In 2017, there was something for everyone at the box office. From rich superhero stories like Wonder Woman, Logan and Thor: Ragnarok to inventive horror movies like Get Out and It, and the recent flood of awards season offerings like Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird, not a week has gone by where there wasn’t something worth watching on the big screen.
We saw breathtaking original films, such as Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water and Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. The Marvel Cinematic Universe offered a touching coming-of-age story in Spider-Man: Homecoming and a surprisingly moving exploration of family dynamics in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And, of course, we got a new chapter in the Star Wars saga this month with the release of Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.
Related: The Best Video Games of 2017
Every year the Screen Rant editorial team collects together our favorite movies of the year – not necessarily the movies we thought were “best,” but the ones that made us laugh, made us cry, made us think, and otherwise found a special place in our hearts. You can check out our movie reviews archive for official reviews of all the year’s major releases, but these are the Screen Rant editors’ top 5 favorite movies of the year (plus a few honorable mentions).
This Page: Rob Keyes, Ben Kendrick, Kevin Yeoman, Sandy Schaefer, Molly Freeman and Chris Agar
1. Wind River
4. Blade Runner 2049
5. Get Out
Honorable Mentions: Split – Oh boy, what an ending and setup!
With my job increasingly shifting towards the business side of things at CBR and SR, no podcast this year, and a baby in the summer, I’ve seen less movies and TV than I have in any other year I can recall. I did manage to catch a few of the big hits in the first half but lately, I’m behind and this list I’d imagine will look very different in a few months when I play catch up.
This year the big comic book movies fell out of my top tier, with Hugh Jackman’s R-rated final Wolverine adventure being the exception. Thor 3, Guardians 2, Justice League, and Wonder Woman all left too much to be desired and suffer from some all-too-frequent flaws that the major studios need to movie past in 2018. And for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a movie that has some of the best moments in the entire saga, it also has too many story and character issues that hurt the movie upon each rewatch, and it is certainly one of the most rewatchable flicks of 2017 even if I don’t love it.
1. Wonder Woman
2. The Disaster Artist
3. The Shape of Water
4. Get Out
Honorable Mentions: Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League (the Zack Snyder scenes)
This year marked the first time, in nearly a decade, that I haven’t been responsible for weekly movie reviews at the site – making it the first year in a long time that I experienced the year’s best and worst movies as a film fan (instead of someone who would need to articulate my thoughts later on). As a result, my favorite movies of 2017 weren’t necessarily the best; they were great films that took risks – risks that paid off. Fresh off scene-stealing action moments in Batman V Superman, Wonder Woman‘s solo outing delivered where it counted most: heart. The “No Man’s Land” scene alone is a layered movie moment that speaks volumes about the character, her journey to the big screen, and what is, often, missing in superhero cinema: bold choices.
Anyone familiar with Screen Rant will recall that I’ve long championed midnight screenings of The Room – so it should come as no surprise that The Disaster Artist would rank among my favorite films of the year. Nevertheless, it’s also a testament to what James Franco accomplished: capture enthusiasm from the critic community, awards circuit, and zany cinephiles who throw spoons at movie theater screens. Rounding out my top 5, The Shape of Water was a deliciously weird but layered piece of filmmaking. Get Out twisted horror tropes and social stereotypes into a memorable tale that was as funny as it was disturbing – and permanently ruined Fruit Loops. Similarly, where remakes, reboots, and reimaginings often fall short, IT succeeded in transcending its predecessor (and source material novel) – not to mention setting the stage for a compelling return with Part 2.
1. T2 Trainspotting
2. Blade Runner 2049
5. Good Time
For me, nothing captured the miserable majesty of 2017 quite like Danny Boyle’s unlikely sequel to Trainspotting. Eschewing Irvine Welsh’s own sequel, Porno, Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge turned their follow-up into a recognition of the decades that had passed between now and their landmark 1996 film. Like David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, T2 Trainspotting confronted the aging of its characters and fittingly discovered that second chances don’t guarantee a happy ending. Another sequel that was decades in the making, Blade Runner 2049, left an indelible mark as not only as a follow up that’s far better than it has any right to be, but also as one of the most gorgeous films in recent memory.
Rounding out my top 5 is Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, a film where the experience of viewing it with an audience actively (sometimes angrily) grappling with what they were watching made it a front runner for the year. And finally, video essayist Kogonada delivered his first feature film with the beautiful and melancholy Columbus, while the Safdie brothers turned in such a great, grimy movie with Good Time, I’m actually curious to see their planned 48 Hours remake.
1. The Shape of Water
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
3. Lady Bird
4. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
5. Get Out
Honorable Mentions: Wonder Woman, Coco, Gerald’s Game
The past is a difficult thing to manage and some of my favorite movies this year explore the challenges of reconciling with it – be it through one’s personal culture, a country’s heritage, or even the legacy of a franchise. Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, itself steeped in text and subtext alike about the queer experience and cinematic history, goes beyond pastiche (or, if you prefer, Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Amelie) and deconstructs the past through art and politics, as a way of showing how we can become what we were always meant to.
Learning from the failures of those before us is something that Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi openly champions, in a highly ambitious and entertaining adventure that pushes Star Wars forward while acknowledging its past. So does Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, with its charmingly semi-autobiographical reflection on adolescence. In their own ways, Angela Robinson’s Professor Marston and Jordan Peele’s Get Out are also in keeping with this theme. Both films buck genre conventions (biopic/romance and horror/thriller), in order to wrestle with some of history’s greatest failings: the ongoing legacies of professional sexism, sex negativity, and evolving racism.
All in all, in a year as tumultuous as 2017 was, it’s fitting that so many great films were about developing empathy, challenging tradition, and moving beyond nostalgia. That and sex with fish-men, naturally.
1. Wonder Woman
3. The Shape of Water
4. Call Me By Your Name
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Honorable Mentions: Spider-Man: Homecoming, Get Out
This year, I became one of Screen Rant’s movie reviewers and, because of that, I had the chance to see more movies in theaters than the past three years combined. This means I got to see plenty of big-budget fare, as well as smaller independent films. And if my list of top films from 2017 is any indication, I most appreciated new, fresh, and/or innovative stories on the big screen. Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman is the first solo female-led superhero movie to hit theaters in over a decade, and it was a revelatory experience insofar as seeing a multifaceted, strong, vulnerable, and powerful female protagonist on screen. (I went to see the movie again with two female friends at one of Alamo Drafthouse’s women-only screenings, which was a similarly empowering, and fun experience.)
Coco, meanwhile, told a story of death and grief through the lens of a family-friendly adventure in an extremely heartwarming way. The Shape of Water and Call Me By Your Name are both romances that are told in fresh ways; Guillermo del Toro’s monstrous fairy tale depicts an unconventional connection between two beings set against the backdrop of an era in which conventional was key, while Luca Guadagnino’s drama paints a heartbreakingly real portrait of first love between two wonderfully flawed men. Lastly, Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a surprisingly different movie set in the galaxy far, far away that got me more excited for the future of Disney and Lucasfilm’s partnership (especially Johnson’s upcoming trilogy). Plus, Spider-Man: Homecoming offered a new kind of Spider-Man movie, while Get Out was a unique blend of horror and social commentary.
All in all, I’m excited that these films may foretell a shift in Hollywood to more new ideas and innovative storytelling – and that we’ll hopefully see even more fresh perspectives in 2018.
1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
2. Baby Driver
4. The Disaster Artist
5. Get Out
Honorable Mentions: Logan Lucky, John Wick: Chapter 2, Blade Runner 2049, Split
As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I felt The Last Jedi celebrated my favorite franchise’s 40th anniversary in grand style with a narrative that was thematically rich, thoroughly entertaining, and emotionally poignant. Building off of The Force Awakens, it delivered on all fronts and I can’t wait to see how the story concludes in Episode IX (not to mention Rian Johnson’s new trilogy). Speaking of favorites, two of my top directors – Edgar Wright and Christopher Nolan – delivered works that rank among the best in their careers. Dunkirk was a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience that showcased the tension and desperation of war to remarkable effect, while Baby Driver was an all-out blast punctuated by thrilling action sequences, terrific performances, and a killer soundtrack. Both Wright and Nolan remain at the top of their games and I’m ready for whatever they do next.
The Disaster Artist very easily could have been nothing more than a spoof film poking fun at Tommy Wiseau and the various shortcomings of The Room, but it was so much more. I found it to be a heartfelt and inspiring tale of realizing your dreams, with James Franco’s transformative performance as the enigmatic Wiseau front and center. He deserves all the awards consideration he’s getting. Lastly, Get Out was a true surprise for me this year; one of the finest directorial debuts I’ve ever seen. Jordan Peele announced himself as a unique voice in Hollywood, serving up biting satire that’s accessible to all. Get Out is a rare film that improves upon repeat viewings for me, and I’m looking forward to Peele’s next project.
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