I know what you’re thinking off the get-go…
“Umm you’re a little late aren’t you? 2017 was SO last year!”
And while you’re technically correct *confetti* there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of a stroll down memory lane–plus I like to do these closer to the Academy Award Ceremony (of which I will be predicting all the nominees and winners in a separate article)
This year for film was not a bad one per se. It wasn’t as good of a year as 2016–to be honest it was kind of a mixed bag. We saw the horror-comedy genre rear it’s head this year to much success and the presence of the various superhero films that made their way to the big screen continued to herald the fact that like it or not these films are here to stay. We also a had a decent year for dramas–not as memorable as last year but still some ones that stand tall.
While I personally saw 33 movies in theaters this year, only a few really stood out to me as stellar and those films are included in this list. Granted there are quite a few popular films that I missed out on this year so if there’s one I didn’t list that you feel is deserving be sure to let me know! In contrast some of these films you may never have heard of or saw and so it is my hope that you check out these films and decide for yourself just how accurate my evaluations are….which of course if you read my reviews you should have a pretty good idea of whether you tend to agree with me or not.
Okay I’m rambling so without further ado here are my top ten films of 2017…
Although Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk a different type of movie for sure, given its lack of conventional cinematic plot and character structure but it’s historical accuracy, immersive score/sound effects, and intense realism grabs this 10th slot in the top ten list and refuses to let go. Dunkirk is such an engaging and poignant portrayal of history that you’ll walk out of the theater with an incredible understanding that the virtues of courage and patriotism are so powerful in and of themselves that the simple presentation of these of these qualities is where true movie magic lies.
9. Darkest Hour
This biopic based off of the life of Winston Churchill is a stellar representation of the virtues of courage, perseverance, and tenacity in the face of peer pressure. The historical accuracy and attention to detail is what makes this film truly special–you really feel like you’re back in time meeting all the people that you read about in the history books, taking part in the tough decisions that define greatness. With a rousing and thoroughly convincing performance by Gary Oldman who I firmly believe will win best actor this year (spoiler alert), Darkest Hour is a film for the books–especially for lovers of history, drama, and film biographies.
I never thought a horror film would make any one of my top ten movie lists but considering it’s a Stephen King film I have no issue making an exception. As heartwarming as it is horrific, It manages to blend a coming of age tale with a narrative that will send shivers up your spine as well as thought provoking story arcs dealing with some tough yet needed topics of discussion. This feat alone makes it worthy of a top ten list–not to mention the excellent performances by a primarily younger cast.
7. Lady Bird
I never got around to doing a full review on this one–but Lady Bird is a coming of age tale of a teenage girl’s transition into adulthood as she hurdles all the challenges that come with young adulthood such as boys, family tension, self-image, and her Catholic girls school. While this sounds like another chick-flick B-movie, Lady Bird lends itself to some highly authentic experiences that the audience can partake in with a great deal of reflection and understanding. Lady Bird just might take you back to when you were young…and if you’re young now you’ll certainly relate to the film’s heartfelt sentimentality.
It may have been a liberal hit piece that used a shameful event to emphasize parallels to the present, but Detroit was a heart pounding, tense, and well-executed drama that was gripping as it was shocking. With sure pacing, strong acting, and dialogue and sequences that do their job of angering and flabbergasting the viewer, Detroit masters the art of sensationalism and one can’t help but be impressed.
5. Logan Lucky
Quite possibly the most underrated film of the year, Logan Lucky is a hilarious comedy starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig about two brothers who attempt to pull off a heist during one of the country’s most legendary race-car events, the Coca-Cola 600 race in Charlotte. This film boasts an excellently cast, knee-slapping plethora of comedic moments that interweave some tender sensitivity in between the dry southern humor. The film features some brilliant performances, particularly from Daniel Craig who plays a character that’s just as “non-Bond” as you can possibly imagine.
What are the odds of two back to back movies in a top ten list both containing the name Logan? Miracles happen, folks! I gushed over this film back in March and the truth remains that Logan’s greatest triumph lies in its ability to break through the barriers of conventional super-hero movie expectations and deliver a gritty and gripping masterpiece that is defined by strong performances and the humanity needed that’s needed to find the human in superhuman.
3. Get Out
A horror-comedy (yeah who knew THAT genre existed) that works excellently as a social satire using relateable common day stereotypes, Get Out is an abundantly clever film that delivers a knockout blow of intensity, hilarity, and a bit of melodrama that soars above conventional expectations and catapults director Jordan Peele into the realm of highly successful visionary directors. While Detroit was a film that attempted to shock audiences into accepting the parallels found in today’s society, Get Out does so in a way that not only entertains but also compels its viewers to shrug, chuckle, and say, “Ok, yeah.”
2. The Disaster Artist
Considering this is a movie about the worst movie ever made, The Disaster Artist wins the second place spot if for no other reason than to admire the sheer genius it took to recreate this spectacle and put it in a positive light. The Disaster Artist not only provides side splitting situational comedy but also an intrinsic level of depth unachieved by most films of its nature. James Franco knocks it out of the park with his impersonation of Tommy Wiseau and his little brother Dave shows off his acting chops as Tommy’s newfound friend Greg. Dealing with the virtues of confidence, perseverance, and resilience as well as overcoming the naysayers and the mockers in this world, The Disaster Artist is a biopic that speaks volumes about what it means to try.
1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This movie most likely slipped off of everyone’s radar–admittedly it even slipped off mine until last week. But wow, what a film! From the director of In Bruges comes a heart-wrenching story of a mother seeking justice for her daughter who was brutally raped and murdered. Mildred Hayes, a cashier at a knick-knack shop experiences the worst loss a mother can endure–the senseless death of her child. When the police drop the case for lack of incriminating evidence, Mildred rents out three billboards on a backroad outside the sleepy town of Ebbing Missouri on which she demands answers from the officers on the case–specifically from Chief Willoughby played by Woody Harrelson. With the contrasting themes of love, hate, justice, mercy, anger and forgiveness so masterfully played out, Three Billboards demolishes the competition with its assured pacing, strong performances, twists and turns, and heartbreaking realities. Rarely have I seen a film so true to the human experience, so full of the character building emotional intricacies that drive us to keep on going each and every day–even in the face of devastating loss. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri is a triumph and is more than deserving of the number one spot on this list.
(Honorable Mention) The Greatest Showman
I know, I know, you all wanted this film to make the top ten and you’re infuriated that it didn’t. And yes, I get it. You have every reason to be upset because let’s face it, The Greatest Showman was a hit. It had stellar unforgettable music, rousing dance numbers, and a whimsical “poptomistic” storyline. Unfortunately the plot just wasn’t as gripping as it could have been and the fantastical nature of it drowned out all the needed conviction to make it soar into the meaningful musical drama genre. Don’t misunderstand me! I really enjoyed the film and listened to the soundtrack several times in the days following– but to be honest if you take away the music it’s a pretty average movie and there’s just not enough slots in a top ten list to justify slapping it on there to appease everyone. Was it good? Yes, very! Was it great? Many will say it is. The music certainly was…but this is the top ten movies of 2017 and great soundtracks don’t make the cut.
Thinking of a movie that wasn’t on this list? Let me know in the comments! Maybe I haven’t seen it or maybe I’m just dead wrong! I’d love to hear your thoughts!