Top ten films of 2017

by Brandon Matzke

Well, the year is wrapping up. It’s both a blessing and a curse; blessing because it means that we can see what 2018 holds in store or us, but also a curse because it means that we’re all another year closer to the apocalypse. Just kidding… I hope. But this year had some excellent films, so I’m going to celebrate those. Now, keep in mind I couldn’t include every film I saw on this list, so I’ll include a honorable mentions list: Split, Wonder Woman, Spiderman Homecoming, The Lego Batman Movie, John Wick: Chapter 2, and American Made. I know, there was a ton of superhero movies, but some were legitimately good films. And I also didn’t see everything that came out this year, I missed out on so many great films (Wind River, Lady Bird, Big Sick, etc). So, without further ado, here’s my top 10 favorite films of the year!

10. Thor: Ragnarok

This film is far from the best of the year, but it still is fun. I already covered this film, so I’ll make it quick: Chris Hemsworth plays Thor in a charismatic and fun performance, the dialogue is a ton of fun to hear, the film is probably Marvel’s most humorous film yet, and one I definitely recommend for fans of comics. The action is breathtakingly awesome, and the soundtrack is both epic and entertaining. Here’s to more great MCU films to come.

9. It (2017)

Finally! Another good Stephen King horror film! Based on the 1986 novel of the same name, this It is dark, brutal, scary, and even funny and heartwarming at times. Let’s start with the clown on everyone’s mind: Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. This guy blew it out of the water. He’s easily one of the scariest monsters in cinema history, and truly unsettled me on several occasions. But he’s not the only good part; the cinematography and score are awesome, along with the young actors involved. The two everyone thinks of when someone mentions the Loser’s Club in this film are Sophia Lillis (Beverly) and Finn Wolfhard (as easily the intentionally funniest character in a Stephen King movie, Ritchie). This film isn’t perfect; some characters feel extremely overshadowed (particularly Stan and Mike), one scene feels extremely out of place, and sometimes it goes a little too far with the 80’s references. But other than those, it’s a great adaptation of Stephen King’s work, miles better than the famous 90’s miniseries, and 100% worth watching.

8. Coco

Hey, a Pixar film is on my top 10! This hasn’t happened since 2015 with Inside Out, but it feels good to acknowledge these people’s genius. Pixar, how do you do it? They made some stinkers (Cars 2 and The Good Dinosaur in particular), but made at least 5 masterpieces for every one of their bad films! And Coco is only a continuation of their greatness, bringing their signature charm and imagination into the world of the Mexican afterlife. This film managed to be fun and emotional exactly when needed, and had one of the most memorable characters of the year (in the form of Hector.) This skeleton ironically brought so much more life and heart into the film, and he’s a con man character. I have a weird obsession with con men in movies…..

7. Logan

In my opinion, this is the best comic book film of the year. Maybe even the best since The Avengers. But it’s also one of the bleakest. This film contains very little joy, is extremely brutal in both its depictions of violence and emotions, yet is the best way to end the legacy of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Hugh Jackman gives a downright oscar-worthy performance as a broken down, beaten Wolverine. And Patrick Stewart as the elderly and sick Professor X is maybe the performance of his career, but we’re forgetting Dafne Keen as X-23 (aka Laura), who definitely deserves her own film. The script and directing give this film almost a sci-fi western feel, and it definitely benefits from it. This film made me care about a drunk X-man and his old man mentor saving a little girl. So, well done, Fox. Well done.

6. The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi taught me two things: one, Star Wars is still good. And two, it’s gonna be around for a long, long time. I don’t want to get into too much, since I have to write the review for it (which is coming soon). I promise not to spoil it, but it does have some moments that I think will be iconic in Star Wars history.

5. Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan; I adore this guy. I love his films, from Memento to The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, this man 110% knows his craft. And Dunkirk is no exception. True, we never really get to know these characters too well, but what it lacks in character it makes up for in suspense. This is easily the most suspenseful film of 2017, and for good reason too. I was on the edge of my seat for a majority of the film, from the opening battle to the end. The scope of this film is incredible; you feel like you’re on this island with these soldiers, and at times I forgot I was even watching a movie. Dunkirk isn’t just a film; it’s an experience. And one I highly recommend.

4. Blade Runner 2049

I love the final cut of Blade Runner. I consider it to be a science fiction masterpiece, and I think it’s one of the best films ever made. And this sequel, rather than hindering it (like most sequels) expands on it. This film is a modern masterpiece; it makes you really think about the world it’s in, along with several of the questions it raises. Is he even human? Is she the right person? Things like that are something modern Hollywood desperately needs. The performances are phenomenal across the board; Ryan Gosling gives a surprisingly human show as K, a replicant struggling to find his place in this world. And Harrison Ford definitely deserves an oscar for his role; he’s not your “life’s a party” Harrison Ford; he’s the “I’ve seen the worst this world has to offer” Harrison Ford. This man has been through so much pain and suffering that you can almost smell it, and just nails one of his most iconic roles. While this film was marketed as an action film, it’s much more of a philosophical sci-fi film, and one not to miss. Please, if you missed out on this in theaters, watch it ASAP (legally of course). It’s a film that deserves support.

3. Baby Driver

I am convinced that Edgar Wright has some sort of magic. He has never made a legitimately bad movie, and even his “weakest” film (The World’s End) was in my top 2 of 2013! How does he do it?! Well, his awesome train is continuing with this year’s Baby Driver. Wow did this film blow me away: the action, the script, the comedy, the drama, the acting, the music, the directing, even the editing, EVERYTHING! Edgar Wright just keeps making great movies. Please continue!

2. War For The Planet Of The Apes

Hey! I already reviewed this one! Well, I’ll talk about it some more. Again, Andy Serkis as Caesar was one of the best performances of the year, both heartbreaking and inspirational. For a film about talking apes, this was a surprisingly bleak and even brutal film. There were scenes where I seriously wondered how this got a PG-13 rating. The visual effects definitely deserve an oscar; bringing these apes to life in such detail that you can see the snow in their fur, or the irises of their eyes (even from a far distance), this is an excellent conclusion to one of the finest trilogies in modern cinema. Don’t look at this as a “dumb nerd film”. Look at it as a film Hollywood desperately needs: one that can make you excited. One that can make you cry. And especially, one that will make you cheer at the end.

1. Get Out

If you had told 2016 me that a horror film (one that came out in February, nonetheless) would top my favorite films of 2017, I would’ve cracked up. Yet, this managed to be my favorite film of the year. This film is both smart and terrifying, and one never outweighs the other. The smartness adds to the horror, and the horror only makes it smarter. This film is the closest to Hitchcockian that any film of this decade has been (in my opinion); the thrills are so tense I felt myself being as unsettled as the main lead. And sometimes, even the quieter moments are terrifying: a look can be as scary as a knife, thanks to the excellent directing by Jordan Peele. And the writing is amazing, definitely oscar-worthy. If you pay close attention, seemingly ordinary quotes can be as horrifying as the scares in the latter half of the film. The acting, too, is extraordinary, especially from Allison Williams (who is downright Oscar-worthy) and Daniel Kaluuya. This is a film that I plan to be watching for decades, and I won’t complain whenever I see it’s on.

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