The year in Blockbusters

2017 is geared up to be a massive year for Hollywood’s big budget movies, so here’s a (slightly biased) guide for seeing them.

The original blockbuster: “Star Wars (1977)”

It all started in 1977: “Star Wars” hit theaters and captured the imagination of millions of kids who would grow up to love “a galaxy far far away”. People lined up around the corner for months and months after the movie premiered, and Hollywood discovered a new brain-child: the blockbuster. Now no longer made organically, Hollywood studios now their blockbusters years in advance for the newest fad: films grouped together in shared cinematic universes. Disney has Marvel Comics, Warner Bros. has DC Comics and Godzilla, Sony has X-Men and a share of Spider-man. Even Universal has even gotten in on the game by rebooting it’s classic monster movies genre. And thanks to Hollywood’s top decision maker’s pension for beating a dead horse and copying the latest fad on the street, we now have an overabundance of blockbusters coming out what seems like every month (how funny is it that the center of the creative universe has so much lack of imagination at the top of the food chain?).

In the last two years alone, we’ve had movies from the following classic Franchises: Star Wars (2), Jurassic Park, Mad Max, Rocky, Mission Impossible, Harry Potter, James Bond, The Terminator, and Ghostbusters. Those are movies from three franchises that started in the 90’s, two from the 80’s, three from the 70’s, AND ONE FROM 1962. That doesn’t even include four Marvel movies, another Minions movie, another Fast & Furious movie (RIP Paul), a Hunger Games movie, and somehow another movie from the Divergent series (who in the hell are going to see those Divergent movies anyway? How do they keep making them?). Combine all of those movies with about another 30 movies (not an exaggeration) that made over $200 million (most are kid’ss movies, with a few crappy sequels like Independence Day 2 & Kung Fu Panda 3 thrown in), and now you’re realizing what has happened: blockbusters are the new normal.

Over the last two years, you could easily say there have been over 60 Franchise and/or Blockbuster movies that have been shoved in our faces. And considering what I talked about before (with everyone planning their schedules up to 10 years in advance with cinematic universes) it looks like it will stay that way for a while. If all a studio has to do is slap a numeral at the end of a title and rake in profit, they certainly will regardless of how good the product is. But instead of writing about the consequences of these actions (that piece will come), I’m going to help guide you through the giant mess that is our movie calendar for 2017. The following is a list of the 25 biggest movies that will come out in 2017, ranked from 25 to 1 in five different tiers, here we go:

Tier 5: They’re really making another one?

25. Fifty Shades Darker

Yep, that’s right, our list of the biggest and best of 2017 starts with this god damn sequel. In all honesty this series is so bad that it seems like an adult swim sketch. I mean come on, THE TITLE IS FIFTY SHADES DARKER FOR GOD SAKES. If you’ve ever seen (or will admit to seeing) Fifty Shades of Grey, you may be wondering how a book that inspired a hilarious read such as this list of gut wrenching quotes could get a sequel. As my buddy Jalen Rose always says: “follow the money”. “Fifty Shades of Grey” the book somehow sold over 100 millions copies, and the movie was made for a modest 40 million and made over 10 times that. This movie will be just as bad as the first one (if not worse), so avoid it in theaters until you can watch it at home with a friend and laugh your ass off.

24. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Dirty and drunk Johnny Depp? check. Speaking in that same voice with that same stupid, confused look on his face Orlando Bloom? Check. Pirates chasing other pirates for some asinine mystical object that gives you power? check. Ugh, let’s just move on.

23. Cars 3

The trailer for this one actually gives me some hope that it could be good, with Pixar putting out an out-of-character for them dark trailer. It seems a washed-up Lightning Mcqueen could be on his way out as the young bucks look to push him into retirement. The only thing is Cars wasn’t great to begin with (at least among Pixar’s other works) and Cars 2 is the one dark mark on their otherwise immaculate record. So not much hope here, but it’s still Pixar, and your kids will probably love it.

22. Transformers 5: The Last Knight

A jacked up Mark Walhberg running around with a concerned look on his face? Check. Some random beautiful women running around with no bra on? Check. Robots fighting each other but you can’t tell which one is which during the action? Check. Michael Bay blowing things up in spectacular fashion? Oh you know it. A good movie worth seeing in theaters? Probably not.

21. Blade Runner 2049

This one is just downright disappointing. The original Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford in 1982 is a pure Sci-Fi classic. If you’ve never seen it I couldn’t recommend it enough. The fact that they’re bringing this back over 30 years later (with the help of Ford and Scott no less) is a real bummer. I really hope this is good, but if you look at the history of sequels there is a clear correlation between the time between the original and sequel and how good that sequel ends up being (looking at you Godfather 3). Probably avoid this one.

Tier 2: These might be good (but don’t bet on it)

20. XxX: The Return of Xander Cage

Speaking of that sequel correlation, here’s a sequel that is 13 years too late. The original 2002 XxX is a fine Sunday morning action movie, and a sequel would of been welcomed in 2004, not 2017. Maybe Vin and company can pull together another hit, but i doubt it. The correlation almost never fails (long live that Russian club scene and Anarchy 99).

19. Fate of the Furious

And speaking of disappointing, I can’t believe Vin went ahead and made another Fast & Furious movie after the death of Paul Walker and the perfect ending of Fast 7 (although this is the same guy who passed up 2 Fast 2 Furious but then made The Pacifier). The stunts will be awesome, and it’ll be nice to see the gang again, but I actually hope this movie sucks, so we can pretend like it doesn’t exist. We miss you Paul.

18. King Arthur

This is the latest from Guy Ritchie, which is why I’m cautious yet hopeful. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are unbelievable movies. The reason why I’m cautious is those movies are 15 and 18 years old. The movie stars Charlie Hunnam who I really like (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim, Green Street Hooligans), so I’m hopeful that this combination can make it work. Plus, the trailer is pretty good.

17. Thor: Ragnarok

This will be the third and final solo Thor movie, and it could end up being the best. The Hulk will play a major part in the movie, and the screenwriters have taken parts of the fantastic “Planet Hulk” comic for the story. Even though the first two Thor movies are throwaways, this one could be the one that finally sticks. Not to mention god himself aka Jeff Goldblum was cast as The Grandmaster, a role he was basically born to play.

Tier 3: The Meaty Middle

16. Jumanji

Now this movie should fall under my sequel corollary ( the original came out in 1995) but this pic has The Rock, and he has a response for my theory. The Rock is the biggest (and best) movie star on the planet right now. His star power is so huge I would see any movie with him in no matter what the plot (Hi San Andreas). Plus his co-stars are Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart, so I’d be shocked if this wasn’t solid. If it’s bad, just go home and watch the original (we miss you too Robin).

15. War For the Planet of the Apes

This will be the third film in the series, and it won’t be the last. It seems like this film will be just like the first two: pretty good, but you probably won’t watch it again. It’s hard to get a grip on these films, mainly because the series has worked more like an anthology more than an arcing storyline. Woody Harrelson is the villain this time around, so it should be another hit that you won’t be talking to your friends about the week after.

14. Wonder Woman

Not much is known about the plot of this yet, but from what I see this should be one of DC’s best films for the studio that has not come close to matching the success of crosstown rival Marvel. Gal Gadot is a great choice for Wonder Woman, and the setting will be split between her homeland and World War 1, which should make for some good action shots. Plus, Zach Synder isn’t directing so that’s reason enough to see it (PS, i think Watchmen is great and the best movie that DC has produced, but his Superman movies are atrocious).

13. Logan

Here we have Thor all over again with the third Wolverine movie: the first two weren’t good, but this one should be good. What’s the difference? Deadpool. Deadpool proved that R-rated superhero movies could make tons of money, so naturally we’re finally getting the R-rated Wolverine flick we deserve. Hugh Jackman is back one last time to play a grizzled old-man Logan, and it should be his best Wolverine performance yet.

12. John Wick 2

Do you like classic, shoot em’ up revenge movies? Do you like stylish, cool movies? Do you dabble in Keanu Reeves? If so, stop reading this and go watch John Wick. Then, go watch the trailer for John Wick 2 and get fired up all over again. David Leitch made his directorial debut with John Wick and hit a pure home run. It will be a cult classic for years to come and the second should be no different. This really could be the new Taken series, as long as Dave and Keanu want to keep making them, we should keep watching them.

11. Justice League

This movie should probably be higher based on the trailer, but there are a few things to worry about. There still hasn’t been a good film when it comes to any of the solo DC hero movies leading up to this. You also have the fact that most of these DC movies are being rushed because they’re trying to catch up to Marvel who is about 13 movies ahead (this lead to the development of Suicide Squad being a mess). Also weird enough half of the characters solo films won’t even be out until after this movie comes out, including Aquaman and The Flash. And if you check out who’s in the director’s chair……..oh no it’s Zach Synder. Even though i like Ben Affleck as Batman, I don’t know how far this movie can go with Zynder at the helm. Maybe he just can’t make a good Superman movie, we’ll see.

10. Power Rangers

That sound you hear is a bunch 90’s kids going absolutely bonkers. Power Rangers was a massive part of my childhood (I was born in 92), nothing was bigger until Pokemon. The 1995 movie is near and dear to our hearts, and this one looks even better. It has a slightly darker (but not too dark) tone to it, and the zords and the uniforms look amazing. Plus, Bryan Cranston is playing Zordon and Bill Hader is voicing Alpha-5, so it’s hard to see how this goes wrong. I would really hate to see this movie not succeed, mainly because of the riots dudes aged 20–28 would cause that I would certainly would be a part of.

9. The Mummy

I already know what you’re thinking: wait, where’s Brednen Fraser.? This Mummy has nothing to do with the three Fraser movies( and before you get upset, i love the first Mummy and like the second). It’s the beginning of the Universal studios classic monster movie universe, AND WE GOT TOM CRUISE BABY. The trailer looks amazing (the plane crash scene is actually real, the director used the same vomet comet used in Apollo 13). It’s probably in the top 3 or 4 trailers I’ve seen for next year, and it pretty much confirms that this movie should lay out exactly as you think it will, and it’ll give you ever thing you need. Plus……CRUISE BACK.

Tier 2: I would be shocked if these weren’t good

8. Kong: Skull Island

This is where things start to get really good. Every movie in this group is extremely close, so don’t get upset if i ranked something too low or high for your taste. We start with the new King Kong movie, which will be the start of a shared universe with the new Godzilla movies. This is really exciting, because despite Godzilla only being OK, the visuals were spectacular, and things look just as good in Skull Island. We have a terrifyingly beautiful Kong, John C. Reilly stealing scenes, Samuel L. Jackson, a terrified looking Loki, and one of my favorite movie posters in a LONG time. This should be a great candidate to see in IMAX.

7. Alien: Covenant

This will be the 6th Alien movie to date, and the second prequel as Covenant follows up the events of 2014’s Prometheus. Ridley Scott is back to direct, and it doesn’t look like this one is gonna disappoint. This should be another visually stunning movie (Prometheus was gorgeous) from Ridley, who also directed the original in 1979. While Prometheus was more of an existential thriller, it looks like Ridley is turning up the heat with an “oh my god we’re screwed” feel to this chapter that’s more like the original while still continuing the themes of Prometheus. Everything that I said is summed up in this perfect poster.

6. Beauty and the Beast

I’m usually against remakes, but with what directors can do with visuals now, this would be a high draft pick for anyone looking to secure production rights. Disney movies are great because of the magical feel to them, and with what we can do today they are almost to the point of real-life magic (look at how great the new Jungle Book ended up being). Emma Roberts was a perfect choice for this role, and I just don’t see how there’s anyway this movie doesn’t work.

5. Baywatch

CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKING? That’s right, our biggest movie star is in three blockbusters this year, and I would bet my life this is the best one. We have The Rock and Zac Efron running around the beach, getting into zany trouble, and biting off more than they can chew. This movie knows what it wants to be: action, comedy, and half-naked beautiful people. If this movie doesn’t join the Sunday morning movie collection id be shocked.

4. Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle

This pick is a tiny bit biased because of my love for the first Kingsman, but comon: did you see how great that movie was? Kingsman was a classic James Bond spy-action movie with all of the fun of secret agents and flamboyant villains with non of the rapey vibes. The church scene (warning, it is extremely violent) is one of the best actions sequences EVER. Director Mathew Vaughn and star Taron Egerton are back, plus they added Juliann Moore, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges. Do not miss out on this one, it’ll be the most fun you’ll have at the theater all year.

Tier 1: The best of the best

3. Spider-man Homecoming

I can’t overstate how excited I am for these next three movies. We start with the new Spider-man, the first solo project under Marvel since their deal with Sony to co-produce the web slinger from now on. Look i know you have fond memories of the Toby trilogy, but go back and watch those movies: they are not good. He spends all three movies complaining and complementing whether or not he wants to be Spider-man. “Is Uncle Ben’s death my fault, why doesn’t MJ love me, i killed my best friend’s father”. Are you kidding me? DUDE YOU’RE A GOD DAMN SUPER HERO IN NEW YORK CITY. YOU’RE JACKED, GO PLAY FOR THE KNICKS AND DATE JESSICA SIMPSON. Anyway, the tone of this movie is why I think this one will be great. We finally get the teenage, angsty Spider-man who jokes around and isn’t serious at all: just a regular kid who happens to fight crime. If you need more proof, watch the 15 minutes Tom Holland gets as Spidey in “Captain America: Civil War”, he absolutely kills it in what is probably the best part of the movie. And if you need even more proof, watch Michael Keaton seem absolutely terrifying as the classic villain Vulture in the trailer.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy: vol. 2

Now if you told me 2 years ago that this wouldn’t have the #1 spot on a list of best movies of 2017, I would’ve laughed at you. Marvel struck gold with Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 1, raking in a massive amount of money coupled with their highest rated movie ever produced (not to mention a pretty obscure comic as source material). I love the first one, it literally has everything: action, comedy, great visuals, a slamming soundtrack, and a perfect casting decision on every role. The whole gang is all back for the sequel, and we get Kurt Russell as Chris Pratt’s dad. And if you don’t believe me, here’s another excellent trailer. I couldn’t be happier that we’re 5 months away from seeing Star Lord and pals back again saving the galaxy, but another galaxy is a tiny bit more important……

1. Star Wars: Episode 8

What else could it be right? I’m plenty excited for Spider-man and Guardians, but this one is just going to be out of control. If you liked Episode 7, then you’re not ready for how great this sequel is gonna be. The main reason is this: JJ Abrams is out, Rian Johnson is in. Now JJ Abrams is a fine director, but his ceiling is limited. He’s a guy you want as a steady hand who won’t ruffle feathers and will get the job done. Rian Johnson is different. If you don’t know who Rian is, that’s not surprising. He’s only directed two movies, “Brick” and “Looper”. You’ve probably seen “Looper” (a good Sci-Fi movie with a dark tone starring Bruce Willis), but you need to see “Brick”. A young Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a high schooler who recently got dumped by his ex. She gets caught up in some nasty business which leads him to finding her murdered. He then decides to hide the body to give him time to investigate the crime himself. It’s an awesome that’s pure character, and it shows again why Rian is a great choice for Episode 8. This type of director is needed because it looks like Episode 8 is going to follow the “Empire Strikes Back” path by being a dark sequel that should see Kylo Ren lose his shit and our heros face tragedy. With the same people back and Rian at the helm with full directorial control, Star Wars: Episode 8 will be a vastly better sequel to episode 7, and the best blockbuster of 2017.

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