I been waiting to write this post for weeks now!
This past year I watched 64 movies that were released in 2017 in the United States (to the public, I don’t count film festival release dates since I can’t go to them :D). Out of that only 11 fell under a C+ rating for me, so this year I saw a lot of great movies!
Despite that, I only listed my top eight movies. I know most ‘best of’ lists are ten, but after these eight I have like fifteen that I equally liked for different reasons. There were so many strong movies this year, but these eight just really stuck with me throughout the year.
Now on with the list! (which is just in alphabetical order)
Blade Runner 2049
I want my movies to look good, but I rarely go on and on about the cinematography of one, especially when describing it to others. I feel like it would be a crime though to not discuss it with Blade Runner 2049, as this is the most beautiful movie of the year to me.
Taking place thirty years after the original, which you should watch prior (or at least wiki the plot!), young blade runner ‘K’ has uncovered an old secret that could upset relations between man and robot. And I’m not saying any more because you should watch it yourself. Stat!
The director, Denis Villeneuve, also made my favorite movie of last year, Arrival. Between these two movies, I’m so excited for the future of Sci-fi in film They needed the boost.
I’m not a huge fan of war movies. To realistically portray what happens in wartime is difficult, because the violence could either overwhelming or too ridiculous. So when I heard that Christopher Nolan, who I’m a huge fan of, was making a movie about Dunkirk, I was both intrigued and disappointed.
But I should’ve had more faith. Out of all the movies I saw this year, Dunkirk is the theater experience that I remember completely. The objective seems simple (the British Army crossing the English Channel), but the reality was bleak, with seemingly every obstacle getting in the way. The whole movie I was gripping my seat, silently praying that every lead would make it home.
Others complained about the lack of character, but I couldn’t disagree more. Because of the situations the characters were in, I didn’t need much to be on their side and be immersed in the fear and anxiety they were experiencing.
The Florida Project
As I’m writing this, I’m not far from Orlando and the Amusement Park that transform that city from dirt roads to a tourist hotspot. Outside the boundaries of Disney is a plethora of shopping and attractions aimed at getting as much money from tourists as possible. In the midst of this bubble gum chaos are inexpensive hotels, home to the city’s forgotten low-income families.
In the shadow of Magic Kingdom, 6 year old Moonee makes mischief and entertainment with her friends, other children who live at the hotels, over summer break. The audience also follows Moonee’s young and stubborn mother, Halley, as she tries to make ends meet, no matter the personal cost.
When other movie reviewers or movie buffs are describing movies I hear the phrase, “like I was watching real life” often. I don’t know, I very rarely feel that way, that a movie was ‘so real’ that I forgot I was watching actors. I think one of the reasons why I really connected to this movie (besides the location), is that this is the closest I’ve ever had to that feeling. Moments that I had to remind myself that this wasn’t real, because the ending just broke my heart.
Hmm. Trying to think of what to say that hasn’t already been said. If you don’t know much about this movie, then I’ll direct you to my full review here.
I enjoyed Get Out because I love psychological horror, but I love Get Out because of the social commentary that Jordan Peele was able to intertwine throughout. When I saw the movie a second time, I realized how much Peele payed attention to the details, and my appreciation doubled. There are very few directors that I watch automatically, but Peele was just added.
The indie ‘coming of age’ movie is one of my least favorite genres. The plot always hits the same beats and the writing just seems to scream, ‘LOOK HOW QUIRKY I AM!’. So when I first saw the trailer for Lady Bird, I thought it was more of the same.
Thankfully all my favorite reviewers were on to something, and there was something really special about Lady Bird. First off, I didn’t think anyone was overly quirky or weird, but seemed like real people with the usual oddities. The only character that could be described as one is someone clearly putting up a 2002 Hipster front (‘I was Hipster before it was cool to be one’), and the movie knowingly pokes fun at him.
What really got to me was the theme of home, and how we can both hate and love it. Lady Bird wants desperately to leave her hometown of Sacramento and her catholic high school. As her senior year of high school progresses she starts to realize how hard leaving is, and how it follows us wherever we go.
If I had to pick my favorite movie of the year, hands down it would be Logan. I’ve been an X-Men fan since I was kid, watching the cartoon and then reading the comics throughout high school. I remember buzzing in anticipation for the first X-Men movie in 2000.
Since then, I’ve had an uneven relationship with the movies to come out of Hollywood. Even the best entries had some major flaws. So I wish I could convey to everyone how much I loved Logan, and that I finally got the X-Men movie I’ve been waiting for for some time.
Hugh Jackman has always done a great job with Wolverine, but he was finally given the material to take the character to the place this whole journey was taking him.
Oh boy. Is this a movie.
I didn’t see Mother! until months after the craziness of its opening weekend. Audiences thought they were getting a psychological horror movie, but they got a big-budget allegorical art house movie. I’m glad I waited for all the hubbub to die down before I watched it and decided for myself.
I can understand where audiences were taken aback and probably thought this was pretentious, but I connected to what Aronofsky was trying to do here, especially the themes.
Pretty much the plot is a ‘re-imagining’ of the Bible from the perspective of Mother Earth (Jennifer Lawrence), with her husband being God, the writer. Throughout the movie her husband allows all types of guests (humanity) in their house, who show little regard for it.
The home is Her creation, but it is valued less than her Husband’s work. Even though I really liked the whole allegory, this is the part that really spoke to me. That women’s work (especially if it’s creative or domestic) is valued differently, and sadly sometimes less than, men’s.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing MO
I’m going to keep this one short, because I want to talk about this movie in length, I’m just waiting for the BluRay to come out.
All the actors are fantastic, the story is great, and the humor is dark. Even though this is an angry movie, the heart underneath is real. I was also taken aback by the surprises in this movie. I would think I knew what was going to happen, but then the movie takes a turn I wasn’t expecting.
Three Billboards deserved all of the awards it won at the Golden Globes, and I hope it can snag up some Oscars.