A-List Hollywood Story Guru John Truby Counts down to the Best Movies on Oscar Sunday
On Sunday March 4, 2018, The Academy Awards will announce the best films of the year. Among the Oscars handed out that evening, categories will include Best Cinematography, Best Costumes, Best Production Design, Best Song, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Lead Actor and Actress, Best Director, and of course, Best Picture.
Below, A-List Hollywood story guru John Truby outlines 21 films of the year and gives his take on each. Do you agree? Disagree? Scroll down to begin.
21. Mother!: this trip into a woman’s madness is mind-numbingly dull and pointless. The worst film I saw this year.
20. The Florida Project: episodic story that follows one of the most obnoxious little kids in the history of film and her repulsive mom in a Florida motel. As unpleasant as it sounds.
19. Phantom Thread: creepy, boring, phony, pretentious nonsense. Locks down Paul Thomas Anderson’s position as the most overrated writer-director in America.
18. Wonderstruck: two parallel journeys by children where nothing happens.
17. Blade Runner 2049: glacially slow and almost incomprehensible, this visually stunning science fiction detective-thriller makes a lot of noise to uncover a big pile of “That’s it?”
16. The Disaster Artist: this movie isn’t a disaster, but watching an entire film about a mentally-challenged man who thinks he’s a great artist is a painful slog.
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15. Hostiles: the Western as funeral dirge in slow motion.
14. Downsizing: a high concept social fantasy about downsizing humans to save the planet that just fizzles and dies.
13. The Lost City of Z: a boring, episodic story about one of those guys obsessed with the jungle, which for me is like mountain climbers: a definition of insanity.
12. Call Me by Your Name: a touching love story without the predictable Hollywood beats, but so sloooow and loooong. The scene with the dad makes it worth the wait.
11. Dunkirk: strangely uninvolving with a three-part crosscut structure in time that sucks the life from the sum of its parts.
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10. The Shape of Water: a horror story combined with fairy tale and love that hits the same basic story beats as ET and Splash. The love seems rushed and forced, but the plea to see the humanity in and love for the Other, the Alien, or what some in this country call the “wetback,” gives the ending a powerful punch.
9. Darkest Hour: this true story recounting of Churchill during Britain’s near devastation at Dunkirk turns on a hokey, absurd scene, and yet the film packs real emotional power.
8. Okja: a simple girl-and-her-beast story becomes a surprisingly moving social fantasy about the brutality of modern capitalism.
7. I, Tonya: a scathing and funny satire about a gifted American athlete destroyed by a horrible mother, a violent husband, and a win-at-all-cost culture.
6. Their Finest: this story of a secretary who becomes a screenwriter for propaganda films in World War II Britain is a little gem with a kick. Best of the three Britain-on-the-brink films this year.
5. Lady Bird: the comedy drama of a teenager wanting to leave her hick town is overly familiar, but sharp, fresh micro scenes (as in Boyhood and The Tree of Life), witty dialogue, and a brutal relationship between mother and daughter make this film emotionally satisfying.
4. The Post: a deeply moving social melodrama overcomes preaching to the choir by focusing on an older woman coming of age through her realization of the value and duty of the free press.
3. The Big Sick: a romantic comedy-drama that transcends the form, equally adept at comic and serious, with writing that’s strong in both story and scene.
2. Get Out: a rare and brilliant combination of horror and satire makes the powerful case that no matter how far we think we’ve come, racism is in America’s DNA and we all have the disease.
1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: master of the transcendent crime story (In Bruges), writer-director Martin McDonough creates another masterpiece, with a brutal and sometimes funny story of a justice battle that can’t be won, played out in one irony bomb after another, with character and plot flips throughout. Frances McDormand is Marge gone vengeful, Sam Rockwell is a nasty Barney Fife, and Woody Harrelson is a police chief who just breaks your heart. This is writing at the very top. Should win best picture but will probably lose to a much inferior Shape of Water.