Well, here it is. The biggest and best list of them all. I saw more movies this year than I have in any other year. Some were bad, some good, some great, but we are here now to talk about the best. Without further ado, here are my favorite movies from 2017.
“Alien: Covenant” – I feel like I liked this movie more than most, but I was enthralled the entire time. I also loved the ending, and I am excited to see what the “Alien” franchise has to offer in the future.
“It Comes At Night” – This was maybe the most polarizing film of the year. I could totally understand if you loved this movie, and I totally could understand if you hated it. Some were upset about the ambiguity of this movie, and wanted more answers, and to be honest, I was in this camp right after leaving the theater. But the more I thought about it, and after seeing it a second time, it grew on me, and I do not think it was lazy or careless. This is a great, intense film about paranoia.
“A Ghost Story” – I mostly love the uniqueness of this movie. The way it was shot, the fact that it has very little dialogue or sound, everything. You very rarely see a film like this.
“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” – I loved Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster” of last year, and Lanthimos kills it again, no pun intended. Lanthimos has such a unique style of storytelling and one that may be off-putting to some, but I enjoy every second of it.
“Coco” – Hands down, “Coco” is the best animated film of the year.
“Good Time” – This is yet another pleasant surprise for me. The Safdie brothers hit on every note.
10.) “I, Tonya”
I saw this movie the night before I made this list, and I am glad I did, because it was great enough to slip in at the No. 10 spot. Margot Robbie kills it in her lead role playing Tonya Harding. I love the way this story, which is largely unknown and unascertained, is told by telling the contradicting testimonials of two different people. Craig Gillespie does a great job of interweaving these two stories and including many unorthodox stylistic choices like fourth-wall breaks that help the audience feel a part of this story, and help to make their own assumptions on what really happened. I love how true this movie stays.
9.) “Baby Driver”
“Baby Driver” is everything I want an action film to be. Thank you, Edgar Wright, for showing that a movie can be as fun and entertaining, while also not sacrificing anything in its pursuit of that. “Baby Driver” includes so many small details that make this movie great, like song choices that match what is happening in the scenes. The action sequences are shot incredibly well, and I love how the music is often synced to the sound of gunfire or whatever is happening. This movie is just so FUN, there isn’t much more to it than that. It isn’t a perfect movie, but I saw this movie twice in theaters for a reason, and that is because you will have a hard time finding a more entertaining film to watch in theaters.
8.) “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
I am so happy I can confidently include this on my list. I want to make it clear that while I do love the Star Wars franchise, I am certainly no life-long Star Wars fan who romanticizes these films and whose nostalgia will force them to love everything about each Star Wars movie. In fact, I first watched the Star Wars series just a few years ago. That being said, “The Last Jedi” is an incredible movie. I am a big fan of the way Rian Johnson directed this film, and how unafraid he was. It really upsets me that he is seeing some backlash for some of his choices, but I love that he wasn’t afraid to establish some of his own rules and make things the way he thought they should be, while still sticking to the main principles of Star Wars. One of the things I love most about this new Star Wars trilogy, and especially about “The Last Jedi” is how we have an imperfect villain. So often, when we see the hero vs. villain dynamic in a movie, the villain is this all-encompassing figure that has no flaws and seems immortal, while the hero must undergo some arc throughout the film. Here, we have Kylo Ren that has his own problems, and he is not perfect, but he is still powerful and intimidating at the same time. This internal battle that Kylo Ren has makes him such a great villain, and makes the dynamic between him and Rey so much more interesting.
7.) “Get Out”
As more proof of a hot start to the year, “Get Out” was the fifth film I saw this year, and after all this time, its impression has lasted. Jordan Peele is so impressive in his directorial debut, that he makes it look like he has been doing it for 30 years. There are so many layers to this movie, and Peele perfectly nails every detail in this movie, even to the point where I believe there are easter eggs we still haven’t found. Daniel Kaluuya was on my Top Performances of 2017 list, and every other performance in this movie is spot on. “Get Out” takes so many twists and turns and was so fun to watch play out, and was funny in the process. Well done, Jordan Peele.
6.) “Blade Runner 2049”
I have never seen the original “Blade Runner” movie, and although it may have helped a little bit, “Blade Runner 2049” is incredible. Roger Deakins yet again proves he may be the best cinematographer working today (challenge sent, Emmanuel Lubezki), and Hans Zimmer’s score is perfect for this film. This movie is transcendent on so many levels. I have been a huge fan of Denis Villeneuve’s work for a long time, because of his movies “Prisoners,” “Enemy,” “Sicario,” and “Arrival,” to name a few, all of which were phenomenal. Villeneuve can add another gem to his career, because making a 2 hour and 44-minute movie feel like an hour and a half is a grand achievement.
5.) “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Like “Baby Driver,” this is a film that never skips a beat, and is never dull for a moment. “Three Billboards” is a very unpredictable film, which is one of the things that makes it so good. I genuinely never really knew where it was going to go, and how things were going to play out, because it is a pretty interesting premise. There are so many great performances in this movie, led by the great Frances McDormand, who was my favorite performance of 2017, but not far behind was Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell who were fantastic as well. Even Lucas Hedges in his limited role was great. “Three Billboards” is one of those great movies that makes you feel just about every emotion on the spectrum. It will make you laugh, it may make you cry, but it will definitely make you feel a little bit of everything throughout.
4.) “Wind River”
“Wind River” is by far the most underrated movie of the year. This is a movie that got zero buzz when it came out August, but seriously should be seen by everyone. This is a movie that doesn’t get caught up in being artsy and is a very grounded, serious film about a very tragic event in a forgotten place. This movie certainly has a message to send, but I love the subtlety that it sent it with. It doesn’t get lost in trying to make a social commentary, but instead goes about its story like it would normally, and including elements that help you to realize the struggles of this group of people. “Wind River” is brutal at times, certainly sad in others, and is a classic crime mystery movie that I think everyone can enjoy.
3.) “Call Me by Your Name”
When I first saw “Call Me by Your Name,” I loved it. But I didn’t love it as much as I do now. This film is masterfully directed by Luca Guadagnino and involves Elio and Oliver, played by Timotheé Chalamet and Armie Hammer respectively, both of whom were on my Top Performances list, and their lone summer together and the things they discover about themselves. This is not a movie with all that much conflict, and that might anger some, but the lack of stakes and risk for these two is refreshing, in my opinion. It allows them to embark on this journey together without any resistance or censorship. Not to mention, it will still find ways to break your heart. I love everything about this movie, and it is a testament to the greatness of these next two films that “Call Me by Your Name” is only No. 3.
This was so incredibly tough for me. “Dunkirk” and my No. 1 movie went back and forth for me all year on which I liked better. So slating “Dunkirk” at No. 2 hurts a little bit, but I think I am comfortable with my decision at this point. “Dunkirk” is a Christopher Nolan directed film that portrays the forgotten battle of Dunkirk during World War II, which was actually an extremely vital battle in the war. Nolan may be my favorite director of all-time at this point, as every movie he makes is marvelous. But I can’t lie, I was a tad worried for him in this one. Nolan has never made a war movie, but he absolutely nailed it. It is clear that this was a bit of a passion piece for him – he has been wanting to make this movie for almost 20 years. Nolan’s practicality is part of what made this movie so good. He brought cameras up into real fighter jets and shot the aerial scenes. He actually blew up ship props, as opposed to using CGI. He placed cameramen in the freezing water to obtain incredible shots. Nolan is a perfectionist, and if anyone else had done this movie, I am convinced it wouldn’t be nearly as good. What I loved most about “Dunkirk” is its lack of focus on a single character or couple of characters. This isn’t a war film where we watch a character’s experience and we constantly get flashbacks of his home life or anything like that. We do follow a group of soldiers, but it feels like you are on the ground with them. The focus of this movie is not to immortalize anyone, or focus on a heroic act. The purpose of this movie was to show what happened in this extremely important battle, and what life would have been like being a soldier at this time, and that is the beauty of it. I loved every second of this movie, and I could watch it every day if I had to.
1.) “The Big Sick”
Like I said, “Dunkirk” and “The Big Sick” were seriously 1a and 1b for me, but because I had to give one an edge, I chose “The Big Sick.” I adore this movie. “The Big Sick” is a true story about Kumail Nanjiani, who plays himself in this movie, and Emily Gordon, and their experience together and how they met, their struggles, and if they ultimately ended up together. This is definitely a smaller movie I think everyone should see. I can say with 100 percent confidence that this is the best romantic comedy I have ever seen. I would say romantic comedy is one of the genres that is hard to have hope for, but this reassured any doubt about the possibility of romantic comedies actually being good. This movie is phenomenal and flawless. There are so many scenes that are funny, powerful, and emotional. This whole movie feels so incredibly real, from the dialogue to the choices that the characters make. I do not think The Big Sick will get recognized much, if at all, at the Oscars, and that definitely disappoints me, but I stand firm in my decision that “The Big Sick” is the best movie of 2017.
What was your favorite movie in 2017? Comment below with your thoughts.