Commencement Address

If 2017 made one thing clear, it’s that I don’t think we can play by the same rules anymore. David Shreve always began these posts by assuring us we survived the year, in what was both a note of congratulations, a sigh of relief, and an acknowledgement that such a feat wasn’t easy, and not everyone could claim to have done so. Yes, we survived 2017, but I think this year it became increasingly important that we did more than survive. We fought.

When I think of this year in film and in life, I think of the combative nature of it. Not every fight was worth fighting, not every fight had clear battle lines drawn, and not every fight ended in the outcome we expected or wanted. But we sure as hell stood our ground to hold on to whatever piece that could offer some solace and sanity in insane times. I found that many of the characters in this year’s film, television, and pop culture realm did the same. If there was a reigning theme across 2017, it was hurt people trying to make sense of a world that has changed or failed them. The answers were sometimes found in violence, other times in love, but more often than not, not at all. There’s something to that I think, learning how to survive and fight while not knowing what the end result will be. For ultimately, as much as these personal and public battles are hardships comprised of blood, sweat, and tears, they are battles of hope.

So with all of that said, I hope we keep fighting the good fight, I hope we keep surviving, and I hope that Audiences Everywhere was able to give you something you needed this year, some answer or question that gave you strength to keep fighting your own battles. I am deeply appreciative of every single one of this site’s visitors, contributors, and supporters. I’m fighting with you in the hopes that together we can create a better film culture. Now, let’s get to it by celebrating the year’s best, starting with some superlatives.

Who’s Who? (Superlatives)

Overachiever:

Logan

Michael Green- Screenwriter Michael Green certainly made a name for himself this year and shook off any lingering reservations left over from his credit as one of four credited screenwriters on Green Lantern. With this year’s credits of Logan, Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049Murder on the Orient Express, and American Gods, Green proved himself to be a writer of heady blockbusters who could shake the foundations of some of our most well established fictional worlds.

Class Clown (Best Comedy):

Lionsgate

The Big Sick – Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon created a heartfelt, “based on a true story” romantic comedy that breathed life back into the genre with an honest cultural and social portrait both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.

Best Halloween Costume (Best Horror Movie):

Get Out

Universal Pictures

Get Out – In his feature film debut, Jordan Peele created a new horror classic in his exploration of the racial fears that divide America, fears that became increasingly relevant as 2017 went on.

Best Glow-Up (Biggest surprise from marketing to final product):

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Despite returning to the MCU, the idea of another Spider-Man franchise left many skeptical, and poorly photoshopped posters and Iron Man-heavy trailers didn’t exactly boost confidence. But Jon Watts’ film found a sincerity and charm too many comic book movies are lacking, and made Tom Holland a star.

Most Original (Best Streaming Original):

Mudbound – Dee Rees’ Netflix Original, Mudbound, made the streaming service an awards contender with her beautifully shot and performed Steinbeck-esque take on two war vets caught in the tumultuous racial landscape of Mississippi.

Most Likely to Succeed (Best New Talents):

Warner Bros.

Fion Whitehead (Dunkirk) – Making your cinematic debut in a Christopher Nolan movie is a hell of a way to start. Whitehead managed to convey the wide-eyed innocence and courageous will to survive as soldier Tommy, who becomes our central guide through the battle of Dunkirk.

Raw

Focus World

Julia Ducournau (Raw) – Ducournau’s fleshy first feature is a stunning film that suggests the work of a filmmaker with decades of feature experience. Raw is so assured and confident in its handling of its complex characters and its psycho sexual horror element, and it remains consistently engaging even if it’s not as gag worthy as initial reactions suggested.

A Dark Song

IFC Midnight

Liam Gavin (A Dark Song) – Gavin’s feature debut employs a purposeful grounding of the occult that is truly unique and allows for repetition of ritual to mirror the grieving process. Despite it being a film that requires patience and is attentiveness to the emotional stakes, Gavin is never afraid to own up to the fact that he’s creating a horror film, and that makes the payoff all the better.

Warner Bros.

Sophia Lillis (IT) – Amidst a cast of boys, Sophia Lillis stands out as the best actor of the Losers’ Club in her portrayal of Beverly Marsh. Lillis brings a refined maturity to the role, and an emotional depth that seems well beyond her years. With her next starring in HBO’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, (playing a young Amy Adams no less) there’s little doubt that she has a bright future ahead of her.

Commencement Address & Superlatives | Best Frames | Best Scenes | The Bad Stuff | Best Performances | Best Films