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The 10 Best Films of 2017

December 29, 2017

2017 is almost in the books and it will leave behind a lot of fantastic cinema. Whether they be beautifully vexing (A Ghost Story, Personal Shopper), super bloody (Raw, The Blackcoat’s Daughter) or massive in scale (Wonder Woman, Dunkirk) the films of 2017 have provided something for everyone. I’ve already covered the random moments and best horror (podcast here), so I wanted to end 2017 with my favorite movies. I had an easy time compiling the top five, but when I expanded the list to 10 it proved to be difficult because there are so many movies worthy of inclusion. I had a hard time leaving out certain films, but I couldn’t fit them in my super exclusive and very important top 10. Here are the films that didn’t make the top 10. They aren’t in any order and I guarantee in two/three weeks some of them will be back in the top 10.

  • Wonder Woman
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • Raw
  • Personal Shopper
  • Their Finest
  • Big Sick
  • mother!
  • Blade Runner: 2049
  • Wind River
  • The Blackcoat’s Daughter
  • Logan Lucky
  • Lady Bird

Movies I haven’t been able to watch (The Florida Project, Call Me By Your Name, Phantom Thread, The Post, Faces Places, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, I, Tonya, The Square, Darkest Hour, BPM, God’s Own Country, Columbus, A Quiet Passion). 

Here are the top 10!

10. Logan

Logan is the superhero film perfected and I love how it blends comic book mayhem, western themes and actual heart. Hugh Jackman gave his heart and soul to Wolverine and it makes me happy that he was able to go out on a great film. Director James Mangold hit his stride after The Wolverine and I’m glad Fox let him have complete creative control to tell his Shane-esque story . Watch the black-and-white version of the movie and you will see just how layered all the performances are. It will never happen, but I’d love to see Jackman and Patrick Stewart get nominated for much deserved Academy Awards.

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9. Free Fire

Free Fire is a blast of old school mayhem that features lot of gore, death and profanity. I loved watching as a simple argument between two groups of criminals blows up into a massive gunfight inside an old warehouse. 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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8. 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 and I found that to be incredibly refreshing. Good Time is the grimy roller coaster that disorients, enthralls and leaves you slightly dizzy after all the mayhem.  If you are looking for a fantastically bleak ride watch Good Time.

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7. Thor: Ragnarok

 Thor: Ragnarok is the weirdest 200-million dollar movie ever made. It defies convention, blows up important places and ends with a rock creature holding a gladiator bug that he thought he killed. Director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) had a great time messing with comic book tropes and I guarantee you will have a smile on your face as characters fall over drunk or play a game called “Get help” so they can beat up henchmen. I loved every second of Thor: Ragnarok and the reason it made the top 10 is because it was the best time I had in a theater all year. I can’t wait to watch it again to pick up on more of the weirdness.

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6. Get Out

Get Out is what happens when a director loves 1970s horror and is able to create his vision unencumbered. Jordan Peele crushed his debut film and you can feel his love of Rosemary’s Baby and Stepford Wives all over it. The building paranoia, A-list talent and awesome ending combine to create a film that has totally earned its 99% Tomatometer average and plethora of awards.  Get Out is a crowd-pleasing movie that pulls no punches and has something to say about race relations without resorting to simple preaching. You will laugh, cheer and jump throughout and that is a testament to Jordan Peele. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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5. 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 that unfold organically throughout. I never knew where it was going and the ending completely floored me and left me staring at the screen during the credits. A Ghost Story 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, elegant monologues and deliberate pacing.

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4. Dunkirk

Dunkirk is massive film making at its finest, and if  I could only watch one 2017 film in a theater again it would be Dunkirk. Director Christopher Nolan has created a beautifully immersive  war film that throws you into the chaos and keeps you disoriented and in awe. Dunkirk is the blockbuster of 2017 and I guarantee you will never see a bigger, better or louder war film. Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography is unbelievable and I lost count of all the times I said “wow” or “holy shit!” when something amazing/big/loud/jaw-dropping happened. Also, any film featuring Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance can’t be totally bad.

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3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Director/Writer Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) is one of my favorite working directors because he writes layered scripts and creates three-dimensional characters who are flawed but not beyond repair. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is loaded with memorable personalities (Sam Rockwell is my hero) who are far from perfect but are written perfectly. I never knew where it was going and that is a compliment to McDonagh and his insane mind.  Martin McDonagh explores the grey in humanity and that is what makes his films so interesting.

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2. The Lost City of Z

Director James Gray 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. I hate that it under-performed at the box office and I hope that audiences find it on Amazon Prime and VOD because it is such an ambitious piece of work. If you are looking to get lost in a film you need to watch The Lost City of Z.

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1. Baby Driver 

Baby Driver is hands down the best film of 2017 because it was made with love and technical mastery. It is a beautifully original film that feels alive, exciting and fresh. Director/writer Edgar Wright puts a lot of care into his films and that is evident during the monologues, car chases and action scenes. This $30 million budgeted movie hits above its weight and feels effortlessly cool in its pursuit to entertain and feature badass car stunts. Whether it be the opening car chase or an intricate single-shot take, it is one of the most technically polished films of 2017 due to every aspect of it being visualized by Wright.

You need to watch Baby Driver because it is original film making at its finest.

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