As of January 4, I've lived in New York for one year. While I could measure my year in friendships, slices of pizza, or the $20,000 I've spent in rent money, movies are perhaps the best measure because when I think about the ones I've seen for the first time this year I remember where I was, who I was with, and the emotions I felt. From a snowy night near Central Park to a flight from Dallas to Kansas City, here are the movies I watched in 2017:
1. La La Land (2016)
I will forever associate La La Land with 2017. Not only did I see it in theaters four times and once in IMAX, I listened to the soundtrack in about every corner and subway station of Manhattan. My friend and I went it saw it after I got a call from my best friend saying "La La Land ruined my entire life." Translation: it was amazing. So we went and saw it that night in Times Square. And we had mixed reactions and didn't leave loving it. So what happened? We were walking home and played the soundtrack on my phones. The music was incredible and we decided to give it a second viewing. And then we loved it.
2. Midnight in Paris (2011)
After going home (to Kansas City) for the first time since moving to New York, I had a connecting flight from Dallas to NYC. Remembering Midnight in Paris was nominated for a lot of Oscars years earlier, I decided to watch it. I'd never seen a Woody Allen movie before this one, and I was surprised by his style. It was more straightforward and less arthouse than I thought it would be. Midnight in Paris deals mainly with the concept of a golden age. Is there one? It's easy to make the past idyllic because you weren't there, but is anything really ever perfect? The answer is an unsurprising no.
3. Cafe Society (2016)
On the same flight with enough time to kill after watching Midnight in Paris to see one more movie, I decided to watch Cafe Society, which I have to say I liked a lot less than Midnight in Paris. Kristen Stewart and Steve Carrell? I found the casting choices odd and the storyline completely predictable but now I've seen two Woody Allen films.
6. Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
On some Sunday night, I saw Place Beyond the Pines was on Netflix and decided to watch it. I have to be honest, 99% of my interest in seeing this was for tattooed Ryan Gosling. SPOILER ALERT his character dies not even halfway through the movie and I liked his character so much I completely lost interest and barely watched the rest of it.
8. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
My roommates and I decided to get Shake Shack to go and spend a night watching horror movies, which kicked off with Night of the Living Dead. We all wanted the main blonde character to get killed off immediately she was so helpless and annoying but damn if it she didn't make it almost the whole way through. I learned that the whole concept of zombies literally was invented by this film and it was nice to see a horror classic. We all screamed at the ending but decided we still liked it.
9. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Pretty much anything you hear about Requiem for a Dream includes some mention of how the movie puts you off drugs completely or should be required viewing for teenagers. This movie exhausted me and if it was the intention of the director (I'm sure it was) to literally make you feel like you were on drugs by watching it, well then, mission accomplished. I was stressed, I wanted them to get their lives together, I was anxious when they fucked up and yet still invested in them. The most horrifying storyline of all of them (yes in spite of amputation AND prison) was the woman who became addicted to speed and lost her actual mind. I'm pretty sure I watched the credits with my mouth open.
10. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
I had absolutely no idea what this movie was about just that it was Stanley Kubrick's and starred Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman when they were still married. And I have found others that agree, yes, Eyes Wide Shut is a perfect Christmas movie. I was utterly fascinated by this film and how creepy it was. Probably one of the best parts of watching this movie was reading about all the conspiracies surrounding it. And apparently Stanley Kubrick went to great lengths to recreate New York, but I could immediately tell the setting was not actually NYC due to street signs with random names but I guess most people wouldn't notice that.
11. Ladybird (2017)
I'll never forget the day I saw this movie for the first time. It was snowing heavily outside, the first NYC snow of winter and my friends and I smartly decided to do SantaCon by going to a SantaCon pregame and then going home. A couple peppermint schnapps-hot chocolates later, my roommate and I took the train to Columbus Circle before being kicked off amidst disrupted lines and realizing there was no way for us to get home aside from walking. So we did. We picked up tickets for a 4:10 showing of Lady Bird and went to Cafe Lalo for lunch to kill some time first. When the movie ended, we turned to look at each other and we were both crying. It made me think about my relationship with my parents and my mom, and for both of us, we thought about our own future relationships with our yet-to-exist families. If nothing else, this movie literally made me get my finances in shape, decide to finally save some money and not be a complete idiot with spending because I don't want to have financial instability when trying to raise a family.
12. Three Billboards...Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
While I was home for Christmas, my friend at brunch recommended this movie and I probably trust his taste in film more than any other friend of mine. Most of my friends don't really watch movies, and if they do, they don't watch them the same way I do. What can I say about this one except I had no context going in and was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I think this movie was most powerful for me in terms of how small towns operate. I've lived in two tiny southern towns and they can be cult-like in their mentality, a huge theme in Three Billboards.
13. The Only Living Boy in New York
The plot of this movie was so ridiculous, I don't think anyone I've talked to actually enjoyed it, however, the animated opening and the few lines about living in New York were excellent.
Thomas Webb: I don't know man. You've experienced the world. ...
W.F. Gerald: New York is the world.
It is and it's hard to explain it to anyone who doesn't live here. This movie was a completely throwaway but it's always fun to watch movies set in New York and recognize little places along the way.
By Kathryn Greene