2017 is over (*tear*- or not), and as keenly as ever, we have consistently reviewed and analysed its entertainment. There have been loads of films, albums, TV shows and games which we loved (look up our lists for a summary!), but what are we most likely to come back to in 2018? Or, at least, remember? We’ve put together a small list of personal favourites and guilty pleasures.
Big Shaq – ‘Man’s Not Hot’
Of course, what review of entertainment highlights (or lowlights) from 2017 would be complete without the meme that refused to die? Following in the footsteps of such hilariously irritating hits as 2012’s ‘Gangnam Style’ and 2013’s ‘What Does The Fox Say’, Big Shaq‘s infamous grime parody ‘Mans Not Hot’ had humble beginnings as a freestyle skit on Charlie Sloth’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show Fire In The Booth that absolutely blew up on social media all the way back in August.
Featuring such ridiculous lyrics as “2 plus 2 is 4 / Minus 1 that’s 3, quick maths” and “The ting goes skrrrahh (ah) / Pap, pap, ka-ka-ka (ka) / Skidiki-pap-pap (pap) / And a pu-pu-pudrrrr-boom (boom) / Skya (ah), du-du-ku-ku-dun-dun (dun) / Poom, poom, you don’ know”, it’s no wonder the freestyle was such a hit: its instantly recognizable absurdity was easy fodder for the meme-obsessed world of modern social media.
But the Giggs-sampling backing track also provided a surprisingly likable element to the parody, with Shaq (the alter-ego of comedian Michael Dapaah) capitalizing on the track’s runaway success by releasing a mastered version of the song on 22nd September which reached Number 5 in the official UK charts. The song’s popularity continued well into the winter as the song stayed within the top 10 from 23rd November onwards (with Shaq even performing in Southampton in December), cementing ‘Man’s Not Hot’ as one of the entertainment moments of 2017.
words by Sam Law
Crisis on Earth-X
After Netflix’s lukewarm The Defenders and DC’s abysmal Justice League, it was going to take something truly special to make me fall in love again with superhero team-ups, and The CW’s cross-over event was just the antidote I needed. Now, Earth-X isn’t nearly as mind-blowing as Joss Whedon’s Avengers (2012). After all, this isn’t the first time The CW has brought its superheroes together, but for what it lacks in ‘holy-cupcakes-Batman’ action it makes up for with its heart.
Earth-X shines in its message of love and compassion, drawing parallels with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017), delivering a powerful commentary on the hate that has recently spread throughout American society after a certain administration came to power. Earth-X has learned from its predecessor’s failures. Unlike Invasion, it stands on its own as a self-contained narrative within this multifaceted mythology meaning even viewers that don’t follow individual series can enjoy Earth-X without being alienated.
But what makes Earth-X my favourite entertainment of the year is the tribute it pays to Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber). As a character that has been so integral to both The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, Earth-X provides the perfect send-off for the fearless physicist.
words by Laura Woodhouse
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Star Wars is such an behemoth in the entertainment industry that the release of the latest film in the franchise, The Last Jedi, was never going to slip beneath the radar. Even so, many of the narrative decisions director Rian Johnson made while crafting one of the biggest films of the year resulted in The Last Jedi proving the spark that lit the fire that (some would say) burned the fandom down.
Avoiding spoilers, the character decisions and plot points throughout the film constantly subvert expectations, producing the most surprising and engaging (but least fan-servicing) Star Wars film to date. The fallout was immediate and stark: the critics’ aggregated score on Rotten Tomatoes rapidly rose to 92%, in contrast to the brutal audience score of 54%. But the conversation the film ignited ultimately fueled the film’s immediate success, with The Last Jedi enjoying the second-best box office opening of any Star Wars ever.
But beyond that, The Last Jedi features a whole host of memorable moments, from that lightsaber battle to the terrific last stand on Crait, as well as plot twists galore. While its sheer standing in the fandom meant it would almost certainly make this list regardless, the massive discussion around the film and the film’s impact on that galaxy far, far away, ensure that it won’t fade from the memory any time soon.
words by Sam Law
2017 has been the year of BROCKHAMPTON. Three albums in one year – the SATURATION trilogy – all fantastic, all innovative, all unique, and all resounding successes. But this isn’t a collective making great hip hop music, it’s a boyband changing the game and doing things in the way no one has before. Their members include an artistic director, photographer and even a stylist, on top of their producers and singers/rappers. It truly redefines the boyband, a self assigned title, and in the process has attracted the group a diverse and passionate audience.
La Belle Sauvage – Philip Pullman
17 years after the release of The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman has returned to the world of Lyra’s Oxford with the beginnings of a new trilogy, exploring Lyra’s life and the mysterious substance they call Dust.
La Belle Sauvage follows Lyra and her daemon, as the original trilogy did, but this time she is an infant in the care of two young people in the midst of a great flood. The characters are beautifully written and a joy to discover (or rediscover, in some cases, as some familiar faces make an appearance), and as the narrative is one big chase, the tension makes the book hard to put down.
La Belle Sauvage did not disappoint; I finished the book in two days, and longed to re-read it as soon as I’d finished. On its publication, Pullman announced that the next instalment was complete, so hopefully the wait will be a lot shorter this time before our return to his enchanting world.
In terms of originality, nothing from 2017 matches Edgar Wright’s unexpected car chase musical with shades of romance and quite a bit of killing, Baby Driver. There’s action, there’s weirdness, there’s Ansel Elgort, and there’s music. Loads of it. Although it seems like another car chase film after the first scene, a feeling that something interesting is going to follow is right around the corner.
Baby Driver stands out because of its use of music. Edgar Wright takes the viewer into Baby(Ansel Elgort)’s head, and the music he always plays, we hear. We hear the way he does everything in sync with the songs, or plays the song to be in sync with whatever is happening around him (including a gunfight!). Even if Baby’s tinnitus makes his situation hard to match, Edgar Wright taps into the dimension of people who shape their lives around music, and Baby Driver hit home for many ‘weirdos’ walking along to the tune.
Not only does Baby Driver have a solid amount of ‘killer tracks’ that may have taken over my Spotify, but it also features a wonderfully suited cast, with Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm giving stellar performances. However, Ansel Elgort is the brightest star, with his silences and his worried looks stealing the show every time, enough so to score him a well-deserved Golden Globes nomination.
words by Thea Hartman