Written By: Nick Poulimenakos
2017 has been a rather interesting year for cinema. Looking back at all the titles released since Janurary 1st, you really get a full grasp at the abundance of films viewers were actually offered this year. Superhero classics graced the screen like Logan and Wonder Woman while the horror genre had yet another stellar year with hits like IT and Anabelle: Creation. And yet, even with hundreds upon hundreds of films being released this year, we still managed to create a top 10 list that showcases the best of the best. The one’s that have stuck with us since the beginning of the year to the Oscar contenders that were only released a month ago. So, without further-a-do, let’s get into the ten best films released in 2017!
10. The Disaster Artist
2017 may have been a great year for the horror and superhero genre, but comedy seemed to falter with critically panned films such as The House and Baywatch proving to be unsuccessful. That all changed however when James Franco’s The Disaster Artist hit the silver screen. The film is based around the making of the 2003 drama The Room, with Franco himself starring as The Room’s writer/director, Tommy Wiseau. In the role, Franco delivers the performance of his career, telling a dysfunctional yet heartfelt story about a man trying to make his unusual dream come true with his best friend, Greg Sestero (played by Franco’s younger brother, Dave Franco). It’s by far the funniest comedy this year and is an endearing look into one of cinema’s most beloved cult films ever.
9. Get Out
Remember when I said that horror had a fantastic year? Here’s the film that kick-started it all. Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a special film, in that it is a near masterpiece that gets better and better upon repeat viewings. Telling the story of a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family for the first time, Peele succeeds in showcasing a terrific social commentary/psychological thriller that has phenomenal performances, incredible cinematography and includes a message that transcends the genre and industry and becomes of the smartest films in recent memory. It is one of the most entertaining and rewarding films of 2017 and definitely earns its place amongst the best films of the year.
8. War for the Planet of the Apes
War for the Planet of the Apes will undoubtedly rank as one of the best conclusions to a trilogy ever. Easily the best entry in the rebooted series, War is a bleak but rewarding journey that has fantastic character development, jaw-dropping CGI, high-octane action and a story that pulls on every heart-string you have. Matt Reeves closed this trilogy with a bang as War for the Planet of the Apes is not only one of the best films of the summer, it’s one of the best films of the year and will be remembered for years to come. If Andy Serkis doesn’t get an Academy Award nomination for this performance then it will become the biggest snub of 2017.
7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
If The Force Awakens was a safe blockbuster that didn’t take many risks, The Last Jedi effectively and excitingly takes a bold step towards the future and makes for one of the most original entries in the saga. It is not only liberating, but it is scary, enticing and opens the door for endless possibilities. At 152 minutes, The Last Jedi is an emotionally-driven, high-octane adventure that embraces aspects of the past but strives to cement its name in the legacy that is Star Wars and break free from the shackles of what came before it. It is a game-changer and breathes new life into the Star Wars franchise and Johnson magnificently conveys a fantastic middle chapter to this new trilogy.
6. Lady Bird
Lady Bird is a simple, albeit phenomenal narrative. Chronicling the life of our titular character as she traverses her way through high school, the film has remarkable heart and gives fans an honest look into what teenagers go through in their supposed “awkward” years. Putting love and accomplishment along with defeat and failure at the forefront, Greta Gerwig remarkably conveys a mother-daughter story that fans will almost immediately fall for. It’s passionate, striking, heartbreaking but also uplifting and remains as one of the surprises hits of the past year.
Coco is basically another demonstration of why Pixar is a leader in cinematic animation. Boasting stunning visuals and combining it with a thought-provoking narrative that asks hard-hitting questions about life, family and death, Coco is an engaging Pixar epic that plays brilliantly with components of Mexican heritage and legends. Being Pixar’s first venture into musical territory, the film is one of the company’s most creative endeavors as director Lee Unkirch’s passion project is a wonderful salute to Mexican culture that is also incredibly moving and a visual masterwork.
4. Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049 blew us away. Denis Villeneuve created a masterful neo-noir sci-fi classic that goes toe-to-toe with its 1982 predecessor. The gritty, fragmented streets of Los Angeles look mesmerizing on the big screen and the overarching themes will have you thinking about this sequel for days. Decade’s late sequels are generally never fulfilling but Villeneuve, cinematographer Roger Deakins and the ensemble cast have created something that can only be described as brilliant. Much like the first film, Blade Runner 2049 was not appreciated during its theatrical run. Expect to see this film become of the greatest sci-fi cult films ever produced.
Simply put, Dunkirk is one of Christopher Nolan’s best films. The dramatic account of the World War 2 evacuation of France’s Dunkirk beaches in 1941 is split into three distinct interwoven time frames, each having its own set of characters to carry the respective narratives. With the film being shot beautifully on 70mm IMAX cameras, Dunkirk is more about the historic tale than the characters it includes. The film thrusts the viewers into the chaotic fighting and the horrors that engulfed young British soldiers. Connecting stories of heroism, fear, cowardice and redemption, Nolan’s Dunkirk is a towering, grand war film that is breathtaking to watch and offers a satisfying emotional spectacle.
2. The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water is Guillermo del Toro at his very best. With a narrative that speaks to the current events of the world, del Toro and co-writer Vanessa Taylor craft a film that is not only a homage to vintage Hollywood, it subsists in its own contemporary frame of mind. Led by a fantastic performance by Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water is a story of crossing boundaries, unorthodox romance and overcoming the status quo. It is a tale of true beauty and nature and its centre is one giant beating heart. Mythical, thrilling and, above-all-else, passionate, The Shape of Water is a love story like no other and proves to be one of 2017’s most brilliant and engaging cinematic experiences.
Logan is a film that has a special place in my heart. Not only does it give my favourite superhero the send-off he deserves, but it is also one of the most well made films in recent memory. It strays away from the typical superhero film style and becomes a dark, western-thriller that contains amazing performances, beautiful cinematography, an incredible musical score and minimal CGI. I was completely blown away by how much Mangold and Jackman accomplished with this finale. Jackman gives an Oscar-worthy performance (yes you read that right) as the fan-favourite mutant. The story, the violence, the performances; it all gave way to a perfect end to the Wolverine trilogy and Jackman’s iteration of the famous Canadian mutant. Logan is a work of genius, my favourite superhero movie and our pick for the best film of 2017.
Honourable Mentions: Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project, Wonder Woman, The Post, Baby Driver, IT, & The Big Sick.
That’s our list! Don’t agree with it? Let us know what your favourite films of 2017 were in the comments and on social media! Stay tuned for our ten worst films of 2017 list. That’s always a fun one to write…