I heard many argue that this year was one of the stronger years of recent memory. I’m not entirely convinced. There were lots of good movies this year, but I found most of the indies pretty weak. There was no comedy I saw this year that stood out as anything particularly special. As a matter of fact, I laughed more at the new ‘Thor’ movie than any of this years comedies. A few great directors gave us big disappointments like ‘Suburbicon’ and the only original musical delivered in music only. I also have to admit I missed a handful of titles that I will include in my Oscar series I’ll be starting in a few weeks, but I’m pretty sure it won’t change my mind much. So, I’m fairly confident that this will remain my best films of 2017.
The Best Films of 2017
12. The Big Sick
This dramedy delivered some of the best laughs this year and one of the most fascinating true stories I’ve seen in a long time.
11. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This movie would have been at the top of my list if it weren’t for the way it seems to stretch reality in the third act, but even when it loses its way it’s still pretty damn good. McDormand and Rockwell are Oscar worthy.
10. Darkest Hour
Gary Oldman is sure to win the Oscar for his performance as Winston Churchill, but the most important thing is that the world got a reminder of what a good conservative leader actually looked like. That’s a reminder the world needs.
Hugh Jackman put his claws up for the last time in this beautifully brutal modern western. The close of this film is one of the most powerful moments in popular filmmaking.
This is one of the most difficult, but rewarding experiences of 2017. The juxtaposition of inequality between the races during the early 20th century has never been laid bare quite like this.
7. War for the Planet of the Apes
This is one of the greatest endings to a trilogy I have ever seen. In fact, this heart wrenching look at loss, enslavement, war, and uprising is just one of the best pieces of serious Hollywood filmmaking period.
6. The Shape of Water
The years most beautifully shot love story is not your typical affair. Guillermo Del Toro directs the second best film he’s ever made about a mute woman who’s falls in love with a humanoid creature that’s being held captive by a secret government organization.
5. Wonder Woman
The years best superhero film also had the best scene of any movie this year (No Man’s Land), some of the best music, sets, costumes, and cinematography anyone could ask for. Yet, the thing that really made it so great was it’s great characters, romance, laughs, and true example of heroics. You throw that all together with the fact that it’s the first truly female led superhero film to get the big budget treatment and it’s a miracle that we got this amazing film! All hail the great Patty’s Jenkin’s and Gal Gadot!
4. Blade Runner 2049
Easily the most fascinating piece of art and best sequel of 2017! Every single frame of this film could be a piece of art to hang on your wall. Yet, the thing that makes it resonate so much is how it keeps you sinking deeper into your seat as the mystery unfolds. If Roger Deakins doesn’t win an Oscar for this then there is no justice in the world.
3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The most divisive ‘Star Wars’ film of all time is also the best one since ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. This movie delivers so many surprises that I’m still trying to get my head around it. It’s also filled to the brim with more great scenes (Snoke’s throne room, the battle of Crait, the masters burning the Jedi tree, and so many more) then any other movie you will see this year! I’ve seen it three times and I’d go see again right now!
The most intense experience of this or pretty much any year is also the most expertly crafted war simulator since the opening of ‘Saving Private Ryan’. Director Christopher Nolan deserves to win the Oscar this year for the way he crafted a film that is nearly dialogue free, but says more about the experience of war than just about any other war film ever made.
1. The Post
In a year that is most notable for our President’s war on the Media, it felt like providence that this story came along from our greatest living director and the two best actors of my lifetime. My father used to tell me that Spielberg had gotten so good that it seemed like a crime to try and judge one of his film after one sitting. So, I watched this twice and I can tell you without a doubt that this is the most expertly crafted film of the year. It’s dialogue is brilliant, it’s score is perfect, it’s actors are superb, it’s editing is tight, and it’s story is the most important of the year! Presidents lying to the public, a war on journalism, the importance of the Supreme Court, a nation divided, and the fight for women in places of power, if any film better defined this year than I don’t know what it is.
The Best of the Rest
15. Baby Driver
16. Wind River
17. Battle of the Sexes
18. Lady Bird
20. It Comes At Night
21. Beauty and the Beast
23. Get Out