1. Blade Runner 2049
2. Wonder Woman
3. Get Out
5. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Honorable Mentions: Split, Dunkirk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Logan
In a year where some of my biggest disappointments in the theater came from the most surprising places, the high points caught by by surprise just as often - but not for the reasons I expected. Blade Runner 2049 seemed to promise a continuation of Ridley Scott's original film, even some form of closure. What it gave instead was one of the biggest, boldest, most captivating and enigmatic experiences in recent memory. All while capturing the lingering uncertainty and grandeur of the original (making it one of the "truest" sequels I've likely ever seen).
Forgetting that there was a time when people said Wonder Woman movies wouldn't work, Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot showed the truth was anything but. The Amazons of the DCEU were everything they needed to be and, even on repeat viewings, it's the small details and moments that I keep coming back to. Rather than biting, darkly comedic satire, Jordan Peele's Get Out was as effective a horror film as I've seen in a packed theater. I had hoped that David Ayer's Bright would offer a surreal mix of Training Day, End of Watch, and Warcraft fantasy, and was thrilled to find it was exactly that, led by one of Joel Edgerton's best performances (an Orc I only wanted to be friends with). And round it off with Valerian, a film that stumbled in parts it shouldn't have, but delivered enough mindblowing concepts to fill a year of science fiction and fantasy filmmaking (and put every dollar of the budget on the screen).
Small wonders along the way were just as rewarding, like M. Night Shyamalan's Split, which would have been astounding were it not already obvious James McAvoy is one of the best actors of his generation. Christopher Nolan finding a new way to make a war film with Dunkirk. A Spider-Man movie that didn't need any MCU connections to charm and delight me. And Logan, James Mangold's heartbreaking but brilliant decision to finally let Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart spend an entire X-Men movie just acting at eachother.
1. Call Me By Your Name
2. Free Fire
3. Atomic Blonde
5. Thor: Ragnarok
Honorable Mentions: Mudbound, Blade Runner 2049, Get Out
In 2017 I broke a personal record for the most number of times I've seen the same movie in theaters, as Luca Guadagnino's Call Me By Your Name knocked Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice off the top spot (you don't see those two movies in the same sentence very often). There aren't many films that I can honestly described as life-changing, but Call Me By Your Name cuts to the heart of how beautiful and painful first love can be, telling a profoundly universal story against the gorgeous backdrop of Northern Italy.
Armie Hammer crops up again on my list in Free Fire, the latest delightfully insane offering from one of my favorite directors, Ben Wheatley (whose adaptation of J.G. Ballard's High-Rise was featured on last year's list). David Leitch's Atomic Blonde hit all the right spots with its combination of fantastic action choreography, a perfect soundtrack and score and - of course - Charlize Theron at her very best. Theron's Atomic Blonde co-star James McAvoy also starred in the latest chapter of the M. Night Shyamalan comeback tour, Split, which combined high tension and body horror to great effect.
And finally, Thor: Ragnarok played "Immigrant Song" twice, so obviously that has to be on the list.
1. Blade Runner 2049
2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
3. A Ghost Story
4. La La Land
5. Baby Driver
Honorable Mentions: Dunkirk, Brawl in Cell Block 99, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Florida Project, mother!, The Shape of Water, War for the Planet of the Apes, Logan, The Disaster Artist, Good Time, Lady Bird, Molly's Game, Wind River, Get Out, and, finally, Alien: Covenant (because it's awesome, shut up).
2017 was a bloody brilliant year for movies, and anybody who tells you otherwise didn't see enough of them. We got stinkers, sure (I'm still recovering from how bad Henry Cavill's mustache cover-up job was in Justice League), but for the most part it was a step up from 2016, especially tentpoles (indies have been on form for years) - more middling instead of bad, more good instead of average, and a few genuine greats. In terms of what I loved on a macro/themeatic scale, I really gravitated to movies with a strong Biblical metaphorical underpinning (my #1 film is that, as are no less than three of the honorable mentions) and meta-textual approach to the past (#2, #4 and another handful of the HMs), but the general breadth is staggering.
When it comes to picking my favorites, it's hard living in the UK working for a Canadian company operating on US releases - what comes out in what year? Well, for this list I'm eschewing Screen Rant convention and going by UK releases because it's how I consume cinema and I like this list better (although I put some of the US 2017/UK 2018 films I have seen in my HMs because it'd be rude to leave them off).
So: Blade Runner 2049 is the perfect sequel to my favorite sci-fi of all time that deconstructs the monomyth); Star Wars: The Last Jedi justifies Disney's ownership of and evolved my favorite franchise (and also deconstructed the monomyth); A Ghost Story is a visual art piece that provided cinematic voice to my existential fears; La La Land spoke to the melancholic romantic within me; and Baby Driver was the most purely exhilarated I've been in the cinema for years. But the real joy is such a massive set of honourable mentions - they're all worth your time.
1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
2. Baby Driver
Honorable mention: Blade Runner 2049, Wonder Woman, Get Out, Split, John Wick: Chapter 2, War for the Planet of the Apes, The Disaster Artist, and Wheelman
If I had been told last year that The Last Jedi would be my top movie of 2017, I wouldn't have been surprised. If I had been told the same thing immediately after my first viewing, I would have been shocked. Upon rewatch, it's apparent that Rian Johnson is a master at playing with expectations, keeping the audience chasing false leads, much like the characters in the movie, despite putting all the clues right in front of your face. The Last Jedi isn't just a rewatchable movie, but every rewatch can be different, revealing more missed details or unearthing a new dramatic angle that wasn't apparent the other times through. It's hard to know where it will land long term, but for the time being, it's the gift that keeps on giving.
Otherwise, 2017 was full of a variety of unique, eclectic, and mold-breaking movies. Whether it's the fun ride that is Baby Driver, the grueling conclusion to Hugh Jackman's turn as Wolverine in Logan, Christopher Nolan proving you don't need 3 hours or an R rating to make one of the most gripping war movies ever, or Darren Aronofsky crafting a one-of-a-kind polarizing experience of a movie like mother!, which may have successfully made me feel a range of emotions from laughter to anxiety to dread to horror to sadness in just a few minutes span - more than once.
The list of great movies I missed this year seems to be far longer than the list of great movies I saw, but if there's any evidence that 2017 was great for film, its the fact that I'm entering 2018 with a list of well regarded 2017 movies that still need watching.
Patrick "Nickname" Sklar
1. The Big Sick
2. Lady Bird
4. Wonder Woman
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Honorable Mentions: Call Me By Your Name; Thor Ragnarok; Colossal; Okja; the music video for “Road Head;” Get Out; Baby Driver; John Wick 2
I shouldn’t need to make a special case for The Big Sick being my favourite movie of the year; it is, really, a very good movie, and it feels very good to watch, and everyone in it is wonderful. But mostly I put The Big Sick in as my favourite because it got me writing again, and for the first time in a while, writing something honest. So I wrote a little true thing, and I’m grateful.
Lady Bird and Logan both made me cry - might have been the only movies this year to do so, oddly enough. When Julie rotates the X over Lady Bird’s grave so that it’s a cross again? Man, oh man - you see it coming from a mile away, but it still hits you every time. Wonder Woman is Wonder Woman. Star Wars is surprising. My appreciation of the movie has increased so dramatically from viewing to viewing - I'm a little bit scared to watch it a third time now.
And whether I ever rewatch the whole movie or not, I’ll be replaying Mr. Perlman’s monologue from Call Me By Your Name for a long time to come.
Movies I Expect I’ll End Up Liking As Soon As I Get Around To Them: Free Fire; Raw; Atomic Blonde
Best Movie I Just Nodded At When People Talked About It But Now I’ve Finally Seen: Ex Machina
Favorite Movie I Only Just Saw This Year, I Know, I Know: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Movie That Would Have Been On My List Last Year If I Hadn’t Been So Lazy: Arrival