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Jim's Top 12 Movies for 2017


As required by podcast and blogging law, one of us here at has to post our favorite entries in pop culture for the year. I drew the short straw and since I host the DCTV Podcast here at the site, and am a co-host of The Walking Dead TV Podcast (Sorry neither WD show made my list this year...) and of Nothing's On, a podcast about movies and TV, I decided to list my Top 12 Movies and TV shows of 2017. These aren't in any order, alphebetical, cardinal or otherwise. These represent to me the best dozen things I saw this year in these media, all for different reasons. Get ready not to agree with me, because I guarantee you won't.


Honorable Mentions: Spider-Man: Homecoming (I loved the John Hughes style take on Spidey and pals), Split, Mudbound, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Your Name ( a touching anime I saw this year but was later informed came out last year), The Bad Batch (goofy post-apocalyptic action with Jason Momoa and Keanu Reeves) Blade of the Immortal (easily the best straight up action movie I saw this year), Death Race 2050( a remake and sequel in one to Roger Corman's original Death Race 2000 with all of the over-the-top violence, action and social commentary that implies) and Electric Boogaloo The Wild True Story of Cannon Films. And an Honorable Mention and extra kudos to Brandon Peters for hipping me to Neil Breen's film Pass Thru. Breen is an auteur that makes Tommy Wiseau seem almost Spielbergian in comparison. On to the Dirty Dozen!


12) Thelma- Thelma is like Carrie retold by Kubrick if he were Norwegian. It's full of atmospheric shots and thoughtful camerawork as a young woman away from home for the first time at college finds her blossoming attraction for another student manifesting itself in supernatural ways. This movie might be overlooked by a lot of people for being kind of slow in pace but I found it compelling and the payoff for the slow burn totally worth it.


11)Super Dark Times- This movie took me by surprise. It melds the "kids on bikes" sensibility of Stranger Things with the impending doom and casual nihilism of Rivers' Edge to chilling effect as the cute love triangle we see set up in almost a sitcom-style way in the first third of the movie reverberates in dark ways as the movie progresses. The authenticity of the teenage characters and that kind of unreality of late adolescence blend so well here. The best teenage movie I have seen of this ilk since Donnie Darko.


10)The Lego Batman Movie- A Batman movie that deals with all the other versions of Batman in movies and TV, is filled to the brim with easter eggs and geeky references, and has a script that is much better written than it had a right to be. Will Arnett nails Batman here and the supporting cast are all equally invested in their characters, especially Zack Gallifinakis as The Joker. I have seen this one numerous times as it is a favorite of my kids but each time I am genuinely and pleasnatly suprised at how good this movie actually is.


9) Guardians of The Galaxy 2- I liked this movie more than most people I know. Maybe it's my long standing admiration of Kurt Russell, or my long standing admiration of Michael Rooker, or that the daddy issues that were the axis of the story seemed genuinely implemented. The humor in the film that bothers some of my colleagues does not bother me a bit and it did my geeky heart good to see the OG Guardians represented at least in passing by Sylvester Stallone, Michelle Yeoh and Ving Rhames. 


8) Dunkirk- This movie is like a muscle that keeps tensing more and more as it goes on. Nolan has legions of fans who gush about him but the praise in this case is totally justified. No one else is making films on this scale , with this complexity, and with this gravitas. Simply brilliant.


7)The Void- Back in the day I would rush to the local video store after school to have my choice of what to rent for the weekend. Many times I would rent horror and sci-fi movies based solely on their VHS box art and synopsis, and many times I was disappointed, but every once in a while I would find a real gem, a horror movie from out of nowhere with a wisp of a budget that would blow me away. This is the feeling watching The Void gave  me. It was cheesy and scary in just the right amounts and production choices made out of budgetary concerns actually work in the movies' favor. Thanks for taking me back to the 80s for a bit.


6) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets- I put Valerian in the same category as the Wachowski's Speed Racer, a totally solid, visually stunning and totally fun adventure film that sadly got misunderstood by critics and lost in the shuffle of known franchises and blockbuster tentpoles that made up their respective summers. Valerian is fun, creative, upbeat science fiction on a grand scale with eye-popping visuals and a well-paced story told well. I hope that like Besson's other sci-fi epic, The Fifth Element, that more people will check it out at home.


5)Get Out- There has already been so much written about this movie anything I would add would be superfluous but I will point out that well-written, smart horror movies rarely get such critical attention, especially from a first time director, without being truly exceptional. Jordan Peele is able to mix racial overtones expertly with abject terror to create a hell of a ride and easily one of the years most unforgettable movies.


4) Logan- A fitting tribute and farewell to the character Hugh Jackman has played over the last 17 years in 9 films (counting his cameo in First Class) with incredible performances by Patrick Stewart and newcomer Dafne Keen. James Mangold tells a very particular story in this film, more of a Death of a Samurai riff than a superhero movie, more interested with the personalities and interactions of the characters than grand action set pieces. Logan was more emotionally effective to me than I was prepared for upon first view.


3)Blade Runner 2049- I did not want a Blade Runner sequel. I didn't think the world needed a Blade Runner sequel, and after my huge disappointment upon viewing Prometheus I was of the opinion that Ridley Scott should leave his old franchises alone. But putting this sequel in the capable hands of Denis Villenueve was the smartest move he could have made. This movie in some ways fixes things from the first movie I didn't even know were broken while creating a new world that is influenced by the first movie but not in a slavish or exploitative way. I love being proved wrong in such a grand manner.


2) The Shape of Water- This movie is genius in so many ways, from the almost Bioshockesque production design to the believability of the script to the unusual yet totally plausible romance at the center of the film. Del Toro has yet IMHO to make a truly bad film and this may be his best, or at least my favorite. The subversion of the Creature of the Black Lagoon mythos into a touching love story could've come off ham-fisted and contrived but to the contrary this movie worked for me in every conceivable way. 


1) Star Wars The Last Jedi- Not only did Rian Johnson make a totally worthy installment that fits in the next leg of the SW saga, but also he did it by subverting fanboy theories, telling the story he wanted to tell and even inserting a meta message for the legions of SW fans themselves (Respect the past but let go of it and face the future) without missing a step. I grew up with SW. The first movie came out when i was 9 years old and I have always had a special connection to the saga even when it wasn't good. No other franchise has had as great an effect on me and SW was my springboard to my love of all film as I grew up. To get a SW film this intelligently put together, this thoughtful and this emotionally impacting ( I literally wept three times during this movie and had to sit in the car afterwards just sorting it all out) is a dream come true.


This hereby fulfills half of my legal podcasting obligation to list articles vis a vis 2017 movies. Next up: 2017 TV!


MTV Movie Awards 2015 Nominees




























The nominees for the 2015 MTV Movie Awards are in and superhero films are represented well.  Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Soldier and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 garner multiple nominations. 


MTV Movie Awards will Air April 12.  Here are your 2015 Nominees:


Movie of the Year
-”American Sniper”
-”The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
-”Guardians of the Galaxy”
-”Gone Girl”
-”The Fault In Our Stars”


Best Female Performance
-Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
-Emma Stone, “Birdman”
-Shailene Woodley, “The Fault In Our Stars”
-Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
-Scarlett Johansson, “Lucy”


Best Male Performance
-Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
-Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
-Ansel Elgort, “The Fault In Our Stars”
-Miles Teller, “Whiplash”
-Channing Tatum, “Foxcatcher”


Best Scared-As-S**t Performance
-Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
-Annabelle Wallis, “Annabelle”
-Jennifer Lopez, “The Boy Next Door”
-Dylan O’Brien, “The Maze Runner”
-Zach Gilford, “The Purge: Anarchy”


Breakthrough Performance
-Ansel Elgort, “The Fault In Our Stars”
-Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
-David Oyelowo, “Selma”
-Dylan O’Brien, “The Maze Runner”
-Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood”


Best Shirtless Performance
-Zac Efron, “Neighbors”
-Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
-Channing Tatum, “Foxcatcher”
-Ansel Elgort, “The Fault In Our Stars”
-Kate Upton, “The Other Woman”


Best Duo
-Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill, “22 Jump Street”
-Zac Efron & Dave Franco, “Neighbors”
-Shailene Woodley & Ansel Elgort, “The Fault In Our Stars”
-Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
-James Franco & Seth Rogen, “The Interview”


Best Fight
-Jonah Hill vs. Jillian Bell, “22 Jump Street”
-Chris Evans vs. Sebastian Stan, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
-Dylan O’Brien vs. Will Poulter, “The Maze Runner”
-Seth Rogen vs. Zac Efron, “Neighbors”
-Edward Norton vs. Michael Keaton, “Birdman”


Best Kiss
-Ansel Elgort & Shailene Woodley, “The Fault In Our Stars”
-James Franco & Seth Rogen, “The Interview”
-Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″
-Scarlett Johansson & Chris Evans, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
-Rose Byrne & Halston Sage, “Neighbors”


Best WTF Moment
-Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne, “Neighbors”
-Jonah Hill, “22 Jump Street”
-Jason Sudeikis & Charlie Day, “Horrible Bosses 2″
-Miles Teller, “Whiplash”
-Rosario Dawson & Anders Holm, “Top Five”


Best Villain
-Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
-J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
-Jillian Bell, “22 Jump Street,”
-Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
-Peter Dinklage, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”


Best Musical Moment
-Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
-Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
-Seth Rogen & Zac Efron, “Neighbors”
-Bill Hader & Kristen Wiig, “The Skeleton Twins”
-Miles Teller, “Whiplash”


Best Comedic Performance
-Channing Tatum, “22 Jump Street”
-Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
-Rose Byrne, “Neighbors”
-Chris Rock, “Top Five”
-Kevin Hart, “The Wedding Ringer”


Best On-Screen Transformation
-Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
-Elizabeth Banks, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
-Zoe Saldana, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
-Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
-Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood”



RIP Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

“Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most…human.” –Captain James T. Kirk

It is with sadness in my heart that I report that Leonard Nimoy died today.  His wife Susan Bay Nimoy reportedly confirmed his death at age 83, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  I have met Leonard a few times in my life as a professional nerd and he was always so much more to me than an actor.  He was an inspiration.  Leonard Nimoy was a renaissance man through and through.  He was an actor, a poet, a songwriter/singer and a photographer.  A couple of years ago at a comic con, I was telling Leonard about some aspirations I had in entertainment creation and that I was worried about finding the right audience for what I want to do.  He told me “If you truly want to create something, do it.  If you are happy with the result, no one else’s opinion matters.”  He lived those words.  As he took on new ideas and new mediums for his art, he not only did it his way, but showed that he truly enjoyed what he did.
He lived long and prospered.  He was known for many roles, but the one he is most known for is of course Mr. Spock on “Star Trek”.  I fondly remember watching re-runs of “Star Trek” in the mid-seventies.  I was fascinated by the show.  The crew, the sci-fi, the stories and the aliens were all great, but there were two things that really captured my imagination.  First was the Enterprise herself, but the other was this Vulcan creature that felt no emotion.  Most importantly for me was that he was the science officer.  I have been influenced by science all through my life, but I can trace my love of science back to watching Mr. Spock doing his thing on “Star Trek”.
Spock was my favorite of Leonard’s roles, but I also enjoyed him as Paris, the master of disguise from “Mission Impossible”.  He joined the cast after Start Trek wrapped.  I really enjoyed the old series “In Search Of”, which Leonard narrated for the series run.  He of course went on to play Spock again in the “Star Trek” film franchise, most notably directing the third and fourth in the series.  Directing was a good fit for him.  He also directed “3 men and a baby” in 1987.
Leonard Nimoy announced his retirement a few years ago citing advanced age as the reason.  That was a sad day as it made us think about the fact that we are losing our original series actors.  I just saw Nichelle Nichols a few weeks ago, and it was evident that, no matter how full of life she is, she is getting up there in time.  She started joking about the shirt I was wearing that was a spoof of the SAMCRO logo from “Sons of Anarchy” that had Joker instead of the reaper and said “Sons of Arkham”.  She said that she would make one heck of a biker babe!  We talked about her cast members for a minute and she mentioned Leonard’s health.  A very somber moment for this Trekkie and now makes me shed some tears thinking about it.
Leonard Nimoy is now reunited with DeForest Kelley and Jimmy Doohan at the great star base in the sky.   We must always remember to “Live Long and Prosper”
Rest in Peace Leonard, we will all miss you.  “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” 
Chubtoad with Leonard Nimoy in 2011

Norman Reedus Talks Season 5 Finale of Walking Dead

"Wow, bring your Kleenex and you'll be screaming at your television."



Norman was a guest on Entertainment Tonight last night answering Twitter questions from fans of AMC's ‘The Walking Dead’. One of the questions was "What should we expect from the season finale?" and Norman replied with a somber, sad look on his face, "Wow, bring your Kleenex and you'll be screaming at your television."


Who will die now?!  Wonder if this is the end for Daryl Dixon?!  We saw Sunday night that Daryl does not fit into this new way of life inside Alexandria.  Could this cause him to leave the safety of the walls and spark tragedy?!  Tweet your thoughts to me @chubtoad01, or leave comments on our Facebook group “Walking Dead TV Podcast”.


See the ET segment below and hear Norman’s Response.



Robert Downey Jr. Tweets New Age of Ultron Character Poster

He also promised a big announcemnet in eight days!  We'll be waiting...