jedi was of course the most-viewed film review, and by a considerable margin: out of all posts it came 6th, with the next new film post at 32nd.)


I didn’t do my review advent calendar again this year, but by coincidence I did post exactly 25 new reviews.


My Rewatchathon goal of 52 films should’ve averaged out at 4⅓ a month, but I came into December with seven left to get through. Did I manage it?

#46 The Terminator (1984)
#47 For a Few Dollars More (1965)
#48 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D (2015)
#49 Home Alone (1990)
#50 Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)
#51 Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942)
#52 Airplane! (1980)

Yes, I did — but only just: I watched Airplane on December 31st.

It’s been about 25 years since I last watched Home Alone. It’s not a bad kids’ film, is it? I’d forgotten how little of it is actually the famous stuff with the burglary and the traps.

My full review of Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon from 2008 is linked above, which I mostly stand by (I found Lionel Atwill’s Moriarty less underpowered now), but it’s also worth noting that this time I watched a colourised version. I jotted a couple of thoughts about that in my Letterboxd diary here.

Speaking of which, there are also a couple of notes on my Force Awakens rewatch here.


Everything kicks off again, for the 12th time.

Before that: all the stats and lists pertaining to my 2017 viewing.

Hidden Figures (2016)

2017 #170
Theodore Melfi | 127 mins | download (HD) | 2.39:1 | USA / English | PG / PG

Hidden Figures

Based on a true story, Hidden Figures is about three black women working at NASA in the early ’60s, a time when segregation was still in force in the US.

It’s a double whammy of timely issues, then: they struggle to prove they’re clever and have scientific know-how because they’re women, and they struggle to prove they’re worth treating with respect because they’re black. How depressing that these things are still relevant over 50 years later. That said, any right-minded person watching it will still be suitably appalled that this kind of thing went on at all — even when you know about it, seeing it played out is something else.

Of course, it comes with a positive message attached: these people overcome their societally-imposed disadvantages to be awesome nonetheless, fighting everyday sexism and racism left, right and centre to eventually prove their worth. Hurrah! It’s a strong message, even more powerful thanks to it being a true story, and no doubt goes a long way to explaining the film’s success. As a movie in its own right, it’s nothing particularly special. There are good performances from a high-calibre cast, but everything else is pretty standard for a biopic — well done, but there’s a reason the film’s Oscar nominations were for acting and screenwriting.

4 out of 5

Hidden Figures is available on Sky Cinema from today.