Tuesday, March 6, 2018

My 50 Favorite Films of 2017 - #20 through #11

My list of my 50 favorite films of 2017 now heads into the top 20, which always feels like the moment when the list transforms from great recommendations to the best of the best that the year had to offer.

20. Gerald's Game

I've never read the Stephen King novel so I had no idea what the premise was going into the film Gerald's Game, and normally I wouldn't get very hyped about a Netflix original adaptation just because, let's face it, with their constant stream of originals being released, they have had more misses than hits. However, director Mike Flanagan has a pretty good track record when it comes to horror cinema and this is easily his best film yet. I must warn you, there is one scene in particular that is extremely graphic and I had a hard time watching. Outside of that though, impossible to look away from this movie.

Gerald's Game is streaming on Netflix now.

19. Split

Speaking of films with little personal hype or expectations prior to seeing them, Split was not something I anticipated being on my list at all, let alone this high. As an early fan of M. Night Shyamalan (who wasn't?), I found myself completely losing interest in the filmmaker over the years with picture after picture doing absolutely nothing for me, so a January release date of his newest work felt like a disaster waiting to happen. Holy shit was I wrong. Split is outstanding cinema and just like that I am eagerly awaiting his follow up, Glass, which is due out next January.

18. Icarus

On Sunday night I was rooting for Icarus to win the Best Documentary Oscar, as it was my favorite released in 2017. Sure enough it took home the trophy, and the honor is well deserved. A brilliant film that starts as a man trying to prove he can get away with doping while competing in professional cycling, but the film takes a very dark and fascinating turn when the man he enlisted to help him beat the drug tests becomes the whistle-blower that tells the world just how intricate and comprehensive the program was that Russia was using to cheat the Olympics. 

Icarus is streaming on Netflix now.

17. Wind River

Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye...oh wait, sorry, Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner star in this drama/mystery from writer/director Taylor Sheridan who comes in with a strong resume, writer of Sicario and writer/director of Hell or High Water. This is another superb film by him, this one telling the story of the murder of an 18 year old girl on an Indian reservation in Wyoming and the investigation into finding the killer. 

16. Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson. Daniel Day Lewis. Jonny Greenwood. These things alone, without even factoring in the rest of the incredible cast, the lush cinematography, everything, leads me to think of one word: exquisite. Phantom Thread is just an exquisite, wonderful film, and if this does turn out to be the final work from DDL, godspeed sir. What an actor, what a career.

15. The Disaster Artist

What makes The Disaster Artist so great is just how well it understands the following of the absolutely terrible cult classic The Room. James Franco, along with screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber fully embrace what makes The Room such an atrocity to cinema, but also why people love it so much, and while I have only seen The Room once I totally get it. It's an awful film, but one I have quoted ever since and one that I have considered watching again because I can't help but smile when I think about it. 

14. It
Maybe it isn't a coincidence that some of the biggest pleasant surprises for me from 2017 happen to rank among the best films of the year. Maybe it's because I was so excited to see such good films when I expected so much less that they made a bigger impact than other films I always expected to be good and they met expectations. When I heard they were making a new It film from the director of Mama, which I didn't care much for, I expected something really unimpressive. Instead what we got was a tremendous, terrifying, beautifully made horror film. Bring on part two.

13. Blade Runner 2049

Roger Deakins finally won his first Oscar. He has deserved it multiple times before, but had he not gotten it for his photography of Blade Runner 2049, I would have assumed it may never happen. What a gorgeous, amazing film this is. 

12. Wonder Woman

Just a quick little thought to all of those people out there who waste their time on the internet claiming Disney pays critics to love Marvel films and hate anything by DC, perhaps it isn't a coincidence that the only great thing the DCEU has produced thus far got rave reviews and the other bullshit they have released like Suicide Squad and Justice League hasn't? Wonder Woman is by far the best thing to come out of that extended universe thus far.

11. Baby Driver

If you are looking for fun, fucking great cinema and you haven't seen much of Edgar Wright's work, go find what he has done and just start watching. Baby Driver is phenomenal, fast paced electric filmmaking, a movie filled with action, music and plenty of that Wright wit that makes his screenplays pop. 


  1. Another great list!
    I have a weird relationship with Phantom Thread. I think I need to see it again because I don't care for it, but whenever I think about it I can tell you numerous reasons why it's good and deserved Oscars, but I'd also wouldn't recommend it haha. Also, as DDL last film (supposedly) it didn't seem like he went out on a high note. It was a good performance, but I felt that Vicky Krieps did a much much better acting job in this feature.

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