My Top 10 movies of 2017, with the usual two extras thrown in for good measure. My criteria for a 2017 movie is any non-reparatory film I saw in 2017 that was new to me and had a theatrical release. That means this list may include a film that was technically released in 2016 or only played at a film festival in 2017.
1. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES – A visually stunning movie that manages to transcend the CGI barrier and make you forget that the characters you’re watching are entirely computer generated. And you care deeply about them. Quite an achievement for any movie, but for the third film in a sci-fi blockbuster/tentpole trilogy? Amazing.
2. THELMA – The kind of movie I love discovering at film festivals. I’ve continued to think about this film ever since seeing it at Fantastic Fest.
3. LOGAN – This is everything I kept thinking a superhero movie could be if the studios would just embrace standalone one-off storytelling without worry of continuity or any stupid canon bullshit. As much as I enjoy the MCU, LOGAN shows what you can do when unfettered.
4. DUNKIRK – From an audiovisual standpoint, easily the most stunning experience I’ve ever had in a movie theater. I don’t think I breathed until the movie was done. It manages to sustain a level of tension throughout that is so rare I can’t even think of another example to compare it with.
5. HAGAZUSSA – A slow, foreboding, sinister student film that was one of the best films at Fantastic Fest this year.
6. THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER – I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed by Lanthimos, and I wasn’t. A horribly uncomfortable, darkly funny film that makes you feel guilty for any pleasure you derive out of watching. Loved it.
7. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI – Tonia and I got to catch this at the new Lakeline Drafthouse in Denver. Great acting from the entire cast but Frances McDormand is brilliant and deserves a Best Actress Oscar, hands down.
8. LOWLIFE – This one came out of nowhere for me. One of the best things I saw at Cinepocalypse. It deserves a wider audience. Not sure if it played in theaters outside of TIFF and Cinepocalypse.
9. GOOD TIME – Rob Pattinson once again proving he’s fast becoming one of the best actors of his generation. Sadly I didn’t see this in the theater.
10. HOUSEWIFE – Not for everyone but I REALLY dug this throwback to ‘70s era erotic cult films. Totally hit all my buttons.
11. A GHOST STORY – Touching, elegiac portrayal of time and loss that transcends the characters (and actors) involved. I loved it but honestly shocked so many others did as well.
12. THE BIG SICK – Missed at theaters but loved this. I don’t often watch romantic comedies but this one was so heartfelt and well-written.
Some other movies that deserve a mention include REVENGE, a great female-directed rape-revenge thriller, and BEYOND SKYLINE. I REALLY wanted to find a way to fit SKYLINE into my top 10 but I couldn’t do it. It’s a totally nuts sequel to a movie many hated that shouldn’t even exist! But it’s a lot of fun to watch if you just let yourself enjoy it.
This was a pretty good year for film even though I only attended two film festivals: Fantastic Fest for the fifth year; and the inaugural year of Cinepocalypse in Chicago. For the first time in a while I skipped Denver International Film Festival, mainly because it mostly overlapped with Cinepocalypse. I still miss Stanley Film Festival and Mile High Horror Film Fest, both lost to time at this point.
It was also a weird year in that it was the first year with a completed home theater. It fundamentally changed how I watch movies, in that I definitely spend more time at home rather than going to movie theaters.
I also participated in two online film classes: one on Hong Kong cinema and the other on Hitchcock. Both led me to explore a lot of movies I wouldn’t have watched otherwise. I especially went down a Bruce Lee/Hitchcock rabbit hole and bought a ton of Blu-rays of both (which triggered me just buying a lot of Blus in general).
|1||War for the Planet of the Apes||Matt Reeves||2017|
|6||The Killing of a Sacred Deer||Yorgos Lanthimos||2017|
|7||Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri||Martin McDonagh||2017|
|9||Good Time||Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie||2017|
|11||A Ghost Story||David Lowery||2017|
|12||The Big Sick||Michael Showalter||2017|