We finish up our list of the Best of 2017 with our recommendations from the audiovisual world. Enjoy these video and music titles that tickled our fancy in 2017. And remember to check out the full listing of the Best of 2017 on the Library Newsletter.
Captain Underpants: the First Epic Movie
Two overly imaginative pranksters, George and Harold, hypnotize their principal so that he thinks he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.
Tra-la-laaa! The funniest of kids’ book series leaps to the screen! The adaptation is visually and thematically faithful, and quite hilarious. If naively crude humor is your thing, this is your movie. –Alan
Paterson is a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey. His daily routine: driving his route, observing the city and overhearing fragments of conversation; writing poetry in a notebook; drinking one beer at his bar. And he loves his wife.
Paterson is a celebration of life. The creative impulses of the title character and his wife rest in us all. Jarmusch’s style delights in the minutiae as well. A love story of man, his wife, art, city, and humanity in general. Utterly satisfying. –Alan
A young girl sails across the ocean to return the Heart of Te Fiti and save her island.
I loved Moana because it showed that girls do not have to wait around for someone to rescue them. The musical numbers were amazing and heart-wrenching. Moana also told the story of a young girl following her heart. –Feylin
A young black man struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
This surprise best picture winner at the Academy Awards deserves all accolades and more. With sensitivity and sumptuous style, director Barry Jenkins explores issues of race, gender, class, and the difficult business of maturing. –-Alan
La La Land
A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. This original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing dreams.
Ignore the haters, La La Land‘s blend of hyper expressive routines (for when emotion becomes too big for mere words) and follow-your-dream plotline is not only a perfect merging of form and content, but also absolutely exhilarating. –Alan
An in-depth look at the legendary punk band, The Stooges.
Jim Jarmusch doesn’t usually make documentaries, and there’s never been a good film on the band that started punk. So while this is not a perfect film, it’s a long-overdue tribute to one of the greats, by a master filmmaker. –Alan
The Eagle Huntress
A 13yr old Mongolian girl becomes the first female Golden Eagle huntress following 12 generations of male relatives before her.
A truly amazing and gorgeous documentary of the strong and brave Aisholpan, the 13yr old daughter in a family who have hunted small mammals using golden eagles for many generations. She is remarkable as the first female to become a huntress among her people. –Margaret
Follow professional photographer Geoff Sims as he tracks and photographs solar eclipses.
I can’t say it compares to the “real deal” like many experienced this past summer, but for those of us who missed it or didn’t snag a photo, this film could be the next best thing. –Zac
Fire at Sea
Set on the once peaceful Lampedusa Island in the Mediterranean youthful innocence is portrayed through the life of an average 12 year old boy, while just off its coast African refugee’s in overcrowded boats float under a scorching sun awaiting their fate.
This documentary’s stark contrast was thought provoking and gave me a greater empathy for the refugee crisis. –Margo
Last Place by Grandaddy
Lo-fi analog synth-fuzz space group returns after a ten year hiatus with gorgeous tunes of protest and despair.
Jason Lytle plays and produces the entirety of Last Place, and alongside his plaintive vocals, creates such sonic beauty and complexity that lines like “I just moved here, and / I don’t want to live here anymore” go down easy. –Alan
Lifer by MercyMe
Lifer, by MercyMe, is a variety of upbeat songs, like “Lifer” and “Happy Dance” mixed with hauntingly beautiful songs such as “Hello Beautiful” and “Ghost,” and the hit song “Even If.”
The tempo, harmonies, and affirming lyrics had me playing this CD over and over. –Margo
Sleep Well Beast by The National
This is The National’s seventh album and it is one of their best. The songs touch on the challenges of existence in our daily lives and how we endure.
The lyrics, the sounds and the voice of lead singer Matt Berninger draw me to this album again and again. –Serena
Northern Passages by The Sadies
Recorded in a home basement in Toronto over the winter of 2015, the familiar surroundings and lack of distractions resulted in an album with a consistent feel from the Sadies. Kurt Vile also makes an appearance.
The Good brothers have been cranking out Byrds-tinged garage alt-country rock for over 20 years in backing Neko Case, Jon Langford, and others, but this solo recording is the pure magic of their live performance captured. True lightning in a bottle! –Alan
Robyn Hitchcock by Robyn Hitchcock
Masterful psychedelic pop/rock gems from the master himself.
Infectious, clever, catchy and amusing. –Ron
Dreamcar by Dreamcar
80s New Wave synth pop from the present!
It’s nice to see synth pop making a comeback. –Ron
Life Is Good by Flogging Molly
Celtic punk at its best.
Nice combination of aggressive and catchy music. –Ron