Everything I liked in 2017: Quarter 1
In case you were wondering Quarter 1 January/February/March
My 2017 Movie ranking so far
- Get Out
- John Wick: Chapter 2
- Power Rangers
- Kong: Skull Island
- XXX: The Return of Xander Cage
- Fifty Shades Darker
TV (The Young Pope, Legion, and Snatch: the TV series)
The Young Pope
I didn’t know what to expect from The Young Pope. The show starred Jude Law and Diane Keaton, two actors I’m not a fan of. It was about Catholicism aka religion, which I’m also not a fan of. But it was beautifully directed, which I am a fan of. The Young Pope became my favorite TV show of 2017 (until Legion) because it had magnificent direction, amazing performances and was an unorthodox show. The story was brilliantly told and was set to the most surprising music choices that an HBO show would use. I’m not going to spoil the show for you because you should take the time to watch it but I will say that I expected Jude Law’s character aka The Young Pope to have superpowers because the trailer gave it away. At the end of the show I was surprised that I became a Law fan, who I will now refer to as Jude “The Young Pope” Law. If he doesn’t get an Emmy for this performance then awards truly don’t mean shit anymore.
I haven’t watched Noah Hawley’s other two shows (Hawley created Legion and the TV version of Fargo) and now I see why he is being called one of the best creative minds in TV. He adapted Legion from an X-Men comic but apparently didn’t use any of the comic’s source material, which is considered a no-no for fans of comic books and their movie/TV adaptations but still ended up created one of the most batshit shows of all time. The show stars Dan Stevens (the Beast from the Beauty and the Beast reboot) as David Haller, a man who hears voices in his head and is told that he is mentally ill but really he is a mutant and might be the most powerful one ever known. The show is about trying to help David control his powers while trying to vanquish the evil force that controls him. The show has an all star cast in Bill Irwin (Mr. Noodle fro Elmo’s World), Jean Smart (who doesn’t love Jean Smart), Aubrey Plaza (Bae), Katie Aselton (Bae), and Jermaine Clement (just a one man wrecking crew at times). The show also stars Rachel Keller, who I’ve never seen in anything before and now I’m completely in love with her. The show has a lot in common with The Young Pope in terms of an unique story and how it’s told through brilliant direction and amazing performances. But Legion surpasses TYP because it breaks some TV rules by turning the end of an episode into silent film. The title for best TV show of 2017 is a two horse race between The Young Pope and Legion with Legion pulling ahead because of recency bias. Also Aubrey Plaza takes over this show at times and delivers an award-winning performance. Her performance in Legion makes me think she would’ve been a great Harley Quinn or even a great Joker if they gender-swapped.
Snatch: the TV Series
The movie Snatch is one of my favorite movies of all time, I saw it at a young age and immediately fell in love with it. The movie is Guy Ritchie at his peak with crazy direction, unique characters and at times hard to understand dialogue (also it’s Brad Pitt’s best performance, as well as Jason Statham’s because he actually acts and doesn’t play a badass). So when I heard that they were making a TV based of the movie I was somewhat skeptical. For one Ritchie was not going to be involved and second it was going to stream on Crackle (seriously fuck Crackle, it sucks). Also it was going to star Rupert Grint aka Ron Weasley, no offense to Grint but after being part of huge blockbuster movie franchise he’s been the least successful member of the main cast. But he does a good job play a posh wannabe hustler on the show, so good for him. Snatch: the TV series is about a group of young street hustlers trying to make it in the grimey parts of England. Now while I wouldn’t call this a good TV show I thoroughly enjoyed it (I binged it in about 2 days).The main cast of young hustlers are really good and the plot is decent at times but the direction is average and it looked like they had little to no budget at times. Much like Rachel Keller in Legion, I fell in love with another actress who I had never seen before in Stephanie Leonidas (I fall in love with at least 1 woman in everything I watch). If you like the movie Snatch I wouldn’t really recommend the TV as a suitable sequel or anything but it have its moments.
Drake’s “More Life”
This is being called Drake’s best album (it’s an album let’s not pretend that it isn’t) and as a HUGE Drake fan I agree. While I don’t care for the Giggs or Skepta features I still respect Drake for putting artists he respects on his platform (I’ve never really listened to British Rap so it’s kinda different than what I’m used to). This seems to be the perfect blend of Drake rapping hard and Drake singing, after the release of VIEWS (I still like it) I broke down the producers of all his songs from every album/mixtape to create a formula for the best Drake album (at least in my opinion). I ended up not finishing it but if I did it probably would’ve ended up with something like More Life. This is already my favorite album of 2017 (unless Kanye West or Vince Staples drop some projects). My top 5 from More Life
Free Smoke. I thoroughly enjoy Drake going hard and rapping angry about shit, while bragging about drunk-texting JLo.
Passionfruit. The new Hold On We’re Coming Home/Hotline Bling/One Dance/etc. aka the Drake song where he sings his heart out while everyone dances along
Fake Love. Even though it came out last year I still fuck with Fake Love it’s incredible.
Glow. While it’s an okay song I’m just dying to here more Drake & Kanye collabs (where it that collaboration album Kanye was talking about). But it’s got a really catchy hook.
Honorable mentions to: Blem, Gyalchester, Can’t Have Everything, Ice Melts
Dave Chappelle’s 2 Netflix Specials
First I’m going to start out saying that not all stand-up comedy should be politically correct/PC. I think stand-up is meant for people to say inappropriate things that are either funny or cringeworthy. While I could easily see people taking offense to some of the material from the 2 Chappelle’s Netflix special I believe it’s not meant to be malicious. Yes he makes jokes about gay Hollywood producers and talks about lesbians, transgender people and so on but his tone doesn’t strike me as some who has a legitimate gripe with those people, compared to anti-gay activists and people of that ilk. Stand-up is meant for you to laugh and think about whether should be laughing or not and Chappelle has mastered that in these two specials. I prefer the first special from Los Angeles where Chappelle spits flames and talks about the 4 times he met O.J. Simpson. There’s also a good bit about him and Kevin Hart which made me think that if Chappelle never walked away in 2005, would Kevin Hart still be a big deal? He’d still be a star in movies but I don’t think his stand-up game could rival Chappelle’s. The way Chappelle’s walks and talks his a true art form, especially when he does his signature move of walking away from the front of the stage and bending over while the mic is at his leg because he just said something funny and/or outrageous. I was glad to have Chappelle back for these two shows and it makes him wish there was more of him to be seen and heard. I enjoy hearing him talk, after watching the specials I’d put him into the class of people who I’d listen to talk for hours (people like Kevin Smith, Max Landis, Andy Greenwald & Chris Ryan, Bill Simmons, etc.). I believe there is one more special yet to come but I can longer wait in anticipation, I need my Chappelle fix. Also shoutout to Chappelle for wearing a coat with his name and logo own it without looking corny.
As a wrestling fan I try to watch different styles of wrestling from all over the world. However this year I have really gotten into New Japan Pro Wrestling, where A LOT of WWE’s top stars have come from (Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, The Club). Over the last few years I’ve only watched a couple of NJPW matches because they were kind of hard to find (at least in high quality) but I got tired of having to watch on Dailymotion so I just stopped. But with all the talk about Wrestle Kingdom 11 (NJPW’s WrestleMania) I decided to purchase a NJPW World subscription (NJPW’s WWE Network) and it’s been one of the smartest purchases I’ve ever made. The show was amazing and it was difficult to find a bad match but the real highlight was the main event between IGWP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega (the two men in the picture above, Okada is the one hitting Omega with his forearm). The two put on the greatest wrestling match of all time (Dave Meltzer, the Roger Ebert of pro wrestling gave it 6 stars) and it was a valid explanation for why people my age or older still watch wrestling. I was already an Okada fan before this match, he was one of the guys whose matches I was trying to find on any website. The match also made me a Kenny Omega fan, I had heard his name countless times over the years but never really saw him wrestle (I know I’m an idiot). Since Wrestle Kingdom 11 I’ve still subscribed to NJPW World and I have seen some of the best matches in wrestling both past and present. After watching these shows it’s clear that the best wrestling is in Japan and that the best promotion in NJPW. While it has its faults (the Road to Shows, which is their Monday Night Raw are rather lackluster. And most of the undercard on their big PPV shows are filled with boring multi-man tags which I’ve began to skip since nothing important or amazing happens) the main event matches are routinely 4 stars or higher and feature the best wrestlers in the world. Lately I’ve began to listen to the Japanese commentary (I don’t know any Japanese and that’s all they speak in NJPW except for the foreigners) because they do an amazing job of selling the matches. If you’re and wrestling fan and have never watch NJPW I highly recommend it.
John Cena tying Ric Flair’s World Title Reigns
At the Royal Rumble AJ Styles and John Cena put on another classic match but this time it was for the WWE Championship, mostly importantly it was another attempt for Cena to tie The Nature Boy Ric Flair’s record of 16 World Title reigns. After a back and forth contest Cena finally put Styles down for the three count and officially tied the most storied record in wrestling history. It cemented Cena as being the greatest WWE superstar of all time and one of the best wrestlers ever (Yes I am a John Cena fanboy but this is true). The main question left unanswered is, will Cena break the record and hold the World Title for a 17th time? Mostly likely yes but that won’t happen for some time due to Cena’s growing acting career. But when in doubt the WWE will put the belt on the biggest star they’ve created. Also this was my favorite wrestler of all time breaking the record that my father’s favorite wrestler held for years.
What I’m looking forward to in Quarter 2 April/May/June (in no particular order)
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright’s new movie and it has recently been moved from August to late June)
The Fate of the Furious (the 8th installment of the Fast and Furious franchise but this time the late great Paul Walker won’t be involved in any capacity, RIP)
All Eyez On Me (the 2Pac biopic that has looked good in it’s trailers, we need more rap biopics)
The Mummy (TOM CRUISE!!! But seriously I’ve written before about how psyched I am for this film and the universe it’s creating)
Wonder Woman (while the trailers mostly look meh I really enjoyed Gal Gadot’s appearance in Batman V Superman)
Baywatch (Sam Donsky, a brilliant writer and I share the belief that the set photos of Baywatch look fucking incredible. But so far the trailers haven’t but never doubt The Rock. Also Alexandra Daddario is BAE)
Alien Covenant (I’m only mildly looking forward to this because I think Ridley Scott makes the some Alien movie each time but with a different cast and slightly better CGI/Visual Effects. )
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Charlie Hunnam, I’m in. Guy Ritchie, I’m in. The Young Pope Jude Law, I’m mos def in. Sure it looks like a batshit film but it’s got me hooked)
The Wall (John Cena is in this so I’ll give it a shot, the trailer looked good anyway)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (my favorite film of 2014. I loved the first GotG and this looks like it won’t disappoint. MARVEL IS KING. KEVIN FEIGE IS GOD.)
Preacher Season 2 ( my really enjoyed the first season and am curious to see where the series goes from here, considering they will begin to follow more elements from the comic)
GLOW (haven’t really looked into this that much but it’s a Netflix adaptation of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling starring Alison Brie aka Alison Bae)
American Gods (looks good and I don’t know anything about it except Neil Gaiman, a legendary comic book writer wrote the novel it’s based on. Plus Bryan Fuller developed it for TV and I really liked the TV version Hannibal, even though I haven’t finished it. But the show is about Norse Gods in the modern day and I was into that shit when I was a kid.)