Movie Final - My Favorite Movies of 2017


2017 has been quite the cinematic journey. There has been a smattering of great films throughout the whole year, not just in the summer and award season. Below is my list of my favorite movies of the year!


Quick Note: Due to my location and/or financial situation, I haven't been able to watch every movie released this year that I wanted to, so there will be gaps in this list. Some of these films were limited runs that don't play around here, and others I just simply couldn't afford to drive to or go see at the time. The films I haven't seen include:
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • The Florida Project
  • Ladybird
  • The Beguiled
  • It
  • Wonder 
  • mother!
  • The Shape of Water
  • The Post
I'm sure at least a few of those would have made the list, but they were not one of the 39 films released in 2017 that I saw. There will be five honorable mentions, and 10 of my favorite films of the year. After that, I will list every film that was released this year that I have seen, that way you can see what I had to choose from!

Honorable Mention - The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)



One of the many Netflix films made this year, The Meyerowitz Stories has one of the best portrayals of a "dysfunctional family" that I have seen because it treats it seriously. Usually films make dysfunction look funny. From the outside you might think this would too, with Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller starring in it, but they both give the best acting performances of their career. It deals with family dynamics, perspective, and perception very well. Everybody has dealt with something like this in their family at one time or another. Don't let the Dustin Hoffman allegations taint this wonderful film. If you have a Netflix account and like character pieces, give Meyerowitz a watch.

You can read my full review HERE.

Honorable Mention - Get Out

 


Not a lot of horror/thriller films make my list, because the genre just doesn't speak to me. But I can't ever deny a good story or a bold statement regardless of genre, and Get Out is both. It is one long episode of The Twilight Zone that is a direct response to the regime running the country right now. The commentary it presents on race is intelligent, creative, and thoughtful. It also makes for an entertaining thriller. Jordan Peele is known for comedy, but made his statement here, and I look forward to what he does next.

Honorable Mention - Colossal


Colossal is one of the strangest genre-clashing films I have ever seen. But it is great. The film deals with having to be responsible for your own actions no matter what life deals you - and portrays that with huge kaijus on the other side of the world. The film has a weird possesive and controlling subplot that I was not expecting, but it works because it makes the ending all the sweeter. Colossal is the only film of the year that changes the stakes every 15-20 minutes, and keeps you guessing until the very end. Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis give great performances that brings both of them out of their shell a bit. If you are in the bag for "weird", then Colossal is a movie you will dig.

Honorable Mention - Coco



It is very telling of 2017 when a movie this good and this beautiful is merely an honorable mention. Pixar's second venture of the year is by far their best film in years. Like Meyerowitz this deals with family, and family acceptance, and the balance between following your passions and not upsetting the family dynamic. The animation is beautiful, the story is sweet, and if you are any kind of human, there will be a tear or two shed during Miguel's journey. You can watch this by yourself, on a date, with your kids, whenever. The message is universal, but I can appreciate what it meant to the Latino culture. This one is worth seeking out, and maybe it will inspire you to follow your passions.

You can read my full review HERE.

Honorable Mention - Blade Runner 2049



One of the main reasons that I even have honorable mentions on this list is because of this stunning film. I couldn't find a place for it in my top ten, but it wholly deserves recognition. Blade Runner 2049 is a slow burner. It is nearly three hours, and is not action packed at all. It tells a meticulous story. If you have the attention span, and are a fan of the Blade Runner mythos, you will enjoy this. If you're not, it is so gorgeous to look at that it deserves your eyes anyway. If Roger Deakins doesn't win a Cinematography Oscar for this, he needs to go the police station and file a report because he was robbed. If Coco is the cream of the crop in visual animation, Blade Runner: 2049 is at the top of the live action pile. Depending on your time allotment,  you might have to watch this epic in chunks, but watch it any way you can.

You can read my full review HERE

10.  Spider-Man: Homecoming



John Hughes made some of the best films of the 80's. It has even become a genre of sorts now. With his death in 2009, Hollywood is sorely missing that sort of coming-of-age film. The closest we got this year was a John Hughes-esque film wrapped inside of the superhero genre in Spider-Man: Homecoming. After being able to shed the origin story that everybody knows, they finally got Spider-Man right! But it played like a high school drama and a super hero flick at the same time, and that was a combination I didn't know I needed. It is so much fun, and has the heart, humor, and spectacle needed to be successful movie. Throw the charismatic Robert Downey, Jr in there, and make Michael Keaton one of the stronger villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there isn't much to complain about here. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a joy to watch from beginning to end. It has a stellar cast and treats the material seriously. Rights issues made me think we'd never see a film like this. Well I am so glad I was wrong. Even if you aren't big on the super hero genre, there is fun to be had here, so go check it out if you haven't already!

You can read my full review HERE


9. Thor: Ragnarok



There were three Marvel Cinematic Universe films released this year. Two of them made the list, and Thor: Ragnarok is the best of the bunch. The Thor franchise has always taken a backseat to the Iron Man and Captain America franchises. I liked the first two Thor films, but he was always better in The Avengers movies. His turn here though, fundamentally changed everything clunky and wrong with the character. Chris Hemsworth was allowed to flex his incredibly toned comedy muscle, and brought us on a ride that was one of the funniest super hero movies ever. The plot was light, but it was coherent, and that was enough to make the showcase of characters Taika Waititi presented the best part of the movie. Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful showcase of comedy talent, and the best part is that it is just fun. You can forget your troubles for two hours and go on a glorious cosmic road trip. I'd pay $15 for that any day!

You can read my full review HERE.

8. Dunkirk



Christopher Nolan is a master at his craft; and his craft is making movies! He has made some of the best masterpieces of the 21st century. This year he made Dunkirk and for the most part it was on par with the rest of his catalogue. Fair warning, you will be tense the entire time you watch this, much like the next entry on the list. It shows three distinct stories that blend into one on the same day, something only a genius like Nolan could pull off so smoothly. While it does have some character issues, the tension never lets up due to the almost constantly ticking clock going throughout the film. Its a cheap trick, but an effective one too. Of course this is worth checking out, but this film more than any other is worth seeing on the largest screen possible. It will probably get put back into theaters for its Oscar push, so find a 70 MM screening somewhere and go. You won't regret it.

You can read my full review HERE.


7. War for the Planet of the Apes



Like Dunkirk this movie makes you tense when you watch it. Unlike Dunkirk you never root for the humans - and therein lies the beauty of the Apes films. Every other movie where humans are pitted against beasts, aliens, monsters, and animals, the humans are the good guys. You root for them. It is instinct, because you would want to survive yourself if you were in that situation. This new Apes trilogy flips that trope, and you are truly rooting for the humans to all die gruesome deaths. It is a neat trick, one that Andy Serkis and Matt Reeves pull off with brilliance. You care what happens to Caesar. You want him to win. You want him to be able to live in peace. I got emotional near the end. It is hard not to. It ends the trilogy perfectly, Caesar's story could end no other way. Yet it leaves the door open for other stories to be told in that universe. Whoever does that - because they won't stop making these - has their work cut out for them to a make a film as poignant and powerful as this one. The franchise has come a long way since Charlton Heston cursed apes on a beach. If you were a fan of the other ones, this one is very much worth checking out.

You can read my full review HERE


6. Baby Driver



Any film that is so meticulously crafted instantly deserves a place on the list, but for it to tell a compelling story, while having every action beat to the beat of real music is an experience to behold. Baby Driver gives you that experience. Yes, Kevin Spacey is awful but him being awful shouldn't punish the hundreds upon thousands of people who made this piece of art. The plot of the film allows for music to be played almost constantly. To coordinate the movie to the music was a stroke of genius. The only reason why this isn't higher on the list is because the movie has a female problem, which is unfortunate. The female characters are nearly as fleshed out or interesting as the male ones. But Edgar Wright is a talented filmmaker, and him being able to express himself creatively is a gift we shouldn't take for granted. If you like music, heist films, and a bit of action, give Baby Driver a whirl. Just be sure to flip off Kevin Spacey every time he is on screen.

You can read my full review HERE.


5. Wonder Woman



After having seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, if you were to tell me that I would have liked Wonder Woman better than Thor or Spider-Man this year, I would have laughed in your face; but here we are. Wonder Woman is a triumph in filmmaking, and is culturally important too. Like Coco and Get Out this appeals to a group of people who maybe would have never sought out a movie like this to begin with. Woman being able to see a serious, non-sexualized hero, just like men can is a fantastic thing. The film also has one of the most fantastic sequences in all of cinema this year. It is referred to as "The No Man's Land Sequence" and if you haven't seen it yet, it is worth watching for that one scene alone. The film sort of falls apart at the end, we've seen CGI villains and floating rings of garbage in the sky too many times before. But everything leading up to that is so great, and so powerful, that it can be forgiven. Given what came before it (and after it), Wonder Woman is the crown jewel of the DC Extended Universe, and she should feel secure in her crown, because I doubt she will be giving it up any time soon.

You can read my full review HERE.


4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi



Are you surprised this isn't number one? Yeah me too. Its not that I didn't like this divisive film - quite the contrary. I am one of its staunch defenders. It is just that the other films below are that much better when I am being unbiased. What Rian Johnson did here was quite extraordinary. He broke the cycle free. He single-handedly made it so the franchise can grow and evolve. Did he craft a perfect film? No. I had issues with it (Ackbar!) but, the commentary on failure, and what a star war should actually be fought for was powerful. He evolved the force, and allowed freedoms afforded to future filmmakers after him that he was not afforded himself.  At the time of writing this, I have still only seen it once. That is the trouble with films that come out at the end of the year: there isn't much time to digest and sit on them a bit. One thing this film did well - it has made me more excited for the future of my favorite franchise than I've ever been before.


You can read my full review HERE.


3. Mudbound 




I am still in awe of this Netflix film. I was sick when I watched it. It is one of the most powerful pieces of art you will experience. When I started the movie I was just sick. When I finished I was sick and angry. For something able to illicit such a powerful response from me when I was not at my full strength is saying something. Mudbound says a lot. It deals with race relations in World War II, and after. Social hierarchy is at the forefront. It battles race, class, war, PTSD, and explores if unity is possible in the United States. It is without a doubt one of the best films of the year, and one that could absolutely illicit necessary discussions. I can't stress enough how powerful this is. Jason Clarke and Jason Mitchell give powerful performances. Mary J. Blige and Carey Mulligan are just as good if not better. If you haven't heard of it before, I promise you that you will. It will win every award under the sun, and for once, it will be well, well deserved. Find someone with a Netflix password if you don't have one, and watch Dee Rees' best film yet. You will not be disappointed (but you will be angry if you are human at all).


2. The Big Sick



When I had my list of films I wanted to watch at the beginning of the year, The Big Sick wasn't even on it. But I saw it on a whim, the same day as War For The Planet of the Apes and it was the best decision I made that year. It is one of the best love stories I have ever seen, and it does several things very well. If it was just about a stand up comedian, it'd be great. If it was just about Pakistani assimilation in America it would be great and if it were just about two people falling in love who can't be together, it would be great. It does all of those things, and instead of getting lost, it gets even better. Plus it garners career-best performances from Ray Romano and Holly Hunter. I watched it. I watched it again, I bought it, then showed it to as many people as I could. It truly is a great film that hits all the points it is supposed to. It has a little something for everyone, and is done with the same passion and respect that it did when it actually happened. You will be the hit of your family and friends when you recommend this to them, and will be one of the best movies you ever watch.

You can read my full review HERE.  


1. Logan



Where were you in the year 2000? Was it the same house, job, status, you are now? Well whatever has changed, one thing didn't - Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine. He played the roll for nearly 18 years. He touted this movie as "one last ride" and boy did they save the best for last. I knew what they had to do, but I didn't think they had the courage to do it. I was mistaken, and delighted that I was. X-Men started the modern day superhero boom. Logan took the genre and showed what it could be. There was no portal in the sky. There was no threat against the world. Just a father who wants a better life for his daughter - an old, grizzled veteran who has to go on "one last ride". I've been invested in this character for 17 years. He's the modern day Han Solo. There is no other actor associated with a superhero that will even come close. For him to be able to go out like this is a wonderful thing. Fox did right by him. The very last scene, when a cross gets turned to look like an "X" is the most powerful moment in cinema. More than Holdo's hyperspace scene in The Last Jedi, more than the No Man's Land scene in Wonder Woman - one simple 90 degree turn had more behind it than anything else. This film debuted early in the year and nothing touched it since. It wasn't my number one at the midterm, because it hadn't sunk in yet. I was on that Wonder Woman high, and I don't regret putting it at number one, but time was the friend of Logan, which is ironic as time was not his friend in the movie. This is unequivocally the best film of the year, and if we get anything even remotely close in 2018 we will be lucky.


2017 Films I have seen:

1. The Founder
2. The Lego Batman Movie
3. Split
4. John Wick 2
5. Logan
6. Kong: Skull Island
7. Beauty and The Beast
8. Power Rangers
9. The Fate of the Furious
10. Free Fire
11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
12. Alien: Covenant
13. Baywatch
14. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
15. Wonder Woman
16. The Big Sick
17. Baby Driver
18. Spider-Man: Homecoming
19. War For The Planet of the Apes
20. Dunkirk
21. The Dark Tower
22. Logan Lucky
23. War Machine
24. Okja
25. The Incredible Jessica James
26. What Happened to Monday
27. The Boss Baby
28. First They Killed My Father
29. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
30. Blade Runner 2049
31. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
32. Thor: Ragnarok
33. Get Out
34. Justice League
35. Coco
36. Brigsby Bear
37. Collosal
38. Mudbound
39. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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