2017 has been interesting for movies. I have said a few times that there have been many good films but no spectacular ones. Normally I have two or three that are amazing, groundbreaking, or unexpected. My list below, though filled with projects I thoroughly enjoyed watching, and some more than once, contains no true number 1. Every major critic’s group, including the two I am a member of, have all picked a different best picture. It is as if no one can identify that one movie that had it all. Surprisingly several of my my top picks for actor, actress, and director come from films not on my top 12 list.That is ok though. I sort of like it this way.
In no particular order (unless alphabetical is an order) here are my most enjoyed films of 2017
- BABY DRIVER – It is funny that this is in the number one spot since it is the film I have watched most this year. I can pop it in always and enjoy the ride. The soundtrack ruled my Spotify all summer and it could be the best sound editing I have heard in years. Am I saying that if demanded to give a number one it would be this one? Well, no one is demanding.
- BLADE RUNNER 2049 – I was not a fan of the original film and never hesitated saying so. Wasn’t sure what I expected this one to be. I walked out of the screening speechless. I wanted to pause the world around me and hold on to the cinematic splendor I had just been engulfed by. There is no other movie this year that had the look, feel, and weight of this one. It certainly gets my vote for “must be seen in the theater” award.
- GET OUT – This film released early – February 24th – and seldom, if ever, does a movie have the legs to still make a list 10 months later. It is unheard of. Get Out is one of those special films that astounded audiences with a script that floored us. It was the perfect balance of horror and social reflection.
- I, TONYA – Margot Robbie was fantastic in this and is my front runner for best actress. Her performance as Olympic skater Tonya Harding was funny and heartbreaking. I recall watching those moments unfold live and shaking my head at the clowns involved. Seeing all Tonya dealt with from her family and the ass hat of a boyfriend adds a new dimension to her legacy for sure. Plus Allison Janney as Tonya’s mom is another key to the film’s success.
- IT – Wait, what? Two horror films in my top 12? That is certainly a rarity. But as anyone who saw IT can tell you it was the blend of humor, 80s styling, and a creepy clown that made this a remarkable remake. Horror films have started to step up their game; understanding that jump scares will no longer cut it.
- KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, THE – I can’t explain why this is on my list. The fact that I chose it over mother!, Raw, or Thelma goes to the overall package. The script, acting, and weird, weird, weird story line solidified it. See it? Wasn’t is super weird?
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND – Ready for another shocker? Normally a critic’s top list is 98% movies that released in the last quarter of the year. Most of mine did not. Kong is an example of a film that was so much fun at the theater, a fantastic use of humor with impressive effects and over the top action. Another movie that I have watched over a dozen times since its release.
- MOLLY’S GAME – This is the newest movie in my list. I loved watching Jessica Chastain flesh out this real life character. The story is engaging and at times hard to believe. Each year we have several dramatic “based on true events” movies and out of the majority of them – THE GLASS CASTLE, THE POST, DUNKIRK, DARKEST HOUR – this one stood out the most.
- STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – uhhh, you shocked? It is not a perfect film but it is a Star Wars film and one that fits nicely in the franchise. It opened at over 200M dollars so don’t take my word for it.
- THOR: RAGNAROK – hahaha this movie was the best Marvel film in some time. Taking the best ideas from Avengers and learning from the Guardians of the Galaxy how to create smart humor this one had it all. Plus did anyone notice that THOR was maybe the third best character in it? And it didn’t matter.
- THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI – First of all do not google map it. The town doesn’t exist. In fact for the most part it wasn’t even shot in MO. Never the less this film gets my vote for best acting ensemble and mayyyyybe best original script (if you don’t count Lady Bird).
- WONDER WOMAN – Last but not least is the film that saved the DC franchise. No one thought it was possible to dig out of the grave that Batman V Superman had created. But dang if director Patty Jenkins didn’t bring us a DC film with light, humor, inspiration, and a kick butt super hero that rivals most on the Marvel docket.
If you are wondering how I could have left off films like THE POST, THE SHAPE OF WATER, DUNKIRK, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, THE DISASTER ARTIST, and LADY BIRD feel free to ask. Though each one of those films had something to offer they didn’t quite move me the way I wanted them to. I will say that of the above mentioned titles LADY BIRD is the one that came closest to being on my list. If I had a list of films that should be seen by every mother and teenaged daughter in America it would have been number one. Greta Gerwig wrote/directed something very special and Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf brought it to life perfectly.