TOP 20 FILMS OF 2017

Unoriginal opening sentence wherein I express the belief that 2017 was a fantastic year for cinema. Standard-issue follow-up statement relaying how this overwhelming number of great films made it difficult to narrow down my favorite titles into a manageable list of 20. Vaguely patronizing mention of the self-imposed "rule" that was applied during the creation of said list ("Must be titles that had a theatrical or VOD release in the U.S. during 2017"). Paragraph closes with a bit of whinging about how I've not yet seen PHANTOM THREAD, THE POST, or THE DISASTER ARTIST, and am thus unable to factor them into the list below*.



20. LOGAN LUCKY


You tell me Soderbergh made another heist film, I go watch it. At this point I'm convinced he can make these in his sleep.

19. DUNKIRK


A Nolan film with minimal dialogue and exposition, and a ticking time-bomb of a soundtrack. Not my favorite of his, but it's quite good.

18. BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99

Holy shit, Vince Vaughn. I didn't know you had this in you. I mean season 2 of TRUE DETECTIVE showed a glimmer of his viciousness and cold brutality, but this is on another level. I didn't know until now how much I needed to see him going HAM on gangsters, prisoners, and prison guards. And Don Johnson as a sadistic prison warden? Fucking cherry on top.

17. THE MERCILESS


Crime drama from Korea? That's a no-brainer, just put me in the seats. Koreans have become the kings of this genre now that Hollywood has stopped making these. Sad for the fans, but at least you're getting them from somewhere. This is a way more entertaining version of DONNIE BRASCO. And the way the story is told through constant flashbacks and jumps through character perspectives keeps the audience on their toes. Each revelation and twist made sense and was consistent for all characters involved. Great acting, dialogue, and editing. Oh, and the slap-fights. Awesome slap-fights.

16. THE BIG SICK

Romcom done right. And having a Pakistani man play the lead? Huge plus. Granted, it's based on Kumail Nanjiani's life so he's playing himself, but you know what I mean.

15. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

There's some backlash on this movie regarding its characters and themes, but how can anyone dislike a movie where Frances McDormand cunt-punts a highschooler?

14. OKJA

Modern day MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO with Bong Joon-ho's offbeat sensibilities and tonal shifts.

13. TOMORROW I WILL DATE WITH YESTERDAY'S YOU

Remember the love story in BENJAMIN BUTTON? It's like that, but so much better.

12. THOR: RAGNAROK

Marvel films are pretty much comedies at this point, so Disney hiring Taika Waititi to direct this wasn't a complete shock. It's a genius move, because he's a comic genius. This is by far the best THOR film, which isn't high praise, but for the first time I'm excited to see where this character (and his friends) goes next.

11. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

I'm admittedly not a big STAR WARS guy, but this movie made me feel... things. I can't remember the last time that happened with this franchise, but all credit goes to Rian Johnson for shaking things up. I know some fanboys are up in arms about some of the changes, but dudes, "let the past die."

10. I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE

That title sums up 2017 perfectly, no?

9. your name.

Animated body-switch dramedy with gorgeous visuals and a well-done story. Even if you hate anime, this is worth watching.

8. GET OUT

I didn't give this a chance until I read all the glowing reviews and it blew up at the box office. It certainly lives up to the hype, and is a fantastic directorial debut for Jordan Peele. Best horror comedy of the year.

7. JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

Arguably better than the first JOHN WICK. The sequel massively expands on the assassin underworld that was hinted at previously, which allows the Baba Yaga to roam in a bigger playground with an assortment of new players in the mix, including Common, whom I hope to see again in the inevitable third chapter. Please let it be called JOHN WICK MUST DIE.

6. WIND RIVER

Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch spend some time together in Wyoming trying to solve a murder case. Non-hilarity ensues. You know what, I like Jeremy Renner. He's solid in all the stuff I've seen, and he gives one of his best performances here. And Taylor Sheridan is 3 for 3.

5. BABY DRIVER

The best car chase musical I've ever seen. It could only have come from Edgar Wright.

4. THE VILLAINESS

ATOMIC BLONDE: "I'm the female John Wick! My stairwell sequence is the best action scene of the year!"
THE VILLAINESS: "Hold my beer."

3. LADY BIRD 

I've always been a sucker for coming-of-age stories, but not the ones about girls. This changed in 2016 with THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, and now here's LADY BIRD swooping in on the #3 spot on my list. It's both funny and sad that I relate more to the parents of these stories now. I laughed, I cringed, and I not-quite-cried.

2. mother!

I've never had a panic attack, but I came close to it watching this film (okay not really, it's just hyperbole). As the physical manifestation of Mother Earth, Jennifer Lawrence endures a ton of physical, mental, and emotional stress for 2 hours. I like my allegories loud and obvious, so this was great for me. I still can't believe a major movie studio financed and released a film like this. Somebody at Paramount has brass balls.

1. BLADE RUNNER 2049


Another year, another Ryan Gosling film at #1. But seriously, the sequel that no one asked for and believed in blew me away with astounding visuals and cinematography (when the hell is Roger Deakins getting his Oscar?), fantastic characters, and serious directing chops by Denis Villeneuve. The best sequels are the ones that expand on the ideas of the original film, not just rehash them. THE LAST JEDI, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2, and BLADE RUNNER 2049 all did that. This film is packed with so many themes and ideas that the least interesting thing about it is that it's a sequel. It easily surpasses the original for me. 

* = Taken almost word-for-word from the opening paragraph of Scott Wampler's article on Birth. Movies. Death. It can't be topped, so why bother?

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