BILAN 2017

Published on décembre 6th, 2017 | by Jon Roy

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2017 IN CHAOS – that gum we like finally came back in style

[EXCUSE MY FRENCH] Jon Roy, notre correspondant US, donne ses CHAOS AWARDS. Dans la langue de Shakespeare, please.

If you just woke from a coma or just weren’t paying attention, here’s what you missed in 2017:

• Apparently everyone in Hollywood is a sex predator

• Netflix is buying and developing more projects than anyone can keep track of

• The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) became the first film franchise to rake in over $13 billion (US)

• Disney, which owns the MCU as well as Star Wars and much, much more, doesn’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon

• The film world lost some absolute legends this year: Martin Landau, John Hurt, Jeanne Moreau, Seijun Suzuki, Emmanuel Riva, Jonathan Demme, et al.

• More remakes/reboots/sequels that nobody asked for (Pirates, Transformers, XXX, Flatliners, My Little Pony, Jeepers Creepers, Jigsaw, and Boo 2: A Medea Halloween, just to name a few)

And now on to my completely arbitrary list of Chaos Awards for 2017…
**WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND**

The Best Comic Book Film Award goes to:

Logan (Dir. James Mangold)
It’s amazing what can happen when you have talented actors and a character-based film that focuses on relationships more than CGI of a bunch of space garbage swirling around in the sky. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart stepped back into familiar roles (respectively Wolverine and Professor X) but brought out aspects of their characters we hadn’t seen before. Bonus: Young Dafne Keen was a fantastic revelation as X-23.

The Worst Comic Book Film award goes to:

Iron Fist (Netflix)
Hey, was Luke Cage’s charismatic urban zeitgeist a little too much for you? Was Jessica Jones’ struggle against the man torturing her mentally and physically a little too heavy? Was Daredevil’s action just too good? Netflix had just the thing! Iron Fist is a dreadfully slow-paced pseudo-martial arts series about a spoiled, clueless, rich white guy, played by the obnoxious, unappealing, and just plain dull Finn Jones. Save yourself the pain of enduring twenty corporate boardroom scenes and take a hard pass here.

The Technical Award goes to:

Dunkirk (Dir. C. Nolan)
In the age of all things digital, Christopher Nolan and his cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema were able to put together this incredibly stunning visual accomplishment AND managed to get it pretty widely distributed in 70mm film projections at IMAX venues. Perhaps because it is a period piece…perhaps because it was just so well done—but the use of the large format 70mm film did not feel gratuitous in the least with Dunkirk.

The WTF Awards go to:

The Emoji Movie Hollywood made a movie…about emojis. Enough said
• Dean Devlin may have rang the death knell for the super-disaster film genre with his trainwreck of a directorial debut, Geostorm
• Someone actually thought it was a good idea to make yet another 9/11 movie, but with Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg

The Nice Surprise Award goes to:

Get Out (Dir. Jordan Peele)
Jordan Peele is smart. Talented. Funny. He had a hit comedy show on television. He’s also biracial. It took a relatively small company, Blumhouse Productions, to take a chance on him. Blumhouse has fine-tuned a super low-budget model that produces lots of genre films for a low cost, in hopes of one hitting it big (i.e. Paranormal Activity and Insidious.) Get Out had a $4.5 million budget and was made at the right time to hit a sweet spot in the social consciousness. Word of mouth spread like wildfire for this film. No one knew how to classify it or even how to describe it without giving the twists away. Peele recently addressed that ambiguity. “At the end of the day, call Get Out horror, comedy, drama, action or documentary, I don’t care. Whatever you call it, just know it’s our truth.” In the end, Get Out took in over $250 million worldwide and Peele had his choice of projects and studios to work with. Maybe the success of this film will lead to more underrepresented voices being amplified.

The Sweet Redemption Award goes to:

The Leftovers (HBO)
Damon Lindelof caught so much hell for the last season of Lost that he abandoned all of social media altogether, save Instagram. On the bright side, surviving years of brutal fan-backlash has significantly altered the way he approaches storytelling, which became apparent in his HBO series The Leftovers, as it drew to a close earlier this year. Lindelof insisted from day one that the writers would forge a clear idea of where the story was going. In the end, Lindelof and the production team capped off the wonderfully bizarre series with some of its strongest episodes, and some of its most riveting performances from Justin Theroux and Carrie Coons. The story of The Leftovers is a meta look at love, loss, and redemption that echoes Lindelof’s travails, while still, in the words of the shows theme song, it “let the mystery be.”

And the 2017 ULTIMATE CHAOS AWARD goes to:

Twin Peaks (Dir. D. Lynch)

It was labeled Twin Peaks: The Return by Showtime. It was also referred to as a “Limited Event Series.” Now we’re just supposed to call it “Season Three” or simply “Twin Peaks.” But whatever the name, “Twin Peaks”—that gum we like—came back in style in a big way in 2017, tearing down our conceptions of television and storytelling all over again, 25+ years later.

Co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost reunited to bring us back to Twin Peaks, this time in the form of an eighteen-hour film. The brilliance of their efforts begins with how they showed no interest in embarking on the nostalgia trip that they so easily could’ve done to placate the audience, and yet there are clever nods to the original series’ cherry pie and damn fine coffee embedded into the new narrative as actual plot points—not just window dressing!

First off, let’s just go ahead and give Kyle MacLachlan all the awards right now. The whole series banked on Kale (as Lynch affectionately calls him) being able to sell at least five different iterations of Special Agent Dale Cooper, most importantly, Mr. C, the evil doppelgänger of the good Coop everyone knew and loved. That Kale could transition between these different personas and convey the difference to the audience by gesture alone is a testament to his development of craft from “Dune” until now.

Speaking of Dune, it’s worth pointing out there are exactly two major incidences in which David Lynch had creative control wrestled away from him: Dune and Twin Peaks season two. He never really seemed to get over what happened with Dune and one can only imagine what could have been, as there are glimpses of pure inspiration throughout the film. With Twin Peaks original series, it’s become the stuff of legends how ABC forced Frost and Lynch to reveal Laura Palmer’s killer. In doing so, the network not only diminished Lynch’s interest in the series, but they killed the fundamental mystery that the show had been built upon.

Within a multiverse of interpretations, it’s easy to see Twin Peaks season three as Lynch going back in time, course-correcting, and reimagining Dune (“the sleeper has awakened!”) and reigniting the essential mystery of Twin Peaks; two birds with one stone. But this time around Lynch would be working with his old friend and collaborator, Mark Frost—and they would have creative control.

This time around Twin Peaks has much less the of nighttime soap opera feel, but still remains true to its roots, blurring the lines between genres ranging from noir to science fiction. Above all, it’s a mystery…and at its conclusion, the mystery of what happened to Laura Palmer is remixed and reborn into our conscious minds. Now we can consider alternate timelines and other dimensions in addition to pondering how that fish got into Pete’s percolator (and if it still did…) Thank goodness the past dictates the future.

(Special shoutouts to: Peter Deming for his amazing cinematography; Angelo Badalamenti for the new score; and David Lynch/Dean Hurley for a rich, complex sound design that not only creates a unique atmosphere, but is essential in helping to decipher the narrative.)

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