And here we are! The second and best part of what is by far the most important awards show-in-article-form in all of Hollywood. Also, I don’t live in Hollywood. This is easily, far and away, the most important awards-show-in-article-form in all of Sherman Oaks. Probably. Listen, I’m writing this on Christmas Eve and I’m drunk on chocolate and also beer so let’s just get this over with, okay?
MOST ROCK AND ROLL MOVIE OF 2017
And the Jakey goes to…
Yeah, the award is called a Jakey. That’s the official name. Learn to love it. Also, don’t call me that. My name is Jake. The award is the Jakey. Keep ‘em straight. Wait, what were we doing? Oh, right!
The Devil’s Candy!
This movie rocks. This movie rocks so fucking hard that it just dropped its first album and your mom found it under your bed and is already convinced that you’re worshipping Satan. Witness Ethan Embry, he of Empire Records, Can’t Hardly Wait, and the genius Cheap Thrills, play a sensitive artist/husband/father who starts hearing devilish voices in his new home. Watch him be the best dad ever, teaching his little girl to thrash on an electric guitar that’s so awesome that it gets its own Act Three applause moment. Thrill as the former resident of the house, driven insane by the previously mentioned voices, returns to finish what he started years ago.
Okay seriously, this is a tense little thriller that sets up as a fairly rote demonic possession/haunted house movie, but unfolds in a series of increasingly nasty surprises and ends with one of the most iconic, badass, straight-up metal images of the year. This is one of those low-budget, easily-overlooked horror gems that, like last year’s The Autopsy of Jane Doe, really deserves to be sought out and talked about. And lucky for you, it’s on Netflix right now!
BEST HORROR MOVIE DISGUISED AS A COMEDY
Okay, this one needs a little explanation: this award is for a movie that is absolutely terrifying, probably scarier than most dedicated horror films this year, but doesn’t really fall into the horror genre. It’s scary because of how real it is. Which means there can really only be one winner here. And it is…
Ingrid Goes West!
Writer-director Matt Spicer’s debut stars Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid, an all-too-believable antihero: a woman who, with no one left in her own life, turns to social media for companionship. And she will find it there, even if she has to invent it. Which of course, she does, in the form of Elizabeth Olsen’s Taylor Sloane, an Instagram “influencer” whose perfect husband, beautiful Venice Beach bungalow, and Boho-chic* style all scream NEW BEST FRIEND to both Ingrid and all of Taylor’s hundreds of thousands of followers.
The difference between Ingrid and those other followers, though, is that Ingrid actually believes Taylor will be her BFF. So she travels to LA (hence the title) and commences stalking her, slowly insinuating herself into her life via a series of contrived coincidences and outright lies. And then the whole thing goes sideways in excruciating slow motion. This is a horror satire for the social media generation, a movie that exists solely to prove that being extremely online is not the same as being alive and well. It’s hysterically funny in parts, deeply sad in other parts, and really just kind of a huge, scary bummer of a vision of the future of human civilization. It is a very great, very 2017 film.
*Yeah, I know what Boho-chic is. I am large, I contain multitudes.
BEST MOVIE STARRING A FORMER TWILIGHT ACTOR
Okay, this isn’t a fair category. Not because there was only one good movie starring a former Twilight actor this year, but because I have only seen one of them. By all accounts, the Kristen Stewart vehicle Personal Shopper is a trip and a half. I haven’t seen that one though, and that Snow White sequel didn’t have Kristen in and was also the movie equivalent of a dumpster full of used heroin needles doused in gasoline and lit on fire, so the winner of this award is…
You guys. You guys. No, listen. You guys.
This movie is awesome.
Remember mumblecore? Those low-budget mostly-improv mid-late 00’s movies where everyone spoke in circular conversations that were kinda hard to follow? Joe Swanberg? It was a whole thing. Good Time is like if mumblecore and Die Hard had a baby starring the sparkly vampire from Twilight, and it is way, way, way better than that sounds.
The movie follows supreme shithead and lowlife Connie, played by Robert Pattinson, who goddammit I guess I like now. He ropes his mentally handicapped brother into helping him with a bank robbery, and when his brother is caught, beaten up in jail, and sent to the hospital, Connie spends one wild, increasingly reckless night trying to free him. His plan turns into one giant fuckup, and the plan to fix that turns into an even bigger fuckup, and the movie becomes a snowballing series of escalating fuckups that is funny, thrilling, terrifying, infuriating, and deliriously entertaining.
All of this is done on a shoestring budget by the Safdie Brothers, who wrote and directed this primal scream of a thriller, and it’s held together by a powerhouse Robert Pattinson, who looks so fucked up in this movie he may have gone full method and filmed the whole thing while on pills (citation needed). Good Time will make you pull your hair out and scream at the screen in frustration and disbelief and you should absolutely watch it immediately.
THE NEW CLASSIC YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF
And here it is: The Big One. The award that really matters. This isn’t my favorite movie of the year, but it is my favorite movie of the year that nobody reading this has seen. Seriously. I haven’t met another human person who has even heard of this thing, and that is a goddamn travesty.
The winner of this award isn’t much to look at, from the outside. Twelve-year-old boy and his seventeen-year-old babysitter fend off a home invasion at Christmastime in a The Strangers/Home Alone mashup?
“Sure, Jake,” you say dumbly, crumbs falling from your mouth, “Sounds fine. Whatever. Please shut up now, I’m eating crumbs.”
But that is NOT AT ALL what this movie is. This is a dark comedy/horror masterwork, one that made me leap out of my seat and shout, “Oh no, fuck you movie, no way are you this good,” no less than three times. And that movie is…
Better Watch Out!
Better Watch Out is the second film from director Chris Peckover, who fucking rules. It’s written by Peckover and Zack Kahn, who is a goddamn genius. The story introduces us to Luke, played by the great child actor Levi Miller. Luke’s folks are heading out for a night on the town during the Christmas season, and Luke’s customary babysitter Ashley is coming over. Luke is very, very horny for Ashley, and decides to put the twelve-year-old moves on her when someone or someones starts trying to infiltrate the house.
That is all you will get on this movie from me. Around thirty minutes in, there is a twist that turns the whole movie inside out and upside down. And things only get more clever, and more nasty, from there. What starts as a cute little horror/comedy turns into a violent, disturbing treatise on male privelage and entitlement, coming at the topic from angles that have never even been considered in other movies. This is a Christmas horror classic, and deserves to sit alongside Gremlins as one of the all-time greats of that subgenre.
Basically, holy shit guys, watch this movie. Please, for the love of God watch this movie so I can finally fucking talk to someone about it.
Fun facts about Better Watch Out: Both of the lead actors are Australian, which you would never know. The lead actress volunteered to have live huntsman spiders put on her face when the director realized they wouldn’t have special effects budget to use computerized ones. Spiders. On her face. VOLUNTEERED. The whole movie was filmed in Australia, and the entire house the movie is set in was built on a soundstage. There were no flying walls on the house, so the crew had to smash through walls to get certain shots. I am giving you this information because it’s cool, and this movie owns ass so hard that you should know everything there is to know about it.
Those are the 2017 Jakey Awards! That’s it! That’s the end! The Last Jedi is one of the best Star Wars movies ever and if you don’t like it your heart was replaced by a piece of shit in your sleep!
Happy 2018, everyone!