TOP 10 FILMS OF 2017
THAT YOU'VE (PROBABLY) HEARD OF
2017 was a really interesting year for movies. There were a lot of great films and a lot of horrible films. There were also a lot of films that had audiences and critics polarized. I don't recall another year where there was the potential for several films to be on one critic's best list and be on another critic's worst list. But that is what makes the art of movie making so powerful. You may love it, you may hate it, but chances are, there will be a moment in just about every film you see that will move you one way or another.
A really great film, (or a really terrible film), will move you throughout the experience. And many times it will stay with you long after you've left the theater.
As with all of my reviews, I am creating this list based upon average movie-goers. The people that go to the theater 3-5 times a year. I see about 200 movies a year, and I've seen several top 10 lists this year that included several films that I haven't even heard of, much less seen. That is a complete waste of time for everyone. And ridiculously snobby and elitist.
What good does it do anybody if a top 10 list is full of movies you'll never be able to see?
So, without further ado, I give you my top 10 films of 2017. (And a few honorable mentions).
10. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
From the first second we saw Lego Batman on the screen in THE LEGO MOVIE we all knew that we needed a Lego Batman movie in our lives. We got it, and it lived up to the expectations.
9. WONDER WOMAN
This was one of the most anticipated films of 2017. Not only because people wanted to see a powerful woman in a lead role, but also because people were desperate to make sure DC didn't mess up this franchise as well. Not only did DC not mess this one up, but they actually made an incredible film.
It takes a really special horror flick to make it anywhere near my top 10. IT is special. This goes so far beyond what we all know and think about horror flicks and turned it into a compelling movie that is worth seeing multiple times. Sure it has a lot of the typical horror tropes, but it delivers on them with intensity and depth that you rarely see in other scary movies.
What can you say about WONDER except that it is heartwarming perfection. This film will lift your spirits, make you think deeper, make you love stronger, and make you judge others less. We all need that in our lives.
6. DARKEST HOUR
A movie about a political argument during the beginning stages of World War II sounds like a complete snoozefest. And in the hands of most actors and directors it probably would be. However, Director Joe Wright and Gary Oldman (Winston Churchill) made a spectacular film that will keep you enthralled the entire time. There are a lot of awards coming for this movie.
Of all of the films on my top 10 list, this one is the hardest to watch. You'll feel claustrophobic, uncomfortable, and terrible while watching it. When it's over you'll want to wash it off of you, but you won't be able to for days. That is the hallmark of a powerful film.
4. BABY DRIVER
Most critics are probably leaving BABY DRIVER off of their top 10 lists because of the Kevin Spacey issue. I struggled with that thought as well, but the reality is that this is a great movie. It came out long before any of us knew about the assaults and at that point everyone loved the movie. Just because the artist failed doesn't mean the art doesn't hold up. It may not be as good when watching it with today's knowledge, but that doesn't change the fact that this is an incredible film and the best use of music in a movie in a long time.
3. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
I'm sure there are several critics that will have Episode 8 on their worst 10 list this year. So be it. Art is subjective. I loved almost every second of this movie. I haven't sat down and really tried to rank the STAR WARS films, but this one would most certainly be in my top 2 or 3. It is a masterclass in how to build a story using secondary characters and how to strip the hero(s) down to their core without losing that last little bit of hope to turn things around in the third part of the trilogy.
2. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
This film has some of the best story-telling and character arcs you will see in any movie this year. It is powerful, heart-breaking, and beautiful all at the same time. I saw this movie several weeks ago and it still sticks with me. I expect THREE BILLBOARDS to do quite well during awards season.
DUNKIRK is a masterpiece. It is a case study in editing and story-telling. It is only 90 minutes long yet it is one of the most powerful films you will ever see. If this film can be made in 90 minutes ANY movie can be cut down to that length. It is also a masterclass in music and sound as well as cinematography. DUNKIRK is easily my best film of 2017.
(AKA: Films that would have made my top 10, but you haven't hear of them)
THE FLORIDA PROJECT
If I were making a top 10 list of just my favorite films of 2017, THE FLORIDA PROJECT would have been #3 on my list. But it's a movie that you probably have never heard of. If you can find a digital copy of this movie get it and watch it immediately. The acting is out of this world and you'll almost certainly see Willem Dafoe winning for his role. It is an incredible and moving film about innocence surrounded by depravity.
THE DISASTER ARTIST
A movie about the making of one of the all-time worst movies ever made is quite a challenge, but it is one that James Franco pulled off without a hitch. This film is hysterical and impressive. The cameos are so much fun and the acting is spot on.
A lot of critics have been losing their minds over the impressive acting by Sally Hawkins in THE SHAPE OF WATER. I agree. She is incredible in that film. She is even better in MAUDIE. This is a phenomenal film from beginning to end. Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins give exceptional performances in this film that will move you.
I was really hoping this film would get some attention from the big awards shows. It is an odd but powerfully moving story of healing told in a unique and funny way. It's not a movie for everyone, but if you like quirky films you should give this one a shot.
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
I was never a big fan of Winnie The Pooh. I always found it to be rather boring and slow. That said, the story of the creation of Winnie The Pooh is fascinating. This is a film full of emotion, beautiful imagery, and wonderful acting. (Whoever thought that it would be possible to hate Margot Robbie?)
If you like well-acted, historical films, MARSHALL is a must see. It is a wonderful biopic on the life of Thurgood Marshall. Boseman and Gad give award-worthy performances and the story is powerful. This is easily one of the best films of 2017.