2017 – YEAR IN REVIEW

Another year has come and gone, which of course means there were a lot of films to see. A lot of great ones, a lot of terrible ones, a lot of average ones. It’s just like any year, so just like any year, I have a list for you all! What is it with people and lists? I’m not sure, but if you’re curious to see my favorite and least favorite films of 2017, then you’re in the right place! 

DISCLAIMER: I have yet to see some of my most anticipated films of 2017, such as All the Money in the World, Call Me By our NameI, Tonya, Phantom ThreadThe Post, and The Shape of Water. They could very well make it onto one of these lists. 

 

10 Favorite Films of 2017

 

10. The Fate of the Furious

The Fast and the Furious franchise is about very few things: fast cars, silly action sequences, a kooky cast of characters, and “family”. That’s all the films in the franchise need to be and The Fate of the Furious is without a doubt my favorite installment. From the opening frame to the closing credits, I had a gigantic, goofy smile on my face the entire time. It’s stupid action schlock, but it’s incredibly well made stupid action schlock.

 

9. The Big Sick

The main hurdle that all romantic comedies need to overcome is to avoid coming off as phony. The audience needs to actually believe this relationship will work, which requires smart writing and a cast with great chemistry. Based off of their own real-life experience, husband and wife Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon delivered an incredibly realistic and honest portrayal about love and all of the forces that attempt to keep you apart. While some romantic comedies can make you nauseous from the constant melodrama, The Big Sick does anything but.

 

8Brigsby Bear 

I love a great awkward and dark comedy, but they’re often not as touching and sweet as Brigsby Bear. You would think a film about a mentally stunted man kidnapped from birth and obsessed with making a movie based off of his favorite TV show wouldn’t be this inspiring. However, when you have a star and co-writer like Kyle Mooney who plays the role with such enthusiasm, and who can also write a great script, you have something truly special. Undoubtedly one of the most bizarre films of the year, but bizarre is exactly what I love.

 

 7. mother!

Yes, Darren Aronofsky’s mother! is incredibly blatant in its intent and symbolism, but does that exactly make it a bad film? Not for me. Although it’s somewhat silly and very over the top, watching poor Jennifer Lawrence’s (not phoning it in, for once) life get worse and worse as people destroy everything around her provided the most viscerally intense moviegoing experience of the year. A nightmare of a film, but in all the best ways.

 

6. Get Out

Get Out is one of those unique films that is a perfect blend of many different genres. It’s an incredibly tense thriller that keeps you guessing, a genuinely scary horror film with a terrifying premise, and a hilarious, but often uncomfortable comedy. This is all achieved by the satirical element surrounding modern American race relations. Writer/director Jordan Peele not only crafted a film that was immensley entertaining, but one that also had a lot to say.

 

5. War for the Planet of the Apes

Trilogy ending films are rarely ever good, especially when they have two excellent predecessors to live up to. But just like those two previous films, which nobody expected to be as good as they were, War for the Planet of the Apes defies all of our expectations again. With an engrossing narrative, strong themes, mindblowing visual effects, and great performances, director Matt Reeves and Andy Serkis cap off this rebooted series on an incredibly satisfying emotional note.

 

4. Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race, and America

Every documentary has its own biased point of view that the filmmaker is trying to get across, but Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race, and America is all about casting our biases aside and coming together as a species. It’s amazing seeing a black man having friendly conversations with KKK members, even turning them from their hateful ways. It just shows what can be achieved when we truly use our unique form of communication. In tense times such as these in our country, it’s a film everybody should see.

 

3. Ingrid Goes West

Similar to Get OutIngrid Goes West is another dark comedy with a heavy dose of social satire. This time exploring themes of obsession and vanity in how it relates to social media, Aubrey Plaza gets to let her acting chops run wild as the mentally ill, cringe inducing Ingrid, as she embarks on her odyssey to stalk and become friends with an Instagram celebrity. There’s plenty of awkward comedy to be found here, which I can never get enough of, but all of it came from an incredibly dark and real place. Also, I should make special, random mention that it’s my favorite movie poster and title of the year.

 

2John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick: Chapter 2 is simply one of the best action films ever made. There are few places where you’ll find action filmmaking as exhilarating as this, with creative choreography, awesome stunt work, and clear, methodical direction. Some films excel in more than just one way, though, which means John Wick: Chapter is also one of the best film sequels of ever made. It does everything that made the first one great and does it better, while expanding on the character and world in logical and interesting ways. It’s rare when a film is perfection in more than one way.

 

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What are films in their absolute basic form? Well, they’re really just stories, and every great story requires great characters. If you’re looking for the absolute finest character work of 2017, then look no further than Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. A fascinating exploration of grief from both the dramatic and comedic side of things, it’s gut busting in its pitch-dark hilarity, and tear jerking in its poignant drama. When you surround the beautiful themes, wonderful dialogue, and complex characters with three actors giving career defining performances, then you have yourself the best film to come out all year.

 

Honorable Mentions: Baby DriverDarkest Hour, DetroitDunkirkThe Florida Project, Good TimeLoganRaw, Wind RiverWonder Woman  

 

10 Least Favorite Films of 2017

 

10. The Dark Tower

I’ve never read any of the Stephen King novels that this film was based off, but it seems like I didn’t need to, because regardless if you have, the film is still terrible. To fans of the books, it’s a travesty and an insult, but to a simple movie guy like me? The Dark Tower was nothing more than a generic blockbuster with no soul or craft, existing for no other reason than to fill a summer weekend release date.

 

9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Look, I think the original Pirates of the Caribbean is a perfectly fine adventure film. Unfortunately, it’s clear that Disney should have left well enough alone, as the series has just gotten worse and worse with each sequel. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales continues to prove that trend, with lackluster plotting, bland characters, and an obviously checked out Johnny Depp. The best thing about it is that it’s the shortest in the series. More like Dead Men Tell No Interesting Tales, am I right?

 

8. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Remember in my 2016 – Year in Review when I talked about Hollywood studios desperately digging up old properties, and giving them a gritty update, with Legend of Tarzan? Well, Warner Bros. does it again with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Aside from Guy Ritchie giving the Middle Ages his own unique aesthetic, there’s nothing new or exciting to be seen here. Just a dull, grey mess.

 

7. Baywatch

If Hollywood suits aren’t digging up old fables to adapt, they’re scouring the retro TV landscape to see what they can give the unnecsarry update. Clearly taking a page from the brilliant Jump Street films, Baywatch is a failed attempt at capturing that same success. The performers give it their all, but they’re surrounded by a witless script and poor direction. The funniest thing to come out of this was Dwayne Johnson’s public meltdown on Twitter.

 

6. Death Note

This sure is a shame, because this will mark the second year in a row where an Adam Wingard film ends up on my Least Favorite Films of the Year list. Where I was hoping last year’s horrendously unimaginative Blair Witch would be a small misstep in his career, Wingard trips up again with the Netflix film Death Note. Based off a manga I’ve never read, an annoying protagonist is granted the ability to kill people he doesn’t like, which kicks off a barrage of muddled character motivations, confusing story elements, and some laughable attempts at suspense and drama. Netflix needs to learn more about “quality over quantity”.

 

5. The Mummy

Every big movie studio needs its own cinematic universe now, and The Mummy was Universal Picture’s absolutely embarrassing attempt at kicking it off. There’s no passion to be found from anybody here, even from Tom Cruise, who’s just going through the motions. Tonally confused and incoherently plotted, it’s no wonder this was such a box office disaster, causing Universal to pull the plug on the franchise altogether. RIP Universal’s Dark Universe: 2017-2017.

 

4. The Snowman

A creepy thriller based of a best-selling novel, starring Michael Fassbender, directed by Tomas Alfredson, edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, and executive produced by Martin Scorsese? What could go wrong? Well, when you apparently don’t shoot 15% of your film, it’s no surprise that The Snowman is the most incoherent and confusing film of the year.

 

3. American Assassin

Like I said above in regards to The Fate of the Furious, I love some good action shlock, but it has to be well-made action schlock. American Assassin is about as far from that description as you can get. Flat, unimaginative direction, network TV level production values, horrendous writing, godawful editing, and laughable performances made this one of the most incompetent wide releases of the year. At least Michael Keaton was fun.

 

2. Transformers: The Last Knight

I know the Transformers films have their audience, but I don’t think even they could ignore how much of a nonsensical mess Transformers: The Last Knight is. It all just gets stupider and stupider, now throwing King Arthur into the mix, an embarrassing performance from Anthony Hopkins, and Michael Bay’s creepy fixation on a teenage girl. One of those films that’s appalling in all forms.

 

1. Sandy Wexler

I don’t really care for Adam Sandler’s brand of humor, but I can recognize that he has genuine talent. It’s just he’s lazy, and that laziness often comes across on screen, especially in Sandy Wexler. With an insultingly long running time of 130 minutes, we’re treated to Sandler speaking in an obnoxious voice, with all of the humor being confusing in its intent due to the awkwardness. It’s the most miserable I’ve felt watching a film all year.

 

Dishonorable Mentions: Annabelle: CreationKong: Skull IslandLifexXx: Return of Xander Cage

Leave a Reply


Connect Online