Movieland 2017 has given us some terrific performances, amazing stories, breathtaking cinematography and moving scores.
You can read about that shit anywhere though. So instead let’s concentrate our cinematic analysis of 2017 on things beginning with the letter C.
C Is For Christopher (Plummer)
After months of allegations about sexual abuse and harassment carried out by Hollywood hotshots – which apparently managed to be both an open secret and completely unknown to anyone of influence – Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer at the very last minute in Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World, a movie about the abduction in the 1970s of John Paul Getty III.
Naturally Plummer, who has by all accounts put in an incredible 11th hour performance, is now suggested as a replacement for anyone caught out doing anything untoward; he’s already replaced well-known miser and central heating-refusnik Ebenezer Scrooge in The Man Who Invented Christmas.
With so many actors tumbling from their pedestals, we need him more than ever.
So if you hear a whispered tale that Plummer once accidentally trod on a blameless baby spider, or jumped a Starbucks queue by saying quietly yet menacingly “don’t you know who I am” – PLEASE keep it to yourself.
C Is For Caterpillar (The Top Lip Variety)
Nowadays facial fuzz is everywhere, and no I don’t know why 50% of it is ginger either. Believe it or not, back in the 1980s the only people with beards were Santa and Russian spies, which means when anyone over 40 sees a hipster in a leather jacket we assume they’re actually a KGB heavy rather than the owner of a cafe selling organic Pot Noodles served in a child’s Wellington boot.
But 2017 has given us some terrific movie moustaches:
1, Hercule Poirot in Murder On The Orient Express. Most closely resembling the intimate topiary of a woman who has tried to do her own Hollywood wax and given up part way through because of the pain, the famous Belgian detective’s facial hair was the standout performance in a film which was, otherwise, a bit of a dud.
As luxuriant as a first class berth on the famous train itself, Kenneth Branagh’s whiskers were certainly different, and like the train’s passengers, needed a lot of upkeep; Poirot even has a moustache sleepguard to keep it in place over night.
2, The Dream in The Bad Batch. The Dream Is Inside You says a sign in Comfort, the drug-fuelled yet welcoming-to-all haven the self-styled Dream (Keanu Reeves) runs in a post-apocalyptic Texan wasteland sometime in the future, and yes that may be the most hyphens ever used in one sentence.
In his silk dressing gown, big hair and thick moustache, Reeves looks a lot like 1970s Elvis going through his Keanu Reeves phase, and I’d be lying if I denied I’d been thinking about the Velcro-like possibilities if he and one of his harem were to, you know. He could be stuck down there for hours, waiting for a really big sneeze so he could untangle himself.
Still, of all the sticky situations I can think of, that would be the most fun. And infinitely better than being eaten by the cannibals in the wastelands outside.
3, Mindhorn in Mindhorn. If moustaches were people, Mindhorn’s moustache would be, well, Mindhorn. This story about a down on his luck actor who once played a Channel Islands detective (played by Julian Barratt) with a bionic eye which could literally see truth, is hilarious and rather poignant.
That moustache alone is enough to tell us everything we need to know; but the addition of an orange polo neck, eyepatch and a complete lack of self-awareness helps create a man, no a myth, no an ICON, who transcends mediocrity by quite a little bit.
4, The Beast in Beauty And The Beast – who says the ladies don’t love a horny, hairy guy, even if he is a kidnapper.
The Beast is a misfit but luckily eventually falls in love with Belle, fellow outsider and washing machine inventor. Emma Watson plays Belle, and she’s British so I suspect that secretly it was his castle and talking teapot wot won it.
5, The Missed Opportunity Moustache: Henry Cavill is sporting a supertache in 2018’s Mission impossible: 6, a moustache which has had to be digitally removed from Justice League after filming for the two movies overlapped.
There’s been a lot of criticism of this, and it would surely have been easier to leave Supertache alone and just go with the myth that when you’re dead your hair keeps on growing. Then he could have emerged from his un-eternal slumber with a fine bushy one.
C Is For Country Roads
2017 also saw a new genre of film emerging, Movies With Music By John Denver. Or rather Movies With Two Songs By John Denver, though they are my two favourite Denver songs (actually I only know two, but they’re the best ones, I’m sure).
Suddenly Take Me Home, Country Roads was appearing everywhere, and let me give you a heads-up that they’re also listening to it 100 years in the future, far across the galaxy in Alien: Covenant.
There’s also a different and rather raucus version in Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, a film my 8 year old considers one of the best ever, but only because it has a great nose-picking gag in it.
C Is For Colonic Irritation
Luckily, thanks to Twitter’s increased character count, long film titles aren’t such a burden anymore. So movies such as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, or Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, no longer fill Film Twitter movie reviewers with dread, unless they have a hashtag phobia.
But in the meantime film title punctuation has gone a bit crazy. There have been lots of colons this year, which really spoil the flow when written in a review. But none – not Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, not Alien: Covenant, nor John Wick: Chapter 2, hold a candle to the incredibly annoying mother!
Film Title Writers, all you need is three words describing what the movie is about, and maybe a pun. And if it’s a sequel, just put a 2 after the original film’s name. Everyone will know what you mean.
C Is For… You’re A Woman And I Must Vehemently Yet Politely Disagree With Your Point Of View Regarding This Movie, Madam!
Yes! I got my first email calling me, what was it? Credible? Caustic? Cute? Charming? Clever? CHRISTMASSY? I really can’t remember, but it definitely began with C. And he’d put the word Feminist in front of it, so it must have been a c-c-c-c-Compliment.