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The 2018 Oscars and Ron’s Films of 2017

February 8, 2018


My friend Ron Wells LOVES film and music.

He loves attending films and concerts, listening to music, analyzing it all, writing his reflections, and then sharing them with friends. I take his emails and shape them into blog posts.

Usually Ron writes a review or two a month as well as the occasional obituary of an important figure and I try to post them. This year he faced a number of personal challenges and I attributed that to the lack of contributions by him to this blog, but he recently revealed in an email that he was not impressed by this year’s films. The acting? Yes, but the films over all left him only “mildly interested.” Nonetheless, it is still interesting to review his notes on the films of 2017 in the context of the race for the Oscar 2018 — which he think Best Picture will be won by Store of Water or 3 Billboards.

So here with plenty of time to watch a few more before the big night Sunday March 4, are a few of the top films according to the Academy and Ron. Who do you think we should be toasting?

Best Picture Nominees for the Oscars:

Films of 2017: Ron Wells Ranked Annotated List
with a few annotations in italics from me! 

1. The Post: Maybe not the best film of the year, but by far the most important. It reminds us that  the 4th Estate is a primary protection against an Orwellian future, or even an Orwellian present. Subscribe to a major newspaper today.

2. Molly’s Game: Thank god for Aaron Sorkin. Following in the footsteps of Paddy Chayefsky, his words flow fast like a beautiful river. To hear them said by Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba is pure joy.

3. Lucky: this film is only for those people who had as difficult a year as I had, or those who love Harry Dean Stanton. I loved this film, but I repeat: it is NOT for everyone. Nothing happens in this movie. It is a contemplation on life, death, nothingness, belief, and the meaning of words. When Harry Dean sings, it brought tears to my eyes. Every actor wishes they had a final scene as Harry Dean had in this film. Oh, I love Harry Dean Stanton and this trailer reminded me why! I am looking forward to seeing this!

4. Coco (Animation): I saw only one animated film and foreign film.. Why? Few came to my theaters.

5. The Big Sick:  I don’t usually like romantic comedies, but in this weak year, The Big Sick was the exception to the rule. Nice mainstream entertainment.

6. The Phantom Thread
7. The B Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography (Documentary)
8. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (Documentary)
9. Blade Runner 2049
10. The Darkest Hour
11. Dunkirk: Second most nominations with 8.

12. The Shape of Water: I’ve loved Sally Hawkins forever. Her two films this year reinforced that belief. Though the films were problematic for me, she was magnificent. (Maudie; the Shape of Water). Most nominations with 13.


13. Call Me by Your Name: The father’s speech to his son at the end of Call Me By Your Name was perhaps the most wonderful speech I heard all year.

14. Get Out
15. The Insult (Foreign/Subtitled)
16. The Florida Project
17. Dawson City: Frozen Time (Documentary)
18. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
19. Wonder Woman
20. Logan Lucky
21. Lady Bird
22. Maudie

23. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: 
Three Billboards: amazing, amazing acting! But what’s the point? Firebomb offices? Throw people from second story windows? Her cause was righteous, but at some point over time guilt/anger must be let go. A minuscule of hope at the end was not enough for me.  Third most nominations with 7. 

24. Wonderstruck


25. Baby Driver I would have thought Ron would have appreciated or at least noted this film for the amazing use of music, especially the opening segment with one of my favorite songs by jon Spencer Blues Explosion. It is nominated for and should win for best sound editing and mixing.

26. Wind River: Everyone I know loved Wind River. I had a million reasons not to like it (though Jeremey Renner was excellent). Anyway, you should trust my friends and go see this. I may have gotten it wrong on this one.

27. I, Tonya: Child abuse + spousal abuse + poverty+ being uneducated = a human train wreck. Nancy just happened to be on the tracks. It doesn’t exonerate Tonya or her friends, but it explains them. This film upset me. Some people have found it humorous; I didn’t.
28. The Trip to Spain
29. Brad’s Status
30. Good Time
31. Mother! I’m done with Darren Aronofsky. No more of his films. Those who think mother! is some sort of deep meditation on anything, should perhaps go see King Lear, or Hamlet, or Lawrence of Arabia, or anything else. He sees himself as an ARTISTE……just ask him. Done…
“Somewhere,” writes Ron, “Harry Dean Stanton is smiling. Maybe next year the films will touch me as in years past.”
Thanks Ron for sharing your reflections with us!

So, which films made your Top Ten list? Why film do you think will win the Academy Award for Best Picture?



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