2017 is coming to an end and for every moviegoer, it’s that time of the year for them to unveil their picks for the best films of the year. Everyone’s list is different, it all being about their personal favorite films and this list is no different. This is a list of my 10 favorite movies of the year, not a list of the 10 most aesthetically perfect tour de forces that’ll premiere at a bunch of fancy film festivals. All film is subjective and there’s no better time to let everyone know their own personal picks for the movies that they loved the most. All of the being said, let’s take a look at the 10 movies in 2017 that I loved for one reason or another.
10. Call Me by Your Name
Starting off this list is a movie that I just saw a few days ago and it’s the reason why this list is coming out later. I held off on making this list simply so I can see “Call Me by Your Name” and I’m very glad that I did that. Both Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer give career best performances in a very touching movie that’s bound to strike an emotional chord with anyone. Whether you’re someone who’s trying to find your way in life or someone who’s dealing with complicated romantic feelings, you will be able to find a way to connect with this film. A complicated but beautiful romance is put onscreen on this film and it makes for an emotionally powerful, bittersweet story about first love.
Pixar is easily one of, if not the most successful animated film studios of our time. Sure, it’s had some duds here and there, but “Coco” isn’t one of them. This movie puts on a display of terrific animation, entertaining characters, great songs, and a really nice look at Mexican culture that isn’t put on the big screen as often as it should be. Also, it goes without saying that this is yet another tearjerker from Pixar. There are a couple moments in this movie where anyone with a heart will be the least bit teary-eyed. And not only that, but it teaches an important message about family. There’s the importance of family, but also the importance in pursuing your dreams and not letting anyone holding you back, even your family. It’s a complicated dilemma with shades of grey, but Pixar manages to pull it off in the best animated movie of the year.
8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This is one of those movies that succeeds because of how well written the script is. It has engaging dialogue, yes, but the strength lies in how the characters are written. Everyone in this film has an emotional arc of sorts. It can be with Sam Rockwell’s bigoted cop who undergoes a very layered change, or Frances McDormand as a struggling mother who just wants justice in her daughter’s brutal murder. All of the aforementioned actors are amazing in this film and they play their part in making this movie so watchable despite it being purely dialogue driven. This movie follows the inner conflict of a small town as it’s shaken by one act by one single woman and the way it unfolds is genuinely interesting to watch.
7. Wind River
“Wind River” is the story of a murder that takes place on a Native American reservation and we follow both Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen as they try to piece together what exactly happened. Renner gives what I think is his best performance and Elizabeth Olsen makes for a nice surrogate character for the audience to be introduced to the bitter conditions of Wyoming. This location is an omnipresent force in the film as you’re shown the harsh conditions that the characters endure, but it’s also just a genuinely intriguing murder mystery that doesn’t pull any punches, nor is it predictable. It’s intense, well acted, and it has an important social message about disenfranchised Native Americans in the country, a message that should be known by as many people as possible.
6. Get Out
This is a surprise if ever there was one. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie around this time last year and I didn’t know what to think. I thought it looked unique, but it also looked like it had the potential to be unintentionally funny. Luckily enough, it was not only intentionally funny in a dark way, but genuinely suspenseful and unsettling. Jordan Peele makes his directorial debut with this horror/thriller/comedy that has a unique premise, one that uses its story to make relevant social statements about race. This also happens to be a movie that I enjoy more the more I watch it. There’s not only a sense of dread and unease that stays with you as it plays out, but also great little details that you can pick up on with repeat viewings. With the great writing and directing mixed in with clever social commentary, you’d think it was made by a professional director, but it’s not. This is a first time directing effort from Peele and I’m very much so excited about what he does in the future.
5. War for the Planet of the Apes
We don’t need to talk about the track record associated with movie trilogies. Long story short, they’re hit and miss, but this new Planet of the Apes has proven to be a hit with this final installment. Caesar is taking one final stand against humanity to preserve a future for his family of apes and while the movie may disappoint some people in its lack of an actual physical war, there’s a psychological battle brewing in Caesar’s head, one that furthers him as a character and drives home the conflict that started back in 2011 with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. Andy Serkis is typically fantastic in his motion-capture performance, but Steve Zahn is also great in his mo-cap role, along with Woody Harrelson in his brutal yet still sympathetic turn as the Colonel. This is the most character-driven film in the trilogy and that gives us a proper end to one of the finest film trilogies around.
4. The Disaster Artist
“The Room” is often regarded as the single worst movie ever made, which makes it all the more ironic that a movie about its making is being regarded as one of the best movies of 2017. James Franco stars in and directs this movie about Tommy Wiseau, the oddball director who was just trying the best possible movie in “The Room”. What resulted was obviously a complete mess, but this movie does an excellent job in making you support Wiseau in his efforts. Franco clearly admires everything Wiseau went through and he presents it in an informative and entertaining way that doesn’t mock Wiseau in a mean-spirited way, but it also doesn’t shy away from his problems on the set of “The Room”. This was James Franco’s passion project and it delivered on being a funny, entertaining, and inspiring comedy/drama that anyone can enjoy, regardless of if they’ve seen “The Room” or not.
As we draw closer to the end of this list, it’s time we recognize the end of an ear for comic book movies. “Logan” is Hugh Jackman’s swan song in his role of the Wolverine and it’s the perfect sendoff for this character. This is a character-driven film in which the stakes are more personal than anything we’ve seen in most comic book movies. Rather than it being a large scale attack on a city, this is merely the journey of Logan/Wolverine and Charles Xavier as they guide young Laura (played excellently by Dafne Keen) across the country to keep her safe from enemy hands. Director James Mangold takes advantage of the R-rating by making this a violent, graphic film, one that fits the Wolverine character. But not only that, it’s an emotional story about the bond between people and learning what it takes to keep fighting for the ones you care about. Jackman and Patrick Stewart are both amazing in their final roles as their respective characters and they only add to an already well directed, thrilling end to the Wolverine tale. This movie has earned its status as one of the best comic book films of all time.
2. Blade Runner 2049
Coming in as my runner-up for best movie of 2017 is Denis Villeneuve’s crack at the long rumored sequel to “Blade Runner”. The original film is divisive enough on its own, but it still stands as a well made and intelligent film about humanity. This sequel, however, takes that to a whole new level. It’s a technical marvel, filled with gorgeous cinematography from Roger Deakins and amazing special effects. But the praise doesn’t end there. Ryan Gosling is great as K, a replicant who’s on his own journey of self-discovery, and Harrison Ford makes a welcome return to the role of Deckard as we see more development with his character from the first movie. “Development” is ultimately the key word in all of this. Villeneuve takes everything great from the first film and adds to it with this movie. There’s more world-building, the mythology is deepened, and the themes are heavily expanded upon. Everything in this movie builds upon the stuff that was introduced in “Blade Runner” and we get a sequel that’s only better than the original, but also a science-fiction film that’s masterfully told by one of the best directors in the business.
My favorite movie of 2017 is Christopher Nolan’s wartime epic. “Dunkirk” is the story of a mass evacuation that took place during World War II, one in which thousands of soldiers were trying to escape with their lives and the intensity and urgency of the situation is heavily felt. This movie tells its story with three different timelines and they all play into each other as they all race to the same goal, that goal being the evacuation taking place. The story in the air is gripping as you watch well filmed aerial combat scenes with Tom Hardy taking full command as an air force pilot. The story on the ground starts off with a sense of ever-present danger that stays with the characters throughout, and the story at sea with Mark Rylance is consistently fast-paced and thematically important to the film. It’s an expertly crafted film with impressive work in the technical aspects such as effects, sound, and cinematography, but also a sense of direction from Nolan that perfectly captures the event. This is a war movie that’s respectful to the real life event, it makes you want to research said event, and it doesn’t beat you over the head with jingoism and the usual war film tropes like soldiers having an overly dramatic conversation with a pregnant wife or characters saying stuff like “We’re a family” over and over again. This is indeed one of the best war films ever made and it gets my pick for the best movie of 2017.
So that’s my list for my 10 favorite movies of 2017. Whether you like or dislike any of these movies isn’t a big deal. Like I said, all film is subjective, which is why I relish this time of year when everyone is making their lists. And coming tomorrow is another top 10 list, this one being my list for the 10 WORST movies of 2017. Making a list for the 10 best movies is fun in its own way, but tearing into the worst movies of the year is even more fun as you get to just lay into everything wrong certain movies. That list comes tomorrow, but for now, let’s just enjoy the very best that 2017 had to offer.