Welcome to Blugger’s top ten movies of 2017. Throughout the year, there were just so many great films that came out, and I think 2017 was one of the best years for film in recent memory. Horror films definitely had their big year with the success of Get Out and Split, and many indie films were actually able to break out and become box office hits. Moreover, there were many blockbuster films that didn’t have to be as good as they were to be successful, but that just goes to show that the passion of making studio tentpoles is still there. Star Wars was personally my big movie highlight of the year, causing a huge divide (we’ll talk about that later :)). This isn’t a definitive list – these are just my favorite movies of 2017.
First, I wanted to give a list of movies I have yet to see so you know they aren’t on here. All these films were critically praised and some are even getting major Oscar consideration, but I just didn’t get to see them so here they are:
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Call Me by Your Name
All the Money in the World
The Florida Project
Also, I have some honorable mentions. These are films that I thought barely got kicked off the list. 2017 was just such a great year for movies that there were a ton of films that were super close to making it or were actually on the list at some point:
John Wick: Chapter 2
Beauty and the Beast
War for the Planet of the Apes
Finally, here is Blugger’s list of the ten best movies of 2017:
10. The Big Sick
I’m personally not the biggest fan of rom-coms. I love a lot of old rom-coms, but the newer ones tend to rehash stuff we’ve seen a billion times before. The Big Sick on the other hand was incredible in almost every way. The script was just so new and fresh that I believe this is the best romantic comedy in years. It tells the true story of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon and how Kumail met Emily’s parents for the first time when Emily was in a coma. It sounds crazy, but that’s how it happened, and what followed was a beautiful story about what it means to love someone. Ray Romano and Holly Hunter were hilarious as Emily’s parents, and the chemistry between the core cast worked really well. Written by Nanjiani and Gordon, the story is just apparent with genuine passion, and you can see that everyone is bringing their best game.
9. Wonder Woman
I’m so happy to say that Wonder Woman is the first genuinely great movie in the DC Extended Universe. It’s balance of bright colors, great characters all make the movie more heroic than the other films in the DCEU lineup. The thing that pushes this film beyond the others (especially most Marvel movies) is that it shows the morally grey area of heroes and how it takes courage and character to rise above and become the hero that we all know and love. Wonder Woman is the perfect way to tell an origin story and will probably be looked at for years as the turning point of the DCEU. It has great acting, powerful themes, and good use of humor through it’s supporting cast. While it’s not the only superhero movie on this list, I think it’s definitely one of the best superhero movies of the last few years.
8. Baby Driver
Baby Driver continues Edgar Wright’s impressive streak of critical successes. This movie is a high octane adventure with smart dialogue, fast paced action, and incredible vehicle choreography. The whole movie is tuned to songs, and while this may seem weird at first, as the film goes on, you become fully immersed in the story because the synchronized songs just draw you in. You can tell that everyone in this movie is having a great time, but when the film needs to get serious, it buckles down and makes it real. I feel happy for Wright that this film is a huge box office success because movies like this should be getting all the box office attention. Baby Driver is a wonderful crowd pleaser that will tag you along for the ride.
Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is one of the best war movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a pure masterclass of filmmaking and stands as a prime example of show-don’t-tell. While it feels like almost every other Christopher Nolan film in its thoughtful themes and nonlinear story, Dunkirk is elevated by intense realism. The movie never stops building tension from the first frame, and film earns it’s final shot. I think Nolan should definitely look forward to this coming awards season considering the incredible work he has accomplished here. It has some of the most immersive scenes I’ve ever seen in a war movie, a phenomenal method of storytelling, and some of the best sound design and use of a score I’ve seen in a movie in recent memory.
6. Blade Runner 2049
When it was announced that Blade Runner was getting a sequel, I was really worried about it. Given Hollywood’s recent obsession with franchising and creating cinematic universes, this could have easily been turned into a generic action movie that sets up for sequels, prequels, and a billion spinoffs. Even if they brought Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford back, I was still on the fence because of how philosophical and otherworldly the original Blade Runner is. That’s not really a movie that would necessarily work in today’s climate, but director Dennis Villenueve and actor Ryan Gosling joined (both fresh off their Oscar nominations in 2016 for Arrival and La La Land respectively) and I was sold. Blade Runner 2049 surpassed all my expectations and delivered more than just a sequel to the original; it was an experience brimming with possibilities. Though the film takes place 30 years after the original and a lot has changed, it masterfully shows the passage of time with its retro visuals. Cinematographer Roger Deakins weaves the camera around every corner of every set piece, allowing the viewer to marvel at the dystopian Los Angeles of the near future. The only reason 2049 isn’t higher on this list is that I felt that the film was a bit too long despite the story being relatively straightforward. It clocks in at 164 minutes (2 hrs 44 min), and I personally thought that 20 minutes of lingering shots could have been chopped off. However, I say that with reserve since every frame shot by Deakins is truly a painting. If he doesn’t get win the Oscar for cinematography this year (this would be his fourteenth nomination and first win if he gets it), I don’t know what to think.
Logan is a near perfect masterpiece of filmmaking that transcends the superhero genre with a moving sendoff to one of the most recognizable comic book heroes of all time. Boosted by Oscar caliber performances from both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, the film is honestly one of the best comic book films I’ve ever seen. Director James Mangold has made the hard-R Wolverine movie we always wanted, and I couldn’t be much happier with the result. The film works because you really feel emotionally connected to this broken Logan, a facade of a once heroic icon. That has to do with its focused (almost western-style) script and the best work from Jackman in my opinion.
4. The Shape of Water
Hands down, director Guillermo del Toro has made his best work yet. The Shape of Water is more than just a love letter to the famous monster movies of the 1950s such as The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It’s a love letter to those who write love letters and those who dare to feel complete against impossible odds and the weight of the world. This film was beautifully shot and wonderfully acted. Del Toro made a great decision to alter the sound to make it sound like it was from the 1960s given the film’s setting in 60s Baltimore (home town represent!). Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon, and Octavia Spencer all give standout performances, but its Hawkins’ performance as the mute Eliza that rises above the rest. Her character doesn’t say anything the whole time, yet Hawkins conveys emotion through her eyes. This film respects what it means to have a voice and how people are always missing something so they seek to fill the gaps with love or hatred. Shannon’s character is especially terrifying in that regard since he’s not your typical mustache-twirling villain. Everything about this film was just incredible, and I’m amazed that a love story between two characters who don’t speak (one is a monster/river-god) was this good.
3. The Disaster Artist
“The Disaster Artist” is a testament to filmmakers who have the passion to create no matter what people think about them or what is thrown their way. Regardless of the final product, this man had a vision and created a phenomenon. How many people can say they’ve done that? I was inspired by how relatable the film’s characters are. Making art is a daunting task, but at the end of the day, even ordinary people can make something extraordinary. At the end of the film, they show some side by side comparisons of “The Room” and “The Disaster Artist,” and it’s priceless. The timing of every shot is nearly perfect, the recreation of the cheesy production design and bad acting is amazing. This film is getting some serious Oscar buzz, and it’s produced by A24, which won Best Picture for “Moonlight” last year. If this gets nominated for Best Picture at next year’s Academy Awards, it would be one of the most ironic things to happen in Hollywood. James Franco already won an acting award at the Golden Globes for his incredible performance as Tommy Wiseau. A movie about the making of the “worst” film ever was truly a masterpiece.
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Though director Rian Johnson seems to have divided Star Wars fans over “The Last Jedi,” there’s no denying from both sides of the argument that he created a film that boldly takes the franchise in a new direction. After watching it a few times and really reflecting upon each of the 155 minutes (this is the longest movie of the saga), I personally believe that Johnson has crafted the best Star Wars film since “Empire Strikes Back.” There’s so much to talk about with this film, and there’s a reason for all of it. Moreover, it subverts all the expectations that people have been building up for two years ever since 2015’s “The Force Awakens.” Out of all the films on here, this is the one that I’m going to be revisiting for years to come. Regardless of the mixed reactions the film has caused, I really appreciate Rian Johnson’s willingness to take risks and go out of the box in a way we didn’t think Star Wars movies can do. He presents mythical entities and people as the truth, something different than what the galaxy expected. Luke Skywalker isn’t the hero everyone thought he was, and he makes a compelling argument of why the whole Jedi/Sith thing makes no sense. Johnson also explains the Force and especially the Dark Side in the best way so far. Everyone gives an A+ performance in The Last Jedi, but Mark Hamill steals every second in frame. Full of twists and turns, The Last Jedi truly is the game changer film we needed.
1. Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa)
Okay, so I know many of you might consider this a 2016 release, but it had a 2017 release in the US. I also feel like not a lot of people are talking about it here in the states so hopefully some of you might be inclined to watch it! “Your Name” is a breathtaking masterpiece from director Makoto Shinkai. Shinkai has been recently referred to by many as the new Hayao Miyazaki, meaning this guy knows how to make a hand drawn animated movie. Nowadays, hand drawn animation isn’t too big since they’re extremely tedious and often expensive to get up and running. Though hand drawn Studio Ghibli films such as “Spirited Away” are dwindling, Shinkai proves that the medium is very much alive. Despite the visual prowess the film boasts, “Your Name” (or “Kimi no Na Wa” in Japan) has the best story I’ve seen in 2017. It’s about a high school boy and girl from opposite regions of Japan who swap bodies at random. It sounds really weird, but trust me, this film takes this bizarre idea and turns it into something palpable. Though the characters are 2D, they’re so relatable and multifaceted that I found myself constantly drawn to every second of the film. The art was done so beautifully within its medium that I cannot see this movie as anything but a hand drawn anime movie. “Your Name” relishes in it’s emotional themes and tugs on your heart throughout. The thing that works so well about it is the otherworldly conflict and restraint between our leads. Also, the film’s twist is done really well as it presents an issue you don’t really see in movies. Even though this movie has bizarre turns, it speaks volumes to the adolescents of both today and yesterday. It is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and I can’t wait to go back to it again and again for years to come.
So those are my top ten films for 2017. Once again, this is not a definite, universal list since it’s just my personal top ten list. All of these movies are worth seeing in my opinion, and I could see myself watching most of them multiple times. I know there were plenty of great films that came out in 2017, and that I didn’t see every movie in the year. With that said, please feel free to let me know what your favorite movies of 2017 are in the comments section!