If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably read enough opening paragraphs for “Best Movies of 2017” lists explaining how great a year it was for cinema, and yes, all those articles/lists/whatever are correct. In a year filled with tribulation around the globe, going to the cinema not only felt like the perfect escape, but 2017 was also just a great year in general for movies. From blockbusters to indie standouts, we laughed, we cried, we cheered, and we were wowed from January to December. Creating this list was difficult because, honestly, there was something I saw each month that would have made my top 10 list for any other year; that itself speaks to just how good a year it was for going to the cinema. But another year has come and gone, and it’s time to look back and remember the best of the best that Hollywood gave us in 2017.
#10. Logan Lucky
Baby Driver might be the year’s most-talked about heist movie, and while it’s a whole lot of fun, Logan Lucky was the year’s best heist movie. Steven Soderbergh’s comedic heist about pulling off an elaborate robbery during a NASCAR race is a clever, Southern-fried comedy that features a trio of charming performances from Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig. Firing on all cylinders from the get-go, Logan Lucky is pure entertainment from the waving of the green flag until it crosses the finish line.
#9. The Post
Steven Spielberg’s newest offering has been heralded by many (myself included) as 2017’s most timely movie. And while that might be true, Spielberg’s latest (and best movie since Munich) is also a stirring, race-against-the-clock drama that’s not to be missed.
“The Post is a gripping reminder how vital freedom of the press is to those who are governed because of its role in keeping tabs on those who govern. The Post should remind us that when the press is under fire, it usually is because someone doesn’t want the public to see the smoke coming from their house. It was that way back in 1971 during the days of the Pentagon Papers, and one only needs to tune into the news today to see that some things haven’t changed. You need to see The Post for a refresher course in how vital the press is to a free society.” (My Full Review HERE)
#8. Lady Bird
Funny and so true at times, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut about the ups and downs of adolescence is already an instant classic. Sure to be shown in repeat on cable television for years, Saiorse Ronan’s performance as the teenager so often experiencing turmoil is one of the year’s best performances. Don’t be surprised if she wins Best Actress at the Oscars this March (or if Laurie Metcalf wins for Best Supporting Actress for playing the lead character’s caring mother).
#7. The Disaster Artist
Oh, hi great movie. Poignant and all so fascinating, this hilarious biopic about one of the worst movies ever made is an absolute riot. In fact, it just might be the funniest movie I’ve seen in the past couple of years. And let’s not forget about who makes The Disaster Artist so great: James Franco, from behind and in front of the camera as Tommy Wiseau. Franco’s take on one of the strangest men to ever make it to Hollywood is without a doubt one of the year’s most entertaining performances.
#6. The Big Sick
Kumail Nanjiani’s awkward true story is the best (and funniest) romantic comedy in recent years. Full of empathy, honesty, and humor, The Big Sick is a refreshingly enjoyable comedy that could have you tearing up at times. And if you haven’t yet seen this gem and have Amazon Prime, it’s available to watch on their streaming service for free right now. So, get on it.
#5. The Florida Project
We might live within walking distance of what we deem as “happiness”; but we also live in a world where there’s enough adventure to let our imagination run wild, and where in the end, the warmth and radiance we project can outshine any bleak situation, just like Florida Project’s flawed, yet empathetic characters do in the film’s sunshine-state setting. As captivatingly radiant as it is saddening, The Florida Project is not an easy watch; you may find your heart sinking to the floor as you wish you could help the characters with the struggles they go through. But at the same time, it’s as authentic as any other movie you’ll see, as the scenarios presented are either delightful or heart-rending. Profoundly beautiful and gracefully raw, The Florida Project,the year’s best indie movie, is a must-see.
Brutal and unforgiving, Wolverine’s swan song is the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight, which is saying a lot, given how many comic book movies there have been since the release of the 2008 Batman sequel. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have never been better as Wolverine and Professor X, and they go out on the highest notes possible as the iconic characters we’ve all come to know and love over the years. Packing just as much heart as it has action, Logan at times feels like a near-perfect Western as well (a genre which was very lacking in 2017). And the very last shot in the movie? One of the year’s best moments in cinema and an all-time high for the comic book genre.
#3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Infusing dark comedy with present day issues, Three Billboards is a riveting character study that examines tragedy, revenge, hope, and love from each of the movie’s cast of unforgettable characters. Taking you down roads you don’t expect, Three Billboard’s unflinching trail blaze stays with you long after the credits roll. Also, The Academy should go ahead and give Frances McDormand the Oscar for Best Actress. She is electrifying and gives a career-best performance here as a grieving, hell-bent mother. And yes, it tops her Oscar-winning performance in Fargo.
Many things about Dunkirk make for what is arguably Christopher Nolan’s best movie to date. But what makes this WWII movie all the more impressive is how no major actor/star is front and center the entire time, nor does the audience ever see the enemy in clear sight. Instead, the movie’s masterful technical aspects are what make it such a nail-biting tour de force from start to finish. Tight and bare-boned, Dunkirk’s tale of survival is as simple as WWII movies come, yet it is just as powerful in its deliverance of such tales of heroism.
#1. Blade Runner 2049
From the opening text following the studio logos, Blade Runner 2049 sets the tone for what is a science fiction masterpiece. Sure to be talked about for years to come, director Denis VIlleneuve transports audiences forward to a dystopian future Los Angeles where he gives audiences a mysterious story that hooks you in from the start, characters to be invested in, and visuals and production design that will never cease to amaze you. Movies with this much detail and appreciation from all areas don’t come around that often and show why the movie-going experience exists and should never, ever die.
“Villeneuve has done the impossible: he’s made a remarkably masterful sequel to a predecessor that simply pales in comparison.” (My Full Review HERE)
That’s it for 2017. Let’s hope 2018 delivers just as many good movies as we saw this past year.
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