26 Dec The Top 5 Movies of 2017 (For PR PRos)
As anyone who knows me can attest, I love telling people what to watch, as is my right as someone with *refined tastes*. So, of course, I’d want to share my top movies of 2017. Here is my list of the top movies of 2017, along with a lesson for PR folks to take back home.
Jordan Peele’s horror/satire directorial debut took theaters by storm this year with its potent mix of humor, violence, and social commentary. If you haven’t seen this film, you need to, especially in this day and age. A trip through the hellscape that is suburbia, Get Out couches its movie scares in a more normal horror that is all too familiar to my black brothers and sisters. Despite getting snubbed into the comedy category by the Golden Globes (they did the same thing to The Martian last year!), Get Out is a film, small in scope and grand in purview, that most certainly deserves a Best Picture nod.
PR Lesson: In Get Out our protagonist finds that he really doesn’t know the people he’s staying with, and it costs him. The lesson here is to really get to know who you’re working with, considering both clients and coworkers and that you’re on the same page. Otherwise, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Blade Runner: 2049
I did not have high hopes for Blade Runner: 2049 when it was announced. Boring title? Check. Sequel to a movie from the 80s? Check. Aiming to capitalize on nerd nostalgia? Double check. The original Blade Runner was a seminal film (or would eventually become one through the release of the seven different cuts). It has its tendrils in a significant amount of the Sci-Fi that’s followed it. Making a sequel that not only captured the themes of the original while pushing it forward in meaningful ways is no small task. But director Dennis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) managed to do just that. With incredible visuals, an oppressive atmosphere, and another star turn for Ryan Gosling, Blade Runner 2049 is an immensely satisfying follow up to the original classic. It is also one of very few movies I believe is worth seeing in IMAX. Villeneuve managed to do what few can, delivering a self-contained, complete tale that actually surpasses its source material while keeping the door open for the franchise Hollywood so desperately wants.
PR Lesson: Don’t be afraid of taking risks. Sometimes it takes experimentation or even a hail mary to find success. In PR, that might look like trying a new social tool
With only 5 slots, I could only justify including one comic book film on this list. So even though Spider-Man Homecoming and Wonder Woman were brilliant and could easily find a slot on most year-end lists, I have to give this spot to the best comic film of the year. Not only did Thor: Ragnarok revitalize what is widely considered to be the worst series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it brought indie director Taika Waiti to the forefront of pop culture, who has been an absolute delight. It’s not often that the third film in a series (or the 17th if you wanna get technical) can feel so fresh and innovative.
PR Lesson: Jeff Goldblum plays a character in this film who learns that it’s important to always have an exit strategy. For PR folks, it’s important to be ready to extricate yourselves and your clients from bad situations, like if an interview is going off the rails for example.
The Big Sick
It’s incredibly impressive that Kumail Nanjiani, who you may know as Dinesh from Silicon Valley, managed to turn his real-life love story into one of the best films of the year. Kumail and his wife Emily V Gordon co-wrote this big screen adaptation of how they met, delivering a tale equal parts hilarious and heart-warming. I’m not generally a rom-com guy, but a film so incredibly earnest and endearing will melt even the coldest heart.
PR Lesson: Don’t be too quick to give up on a difficult client or reporter. If you find some common ground, you could turn an adversarial relationship into a familial one. See my colleague Eric’s guide on establishing good relationships with reporters.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
“This is not going to go the way you think”. In the few days since its release the latest Star Wars film has proven to be one of the most controversial. Opinions on whether or not The Last Jedi is a triumphant entry into the series or a betrayal of what came before, are split. Spoiler alert: I am firmly in the former camp. Full of unexpected twists, subversions, and some of my favorite scenes in the entire series, The Last Jedi paves a new road for Star Wars, helping to assure its staying power in popular culture, while also harkening back and honoring what has come before. A film that begs to be seen more than once, The Last Jedi is sure to be leading the conversation for the next few months. While I maintain that Rogue One is the best Star Wars film (don’t @ me), The Last Jedi has certainly made a tremendous case.
PR Lesson: Don’t be afraid to let the past go. The only way for something to truly endure is to be open to change. Like many fields, PR is changing. Pure media relations just isn’t enough on its own anymore. Be ready to embrace new media, new types of clients, and new ways of doing business
Cover Image Courtesy of IMDB. © 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.