I watched fewer movies this year than I did at one point of my life, when I didn’t have a kid and TV shows weren’t nearly as good as they are now, but I still saw a healthy amount.
While I made it out to see Oscar contenders like Roma, my favorites of the past year were all over the place.
Here they are, in no particular order.
A love letter to Iowa and her people disguised as documentary about saving film history. Michael Zahs, who I had the fortune hearing speak at the conclusion of my first showing, is a natural entertainer and a salt-of-the-earth type who warmed my heart. [Watch on Vimeo]
Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse
I loved Spider-Man when I was growing up. Then, when I tried to jump back in after a few years away, I found it incomprehensible. What they hell were all these weird contrivances? Oddly and amazingly, Into the Spider-Verse manages to tell a story far from that simple Spider-Man beats up bad guys story of my childhood — including multiple dimensions and a main character who isn’t Peter Parker — but makes it familiar and entertaining.
I love a good superhero movie and Black Panther was exactly that. Plus: representation matters. Wakanda Forever.
Part of my love for this movie surely comes from being perfectly primed: I saw this with my daughter the summer she was getting ready to enter junior high. It offered an opportunity for us to talk about the journey ahead. The story and acting is incredibly true to life, cringey in all the right ways.
Like all Spike Lee joints, this is heavy handed at times. But we live in a time like no other and drawing a straight line from shitty cops and organized racism in the 1970s to a shitty president both-side-ing racism in 2017 requires (and resists) being heavy handed.
Minding the Gap
A fascinating exploration of three friends, including the filmmaker, bound by skateboarding, as they grow up and grapple with their childhoods and their futures. [Watch on Hulu]
I’m not kidding. Blockers is exactly what you think it is. Crass. Gross. Over the top. Absurd. But it’s also hilarious and touching. And it actually treats teen sexuality with respect. Blockers is also an argument for why women should helm more movies.