Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the seventh annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This tiny sandbox was formed on April 28, 2012, as a place where I could entertain myself by making essay-shaped things out of whatever words and pictures I had at hand, as opposed to surfing social media and waiting for excuses to reply to strangers who didn’t ask my opinion. Often it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries, memories, and peculiar opinions that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. At other times it’s been less fulfilling, but something I continue cobbling together anyway, as long as I can keep the fires of motivation stoked.
It’s listing time again! In today’s entertainment consumption sphere, all experiences must be pitted against each other and assigned numeric values that are ultimately arbitrary to anyone except the writer themselves. It’s just this fun thing some of us love doing even though the rules are made up and the points don’t matter.
I saw twenty-five films in theaters in 2017, but four were Best Picture nominees officially released in 2016 and therefore disqualified from this list, because I’m an unreasonable stickler about dates. (Ranking those four from Best to Least Best: Fences, Lion, Hidden Figures, and Manchester by the Sea. Of those four, nothing has haunted me throughout 2017 more than the Attack of the 50-Foot Viola Davis.)
Of the remaining 21 contenders that I saw in theaters, we had eight super-hero sequels or continuations, though one of them didn’t reveal that till the final scene; five non-superhero sequels; one reboot; two adaptations of printed works (one already famously done); one non-superhero animated film (possibly an all-time low for me); and four live-action original works. Obviously you’ll note the following list is far from comprehensive in covering 2017’s release slate. This was such a busy year for us that spare time for theater-going was in much shorter supply than usual, to say nothing of the impact that Netflix’s strong TV-series slate has had on my viewing habits. On the bright side, 21 films is a 10% increase over my total for 2016, which wasn’t much of a year.
(For what it’s worth, I decided to set aside most Oscar-potential films until after the official nominations announcement is made on January 23rd. I definitely plan to get around to Get Out soon, and for light kicks maybe Cars 3 if it ever reaches Netflix, where I noticed the other day they now have Pirates of the Caribbean 5 for any die-hard cheapskate Captain Jack Sparrow fans willing to kill 2½ hours to catch up on his antics. Last year I was not one of those.)
In the meantime, here’s what I didn’t miss in theaters in 2017, for better or worst-of-the-worst. Links to past reviews and thoughts are provided for historical reference. And now, on with the bottom half of the countdown:
Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the sixth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This unassuming site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a cathartic experiment in writing whatever came to mind without waiting for other people to start my conversations for me, and so far it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries and essays that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. Come January we’ll be reaching our 1,700th entry, reflecting once more on the thousands of man-hours expended to date on this self-expressive vanity project, and rationalizing new excuses to keep sharing even on those harder days when it’s just me, an unresponsive void, and my wife Anne saying nice things to cheer me up.
Good news on the stats front, in a way: 2017 site traffic was up 10.75% over 2016’s, which had nearly matched 2015’s. We’re still nowhere near returning to 2014’s historic levels, but I’ll take any signs of improvement. MCC had a few memorable moments this year, including one special, horrible, awful occasion that saw our largest traffic influx since 2013, the last year we posted costume photos from Gen Con. Curiously, our biggest attraction the previous year was also the result of an unhappy headline that sparked interest in our own personal tangent. The readers of the internet have spoken loud and clear the past two years: they love us most whenever we have something to share about unhappy things. In a coincidental twist, this may also be why people turn to Twitter more than ever for their daily fix of news and/or commentary and/or metaphorical exploding heads.
Onward, then, to our annual blog-stats party! Featuring a selection of photos from the year that was, all outtakes previously unposted here on MCC. Enjoy!
Once again it’s National List Month, that only time of year when all of Hollywood buys “For Your Consideration” ads in newspapers to impress the AMPAS over-70 voting bloc. Meanwhile on the internet, where newspapers can’t touch us except when they’re spreading propaganda or puff pieces that their supporters have pre-approved, we dedicated theater-goers can overlook the stars’ campaigns, hash out our opinions free of influence, and vote with our bullet points. It’s just this fun thing some of us love doing even though the rules are made up and the points don’t matter.
I saw twenty-two films in theaters in 2016, but three were Best Picture nominees released in 2015 and therefore disqualified from this list, because I’m an unreasonable stickler about dates. (Ranking those from Best to Least Best: Room, The Big Short, and The Revenant…though throughout the year I mentioned The Big Short in conversations more often than any other 2015 film.) Disqualified from inclusion are four 2016 releases I watched via Netflix, Redbox, or Black Friday Bluray (which are ranked in that entry), because I let convenience and budgetary concerns talk me out of a few extra theater trips.
Of the remaining 19 contenders that I saw in theaters, I saw nine sequels (five of which were super-hero universe expansion packs), one reboot, one would-be big-budget YA series launch, three Based on a True Story (none of which were grade-A), five animated films (two of which were not-great sequels included in said count), one original musical and one original science fiction film. To be honest, 19 may be the fewest films I’ve seen in theaters in any year so far this millennium. Here’s hoping 2017 tempts me out the front door a bit more often, time permitting and quality pending.
Links to past reviews and thoughts are provided for historical reference. And now, on with the lower half of the countdown:
Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the fifth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This unassuming site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a cathartic experiment in writing whatever came to mind without waiting for other people to start my conversations for me, and so far it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries and essays that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. Sometime this spring we’ll be reaching our 1,500th entry, reflecting once more on the hundreds of man-hours expended to date on this self-expressive non-profit project, and rationalizing new excuses not to stop, even if by the time I die it’s just me and ad-bots posting harsh emojis at each other down inside the spam filter.
Once again it’s National List Month, when all of Hollywood runs down to Hallmark and buys “For Your Consideration” cards to mail out to their fifty thousand closest friends. Meanwhile on the internet, where no one sends us free stuff to buy our love, we dedicated theater-goers are forced to make up our own minds, revisit our opinions, and vote with our bullet points. It’s just this fun thing some of us love doing even though the rules are made up and the points don’t matter.
I saw twenty-six films in theaters in 2015, but five were Best Picture nominees released in 2014 and therefore disqualified from this list, even though two of them amazed me, because I’m an unreasonable stickler about dates. Also disqualified are a few 2015 indie releases I watched via the graces of Netflix as well as one recent sci-fi film I caught on Blu-ray last night. Of the remaining 21 contenders, one was a reboot, ten were sequels or continuations of long-running series, and one was arguably both depending on how you feel about time travel consequences. Call it a “bootquel”, I guess.
Hey-hey, folks! Welcome to the fourth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review! This modest site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a cathartic experiment in writing whatever came to mind without waiting for other people to start my conversations for me, and so far it’s successfully kept me busy enough to avoid 98% of all toxic social media hubs. Sometime this winter we’ll reach our 1,200th entry, look back on these hundreds of thousands of words generated to date, and thank the Lord my fingers and brain haven’t gone numb yet.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: I came up with a recurring feature that was meant to be me jotting down capsule-sized notes about Stuff I Recently Watched on our own TV. And then I spent the last several months accumulating a backlog while finding plenty of other topics to explore instead. With 2016 a handful of hours away, I’m taking this moment to play superficial catch-up and clear the slate in case I decide to call do-over on this next year.
Many of these were made possible by the power of Netflix, for which we finally signed up in 2015 and learned to super-like. Others came from assorted sources, but many sort neatly into categories. These, then, are the films I watched at home within the past 365 days that weren’t in the last five Scorecard summaries. I’ve added notes only to those titles that spark the sharpest, most immediate memories and reactions.
Once again January is National List Month, that left-brained time of year when everyone’s last twelve months of existence must be removed from their mental filing cabinets, reexamined, and refiled in specific pecking order from Greatest to Most Grating. Here on Midlife Crisis Crossover, we enjoy our annual tradition of spending at least two posts looking back at our year in movies, trying to remember what we thought about them at the time and ultimately deciding which films can beat up which other films. When I reach that realization that my opinions sometimes change over time upon further reflection or second viewings, that’s when the process turns messy and I end up hating my own list. But internet bylaws insist it must be done. And I like lists more than I like internet bylaws.
The final tabulations reveal I saw 19 films in theaters in 2014 (tying with 2007 and 2010 as worst moviegoing years ever) and four via On Demand while they were still in limited release. This count doesn’t include seven 2013 films I attended in 2014 for Oscar-chasing purposes, or any films I watched on home video long after their theatrical run. As one sad example, this harsh rule of mine disqualifies Boyhood from the list since I just watched it via Redbox rental two nights ago. If I’d gotten out of the house for a three-hour theater visit just one more time last summer, it would’ve made my Top 3. Consider this paragraph my version of a Very Honorable Mention.
Links to past reviews and thoughts are provided for historical reference. On with the reverse countdown, then:
Hey there, supporters and strangers! Welcome to the third annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This modest site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a nervous experiment in writing whatever came to mind in a space to call my own, and so far it’s been a much more fulfilling pastime than lurking around message boards and tapping my foot impatiently while waiting for other fun people to discuss things I wanted to discuss. Last week saw the release of MCC’s 900th post, and so far I’m at a loss to explain exactly how that happened. I dreaded 2014 would be the year I ran out of anecdotes and opinions and jokes, but in hindsight I can’t think of a reason to let that stop me now. If this happened months ago, everybody do me a favor and don’t tell me, because the longer you let me ramble on like this, the funnier it’ll be to watch my eventual horrified epiphany.
MCC’s 2012 was a slow rise from nothingness to quantifiable somethingness. Our 2013 was about steady upward trending as I kept exploring my limitations and horizons. 2014, on the other hand, saw largely flatlined traffic except around a few key events. This peaceful plateau may be in part because 2014 was MCC’s first year without a single entry achieving the much-vaunted WordPress.com “Freshly Pressed” status, that prized occasion in which the WordPress staff shares a well-regarded work of yours with a much wider audience of fellow WordPress users. Without such a generous boost to accelerate audience growth this year, it meant trying to hold your attention with old-school methods — by keeping the content coming, by appreciating the greatest audience of all times, by digging into topics that might interest other humans besides myself, by trying not to suck, and by wishing really hard that magic search-engine genies would do all my marketing for me.