Wow, what a shit show 2017 was, huh?
Daily doses of idiocy from Trump and administration, countless mass shootings, hurricanes, Net Neutrality being destroyed, and so much more.
But, there were a lot of great things too. We kicked off 2017 by meeting our newest nephew TJ in March, and our second niece Gia in November. We now have 2 nieces, and 5 nephews, ranging from 9 (10 next year) to 2 months. I can’t believe our oldest is going to be 10. Nothing makes you realize how fast time moves like watching a kid grow up.
Any way, on to things I enjoyed in 2017:
Motor Girl technically started in 2016, but the bulk of the story was told in 2017 where it concluded after 10 issues. Written and illustrated by Houston’s own Terry Moore. Motor Girl follows an Iraq vet named Samantha, and her imaginary fried, Mike, who happens to be a gorilla. The story deals with PTSD in a great way. I can’t recommend Moore’s books enough. You can order Motor Girl here. There are single issues and trades available.
2017 was a big year for music for me. Two of my favorite bands released new albums, and there were a lot of other great releases too.
Surprisingly, my top album of the year is Sleep Well Beast by The National. It’s yet another solid album by The National, with really great songs such as Day I Die, The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, Turtleneck, I’ll Still Destroy You, Guilty Party, Carin at the Liquor Store. I just listed over half the album, so you know this is a good one.
I say Sleep Well Beast is surprisingly my favorite album of the year because Queens of the Stone Age, one of my top two favorite bands (Bruce Springsteen is tops, dir), released their seventh studio album – Villains. My top songs are Fortress, The Evil Has Landed (which contains the sexiest guitar riff that Queens has put out in a long time), and Villains of Circumstance.
Beck released yet other solid album with Colors. I really don’t think Beck gets the credit he deserves any more. I’m always happy when a new Beck album comes out. You never know what you’re going to get, other than it will be kick ass. Some notable tracks off of Colors are Colors, Wow, and Fix Me.
Nine Inch Nails also put out the second EP of a planned three EP set. ADD VIOLENCE is five songs of pure kick-ass. I especially dig the synth on the album. I’m not sure what sparked the recurrence of the synth in music, but I welcome it back. Between this album, it appears on Queens of the Stone Age’s Villains, and in TV and movie scores, must notably Stranger Things, and Mark Motherbaugh’s amazing score for Thor: Ragnarok. Off of ADD VIOLENCE, LESS THAN, NOT ANYMORE, and the grueling THE BACKGROUND WORLD are my picks for best on the album.
We also saw a few concerts this year. The Suffers to open 2017, Ben Folds, and a weekend festival in New Orleans called Voodoo Fest were we saw the Foo Fighters, Live, The Killers, Brand New, among many others. We’ll also be closing out the year with The Suffers in a few days.
As always, Ali and I watch a lot of movies. In fact, we went to Alamo Drafthouse 47 times in 2017 to see both new movies, and special screenings of older movies (including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Fight Club, Steel Magnolias, Heat, Die Hard, and too many more to mention). And this number doesn’t even include the numerous movies we rented or streamed online.
Here are some of the best that we saw this year broken out into categories:
Logan was great, a real break from other comic book movies. I think it stands apart from other comic book movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier before it. Logan had a really great trailer that was cut beautifully to Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt.
Wonder Woman was enjoyable, and the best movie DC has put out in their cinematic universe, which sadly, isn’t saying much. This movie has issues, but overall much stronger than Man of Steel and especially Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Wonder Woman also featured what is probably one of the best cinematic theme for a super hero since John Williams Superman in 1978 or Danny Elfman’s 1989 Batman theme.
Spider-Man: Homecoming saw Spider-Man come home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it felt great to have Spidey in the hands of people who actually know and understand who he is. Homecoming also gave us one of the best villains in a Marvel movie since Loki.
Thor: Ragnarok was finally a Thor movie worthy of the God of Thunder. The story, score, cinematography were all top notch. The colors in this movie took what Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did and blew it out of the water. The first trailer does a great job of showcasing the colorful look as well as the 80s inspired score.
Movies That Came Out of Nowhere:
I don’t even know how to describe the movie Get Out. It changed directions so many times when you were watching it, and just when you thought you knew what kind of movie it was going to be, it changed directions again. I can’t describe it in a way that does it justice, so just check out the trailer. I anxious to see what Jordan Peele does next.
Colossal was another movie that I thought I knew what I was getting into when we sat down in the theaters but was totally wrong. It takes a really dark turn. The trailer didn’t give anything away, which is awesome (and rare).
Other notable movies:
- Free Fire was a 80 minute shoot-out/stand-off movie that took place in an abandoned warehouse after a weapons deal went bad. Fun movie.
- Dunkirk was was good, but it was a two hour long anxiety attack. Seeing it once was enough.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a good follow up, albeit a tad weaker than the first installment.
- Baby Driver had a great soundtrack and the cinematography and choreography of the driving scenes where insane. They actually timed all of the action to the beats of each song that played, and edited the scenes on location to ensure they had it perfect. Amazing dedication and attention to detail.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi is definitely a controversial movie, and I keep going back and forth, however at the end of the day there was more here that I liked than didn’t like.
You know from these reviews that Ali and I love us some TV. This year had two standout shows, both dramas. We’re admittedly behind on streaming some quality shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale, American Vandal, and others, but here are some of my favorites from this year.
Ozark is a Netflix show staring Jason Bateman who is a financial planner who launders money on the side for the Mexican cartel.
American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. The series follows a man named Shadow Moon, who finds himself being pulled into an oncoming war between the Old Gods and the New Gods.
Legion, another superhero show, but with a twist. The lead character, David Haller was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has been a patient of psychiatric hospitals for a good chunk of his life. Unbeknownst to him, though, is that there is more to the story than his illness.
Some other shows that we watched and enjoyed, though weren’t new in 2017 were the second season of Master of None, the complete series of The Leftovers, and The Good Place continues to be one of the best (and most original) comedies on TV.