The year saw positive things like the "MeToo" movement, but also devastating hurricanes and mass shootings and toxic fanboys trying to ruin everything for everyone.
We did it! Another year is on the books, and we're totally ready to put 2017 in the rearview mirror and look ahead to an exciting and new 2018. But while it is in the mirror, we can't help but notice some things that stand out, both good and bad.
It was a pivotal year for the entertainment industry -- and in fact the world -- with the explosion of the #MeToo Movement, exposing generations of patriarchal misogyny in the workplace and beginning the hard work of achieving true equality. The year also saw toxic fanboys turn McDonalds into riot centrals while we took hero worship of our politicians a little too far. On a more positive note, diversity and representation took huge strides, even as genre films and streaming truly came of age.
Below are our top 17 trends of 2017, good and bad:
1-Toxic Fanboys (Bad)
There are levels of fandom and while most of them are positive for the various properties that enjoy their support, there is that one level that takes things too far in a nasty way. These toxic fanboys seem to inordinately be male and incredibly terrible both in person and on social media. The protection that social media affords them seems to have only empowered them more. They reached a new nadir of awfulness in 2017, claiming some sense of entitlement and ownership over their favorite properties to the detriment of everyone else.
This led to deplorable behavior like the mini-riots they caused at McDonalds over szechuan sauce. That's right, a throwaway joke in "Rick & Morty" inspired the restaurant chain to revive the old sauce in limited supplies, but they underestimated the demand. It happens, but the fanboys found it completely unacceptable and even got the animated show’s creator to come out against them. They struck again with "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" as they got frustrated with the dramatic changes in the franchise and took it out on their fellow fans by spoiling the film’s big twists and secrets.
The most ridiculous moment of outrage came when one theater chain decided to host all-female screenings of the first superhero film to be directed by and star a woman, "Wonder Woman." These toxic tools decried the decision, calling it sexist and demanding all-male viewings as well. They can’t simply enjoy the things they love. They love them so much they feel it gives them some ownership of the property, and that entitles them to lash out when things don’t go their way with no respect or thought of others.
2-#MeToo Movement (Good)
One of the most significant social movements of the modern era, Tarana Burke’s "#MeToo" hashtag was revived by Alyssa Milano following a series of accusations against media mogul Harvey Weinstein. What followed was a groundswell of stories of sexual misconduct and harassment as women, and some men, came forward in astonishing numbers, exposing powerful men (and even some women) in industries around the world.
The movement, which continued to build momentum throughout the year, would result in many of these men losing their positions, including Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and Al Franken. Most importantly, it has resulted in women being heard and believed, and we’re beginning to see the genesis of real change across many industries as they try and improve work environments for women by seeing them placed in more positions of power, acting on legitimate claims of harassment, and fostering a safer and healthier space.
3-Male Non-Apologies (Bad)
For every woman who has bravely come forward, it seems like there is a powerful man who’s said a bunch of things without saying much of anything before quiety going off for some "therapy" or something. The lack of men taking ownership of their alleged behavior has been disheartening. Women have been saying since the beginning that in order for this movement to really affect change, it needs male voices to get involved.
That means men need to take ownership of their role in fostering this hostile environment that has existed for so long. Morgan Spurlock is one of the few to have done so, coming out as part of the problem without anyone even having accused him. But for every Spurlock, you have an Al Franken saying a thousand variations of, "I have a different recollection, but I'm very sorry to any woman who experienced that." Sheesh. We've got a long way to go.
4-Trump Feeds Sketch/Late-Night Comedy (Good)
Love him or hate him, we can all agree that the Donald Trump presidency has been great for late-night comedy. From the talk shows to "Saturday Night Live," comedians were reinvigorated this past year as Trump settled into the White House and began making sweeping changes to everything he could see. While these comedians latched onto all of his policy changes and declarations, it was his mannerisms and personal foibles that seemed to get their attention even more.
To make it even easier for them, Trump practically wrote the setup for all of their jokes with each tweet -- and there have been a lot of tweets. Stephen Colbert has seen his ratings skyrocket, finally finding his comedic voice on CBS with this presidency, while Alec Baldwin took home Emmy gold for his recurring Trump impression on "SNL." Say what you will about whether or not Trump is good for America, he’s definitely been good for comedy.
5-Slow Jam Trailer Music (Bad)
You know what’s super dramatic and guaranteed to totally pull the heartstrings? Take a well-known song and slow jam it to create a surreal listening experience for the viewer. If you want to spook them, slip it into a minor key. This hackneyed trend has been going on for a few years now now, but it seemed to spiral completely out of control in 2017, with new twists on familiar song favorites cropping up in virtually every teaser trailer. The Ramones' "I Want to Be Sedated' was twisted down into a haunting dirge for the "A Cure for Wellness" teaser, while the disaster popcorn movie "GeoStorm" gave us a meandering cover of "It’s a Wonderful World." (In the latter trailer's defense, though, it was more enjoyable than the actual movie.)
We get it, it’s a compelling way to lure people into your movie, by perking up their ears in interest with something they almost recognize, but it’s so played out now we’ve come to expect it with every trailer. And if everyone’s doing it, it’s just not special anymore. It’s the equivalent of every movie trailer jumping off a bridge because their friend did it. And if we hear one more slow-jammed classic over a trailer we just might want to as well.
6-Streaming Comes of Age (Good)
With Hulu’s "The Handmaid’s Tale" winning the Emmy for Best Dramatic Series, streaming has officially come of age as a force to be reckoned with in entertainment. Add to that the pervasive pop culture penetration of "Stranger Things" and "Black Mirror" and you’ve got an interesting shift happening on the small screen.
Whereas we used to all sit down and watch "Seinfeld" at the same time every Thursday night to create a national conversation about "The Contest," now it’s the shows on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu that are getting talked about the most (save a few exceptions like "Game of Thrones" and "The Walking Dead").
Now Netflix is taking a look at the movie industry, debuting high-quality Oscar-caliber films on its service. With the premiere of Will Smith’s "Bright," the platform has its first blockbuster-style franchise (the film has already been picked up for a sequel). They’ve even gone so far as to put their original films in theaters in limited release to qualify for Oscar consideration, seeking to upend the traditional movie model. Streaming is here to stay, and as it continues to invest in quality product, it may just be the future, whether the rest of Hollywood is ready or not.
7-Political Superstars (Bad)
Washington, D.C., is not Hollywood and the White House is not the squared circle. So why have we suddenly embraced politicians with the same kind of blind devotion and loyalty we offer our favorite celebrities and WWE Superstars? We get that this may be confusing for some as the current president has a long and storied history with both Hollywood and Vince McMahon’s WWE, but politics is way more serious and has a greater impact on real people.
Here we are a year into the Trump presidency, and we’re still getting headline-making articles about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Why? This isn’t some celebrity feud that’s going to get settled at Wrestlemania. We get supporting your gal or guy, but it’s important to remember that these are politicians and not rock stars. Idol worship of policy makers doesn’t help anyone.
Fans seem more willing to criticize Eminem’s new album or the latest antics of their favorite "Real Housewives" than politicians leading their respective party these days and it’s ridiculous. We need objectivity over blind devotion. If your favorite politician does something good, go ahead and cheer, but if they do something awful or even questionable, it’s a citizen's duty to speak out. Blindly supporting party or politician is a slippery slope that can lead to all sorts of dire things. If you really want to worship someone without potentially harming your own future and the world, Queen Bey always has room for more followers.
8-Peak 1980s Nostalgia (Good)
With a double-shot of Stephen King’s "It" and "Stranger Things 2" this past year, it seemed we were reaching for peak 1980s nostalgia. The "Blade Runner" sequel and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" scratched that itch as well, along with high-waisted jeans and belly-baring loose shirts. Even "The Goldbergs" was sold into syndication earlier this year, to make sure we can have our ‘80s fix five nights a week, while Nintendo sold out of the NES Classic Edition that recreated the ‘80s consoles complete with pre-loaded ‘80s staples like "Super Mario Bros," "Metroid," and "Punch-Out!!"
It makes sense, as we’re reaching the 30-year mark for the ‘80S, and that’s about when the children from that decade have started finding themselves in positions of power to channel and recreate the things that excited them about their childhood. It remains to be seen how much longer the ‘80s will reign supreme, but it’s not stopping anytime soon, with the 80’s saturated "Ready Player One" coming in early 2018 and more nostalgia nuggets on the schedule.
It was one for the record books, and one that the regions affected will be dealing with for years to come. In one of the busiest and the most destructive hurricane season of all time, four major hurricanes caused havoc in the Atlantic, and they hit almost back-to-back-to-back-to-back. First, Harvey blasted into Southeastern Texas as a Category 4 hurricane on August 26, leading to massive flooding in Houston and 91 deaths total. Irma followed quickly on its heels, grinding through Cuba as a Category 5 before making landfall again in the Florida Keys on September 10. Irma dramatically impacted the Caribbean, costing 134 deaths.
Hurricane Jose was a near miss for the eastern coast of the United States, but September 20 saw Maria slam into Peurto Rico with 155 mph winds, absolutely devastating that island and leaving its entire populace without power. The United States hadn’t seen a hurricane make landfall like these since 2005, and here were three in less than a month. It was and remains a catastrophic situation, and one that we’re in no hurry to see repeated.
10-Getting "Cancelled" (Bad)
Jason Momoa was on record making a joke about how you can do anything you want in a fantasy world "like rip someone’s tongue out of their throat, and rape beautiful women." The comment was made at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2011 when Momoa was still on "Game of Thrones" where his character, Kahl Drogo, did both of those things. He was clearly referencing the over-the-top behavior of Drogo in George R.R. Martin's fictional medieval-type world, but the clip was resurfaced in the post-Weinstein era of 2017 so that everyone could say he was "cancelled."
It’s the trendy equivalent of saying you’re over someone, but if everyone we saw using the term in 2017 had their way, everything would be cancelled.
Suddenly, anything that might have happened at any point in someone’s life was enough to get them effectively "cancelled." It’s a dangerous and slippery slope to immediately call for the banishing of an individual for the tiniest of infractions. We've been told our whole lives that everyone makes mistakes, but with every passing year, it seems we're more willing than ever to chastise famous people for every single one.
Remember the days when if someone you didn't know said something you disagreed with you just shrugged and moved on with your life? We do, and we miss them dearly.
11-Genre Gets Respect (Good)
There was a time when genre films (otherwise known as sci-fi, fantasy and now superhero) were relegated to technical awards at the Oscars, and virtually ignored at the Emmys. "Game of Thrones" and "Lord of the Rings" proved rare exceptions, but suddenly other genre films are finding themselves experiencing extremely high critical praise. 2017 saw more mainstream genre films like "Logan," "Wonder Woman," "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" scoring very well with critics.
While awards show remain mostly dismissive of genre fare (with a few exceptions, of course), the critical acclaim is a step in the right direction for the legitimacy of these films. It’s more an evolution of film critics than a change in the quality of genre films.
As critics who grew up on the blockbusters of the late ‘70s and beyond are becoming the dominant voices in criticism, they don’t have as much derision for these types of films. Suddenly, it’s not a stigma to admit you like a Marvel movie more than that latest black-and-white French film where some woman smokes a cigarette and blows the smoke across her lover’s nude body in slow motion. You know, art. But art is more than just this narrow definition, and critics are finally starting to expand their definition to include every style of film being made.
12-Mass Shootings (Bad)
After two mass shootings in short order, 2017 has gone down as one of the deadliest in history when it comes to gun-related violence. On October 1, a lone gunman opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 at a country music concert in Las Vegas. The man, who was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after, shot more than 1,100 rounds into the crowd leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
And yet, just over a month later on November 5, another gunman killed 26 people and injured 20 at a church in Texas, ranking at number five on the all-time list we wish didn't exist. These two shootings again spurred the ongoing debate about guns that has polarized this nation, with many decrying that the trite "thoughts and prayers" just aren’t enough anymore. It’s time for responsible gun legislation, they say, though at this time there is no indication that anything is being done about it. Maybe after the next one?
13-Strong Female Roles/Stories (Good)
As women are more empowered in the workplace thanks to the #MeToo movement, they found themselves represented more than ever in film and television both in front of the camera and behind it. Margaret Atwood’s "The Handmaid’s Tale" told a cautionary story about what happens when women lose their voice, and how they will not remain silent, while "Big Little Lies" and "Feud: Bette and Joan" presented strong, opinionated women in control of their own destinies, for good or bad. Even television's longest-running franchise embraced the fairer sex, as "Doctor Who" regenerated into a woman (Jodie Whittaker) for the first time in five decades on Christmas Day.
On the big screen, things went even better with Angelina Jolie directing a very personal and well-received film about child soldiers in Cambodia, and Greta Gerwig directing Saoirse Ronan in the year’s most critically acclaimed film "Lady Bird." But perhaps no film better exemplified the strides women are making than "Wonder Woman," directed by Patty Jenkins and brought to empowering life by Gal Gadot. Not sexualized in any way, she proved that women can be feminine and powerful at the same time. Again, awards shows appear to be a little slower when it comes to change, as no women were nominated for Best Director at the 2018 Golden Globes.
Yes, everyone loves breasts, but what is up with our collective obsession with the underside of them this year? Cleavage has always been with us, and "tasteful sideboob" recently became a thing on red carpets, so it's not entirely surprising that underboob would be the next evolution in acceptable amount of breast to bare. In 2017, it became a common fashion accessory and we're just not on board with it.
The Kardashians were obsessed with showing us their alt-cleavage, and they weren’t alone. Everyone from Bella Hadid to Ariel Winter and J. Lo got in on the fun. Emma Watson had her feminism questioned after she appeared with some underboob in Vanity Fair back in March, and as the year was closing down, Eminem’s daughter Hailie dropped one of her rare Instagram pics to give us one more. She’d even pulled the fabric of her top up to make sure she was part of the in-crowd, or out-crowd as it were. We see you, Hailie! We get it. #FreeTheNipple and all that. But we’re totally over this peek under the hood.
15-Diversity/Representation in Film (Good)
Perhaps the biggest example of diversity and representation on the big-screen in 2017 was Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, the social-thriller "Get Out." The modestly budgeted film wound up the most profitable movie of the year. "Girls Trip" was the highest-grossing live-action comedy, while "Hidden Figures" and "The Big Sick" were among the most talked about films of the year, even if the latter was ignored by the Globes.
In a nation more culturally diverse than ever before, it is essential that our pop culture entertainment be representative of the truth outside our windows. And while Hollywood has been very slow to embrace the changing diversity in our world, strides are finally being made. It’s a trend that looks to continue into 2018 as well, with one of the whitest and male-est franchises on the planet (the Marvel Cinematic Universe) finally looking to mix it up with the premiere of "Black Panther," and director Ava DeVurnay bringing a diverse and fresh take on "A Wrinkle in Time" to the multiplex. Hollywood still has a way to go before it feels truly inclusive both on-screen and behind the cameras, but 2017 was a big step in the right direction.
16-Nostalgia Music Tours Dominate (Bad)
There’s a strange disconnect between what’s hip and popular and what tours are bringing in the most money when the most current band among the highest-grossing tours of the year is one that formed in 1996. Coldplay leads a bevy of legacy acts that sold the most concert tickets to fans in 2017, including Guns N’ Roses, Garth Brooks, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, and U2. Only superstar Bruno Mars was able to crack the Top 5, with Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber the only other newer acts in the Top 10, per Pollstar.
So what’s happening? Was 2017 an anomaly, or a sign of things to come as Generation Z continues to change how fans engage with their favorite artists?
Of the entertainment fields, none has proven more adaptable to the changing times than the music industry, with its shift from physical albums to digital downloads to streaming, and still finding ways to monetize. The reduced revenue from streaming led to higher ticket prices as acts found this the best way to make the most money, but if younger fans are turning away from live concerts, what’s next? Live concerts streamed to their favored devices? It’s perhaps too soon to tell, but if this trend continues into 2018, artists will have to start figuring it out in a hurry, especially those under 40.
17-Fashion Gets Weird (Bad)
Always one of the simplest ways to express personal creativity and style, fashion took some unexpected turns this past year, including some revivals that we weren’t quite ready for. Jorts weren’t cool when they first came out, as everyone knows jeans are pants and should never be shorts. The only acceptable way to shorten them is if you do it yourself with a pair of scissors so the frayed edges show, and you’re rafting down a river and it's 1983. And speaking of frayed edges, the trend of buying jeans pre-cut and pre-shredded continued, but in a cheeky new direction. We’re all for body confidence, but why do we need cutouts on our butts? There are plenty of other options to accentuate the booty.
But it was more than just pants, as shoes got weird with the introduction of platform crocks -- regular crocks are awful so how does this help? -- and clear-block heels. (Because you want it to look like you’re walking on your tippy-toes?) If they try to mainstream fish in those heels, we're done. Freckles were in this year as well, with people who didn’t have them adding them in. We applaud the acceptance of nature’s beauty marks, but why not work on accepting and accentuating the beauty you already have rather than trying to add to it.