Year-end 2017 stuff: 'Baby Driver,' 'Baywatch' and fun at the dang movies

It's the end of the year, so I'm writing about stuff I enjoyed in 2017 after several months of neglecting this blog. Here's a link to all of the 2017 year-end stuff


Gaining an Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Brooklyn made going to the movies a lot more enjoyable this year. I've always liked going to the movies, but the Alamo won me over instantly for a few reasons:

  • The screen looks better and the sound is louder and more impressive than at most of the Regal / AMC locations that are conveniently located in the parts of the city I frequent.
  • Seats as comfortable or more comfortable than even the fancy new recliner chairs at a lot of those other franchises -- the Alamo seats don't recline but are generally comfy leather chairs.
  • There's beer there and the service system is great, with really nice waiters and waitresses.
  • Most importantly, I think the Alamo is the quietest theater I've ever been to -- they tell you not to talk or text, threaten to kick you out if you do, and it actually works. The end result is less groups of teenagers and more singles / couples / small groups who want to see their movie without a bunch of noise. We went to see The Last Jedi at a non-Alamo location and the entire movie was loud as heck with people talking, clapping, etc. The Alamo really spoiled us to the point where I didn't think clapping as A Thing people did anymore.

So since that Alamo Drafthouse opened, I've only seen like two showings of any movies at other theaters. It's been great. 

And while the Alamo definitely lends itself nicely to Very Serious Movie Watching (i.e. my showings of Manchester By the Sea and Call Me By Your Name there were holistically enjoyable), I've found myself gravitating much more to the ridiculously fun theater experience as my preferred method of cinema consumption. Which is why my favorite movie this year is Baby Driver, and why a movie like Baywatch stands out as memorable even though it ... simply isn't really that great. 

Baby Driver doubtlessly stands out as my favorite movie from 2017. The combination of the non-stop, action-packed story and the precision of the soundtrack makes it an extremely rewarding viewing experience. This movie is a great burger, perfectly crispy fries and ice cold cola all in one. Katie and I loved watching it in the theater, enough that we wanted to see it in theaters twice though we weren't able to, and we just re-watched it at home. I can't think of many other movies that are as enjoyable to just lay back and crank up your speakers up during.

In Baby Driver, it's the music that brought home the in-theater viewing experience for me. This is where the Alamo's superior sound system comes in -- it was a total blast to be blown away by the sound queues and how it's a perfectly blended part of the movie. The case of Baywatch is a bit different though -- I enjoyed Baywatch in the same way I enjoy other Rock The Dwayne Johnson movies (i.e. Fast & Furious installments, San Andreas, etc), which is to say I enjoyed it for the superhero movie that it purposefully molded into.

All movies that feature Rock The Dwayne Johnson now officially fall into the "superhero" genre. The Dwayne is usually the primary superhero in his movies, and this is certainly the case during Baywatch. That movie was fun to watch because it was really absurd and Zack Efron was phenomenally dehydrated during his workout montage scenes.

Having this much fun in a movie theater makes the whole thing feel like it was actually worth $16. I definitely loved Good Time and Hidden Figures enough to be worth $16 this year, but I didn't feel like I would have lost too much if I watched those at home for a $4 iTunes rental. And while this is what I gravitated to this year -- looking back at my movie purchase history, I watched probably 20 things in theater this year and nearly half of those fall into the big-time blockbuster fun I'm describing here -- I can anticipate my habits changing in the 2018. I recently signed up for MoviePass, and I'm really hoping to use it for the movies I'd normally wait to see on an iTunes rental, making for more frequent theater trips in the next year and making me more up-to-date on new movies coming out.

My Favorite Movies in 2017

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Logan
  4. The Last Jedi
  5. Get Out
  6. The Post
  7. Phantom Thread
  8. Good Time
  9. The Big Sick
  10. John Wick: Chapter 2

Also Very Much Enjoyed:

  • Baywatch
  • Beauty and The Beast
  • Dunkirk
  • Fate of the Furious
  • It
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Wonder Woman

Enjoyed Enough But Fell Short of Expectations

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Justice League
  • Thor: Ragnarok