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11 Films to Watch Before You Put Together Your 2017 “Best of” List

November 30, 2017

The end of 2017 is nigh and you are probably spending all your waking hours thinking of a top 10 list to show the world. In an effort to assist you with your list, I’ve compiled another list that is loaded with some pretty great films. I’ve left out the big hitters (Wonder Woman, Logan, Get Out, Dunkirk, Lady Bird, Blade Runner 2049, Baby Driver, It, The Big Sick) because you’ve probably watched them. The following films might’ve slipped under your radar and I think they are all worthy of end of year inclusion. Some are pretentious and others are insane but they all offer something unique and cool to the world.

Free Fire is a must watch for people who love movies about people shooting at each other in a warehouse.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Whoa. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is absolutely insane and I loved every second of it. Director/writer S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk) has found a way of making violence feel nasty, brutal and real. You will flinch, cover your eyes and be shocked at the things that Vince Vaughn does to people in this film. If you are in the mood for some old school violence and creative writing you will love Brawl in Cell Block 99.

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Good Time 

Robert Pattinson owns every seconds of this grimy crime thriller and I could see him getting an Academy Award nomination for his all-in performance. Good Time might be the most unpredictable film of 2017 and that is why I loved it (and others will dislike it). I had no clue where it was going or where it would end up. If you are looking for a fantastically bleak ride watch Good Time.

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Okja

If you are into insane rides that feature super pigs, Tilda Swinton and an over-the- top Jake Gyllenhaal performance you will love Okja. If I tried to explain this film to you I wouldn’t come close to doing it justice. Just know that it isn’t subtle and shifts tones so suddenly you will lose all track of genre.

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A Ghost Story

What I love about this film is how it ditches convention and embraces the weird. It could be described as the “Casey Affleck wears a bedsheet” movie but there are so many layers to it. It draws you in and leaves you feeling really emotional and almost missing the bed sheet. It is a very simple film that must’ve been difficult to make due to the random subject matter.

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Wind River

Director/writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) has done it again. Wind River is a neat character driven mystery that builds to something great. You can tell that Jeremy Renner loves not being in a Marvel film and his performance is one of 2017’s best. Wind River is bleaker than bleak but it tells a story worth telling and you should check it out.

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I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Director/writer/actor Macon Blair (Blue Ruin. Green Room) has created a very weird movie that I love. The cinematic world he has created is cynically hilarious and the people who inhabit it are capable of some crazy things. If you are looking for a movie that features ninja stars, death, robbery and more death you will enjoy this film.

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Personal Shopper

Personal Shopper is a neat little thriller that plays like a ghost story inside an arthouse film surrounded by mystery. I appreciated how director Olivier Assayas imbues the film with a relaxed tone that builds suspense while taking its time. Much like recent “horror” films like Spring, The Witch, It Comes at Night, The Invitation and The Gift it plays with mystery/horror tropes and combines them with sensitive themes of loss. Personal Shopper will alienate many but I loved its tone and patience.

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The Lost City of Z

Aside from Baby Driver, The Lost City of Z is my favorite film of 2017. Director James Gray has created a beautiful movie that is reflective, patient and ambitious. If you are looking for sweeping vistas, great performances and unchecked ambition you will really enjoy this film.

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Free Fire

Free Fire is a blast of old school mayhem that features lot of gore, death and profanity. Director Ben Wheatley (Sightseers, Kill List, A Field in England, High-Rise) is one of my favorite directors and I love how all of his films have been insanely different. The guy keeps expanding his filmography and you never know where his films will go. The dude has guts and has proven he can balance cults, violent travelers, tall mayhem and people yelling at each other in fields.  If you are into genre film making that doesn’t pull punches you should check out Wheatley’s films.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is an absolute passion project that cost $225 million and probably should have been reigned in a bit. They say you should never go grocery shopping when you are hungry because you will end up buying a lot more than you need. Think of this movie as a very hungry director being given lots of money and allowed to use every cinematic trick he wants. Luc Besson was allowed to run wild and because of that, we get inter-dimensional gun battles, loads of CGI and Cara Delevingne sticking her head into a jellyfish’s butt so she can track her partner’s whereabouts.

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War on Everyone

War on Everyone is a mean little thing that creates a world full of terrible people, horrible deaths and vulgar dialogue. Initially, it keeps you at a distance with its adherence to profanity but as it moves along you begin to the sync with the nastiness and it becomes a lot of fun. Director/writer John Michael McDonagh (The Guard, Calvary) is one of my favorite directors I love how his comedies are pitch black but feature heart amidst the nihilism. The Guard, Calvary and War on Everyone are 100% unsafe and McDonagh has proven himself to be a writer who hunts out controversy and makes it palatable.

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