When I was composing my lists for the best of 2017 I arrogantly thought that movies would be the easiest to make up. On the whole, 2017 wasn’t really a banner year for cinema. There were a number of big releases that hit and had staying power but it seemed that the majority of films that were released this year kind of came and went. A little bit of hype and then poof gone before you even noticed. I think part of that has to do with the rising costs of going to the theater, honestly, it should not cost me half my rent to go to the movies. I think the other part is that the product has kind of diminished. We’re sort of living in a world where it’s either a blockbuster movie or an award-bait movie with very little in between. Some of these films are can’t miss, anything Marvel puts out or Star Wars, while others are “I’ll wait till it’s on demand”, and that mentality has kind of hurt the box office.
I used to go to the movies all the time and nowadays I only go when it’s one of those can’t miss blockbuster movies. If there is a chance that the internet could spoil the film then I’m seeing it as soon as possible. That’s been my philosophy when it comes to watching movies in the theater nowadays. I miss those days where I’d randomly go and see something like The Wrestler or Captain Philips because I was excited about award season. Now I just wait till it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg which means a number of really great films don’t get viewed by me. It’s a bummer.
None of this really has anything to do with the difficulty I had of comprising my “Best of 2017” list because as I started to sketch things out I noticed I saw some really good movies this year. How the hell was I going to put them on a list of just five? It didn’t seem like it was plausible, and guess what, I was right. There was no way I could make a list of my five favorite films, so instead, I’m doing a list of my seven favorite films. I’m sure you’re wondering why not just go the extra three spots and make it a top ten list, but I’m sticking with my seven. It’s a great number and I’ve got to keep you guys on your toes.
So, with all that out of the way, here are my top seven films of 2017. Starting with…
7. War for the Planet of the Apes- What a beautiful, beautiful film. Completly breathtaking. I honestly don’t understand why we don’t talk about this trilogy of movies more as the Planet of the Apes prequels have all been masterful. War starts off as the best western I’ve seen in quite some time, driven by gorgeous landscapes and cinematography and the emotions. Not a whole lot of dialogue in the first half of the film and it allows the emotion of our characters to really shine. The second half is the “war” from the title but it’s not just a physical war. It’s the war of emotions, of not compromising your values while trying to do what needs to be done. War is a gorgeous film that is both impactful and moving. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. This isn’t a movie about monkeys with machine guns, all though there’s that too, it’s a movie about soul and family and preservation. Andy Serkis is a genius and the fact that the Academy doesn’t recognize motion capture performances as acting is criminal. A fantastic ending to these movies.
6. Get Out- Get Out was the best audience experience I had at the movies all year. There is something about watching an excellent horror movie with a crowd of people who are into it. It’s one of those situations where everyone kind of acknowledges there on this ride together. Geeklings, this crowd was into it. There were screams, giggles, and applause all throughout the movie and it helped me realize just how tense things had been. Get Out is one of those movies where you don’t notice you’ve stopped breathing until the tension breaks and you’re suddenly dizzy. Jordan Peele has created a completely unique type of horror film that has echoes of Hitchcock but focuses hard on social commentary, Get Out clearly has something profound to say, and characters you easily invest in. I can’t wait to see what Peele does as a follow-up, and while Daniel Kaluuya is easily the break out star of the film I couldn’t help but think Allison Williams really shines here.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2– I’ve already written my Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 review but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to say a little something about it here. Where’s the fun in that?! Of all the superhero movies to be released this year I felt that Guardians was the most ambitious and rooted itself in genuine emotion. Just think of that last shot of the movie. I mean, dear god man. Guardians Vol. 2 gave us the heroes from the first film and showed us that they’re still flawed and still dealing with inner conflict. Whether it’s a father figure, having a family, being accepted, or moving on Guardians Vol. 2 goes to some real deep places. James Gunn is so in tune with these characters and this universe that you could easily spend all day watching their adventures, but he also gives us a Marvel film with consequence. There are ramifications to our characters actions and Guardians doesn’t shy away from that. Looking past the adorableness of Baby Groot you can see that Guardians Vol. 2 is a beautiful film filled with heart.
4. Star Wars The Last Jedi– I know that The Last Jedi has been out now for two and a half weeks and I still haven’t written a review about it, and it’s not because I don’t want to. It’s because I’m still processing it. Digesting. The Last Jedi is different than any other Star Wars movie that I’ve ever seen. It’s ambitious and daring in new ways, willing to do things that weren’t the norm, taking this long-standing universe and sort of turning it on its head. We were given answers to long-standing questions and while they may not have been popular it didn’t stop them from being impactful or important. The nostalgia of the original trilogy was acknowledged but it also seemed like the galaxy far, far away is starting to transition away from the old guard as these stories become their own entity. The Last Jedi sort of frees itself from the original films, allowing old and new trilogies to exist on their own something the prequels could never do, and opens the door for future films to grow and expand this franchise. The Last Jedi isn’t Empire Strikes Back but it is almost as important. I laughed, I cried, and I left the theater filled with excitement. Excitement for what I’d seen and excitement for what’s to come.
3. Spider-Man Homecoming- Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero, ever since I was a kid running around trying to shoot webs from my wrist, but it wasn’t until Homecoming that I saw the Spider-Man movie I’d been waiting thirty-six years for. Homecoming could have easily been just another Spider-Man movie but instead, we were given something different. Something genuine and refreshing. A Spider-Man movie not burdened by the “great power comes great responsibility” monicker but a coming of age story of a teenage boy who is given this incredible gift and how he tries to balance it around school, family, and friends. We got a genuinely warm/funny/adventurous movie that was filled with all those John Hughes feels as we watched Peter Parker wrestle with the “great power…” opposed to being told about it. Homecoming gave us a complex villain who was a family man thrust into a situation where he was out of options. Most of all, Homecoming brought Spider-Man home to the MCU and provided me the big screen Spidey of my dreams. Tom Holland is perfect in the role as his balance between Parker and Spider-Man is effortless and natural. This is the Spider-Man we deserve.
2. It- Outside of Tim Curry’s iconic performance, there’s not much to take away from the original It miniseries. The long and the short of it is, it’s not very good or loyal to the book. We had to wait twenty-seven years but we finally got the It movie that not only did justice to the novel but to the horror genre. It is terrifying… but it’s also a crazy amount of fun. While it would have been easy to put Pennywise all over the place, director Andy Muschietti instead relies on the true power of the story… the Losers. It works so well because the performance of these child actors are so genuine and real that you can’t help but feel that you’re a part of the Losers Club. For a movie that is aimed at scaring the shit out of you, It has a number of laugh out loud moments balanced by those heartwarming coming of age feels. Pennywise is so freakin’ scary because we don’t want anything to happen to these kids… that and the fact he’s a clown who lives in the sewers. The film is shot perfectly as the transitions from normal everyday existence to creepy killer clown scenarios move swiftly and effortlessly. It rung those nostalgia bells as I longed for the days of bike riding and hanging out with friends and getting into adventures, much in the same way Stranger Things has done. Derry is in good hands here.
1. Logan- What can I possibly say about Logan that I haven’t already said? When I was making this list I kept putting movies ahead of Logan and none of them seemed right. Logan was a class of its own. An unapologetic film about a flawed “hero” in a world that’s moved on. Logan is harsh and brutal and heartbreaking and it’s beautiful. There’s a great deal of hope and love between all the blood and eff bombs. Hope that the future can be better and that new generations can learn from the mistakes from those before them. Logan is about finding peace and finally moving on and accepting life. I’ve given it time to digest and I think Logan is seriously one of the best superhero films… ever. Top three. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give bold and epic performances that both break your heart and leave you breathless. Logan is the send off this character deserves and my favorite movie of the year.
There you have it Geeklings, here is my top seven movies of 2017. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? Sound off in the comments below or you can find me on Twitter @iamgeek32. Feel free to share your top seven films and we can compare notes. There were a number of films that I left off that easily could have made the list like Dunkirk and Wonder Woman but at the end of the day these were the films that resonated the most with me. How about you?
Images from New Line Cinema, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Marvel Studios, Sony, and Disney