Movies

Best Movies of 2017

It’s that time of the year again. 2017 is coming to an end for a lot of us and everybody else has posted their lists of the best and worst movies of 2017 already so it’s about time that I join in and shared mine. Out of all the movies I’ve seen this year, some were good and some, not so much. Below are the top 20 best movies of 2017:

*click the posters for links to reviews*

20. The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Movie is one of my all time favorite movies and while this one was not on that level, it came pretty close. Lego Batman was one of the most memorable characters from The Lego Movie because of Will Arnett. This movie was more of the same with excellent animation but more importantly, it did not take itself seriously with an entertaining story full of references and a lot of great humor.

19. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Netflix has been hitting it out of the park this year with such movies as Mudbound, Okja, and The Meyerowitz Stories. We don’t often get a cast like this, let alone on a streaming service, featuring the likes of Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Dustin Hoffman. This was a smartly written family dramedy full of relatable and flawed three-dimensional characters with career performances from Sandler and Stiller.

18. Wind River

If you can describe the movie in one word, it would be intense. The great performances from Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen along with their preexisting chemistry made their characters’ investigation compelling to watch. It also did a great job at utilizing its setting, featuring plenty of beautiful shots of the Wyoming (Utah) countryside. Definitely a great directorial debut for writer Taylor Sheridan.

17. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos movies have been weird for the most part. I wasn’t as big of a fan of The Lobster because it felt gratuitously weird and this one is also very weird but there was more of a purpose to it here. The movie wanted to make viewers feel uncomfortable and it definitely succeeded and added an interesting dynamic to the story. It’d be difficult to explain, however, it ultimately would not have worked if not for the performances of Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and a breakout performance from Barry Keoghan.

16. My Friend Dahmer

Who would have thought that a coming of age movie about a famed serial killer would be on here? While he didn’t quite end that way here, it was still a compelling to watch, all because of Ross Lynch’s deeply nuanced performance as Jeffrey Dahmer. Despite knowing what he would eventually become, it was easy to root for him in a weird way as we watched him go through his high school years.

15. Baby Driver

This was probably the coolest movie of the year, syncing a great soundtrack with some exciting and well-shot vehicular action. This was very unique for an action movie and made it much more engaging to watch. It was led by the compelling performance of Ansel Elgort as a talented and unique getaway driver named Baby who was always listening to music.

14. Good Time

Former Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have had a great year with Stewart in Personal Shopper and Pattinson in The Lost City of Z and Good Time. This was a much different role for Pattinson, having to navigate through the dark underbelly of New York in order to save his brother. Although the film’s style may not be for everyone, it was both thrilling and emotional to watch, especially for Pattinson’s performance.

13. Lady Bird

Some have this much higher on their lists which is understandable but I wasn’t quite as blown away by it than others. It played out like a standard fare coming of age story, focusing on the relationship between Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) and her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf), but was elevated by the smart writing and directing by Greta Gerwig and the excellent performances from Ronan and Metcalf.

12. Ingrid Goes West

This was a pleasant surprise. It could not have come at a better time as we live in an age where society is obsessed with social media and letting it dictate their own lives. What this movie did a great job at was that it satirized the social media age in an appropriate, over the top fashion that will force viewers to take a deep look at themselves while also featuring a career performance from Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid, a mentally-unstable woman obsessed with being popular.

11. The Big Sick

This one is probably higher on a lot of people lists as well but that is more a testament to the quality of movies this year. For those who don’t know, this was a romantic comedy based on the story of how comedian Kumail Nanjiani met his wife but it didn’t play out like traditional romantic comedies with a heightened sense of realism, featuring realistic characters and smart writing by Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon, finding humor in everyday situations.

10. The Disaster Artist

Most people have heard about The Room, a movie widely regarded as the worst movie ever made, but how did it come to be? While the film is a comedy, it never becomes a parody because it doesn’t have to be as the story and characters are silly enough. Instead, it’s a story of a pair of underdogs trying to chase their dreams, one of them was Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). It was still a hilarious movie with plenty of heart, led by James Franco’s best performance as Wiseau.

9. I, Tonya

This was a surprise as well. Sports biopics can often be stale so this biopic of the controversial figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) was made into a mockumentary masquerading as a dark comedy which probably the only way to tell her story the right way. This was a hilarious movie with plenty of heartfelt moments as well. Robbie was excellent as Harding but Allison Janney as Harding’s mother LaVona definitely stole the show.

8. The Shape of Water

A love story involving two monsters, a mysterious swamp creature, and a lonely mute woman, is something that only come from the mind of Guillermo del Toro. The story played with many tropes, the film was beautiful to look at, and the score was excellent but at its core was this love story. However, none of it would have worked as well as it did if not for the amazing performance from Sally Hawkins as Eliza, the mute woman. Richard Jenkins as Eliza’s neighbor Giles stole many scenes as well.

7. It Comes at Night

Sometimes humans can be just as scary as any monster. Focusing on a family living in a forest instead of the crisis that forced them there, this allowed for some tense, character drama with a excellent sense of dread throughout thanks to the eerie cinematography and score. It may not have provided that many answers but that just added to the dread, leaving motivations up to interpretation.

6. Blade Runner 2049

The original Blade Runner is widely considered a Sci-Fi classic so this sequel had a lot to live up to but it definitely met all the expectations if not exceeded them. With today’s advances in technology, this film took the ambitious world and builded on it, featuring some of the best visuals I have ever seen. Though compelling, the story moved a little too slow which, along with the nearly 3 hour running time, didn’t quite help, however, the emotional payoff was more than worth it.

5. Call Me By Your Name

This movie has had plenty of hype around it all year it seems like but it definitely lived up to the hype which is why it is where it is on my list. Everything about this movie was beautiful from the subtle love story, the cinematography, the score, and especially the performances including Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, and an award-worthy breakout performance from Timothée Chalamet as a young man learning about life and love.

4. Get Out

This should not come as much of a surprise since it’s been on or near the top of most best of 2017 lists, rightfully so. It was a surprisingly topical movie, dealing with race but it did so in an inventive way with horror and comedy. It did take awhile to get going but there was still a great sense of tension throughout sold by Daniel Kaluuya’s performance. Once things got going, the tension and intensity ratcheted up leading to a satisfying conclusion.

3. Coco

There’s something about Disney/Pixar movies that just get you in the feels and this movie was no different. This film couldn’t come at a better time, placing the Mexican people and Mexican culture at the forefront while depicting it in a very respectful way with a message about family and being true to one’s self and seizing your dreams that transcends all cultures. In terms of animation, this was an extremely beautiful film world with very detailed characters and environments.

2. Dunkirk

This wasn’t really a movie as much as it was an experience. It was a spectacle for the senses as the movie places you in the middle of a war zone from multiple perspectives including from the air, the sea, and land during the rescue mission at Dunkirk during WWII. The movie excels on a technical level with the cinematography, score, sound editing and mixing working together to create an immersive experience like no other. Sure there isn’t much of a story but it was never about that, it’s easier to see ourselves in the characters if they are relative blank slates.

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This was my most anticipated movie of 2017 so I was glad when I got to see it at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. It absolutely delivered with an emotionally gripping story, balancing between strong drama and dark comedy with ease and keeping me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The film also boasts an impressive cast with Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell providing exceptional performances respectively. I can’t wait to see it again.

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