2017 was such a great year at the movies, that I’ve decided to add 7 movies in what would usually be my Top 10 list.
Let’s begin with The Honorable Seven
17.) “The Florida Project”
Director Sean Baker’s portrait of the outside world of Disney World is a provocative experience, complete with a fine cast of newcomers, including a familiar face-Willem Dafoe.
16.) “War for the Planet of the Apes”
It’s one of the best conclusions of any movie trilogy, thanks to Matt Reeves’ direction and the performances from Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson.
15.) “Get Out”
Writer/director Jordan Peele gives us a chilling view of racism in the modern era. I’ve learned to appreciate it more for what it is, and the last half hour is thrilling.
14.) “Darkest Hour”
Gary Oldman deserves the Oscar, or at least a Golden Globe, for his performance as Winston Churchill.
13.) “Call Me By Your Name”
Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet play one of the best gay dreamers I’ve ever seen in this lovely film set in Italy of 1983. This you have to watch with an Italian meal.
12.) “Thor Ragnarok”
This is the funniest and most entertaining of the three “Thor” movies, in the tradition of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” In fact, I can’t wait till Chris Hemsworth’s Thor meets them in “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Kathryn Bigelow has crafted another masterpiece, this one focusing on the Algiers Motel Incident during the Detroit riots of 1967. It’s a shame it wasn’t a box office hit, because John Boyega, Will Poulter, and Algee Smith were all gripping.
And now, The Ten Best of the Best
10.) “Baby Driver”
This is a wildly entertaining action movie with Ansel Elgort perfectly cast as a young getaway car driver with great taste in music. Director Edgar Wright has outdone himself by allowing the soundtrack to travel with the action sequences.
Hugh Jackman puts his claws away as his famed mutant character Wolverine in one of the best “X-Men” movies ever. It’s not only a gripping conclusion, but its R-rating allows the audience to see the true colors of it all. Ow!
8.) “Lady Bird”
Greta Gerwig has outdone herself by writing and directing a coming-of-age movie about an independent girl with strong ambitions. And she casts Saoirse Ronan as the girl and Laurie Metcalf as the mother very well.
It’s very rare for me to give a horror movie my best rating these days, because most of them rely on jump-scares and bad acting to sell tickets, but given the pure Stephen King movie magic that ranks with “The Shining, “It” was scary in every way possible.
6.) “Wind River”
I’m starting to like Taylor Sheridan for writing such films as “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water.” This year, he directed Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen in this gorgeously filmed and wonderfully written thriller. The best thing about the movie is the execution.
5.) “Blade Runner 2049”
This long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic Sci-Fi thriller honors the intelligence with the images of the futuristic LA, a challenging story, and Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford with great roles. It’s very rare to find a sequel so patient, and this is one of them.
4.) “The Shape of Water”
Guillermo del Toro’s latest masterpiece is really something to see. It’s the imaginative story of Sally Hawkins as a mute woman falling for a sea creature in a government laboratory during the Cold War, and communicates with it through sign language. Strange as it may seem, it’s actually beautiful.
Christopher Nolan’s next masterpiece focuses on The Dunkirk evacuation during WWII, and he cuts back on the dialogue to focus on the number one priority: getting the soldiers home safely. I saw it twice for its beautiful scenery, strong emotions, and pure realism. This is one of the best war movies, period.
2.) “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Director Martin McDonagh’s latest dark comedy was the funniest and most heartwarming movie of the year. Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell are all perfect, and beneath the violence and cursing, this was sympathetic and gripping on all accounts.
It was a finalist for the best, until another took the crown.
1.) “The Post”
Steven Spielberg’s latest non-visual masterpiece focuses on the Pentagon Papers regarding lies about the Vietnam War. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks play the people, who knew the risks of publishing them in the Washington Post, and yet went ahead and did it anyway. Hearing all the government/journalism dialogue and watching the sparking performances, makes me feel so relaxed. This is one of the best journalist movies, period.
It’s now playing in New York and Los Angeles and expands nationwide January 12.
More Honorable Mentions:
“Gifted,” “The Big Sick,” “Coco,” “The Lego Batman Movie,” “The Founder,” “Battle of the Sexes,” “Wonder Woman,” “Split,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Maudie,” “Megan Leavey,” “American Made,” “Logan Lucky,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Beatriz at Dinner,” “Mudbound,” “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected),” “Stronger,” “Brigsby Bear,” “Ingrid Goes West,” “Atomic Blonde,” “Cars 3,” “The Lovers,” “Chuck,” “Norman,” “Paris Can Wait,” “Sleight,” “Colossal,” “Kong: Skull Island,” “John Wick: Chapter 2,” “Brad’s Status,” “Only the Brave,” “Thank You For Your Service,” “The Disaster Artist,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Ferdinand,” “Wonder,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” “All the Money in the World,” “Molly’s Game,” “Phantom Thread”
I know that’s a lot of movies, but again, 2017 was one of the best years at the movies.