Oh hi guys.
I suppose you know the drill already.
Like last year, here’s a few ground rules:
- Yes, my reviewing style aims for objectivity, but no that doesn’t mean you’ll like every film I’m about to recommend. Honestly, this list is created in hopes that you discover solid movies you’ll have a genuine reaction to. I don’t really pick movies because they’re my “favorite” (honestly who wants to hear about some internet schmuck’s “favorite” movies are?), I genuinely want to put a spotlight on all the films I personally believe are worth your time.
But of course, not everyone has the same viewpoint on movies as I do. Shoot, I had a friend who had some strong words for me for recommending Swiss Army Man so highly last year.
But if you tend to have similar viewpoints as I do, then I would imagine you’ll like most of these films.
- I haven’t seen all the movies this year, and it’s going to keep being that way unless this becomes my job. And it’s not my job right now; you guys get my brilliant views on movies for free. So there’s a chance that there’s an amazing film I wasn’t able to see, but that’s because I’m busy making money for my family. I honestly try my best, guys.
After going through all of my reviews, I decided there were 18 films I wanted to talk about.
Here we go.
There’s some admiration I have for number 18, Spider-Man: Homecoming. The movie somehow found a way to not stray away from Disney’s cinematic-checklist-formula, but still be a great, entertaining movie. I wouldn’t call it an amazing film, but it is definitely a funny, action packed film with a great performance by Tom Holland and a very good performance by Michael Keaton.
There are moments in the year where my cynicism is proven wrong. It doesn’t happen very often, but thank God I was proven wrong about Wonder, which is number 17. Wonder is a very heartfelt movie that takes its content very seriously. It deals with bullying in a realistic way instead of portraying it as ridiculously unrealistic like many YA films do. And it deals not just with Auggie’s struggles, but with the struggles of his family members and friends. All of this is done in a very heartfelt manner, and Jacob Tremblay’s performance is the best child performance of 2017.
Speaking of my crippling cynicism, I’m also glad I was wrong about Coco, number 16. Coco is a bastion of mesmerizing animation. It’s a charming film that hits most of its emotional chords with fantastic precision. It is Disney/Pixar, of course, so they still had to put some training wheels on the story (read here if you’d like to read my ideas on how Coco could’ve been better), but the film’s positives certainly outweigh Disney’s story-disabling. It is Pixar’s best movie since Up, in my opinion, maybe even better than Up.
Number 15 is Logan, the best super hero movie of the year, and a fitting end to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. With some exceptional performances from not just him, but Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen, this movie is one of the most emotionally effective super hero movies of all time. It is smart, effective, and deep in ways that almost no super hero movies are these days. If an R rating is what it takes to remove the training wheels off of super hero films, then I say bring on the R rated super hero films.
Baby Driver is an extremely fun, exciting, and exceptionally executed film, and it takes my number 14 spot. Some accolades should definitely be given to just how in-sync every action and plot point was executed with every beat of music in the movie. Baby Driver was also thankfully a big financial boon for director Edgar Wright.
Yes, I said that it might be my least favorite of his films, but you know what? If Wright makes money, he has more opportunities to make more films, and that’s mighty fine by me.
Lady Bird, number 13, is a movie I enjoyed the more I thought about it. It’s the simultaneously joyous and depressing story of a young girl trying to find out exactly who she is. What makes this movie stand out from other films in that genre is that it tends to spend much of its time hitting her over the head because of her attempts, showing that some things that may seem to lead to fulfillment are ultimately empty. Soairse Ronan was absolutely fantastic in it, and everyone is really great.
Split is number 12 for being a great return to form from M. Night Shyamalan. It is a dark, creepy, fantastic film, but what really makes this movie something to talk about is just how fantastic James McAvoy was in this movie. Anya Taylor-Joy was great too (and so was anyone who wasn’t those two other girls…), but McAvoy is the reason Split even makes it into this list.
Honestly, I had my doubts, but number 11, Stronger is a fantastic example of what a biopic can be. Jake Gyllenhaal delivers an exceptionally complex performance as well as a deep character arc. The cinematography was exceptional, especially for a biopic film, holy crap. And every other performance was spot on. If you have to see one biopic this year, see that one.
At number 10, we have Blade Runner 2049, a masterfully shot film that has the best visuals and cinematography of 2017, and a possible contender for all time best. This being paired with a richly developed world that has so much thought put into its execution makes this film an absolute joy to watch, and allegedly the best sequel of all time (I wouldn’t know because I haven’t seen the original).
If the characters in the film were as amazing as everything else, then this might have been the best film of the year, but the characters are only the weakest part of the film in that they were simply good instead of phenomenal.
Regardless, Denis Villeneuve has made his most beautiful movie yet (that I’ve seen anyway).
At number 9, we have It Comes at Night, a tightly wound, highly tense thriller that is extraordinarily intelligent, well-performed, and memorable. It Comes at Night is one of the only apocalyptic movies that keeps its apocalypse hidden in the background, working as a natural story element instead of some completely-revealed, in-your-face gimmick. With great performances from all the characters, it is a fantastic thriller even if the trailers were a bit misleading about what kind of movie it was.
At number 8, we have mother!, a movie that I absolutely adore, though I admit that the opinions of this film are polarized. If you can get past the constant symbolism and occasional disturbing imagery, this movie is a fantastic, heavily layered film that is the closest thing to a nightmare a film has ever gotten to. It is also a beautifully shot film with (albeit unsubtle) analogies to another piece of literature, but even if you don’t pic up on the analogies, it is not required for the enjoyment of this film.
At number 7, we have Get Out, a film so clever in its political commentary that it found a way to have its cake and eat it too. For those who want to watch it for the political commentary, you can. For those who don’t care for political messages in films, the commentary is not necessarily preachy or spoon-fed so you can still enjoy it (…unless you’re Armond White, I suppose).
Not only that, but the film is exceptionally shot, extremely funny, successfully creepy, and it is a brilliant genre-mixer of comedy/horror.
But what shocked me the most about it is that it’s directed by Jordan Peele, and maybe it’s because I don’t really appreciate the kind of humor he does in Key & Peele, but I was not expecting this type of brilliance from him. Lets hope he keeps it up.
At number 6, we have Wind River, a chilling, deep film with Jeremy Renner’s and Elizabeth Olsen’s best performances I have ever seen. It is dark and disturbing, and thus I would not necessarily recommend it to everyone, but to anyone who wants to see a real nail-biter, then do so. It is a finely crafted film that shows that Taylor Sheridan is not just one hell of a writer, but one hell of a director as well.
At number 5, we have Dunkirk, a war movie unlike any that I’ve seen. It’s a war movie where the true enemy is the beach where it takes place, and not necessarily the invading enemy army. This film is flawless in its use of tone, and it is exceptional in its execution of story despite the fact that there really isn’t a true protagonist. Dunkirk is a story about human bravery and cowardice, and message is so under-toned that you can enjoy it without it having it shoved in your face. Although it’s not the most entertaining of Christopher Nolan’s movies, it is certainly the best executed one.
At number 4, we have A Monster Calls… and holy crap I just realized that a Young Adult movie is holding a #4 spot on my list. A Monster Calls is the best YA film I have ever seen. It takes its content seriously and doesn’t hold a single punch. It is intelligent enough to do most of the storytelling visually. The performances are all fantastic. And jeez, if it isn’t the biggest tear-jerker I have ever seen.
It’s a topnotch story about loss and the need to cope with it. It is an absolutely amazing film that flew under the radar pretty much everywhere, which is an absolute shame.
…Also, yes I know this is a 2016 film. Missouri didn’t get it until January. Go away.
At number 3, we have The Big Sick. As shocked as I am that a Young Adult movie holds the #4 spot, I am even more shocked that a romantic comedy holds the #3 spot. The Big Sick is one of the most successfully executed, most entertaining movies of 2017. It is exceptionally acted by every single person, and it is uproariously funny. It is sincere, adorable, depressing, hysterical, and honestly, I’m not sure if there is an emotion I didn’t feel while watching this movie.
Every single element of this movie is charming. It breathed new life into a genre that is currently dying because most people think that comedies are just about how vile, obscene, and hyperbolic a film can get. The Big Sick realized that humor comes from real life, from real struggle, and from real connection. I honestly cannot recommend this film enough. It’s a film I think almost everyone can enjoy, so go see it as soon as possible.
At number 2, we have Good Time, a shocking, well-concentrated, intense movie featuring a phenomenal performance by Robert Pattinson and one of the best ensembles I’ve seen all year. It’s hard-hitting, thought provoking, and honestly it’s simply fantastic cinema. The camerawork, the soundtrack, the performances, everything in this movie allows it to stick out from the swath of other films this year. Its insistence on not sugar-coating anything really allows it to hold its own apart from anything within its genre.
AND THE BEST MOVIE OF 2017 IS…….
You wanna know how good Three Billboards is? Film Twitter hipsters and hot-takers are already starting to come out of the woodwork to talk about how “overrated” and “problematic” it is (much like La La Land, which was my #1 of 2016).
This film is enthralling from start to finish. It is fantastically shot and fantastically directed. It is savage, raw, and fascinating. The film makes some of the most memorable, morally intricate characters I have seen in a long time.
Every single performance (save one) is flawless. Francis McDormand stands as the most flawless of performances, and Sam Rockwell is an extremely close second. Both performances are my favorite from both actors.
It is incredibly easy to care about all of these characters, and that includes some characters I thought I would hate. This film genuinely attempts to show how prejudices can be lethal. It has so much to say about pain and loss and how it can completely alter somebody. It says a lot about other things, but if you really want to know, then just watch the freaking movie.
It is a thrilling experience from start to finish, and I honestly can’t wait to see it again.
I’m so glad I got to see the movie. Otherwise 2017 would have rendered no 10 out of 10s from me.