20 Best Films of 2017
2017 was an admittedly strong year for movies, both in theaters and on streaming services like Netflix. It was a year that brought us movies called "Logan," "Lucky" and "Logan Lucky," as well as "Wonder Woman," "Wonder Wheel" and just plain old "Wonder."
Despite the similar titles, this year's batch of films couldn't be more different. There are some notable films left off of this (like "Call Me By Your Name" and "The Shape of Water") that are earning all sorts of year-end buzz, but it's no mistake...Even though these might be worthy films, the top 20 was just too strong to crack into ("Coco," for example was the best animated film of the year, but in a weak overall year for animation, it didn't make the cut).
2017 will be remembered not just for the shake-up of the power structure at the top, but for the renaissance of women filmmakers. Patty Jenkins helmed the biggest Summer blockbuster ("Wonder Woman") and six female filmmakers made this list...yes, that may not be nearly enough, but if you consider that a year or two ago most movie-goers could maybe only name one female director (Kathryn Bigelow), this year definitely marks a major turning point for women in film.
So without further ado, here are the best films of 2017:
20. "Phantom Thread"
18. "The Zookeeper's Wife" (read the review)
17. "The Post"
16. "The Disaster Artist" (read the review)
15. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (read the review)
13. "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri" (read the review)
12. "War for the Planet of the Apes" (read the review)
11. "Lady Bird"
10. "Lucky" (Read the review).
It's Harry Dean Stanton's last performance and it's one of the most haunting films of the year. It's also the first directorial effort from character actor John Carroll Lynch, who manages to shine light on an ordinary man in the most extraordinary sort of ways. It's simply unforgettable.
9. "Beach Rats" (Read the review).
Harris Dickinson gives the best performance that no one saw this year, as a gay teenager struggling to find himself. This movie is every bit as powerful and riveting as "Moonlight" was last year, and that movie went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. It's written and directed by Eliza Hittman, and it's a claustrophobic, gritty film that deserves much more praise than it's been getting. Seek it out.
8. "Mudbound" (Read the review).
It's easily the best Netflix film to ever be released up until now and tells a story of a black family bound to a white family over their shared land. It's an epic and beautifully rendered movie and features one of the best ensembles of the year. It definitely re-defines the home streaming platform and shows that the future of On Demand movies won't be limited to comedies or smaller, lesser films.
7. "mother!" (Read the review).
It's definitely one of the most divisive films of 2017, but "mother!" is undeniably one of the most original and courageous movies of the year. Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan," "The Wrestler") has created a masterpiece that isn't easily explained, and some may find this to be a pretentious piece of horror-fantasy. But this is a movie made for an intellectual mind, and Jennifer Lawrence is nothing short of spectacular.
6. "The Oath" (Read the review).
From Icelandic writer/director and star, Baltasar Kormakur, comes one of the best films and screenplays of 2017. It's a story about a father and a troubled daughter, and the lengths he would go to save her from a terrible life. It doesn't offer any easy answers and is one of the most gripping pieces of cinema you'll see.
5. "Blade Runner 2049" (Read the review).
It's the most visually spectacular film of 2017 and a well-crafted follow-up to a cult-classic film. Director Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival," "Sicario," "Enemy") and legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins team up and create an instant-classic sci-fi movie that not only matches the original but expands upon its possibilities.
4. "Wind River"
"Wind River" has sort of been lost in the shuffle this awards season, mainly due to the fact that the film was originally financed and distributed by The Weinstein Company. Scrubbing that name from the film took time, but those that saw "Wind River" know that it is among the best films of the year, due in large part to Taylor Sheridan, who wrote and directed it. Sheridan has made a name for himself as one of the best screenwriters going, after penning "Hell or High Water" and "Sicario" in recent years.
3. "The Florida Project" (Read the review).
It just was named Best Picture and Best Director by the Detroit Film Critics Society and is one of the front-runners in a crowded race this year, and it's all well-deserved praise. "The Florida Project" is one of those films that will stick with you far after watching it, a movie that feels more like you're dropping in on real people. Willem Dafoe is most definitely going to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and director Sean Baker shows that he is one of the best up-and-coming filmmakers working in the shadows of the Magical Kingdom they call Hollywood.
2. "The Big Sick"
Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan star in what is easily the funniest film of 2017. It's directed by "The State" alum, Michael Showalter, who crafted the great "Hello, My Name is Doris" last year. It's a poignant, meaningful and very funny romantic comedy like none other, bolstered by strong supporting performances by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. Every time you think of "The Big Sick," it makes you want to watch it again just to be around these characters for a little bit longer.
(Read the review).
It came out early in the year, but it was the film that all other films were measured against. Some critics may feel that a comic book movie is "underneath" them, but "Logan" is not just the best comic book movie ever made, it's the best film of 2017, period. Hugh Jackman does not get enough credit for creating one of the most iconic screen characters of all-time, and in "Logan," he is at his emotional best. Patrick Stewart and newcomer Dafne Keen add to the mix in a film that mixes the American Western with the comic book genre. Comic book movies - in large part thanks to Marvel - have become universe-building parts of a greater whole, designed to sell toys and further their franchises into the future. With "Logan," we see that a comic book movie can carry with it adult themes, and is obvious as this sounds to any real comic book collector, the wider audience at large may just be catching on. It's more than dropping "f-bombs," it's the idea that "Logan" takes the hottest movie genre going (comic book movies) and shows us what is possible. It's a self-contained story, it's complex and every frame of it is worth marveling over. "Logan" is the best film of 2017.
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