Last year was garbage, some positive nonsense about things getting better; here are some good movies that slipped through the sewage of 2017’s film industry.
Rules: This list contains movies from 2017 that I have watched in their entirety. Whether I reviewed them or not doesn’t matter (I’ve linked the original reviews to each movie on the list however). The grades I gave them in their reviews are irrelevant; it is a comparison of the best movies I saw. Only theatrical releases, with the exception of Netflix originals, are permitted. In the event that you find yourself disagreeing with any of my choices, please see yourself to the comment section and let me know what your favorites are (believe it or not, I like when people respond to my content).
#10 – Coco
A great step forward in mainstream animation, Coco may be built on a cliché, but the overall story, characters, themes, and music were anything but. Quite honestly, this movie is better than Zootopia because it took more risks. They may have been very safe risks, but I appreciate any 3D animated film that tries anything different nowadays.
#9 – It
We begin with the best horror movie of 2017, this well-produced film interpretation of Stephen King’s famous novel. From the actors, to the set pieces, to the terror, effort was put into every aspect of this flick. I was legitimately creeped out in many scenes, and Bill Skarsgård truly rocked as Pennywise. I greatly look forward to what comes next. Thank God this film came out not too soon after The Dark Tower.
#8 – John Wick: Chapter 2
Remember this brutally action-packed thrill ride? Watching the fight choreography in a John Wick movie is like… I don’t know, something awesome! Just thinking about Wick taking down multiple assassins in the span of five minutes makes me watch to rewatch it. Few modern action movies have the right amount of intelligence and 80s coolness, but John Wick: Chapter 2 managed to one-up its predecessor in every regard and the audience was greatly rewarded because of that.
#7 – Get Out
As glad as I am that the Academy recognized this film, all it truly deserves is Best Original Screenplay. Ever since 2016’s racism fiasco, we’ll have to deal with the Academy’s trying to cover-up with excess nominations towards minorities. That said, Get Out is still a creative mystery with an avalanche of memorable performances. It’s definitely one of the more entertaining movies centered around racism, albeit very elaborate racism. Honestly, that’s why it made the list, watching this movie is an unforgettable experience. The wacky tone and even more wacky acting kept things interesting even during the slow parts.
#6 – Wind River
The award snubbing of this powerhouse of human drama and chilling thrills is straight up sinful. Taylor Sheridan’s directorial debut is just as nuanced as his writing style. Every conversation in this movie felt so natural. Add a backdrop that is rarely scene on the big screen and one satisfying climax, then you have an A movie. If Dances with Wolves was about Native Americans pre-colonization, then Wind River is about Native Americans post-colonization. Honestly, it’s a shame that our treatment of the indigenous people really hasn’t changed in over 1,000 years. Makes you think doesn’t it?
#5 – Split
Now we’re getting into my favorites, the absolute best of 2017. Leave it to M. Night Shyamalan, one of pop culture’s most abused walking punchlines, to strike back with a crowd-pleasing thriller… with a twist! Sure, the whole child-molestation thing was a bit awkward to watch in a movie about James McAvoy hamming it up, but the film remains entertaining and original (like any great Shyamalan flick). On the subject of Mr. McAvoy, he deserved that nomination over Daniel Day-Lewis. I said it, and I meant it. Phantom Thread was passable, but extremely boring and the ending was really unsatisfying. That film’s biggest fault was not giving Day-Lewis a role that only he could pull off. He’s known for his character acting right? It’s what won him three Oscars, but Phantom Thread is one of Paul Thomas Anderson’s less artsy works, and there is little for the cast to work with. Needless tangents aside, I might actually ascend to Heaven when Glass is released.
#4 – Dunkirk
Of course the Nolan film made it into the top five. What else did you expect? Seriously though, Dunkirk has very few flaws. I can look past the “weak” story since the film was more of an experience of the senses rather than the mind. The production was flawless. The one thing that still irks me was the decision not to directly address the Nazis as Nazis. Whatever the reason, it’s still wrong. If there is one thing that history needs it is clarity and context. This is what kept it from being higher on the list. Even so, the direction is what makes this film great. With the exception of Inception, Dunkirk showcases Nolan at his best as a director. I could praise the heck out of it for hours, but the real argument is the film itself. Seriously people, if he doesn’t win Best Director over Guillermo del Toro, because we know he’s the main competitor, I WILL FLIP MY LID! So yeah, it’s a good movie.
#3 – Logan
The first comic book movie to be nominated for Best Writing: incredible. It’s hard to explain how intense this movie is. Logan makes Deadpool’s use of the R rating look like an immature student film. The action sequences were violent and tough, the actors were giving their all, and the movie took risks. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok were both funny and exciting, but they both followed many modern Marvel movie clichés. I’ve made it clear that comic book movies are growing very stale for me (Spiderman: Homecoming left so little of an impact that I forgot I even watched it), they needed to start killing off characters to recapture my interest. What do you know, James Mangold read my mind, as he thought up a fitting ending for Wolverine, presented it to Marvel, and they let him run with it. Logan felt like a story that had a clear start and end. Obviously there was a backstory and possibly a future for some characters, but the opening and ending shots made it clear that this story would be its own. Logan is awesome and the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight.
#2 – Call Me by Your Name
I didn’t even know this movie existed until the Golden Globe nominations were announced (one of the reasons why awards are important). Of course, once I read up about overwhelmingly positive audience reactions, I had to see it myself. Wow. Everything about this movie is beautiful: the chemistry, the actors, the Italian setting, the actors, the music, the actors, the natural relationship dynamics, the actors, you get the point. Since I’m going to give this masterpiece a formal review, I’ll leave you with my absolute recommendation that you should see this movie as soon as possible. Call Me by Your Name is one emotional roller coaster that stays with you long after watching it.
- The Post
The movie is really slow for the first two thirds, but the second that third act shows up, the greatness is realized in powerful acting, smart dialogue, and tense decision-making.
It’s pretty, emotional, and weird, but the acting is what really sells it. Take that away and you’re left with a gender-bent version of Splash.
This one was just really entertaining.
Sam Elliot’s powerhouse performance carries this movie, not to say it doesn’t have any depth or humanity without him.
I wasn’t kidding. If the torture-porn doesn’t scare you away, you’ll find a beautifully-shot mystery with enough interesting ideas to keep your attention.
Wholly original and from the point-of-view from one of America’s many cultural minorities. It’s funny, heartfelt, and memorable.
Exciting, well-acted, and interesting.
- I, Tonya
The acting is fantastic, the dark humor works, and I really can’t stand this movie. Hear me out, I, Tonya is a good movie, but it is extremely depressing. To quote a friend of mine, “Why would I watch movies that depress me when life is depressing enough?” Simply put, it’s not for me.
- Lady Bird
A strong script combined with a mostly-young cast make this coming-of-age story an interesting look at life.
Both The Boss Baby and Ferdinand were nominated over this exciting adventure flick. You know what, I’m just going to let this one go. The Academy has made worse mistakes. Still, the animation was great, the voice actors were having a blast, and the humor was (mostly) on-point.
- Darkest Hour
Gary Oldman is magnificent! The production (makeup, music, sets, camerawork, etc.) is near-perfect, but the story lacks a consistent tone. The Tube scene in particular was a good idea, but it came off as really cheesy.
This movie is such a powerhouse of filmmaking. It is the very reason why I love the art of cinema. Martin McDonough handles so many complex themes, it’s kinda ridiculous. There really is nothing to hate about Three Billboards because everything about the production is so strong. I wish I could give more praise to this film, but all I can do is say there is no flaw I could find. I may like Call Me by Your Name more, subsequently I could talk about it for a longer amount of time, but Three Billboards is simply the best picture of the year. I watched every single nominee, there is no argument.
I don’t have anything more to add. As I finish writing this, it’s past my bedtime so I’m going to sleep. Stay positive!