2017 has officially come to a close and it was yet another great year for movies that offered up some incredible films despite some disappointments and stinkers pushing through. This wasn’t an easy list to compile as there are a number of films that I’d have loved to be in the top 10 but just barely missed out because something was just a tad better. But all of the films that did make it are incredible and whether through quality or enjoyment have become my favourite films of the year.
Now first I want to mention that despite what this list says is #1 the real best film of 2017 is Twin Peaks: The Return. It is the most cinematic product ever bought to TV where from a storytelling perspective and a technical perspective it is planned and executed better than any other film released in 2017. David Lynch has created an 18 hour masterpiece that will influence the future of TV and eventually push it in a more high-concept cinematic direction. The reason why I chose to exclude it from this list is that although it does play out like a film and I do consider it to be a film, the structure of its release is very much in the form of a TV series so that’s why I am still limiting it to my Best TV of 2017 list.
So as I wanted to keep this list capped at 10 there are a few films that just missed out but I still feel like they should be highlighted here, so here goes. Coco is undoubtedly the best animated film of the year with a truly emotional story and stunning animation. John Wick: Chapter 2 is an awesome followup to the first film and it features some of the best action scenes of the year in what is a fast-paced ass kicking ride. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a fantastic Star Wars film with many awesome elements to it, however I do have some issues with it that unfortunately push it out of the top 10. The Killing of a Sacred Deer features some incredible cinematography and compelling dialogue in what is a deeply unsettling and horrifying psychological thriller. Baby Driver came out of nowhere this year and was a tonne of fun from start to finish. The way the action is shot is exquisite, the way music plays a part is handled exceptionally well, and Ansel Elgort is awesome in the lead role. Lastly I want to highlight M. Night Shyamalan’s Split which I saw way back at the beginning of the year and really enjoyed. But when watching this after Unbreakable (2000) it adds another layer of enjoyment to it that I never expected.
#10 – Thor: Ragnarok
When Taika Waititi was announced to be helming a Thor sequel many people did not know what to think as his style of comedic filmmaking evident in What We Do in the Shadows (2014) is very different to the previous Thor entries. But his take on the character of Thor was absolutely fantastic and he made the best film in the Thor franchise by a mile. Visually it was absolutely incredible with vibrant colours lighting up the screen in almost every scene. The humour was on point the entire time with characters such as Korg providing some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. The villain Hela played by Cate Blanchett is one of the best the MCU has seen and the inclusion of The Hulk made for a number of thoroughly enjoyable scenes with Thor, Loki and Valkyrie.
Check out my review for Thor: Ragnarok here.
Check out my SPOILER review for Thor: Ragnarok here.
#9 – Logan
This placement on the list could not have been more perfect as when you move from one superhero film in Thor: Ragnarok to Logan the contrast in their style and tone could not be more evident. Logan took a much more brutal and grounded approach to a superhero film than we have ever seen before. It’s a very personal story focusing on the character of Logan and is less about the impending destruction of the world than it is about mortality and survival. James Mangold redeemed himself after the disaster that was The Wolverine (2013) and made a truly emotional film about a guy who has lived through a tonne of shit and is dealing with the thought of death, a concept he hasn’t had to worry about his entire life. Hugh Jackman puts in the performance of his career and the young Dafne Keen is absolutely astounding alongside him in her feature film debut.
Check out my review for Logan here.
#8 – A Ghost Story
A Ghost Story is a phenomenal romantic drama and by far the most deeply moving film of the year. It explores themes around life, death, acceptance, moving on, and will probably emotionally break you by the time the credits roll. It is phenomenally shot and the score adds an immense amount of weight to every scene. The pacing is very slow and for all the right reasons as it builds tension and emotion towards a meaningful finale. Rooney Mara is incredible in every moment conveying plenty of emotion through very little to no dialogue. This entire movie can be summarised by one scene early in the film where we watch Rooney Mara eat an entire pie in real time in one unbroken shot and it’s perfect.
Check out my review for A Ghost Story here.
#7 – Get Out
Who knew that Jordan Peele (one half of comedy duo Key and Peele) had it in him to write and direct a very deep and multi-layered horror, mystery, thriller, comedy with loads of Oscar potential. This movie is phenomenal and a perfect blend of horror, mystery, and some comedy from beginning to end. On first viewing I thought this was amazing, on second viewing I realised just how deep this film goes with all of the metaphors and allusions, then on third viewing and beyond it remains just as (if not more) enjoyable than the first time I watched it. It is amazingly written to where every small detail feels purposely implanted by Peele creating many interesting connections from scene to scene, and the dialogue is equally as compelling. The performances from Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, and also Lakeith Stanfield are riveting and sell the mystery side of things very well. Definitely check this movie out if you haven’t as it’s all kinds of amazing.
Check out my review for Get Out here.
#6 – Gerald’s Game
2017 was the year of Stephen King adaptations with four films and two tv series’ all coming from Stephen King properties. And coming in at #6 we have by far the most thrilling, unsettling, and truly disturbing King adaptation of the year with Gerald’s Game. The less you know going into this film the better, all you need to know is that Jessie (Carla Gugino) is tied to her bed and when her husband Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) suffers a heart attack she is alone and must find a way out before she eventually dies. This movie gripped me early on and didn’t let go right up until the climax, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time as the high amount of tension had me horrified and at times literally frozen. This movie has some utterly disturbing content in it so for some it may be too much, but the performances, stunning cinematography, and thrillingly unpredictable plot has bought me back to it three times since I first saw it.
Check out my review for Gerald’s Game here.
Check out my SPOILER review for Gerald’s Game here.
#5 – The Disaster Artist
Who knew that the creation of one of the worst movies ever made in Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003) would eventually lead to one of the best movies of 2017 in James Franco’s The Disaster Artist. I honestly did not know which direction this film was going to head in, it would have been very easy for Franco to make a silly spoof comedy purely making fun of Wiseau’s ‘magnum opus’, but the fact that he didn’t do that I loved. Yes it has its moments where it most certainly pokes fun at the utter ridiculousness of The Room and what went on behind the scenes but there is also an impressively well executed human element to it that strives to tell Wiseau’s journey as best as it can. This is one of the most thoroughly entertaining movies of the year as I was laughing regularly from the opening scene right to the closing moments. James Franco absolutely nails the humour and disappears into the role of Tommy Wiseau where everything from the accent to the small mannerisms perfectly emulated Wiseau. I would certainly put Franco up there for the best actor Oscar for this film because he is incredible.
As I mentioned, it isn’t just the comedy that is incredible here, the telling of the story of how this movie got made is actually genuinely interesting and a great behind the scenes Hollywood story. The way it looks at Wiseau as a person and not just the guy who butchered a movie into success is fantastic and made this movie a lot better than it could have been.
Check out my review for The Disaster Artist here.
#4 – War for the Planet of the Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was my favourite movie of 2014 and is in my top 10 favourite movies of all time, so to say I was pumped for this sequel is an understatement. Now this movie was never going to exceed its predecessor but it very much lived up to almost every expectation I had for it going in and I loved every damn second of it. It closes out this three-film arc in an incredible way with a big finale and many unpredictable moments sprinkled throughout. The action is fast paced, explosive, and thrilling and the fact that you care for every single one of these apes helps increase the dramatic tension in a number of sequences. The performances are beyond incredible and Andy Serkis proves here again why he is one of the best actors in the business because of how much life and humanity he can bring to an ape. It’s a long 2 hour and 20 minute film that doesn’t overstay its welcome with an emotional plot that ticks all the boxes I wanted the sequel to cover. Matt Reeves closes out the Apes trilogy in an epic way cementing this trilogy as one of the greatest of all time.
Check out my review for War for the Planet of the Apes here.
Check out my SPOILER review for War for the Planet of the Apes here.
#3 – Dunkirk
Dunkirk is a war movie unlike any other war movie I have ever seen before. It utilises a unique stance on storytelling that engages you early on and keeps you invested through every intense moment. Everything that went into this movie from a technical and narrative standpoint is executed phenomenally and all combined incredibly by master director Christopher Nolan. The sound design especially is enthralling and places you in the shoes of these soldiers who are under the constant threat of death without a second to breathe. The movie doesn’t let you stop to take a breath between intense sequences because it never lets up even when there is no action taking place. There is a sense of desperation surrounding every moment and it’s a great representation of what it would have been like on that beach.
Check out my review for Dunkirk here.
#2 – IT
I had expectations for It….. I had high expectations for It….. yet it still managed to blow me away with how it exceeded basically all of my expectations to create a phenomenal Stephen King adaptation. I have seen It a number of times and it is still just as incredible, fun, hilarious, and chilling as the first time I watched it. Andy Muschietti has done a fantastic job at creating a horror film that utilises a more atmospheric approach to horror as oppose to jump-scares and managed to incorporate a tonne of laugh out loud comedic moments that don’t clash with the horror tone at all. But what astounded me most about this film isn’t all of the horror sequences, it’s the coming of age film that is front and center with the group of kids, all of whom I absolutely adored watching. The chemistry between all of the kids is rich and I didn’t for a single second doubt the fact that they were all friends. Watching them bond and come together to defeat a common threat was thoroughly entertaining and the comedic timing from all of the kids was absolutely on point. Bill Skarsgard is terrifying as the infamous Pennywise and does an awesome job at making the character his own, distancing himself from the also fantastic Tim Curry version. I adored everything about this movie and I will continue to watch it and adore it even more.
Check out my review for IT here.
#1 – Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner: 2049 is my clear winner for the best movie of 2017 because this film blew me away with just how fucking incredible it was. Denis Villeneuve is one of the greatest directors working today and he proves this point once again with what is hands down his quintessential Sci-Fi masterpiece. Every second of this movie is phenomenal, every frame is awe-inspiring, every performance is riveting, the score is heart-pounding, the plot is thrilling, and there is nothing about this movie that misses the mark. It builds on what was introduced in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) in terms of the world and its inhabitants, and goes deeper into the themes Scott introduced such as life, death, and humanity. From Roger Deakins’ cinematography to Hans Zimmer’s score every element is meticulously crafted to work together and form a product that is award worthy in so many Oscar categories it would win most of them by my books. Ryan Gosling is mesmerising in the lead role as K, Jared Leto is endlessly captivating as Niander Wallace, and Harrison Ford still has a strong grip on the character of Rick Deckard who may or may not be a replicant. This film will continue to be one I revisit multiple times in the future and is one no-one who is a Sci-Fi fan should skip as you’d be missing out on a literal masterpiece.