With another year in the history books, it’s time to look back at 2017’s film offerings. We had plenty of movies from acclaimed directors who clearly hadn't lost their touch, including Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. There were also surprise hits from first-time directors (Jordan Peele's Get Out), unexpected returns (M. Night Shyamalan with Split), and even some excellent, long-gestating sequels that no one had requested (Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049).
We also saw a few bad, but entertaining movies (Fate of the Furious), but there’s no point in naming them here. And, of course, there’s room for a superhero flick on this list"¦
Read on for our Top 10 Movies of 2017!
War for the Planet of the Apes
Directed by Matt Reeves (now tasked with reinventing the DC Extended Universe’s Batman), War for the Planet of the Apes was our last opportunity to be delighted by Andy Serkis’ portrayal of Caesar, whose story ended with this movie. In addition, we finally learned how the Planet of the Apes came to be and how humans became the incoherent mammals we saw in the Charlton Heston movie of 1968.
To be clear, War isn't a perfect movie, and its villain is its biggest problem. However, it neatly ties up all loose ends and paves the way for additional characters in new Planet of the Apes films.
Plus – and we believe that everyone will agree – Andy Serkis' portrayal of Caesar blew us away! The actor conveyed so many emotions, even when he only used his eyes to do so. War for the Planet of the Apes wasn't among the highest grossing movies of the year - but it was certainly one of the best!
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
After seeing Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, we were convinced that writer/director Martin McDonagh had to be high on many major studios’ wishlists. He made his debut with 2008’s brilliant In Bruges, and followed up with 2012’s Seven Psychopaths. His blend of black comedy and drama is consistently stunning.
Three Billboards tells the story of a mother (the always amazing Frances McDormand) who takes matters into her own hands when the police can’t find her daughter's killer. But this isn't a revenge movie. The mother posts three billboards directed at the chief of police (Woody Harrelson) just outside of her hometown, and in the process turns the police force and townspeople against her.
McDormand and Harrelson received every possible accolade for their performances, but Sam Rockwell is the movie’s real MVP as thea rather inept, immature officer who does his best to remove the offending billboards.
If you enjoyed In Bruges, you’ll agree that Three Billboards is a more mature work with even better characters, a better story, and even more unexpected twists and turns. With all of this, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri more than deserves a place on this list.
The Disaster Artist
Who would have thought that a movie about the worst movie of all time would be such a hit? With James Franco as its mastermind (director, star, and producer), we believed that The Disaster Artist would be yet another James Franco Film that no one would see.
But we were wrong! Apparently, everybody loved The Disaster Artist! As you may have guessed, it was all because of Franco, who managed to tell a story about how the process of film creation works. So it wasn't just another comedy with Seth Rogen; it was a genuine piece of art about art that displayed the deepest of emotions.
Apparently, there’s more to The Room than the eye can see.
As a comparison, The Disaster Artist (a movie about the worst movie ever) is just as good as Ed Wood, Tim Burton's masterpiece about the worst director ever. Give both of these movies a try - you won't be disappointed.
Wind River came out of nowhere, especially if we look at its director, whose 2011 debut was a typical torture/porn film. Don't expect Wind River to be anything like that, though. It’s a thriller with limited action, but plenty of soul.
Depicting the aftermath of a girl's death, Wind River sent the same shivers down the spine as Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. In addition to exploring the psyches of its main characters, it showed what it means to live on the border, where unforgiving, perpetual winter is the only thing that brings isolated communities together.
The writer/director's intentions became clear as the film progressed. While some who reduced it to just another film about a white savior might have been offended, we believe that the majority saw Wind River as it was intended. That is, with such a backdrop, did color really exist?
We have to add that we’d like to see more of Jeremy Renner in the future, and in movies outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has to be one of his generation’s most underrated actors.
One thing is certain: mother! was one of 2017’s most creatively ambitious movies. Coming from the twisted mind of Darren Aronofsky, mother! starred Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer, and was one of the year’s most talked about and divisive films (even more so than Justice League).
What was the movie about? Well, it was pretty explicit about the person who creates, the act of creation, and ultimately about creativity in itself. From this point of view, mother! was as honest as a movie could get.
Aronofsky could have been a bit more subtle with his dialogue, symbolism, and metaphors. But the apparent chaos he created ultimately underlined the movie’s theme. If The Disaster Artist presented creativity from a comedic point of view, mother! went an entirely different route by showing that it’s a never-ending process that involves making repetitive errors, requires great sacrifice, and isn’t likely to be appreciated for its true merits.
Like Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, mother! might bore some viewers, but others will see it as a highly rewarding film.
Stephen King dominated 2017, and while some of the movies failed from all points of view (Dark Tower), others exceeded all expectations. It was a complete success, almost universally loved by critics and amassing almost $700 million worldwide on a budget of just $35 million. So we’re obviously looking forward to the sequel!
And the sequel will come in 2019. It will provide some background for Pennywise and then conclude his story.
The first installment gave horror fans all they could ask for in a genre film. But the movie was much more than that; it was also one of the best coming-of-age stories in recent years. The movie’s success may have hinged on that; it isn’t terribly scary, and it also falls behind Lady Bird (another good one to check out).
The cast was excellent, and Sophia Lillis was the best of the lot as Beverly. Additionally, Bill SkarsgÃ¥rd gave us a Pennywise who was actually creepier than Tim Curry's version of the same character.
Logan is the only superhero movie on this list, and for good reason. If you had no knowledge of the X-Men, it wouldn’t have mattered, because you wouldn't have known that it was a superhero film. The final outing for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart as Wolverine and Professor X, respectively, Logan was to the X-Men movies what Unforgiven was to Clint Eastwood movies: the very peak.
It’s a drama, a thriller, a coming-of-age story, a western, and more. James Mangold freed himself from the burden of making a movie within a shared universe, and created something new that stood well above past X-Men movies.
And to top it all off, Logan was rated R, as every movie that featured this character should have been. It was violent, of course, but the drama between the characters was the focus, and the various characters’ feelings of despair and hope were what drove it.
Finally, Dafne Keen stole our hearts as Laura! We’re hoping that Disney gives her the solo movie she deserves.
Get Out opens our Top Three Movies of 2017. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut surprised everybody when it hit the theaters in February. Nobody would have thought that the comedian could give us one of the best horror/comedies in recent years, a movie that served as a social critique of the present day.
Get Out revolved around the experience of meeting the girlfriend's parents when in an interracial relationship. Come to think of it, only a comedian could have succeeded in squeezing so much from such a premise.
With a budget of just $4.5 million, Jordan Peele's Get Out took in $254 million worldwide. We're looking forward to his next movie!
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water was the director's best movie since Pan's Labyrinth and our second-favorite movie of 2017. We included it because we believe that del Toro's best at directing smaller, more intimate stories, rather than major blockbusters.
At its core, The Shape of Water was a love story (similar to Beauty and the Beast, perhaps), but everyone could appreciate it as a monster movie with a human monster, a classic fairy tale with horror movie accents, and a visual spectacle.
The cast was excellent. Michael Shannon was perfect as the human-monster main antagonist, and a prosthetics-clad Doug Jones did an amazing job as the amphibian man. But ultimately, Sally Hawkins carried the film as the mute janitor who befriended the Asset and fell in love with it at the end.
The Shape of Water is definitely a must-see movie!
Blade Runner 2049
As fans of the original Blade Runner, we found the mere thought of a sequel a bit revolting. We didn't need answers, because the mystery of the original film was what had attracted us in the first place. The first good sign related to Blade Runner 2049 was the announcement that Denis Villeneuve would direct. Given his previous films, 2049 might be worth a shot.
Having seen it on several occasions, it was more than worth it. Blade Runner 2049 didn't spoil any of the mystery of the 1982 installment. It created new, even deeper questions.
Everything worked. Each scene fit into the story as if it were a puzzle piece. Unlike other movies on this list, every shot in Blade Runner 2049 was essential to the plot. The movie was quite long, but every aspect was assembled with extreme precision (so, no director, ultimate, or definitive cut).
Like the first installment, Blade Runner 2049 was a flop at the box office, but do the numbers really matter? We believe that they don't. And again, we don't want a sequel that could ruin it for us.