By Jack Archambault
With the Academy Awards coming up in a few weeks, it is a time for film buffs to reflect on Hollywood’s best and recognize the movies that represent the pinnacle of cinematic achievement. I, however, am not a film buff. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the movies, but this year I have missed out on many of the Oscar-nominated films (I’ve seen 3 of the 9 Best Picture nominees). But in going to the movies this year, I have realized that there is just as much fun in going to see movies that don’t receive as much critical acclaim. And that is where my rankings for the common man come in. Not everyone can be a film critic–evaluating the artistic merits of noir versus giallo or examining the intricacies of 1920s French cinema. So for everyone else, there’s me. I’m going to count down the top ten movies I saw this year, rating them on a scale of 1 to 10 lunch pails, because that’s how we blue-collar commoners do things. If a movie is not on this list, that means either I didn’t see it, or I did see it and didn’t like it.
Blade Runner 2049, The Shape of Water (It was weird, you know it), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Jumanji
10) Despicable Me 3
7/10 Lunch Pails
Say what you will about Despicable Me, but it is the rare franchise that gets better with each sequel (For more on this, see Vol. L, Issue 1). The secret to enjoying this movie is to embrace all the wackiness and idiocy of everything that goes on and completely give in to the minion mania. I went to see this movie with my sister the first week it came out and we were the only non-parents over the age of six in the theater. We didn’t care. We still laughed like crazy. We might actually be six-year-olds.
9) Beauty and the Beast
7.5/10 Lunch Pails
This movie makes it because of Emma Watson, and because everything she touches turns to gold. Some people despise Disney’s live action remakes, but I personally enjoy them and thought Beauty and the Beast was the best they’ve done so far. I’m also realizing that it’s funny that I thought The Shape of Water was bizarre for its love story between a woman and a fish, while a romance between woman and wildebeest doesn’t cause me (or anyone else) to bat an eye. Just kind of odd.
7.5/10 Lunch Pails
This movie would probably be higher if it weren’t for this: I went to see It with my roommate back in October and it was almost sold out. The only two seats we could get together were the “wheelchair accessible” ones in the back of the theater. Being a couple of Fordham-educated geniuses, we figured that meant there was just extra room around them. Seems reasonable, right? Wrong. Turns out, it means there are no seats there at all. It’s a small miracle that this movie comes in at number eight despite the fact that I watched the whole thing standing up.
7.8/10 Lunch Pails
Can a movie without characters or a conventional plot be good? Christopher Nolan thinks so, and I agree. Most violent movies don’t instill genuine fear in me. Dunkirk, however, made me legitimately grateful that I haven’t fought and never will have to fight in a war…Wait, are you telling me that Donald Trump is our president? And he’s pissing off a crazy guy with nuclear weapons? And he once asked a general why the US doesn’t use its nuclear weapons? *Thinking…* *Breaking into a cold sweat* I’m grateful that I haven’t fought
and never will have to fight in a war.
6) The Disaster Artist
8/10 Lunch Pails
You don’t have to have seen The Room to watch The Disaster Artist. While I’ve heard this movie described as a two-hour long SNL sketch, it was damn funny. When I saw it, there was only one other guy in the theater and we were both cracking up the whole time. A very enjoyable two-hour long sketch it was.
5) Star Wars: The Last Jedi
8.1/10 Lunch Pails
I’m not a Star Wars fan, but I loved this movie. All my friends who are Star Wars fans tell me I am an idiot for thinking that. I have no idea why Star Wars fans hated this movie, but for anyone who can’t tell the difference between Boba and Jango Fett (and anyone who doesn’t eat their own boogers), this movie was pretty awesome. Seriously though, why can’t Star Wars just end already?
4) Wonder Woman
8.4/10 Lunch Pails
Wonder Woman was the movie that was responsible for getting me out of a superhero rut. I typically don’t like Marvel or DC movies. Never have. Wonder Woman was different. I enjoyed it so much that I went to see three more superhero movies over the course of the year. It also has the third best Chris in it. (That would be Chris Pine, who ranks below Hemsworth and Evans and above Pratt.)
3) Baby Driver
8.7/10 Lunch Pails
I had a little bit of a thing for movies about getaway drivers this year, a thing that almost resulted in me paying $250 for next day delivery of the jacket that Ryan Gosling wears in Drive. You can’t tell me that wouldn’t have been the coolest Halloween costume that 80% of people wouldn’t recognize. Oh well, there’s always next year. Although Baby Driver hasn’t aged great over the past few months (Kevin Spacey), this movie is just undeniably cool. And even though Ansel Elgort seems like, and by all accounts, is, a massive d-bag, I’ll be damned if he wasn’t an absolute boss in this movie.
2) Spider-Man: Homecoming
9/10 Lunch Pails
If Baby Driver was cool, Spider-Man was its way cooler brother. My problem with Marvel movies has always been that they feel too formulaic and unoriginal. While Spider-Man did follow a typical Marvel storyline, it just did it so much better. The high school setting made it just different enough, every bit of color popped, and it had the best twist of any superhero movie I’ve ever seen. The characters were likable but not too basic, and it was really everything a movie about good guys vs. bad guys should be. #spidey4prez
1) Get Out
9.5/10 Lunch Pails
Get Out is being screened again in select theaters before the Oscars, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I cannot recommend it enough. Go see it in the theater. It was easily one of the three most fun movie theater experiences I’ve ever had. Even if you don’t like scary movies, go see it anyways. More so than any movie on this list (except maybe Star Wars), Get Out feels like a cultural landmark. It’s the type of movie that has mainstream appeal while also tackling important issues, all while keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time. If you end up seeing any of these movies, make it this one.