RANKING THE YEAR’S BEST: FROM OSCAR MOVIES TO BLOCKBUSTERS
LET’S REWIND 2017!
2017 in film was the clash of class structure and communities – represented by different races and genders (including androids and superheroes), the poor (in the suburbs, the city, and the trailer park) and the rich (including galaxies far, far away), the challenges of coming of age (into adulthood, into sexuality, and even mutants dealing with mortality), and bucking the system to chase impossible dreams.
While the #1 movie at the 2017 box office was BEAUTY & THE BEAST (with STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI quickly chasing it down in just a few short weeks of release), the Award Winners are yet to be determined – with announcement rolling out in the coming days and weeks.
This personal TOP 10 ranks award-nominated movies right alongside popcorn-munching blockbusters, indie films, b-movies, and cult classics.
MY TOP 10 IS FOLLOWED BY HONORABLE MENTIONS
You never know, you might even uncover a hidden gem or two.
THE TOP 10
A superhero movie focused on weakness instead of unstoppable strength. Character shines in the spotlight without the action overwhelming the thematic story. Impressive adult approach to a familiar genre.
Character takes a backseat to theme and story here. We are thrust into the scenario without emotional development or personal backstories. The historical event itself is the star, boldly structured with a thoroughly compelling storytelling technique. A constantly brewing anxious musical score fuels the intensity of each ‘scenario’.
A surprising balance of comedy and horror alongside a tightly paced yet familiar coming-of-age story. The cast of honest, foul-mouthed characters have excellent chemistry. Delicious villainy and a variety of scares help the horror feel fresh.
7. I, TONYA
An energetic narrative drives this dark comedy character piece. The ensemble cast each have a moment to shine, but Margot Robbie leads the way, forcing us to reconsider the true story in a different light.
6. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Controversially despised by the Internet, the latest EPISODE ticks all the boxes. Breaking new ground and diverting expectations, this chapter explored theme while delivering on the spectacle. Entertaining from the get-go, the story may stumble with some side-plots and some moments that fall flat, but there was enough nostalgic cheers and exciting action sequences to more than satisfy. Ranks behind the original trilogy and FORCE AWAKENS, but above ROGUE ONE.
5. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
A crackling script with crackling characters. A simple story unfolds in unexpected ways. Short fused firecracker, Frances McDormand, is the main reason to watch this film but supporting cast members Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson each have compelling arcs as well.
4. LADY BIRD
A simple coming of age story focused on character. Grounded performances balance well with cynical comedy. A great movie transports you into a character. The plot’s destination isn’t as important as how much you relate and emotionally react with the protagonist. A simple journey that is entirely satisfying.
3. THE SHAPE OF WATER
Atmospheric. Cinematic. Romantic. Horrific. Terrific. Del Toro has created another dark fantasy masterpiece. Sally Hawkins leads the way with a performance that envelops the viewer. Sinking into her skin, we fall in love with a captive ‘mythical’ creature. While the story is light on twists and turns, the characters help us absorb ourselves into the film. Emotionally balanced, the film steers clear of melodrama. The horror aspects land with great effect, from vicious gore, to a vicious Michael Shannon. The entire ensemble cast is upper tier. The cinematography is hauntingly beautiful, paying respect to celluloid. This dreamy fairy tale may be unflinchingly adult but the brutal realism oddly helps sweep the audience away into fantasy.
2. THE FLORIDA PROJECT
The biggest surprise of the year. A character study focused on shining a light on a ‘new’ kind of homelessness. So close to Disney land, these families who can barely afford week-to-week rent at cheap motels, find a way to enjoy their lives. Phenomenal performances whisk you away. This feels like a glimpse into reality. Willem Dafoe is the only recognizable actor. The main cast is made of new actors. Both mother and daughter are indie revelations deserving of mainstream roles. By the end, explosive emotions erupt within the character and the viewer. Eye-opening and fascinating. Meet your new ‘Scout’ and your new TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
1. BLADE RUNNER 2049
The best blend of Art and Popcorn. Denis Villeneuve once again tops the TOP 10. After ARRIVAL, the mad-scientist visionary director continued his wild experiments with a sequel to Ridley Scott’s untouchable cult classic BLADE RUNNER. With huge shoes to fill, Villeneuve did the impossible. He ‘replicated’ the world and delivered a worthy addition, continuing to blaze the path laid in the 80s with an entirely engaging portrayal of the heart of AI.
Introspective and action packed, this kind of ‘blockbuster’ entertainment is rare. Enjoyable on every level – from the spectacle, to the wonder. The pacing is tight. The mystery is intriguing with twists that surprise. The relationships work. Dark yet filled with light.
THE DISASTER ARTIST / GET OUT / SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING / MOTHER! / BABY DRIVER / DETROIT / WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES / WONDER WOMAN / CALL ME BY YOUR NAME / LAST FLAG FLYING
NOTABLE FILMS I NEED TO SEE
THOR: RAGNAROK / THE SHAPE OF WATER / WIND RIVER / MOLLY’S GAME / RAW / THE POST / COCO / THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER / THE BIG SICK / THE DARKEST HOUR / ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD