Here we are, the biggest list of them all. Here are my picks for the 10 very best movies from the past year.
17.) “The Meyerowitz Stories”
16.) “Thor: Ragnarok”
15.) “It Comes at Night”
14.) “A Ghost Story”
13.) “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
12.) “Baby Driver”
10.) “The Disaster Artist”
Starting off the list comes the funniest movie of the year, and that is all thanks to James Franco. His direction and lead performance as Tommy Wiseau carries this film to success, as “The Disaster Artist” somehow manages to pay respect to one of the worst movies ever made, but while also making a mockery of it. The result is absolutely hysterical, and Franco manages to make Wiseau a character that is relatable and likable, even under all of his mysteriousness.
9.) “The Shape of Water”
Guillermo del Toro beautifully crafts a story that, on the surface feels a bit strange and unorthodox, but it is handled with such care and beauty that it absolutely works for the best. Sally Hawkins completely dominates the screen, even without saying anything, and pairing her with Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, and a brilliant Richard Jenkins, and it makes for one of the best ensembles of 2017. Del Toro is a mastermind, and this movie shows just how gorgeous his craft can be, even with the weirdest of subject matters.
8.) “Get Out”
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was nothing short of an instant horror classic. The subtle details, the excellently-developed plot, and the fantastic performances all add up to one of the most surprising films I have ever seen. The film goes into important subject matter, but while also not overloading it, and this mix of horror, drama, and a hint of comedy made “Get Out” a film that, pun intended, I could not get out of my head.
7.) “War for the Planet of the Apes”
The perfect end to one of the best trilogies ever made, “War” had Andy Serkis at his best, the strongest antagonist in the series in Woody Harrelson, and some of the strongest emotion I saw in a movie this year. Add all that to fantastic storytelling and some truly stunning visuals, and “War” was a phenomenal conclusion to a series I couldn’t get enough of, and the ending was as satisfying as I could have hoped.
6.) “The Big Sick”
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon team up for one of the strongest scripts of the year, and they expertly craft their own story of how they fell in love. “The Big Sick” is full of beautiful humor, but, more than that, the heart and the love shared by the two leads is expertly created. The film feels genuine and real through every turn it makes, and adding that to brilliant performances and some of the funniest one-liners of the year, and you truly get one of the best romantic comedies I have ever seen.
5.) “Call Me by Your Name”
In one of the riskiest, most challenging films of the year, Luca Guadagnino masterfully crafts a stunning film about love, and Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer absolutely kill it. The film has one of the greatest moments of the year in a monologue by Michael Stuhlbarg, but it is the simplicity and the nuance used to describe this story that makes it work so well. This is a beautiful film in every sense of the word, and one that is as heartbreaking as it is full of heart.
4.) “I, Tonya”
There are so many things to appreciate with Craig Gillespie’s film, and it starts with Margot Robbie’s magnificent turn as Tonya Harding. Robbie not only nails the figure skating, but Harding’s whole being, but what Gillespie and Steven Rogers do to make this inconsistent mess of a real-life story work so well is miraculous. The story almost completely matches the truth, the characters, specifically Robbie and Allison Janney, feel like perfect representations, and the amazing energy and passion put into this film is absolutely tremendous. There are not many films made this well behind such a tricky story, but “I, Tonya” doesn’t pull any punches, and nearly every decision made pays off beautifully.
3.) “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
It’s hard to describe “Three Billboards” into a few words, because this movie is so much more than it leads on to be. Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas Hedges, and everyone else involved gives this movie their all, and each character is so beautifully unique and complex. Martin McDonagh gives this film the perfect amount of comedy mixed with strong themes of race and police brutality, but all while never being overbearing and adding a strong sense of realism and heart. This is an outstanding movie that has a little bit for everyone, and is one of the most emotionally encapsulating films of the year.
2.) “Blade Runner 2049”
Coming in at the runner-up position is Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic of a sequel, and, at 164 minutes, the only thing I can say is that I wish it was longer. I was not bored for a frame of this film, not one, as Villeneuve packs this masterpiece in with well-developed characters, a poignant story that has numerous levels, a pounding score, and, probably, the best cinematography I saw all year. This film sucked me into its’ world from the first shot and never gave up on it. The story is complex but easy to follow, the character’s all have much more to them than what’s on the surface, and there are few sci-fi sequels that come to mind that pulled off the level of success that this film does.
It turns out that the competition for best movie of 2017 has been a runaway since late July, as nothing ever came close to “Dunkirk”. I love every movie on this list, and this is one of the strongest lists I’ve made since reviewing movies, but what Christopher Nolan crafted with this war epic is among the greatest films I have ever seen. “Dunkirk” is artfully created, stunningly shot, and the score is pounding and relentless, as is the feel of the film. The characters are not the focal point, and I love the focus on the pieces of the battle, and the staggered time frames work wonders for making this story consistently exhilarating from start to finish. There is not a moment to breathe in this movie, and the way Nolan correctly gets the feeling of war, and how dispensable its’ parts are, is truly something to behold, and there is no doubt that “Dunkirk” is in the conversation for the greatest war movie ever made, and it is undoubtedly the best movie I saw in 2017.
What was your favorite movie in 2017? Comment below with your thoughts.