Monday, January 22, 2018

My Top 10 (Actually 12) Movies of 2017

The year 2017 may have been a horrendous sociopolitical year, but it wasn't too bad for movies.

It was a good year for superheroes (Wonder WomanThor: RagnarokLoganSpider-Man: Homecoming), a good year for that small beach on the French coast (Dunkirk, Darkest Hour), a good year for Star Wars (finally), and a great year for Laura Dern (pivotal roles in the best movie of the year and the best TV show of the year, Twin Peaks: The Return). In 2017, I approached my usual quota of 10 MoMagics a year quite rapidly - always a favorable sign.

But most notable of all, the anti-Trump movement in cinema was born with tremendous applause with Get Out; continued with the racism-oriented Detroit, the misogyny-themed Battle of the Sexes, the xenophobia horror It Comes at Night, 'the-President-is-a-moron' Kingsman sequel, and even the Pixar statement in Cars 3; and finally received last-minute helping hands from a few grand-masters, with Ridley Scott delivering All the Money in the World, and Spielberg, The Post. It's that old adage that when the times get rough, people's creative juices start flowing; so Trump's presence may have had some rare benefit - for the film community.

On a more personal note, some of these movies were so worthy, they merited multiple viewings in the theater: twice for Thor: Ragnarok and Blade Runner 2049, and thrice for Dunkirk and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But on the same note, my tastes weren't congruent with the prevailing atmosphere, as I failed to discover the commonly-believed earth-shattering significance of Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Call Me by Your Name, I Tonya, or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Before I post my top 10 of the year, a disclaimer. My list contains 11 items, which is actually a 12-movie list in disguise. The two additional are both incredibly mesmerizing "ghost stories", which actually aren't scary at all. They both deserved a MoMagic!, but due to certain constraints, ended up getting Mojos. Just that years from now, looking back at my yearly top 10 lists (it happens a lot), I didn't want these small gems to be forgotten.

So here they are, my top movies of 2017, in alphabetical order, and not in order of favorites:

3. Coco

9. Okja

Best Movie of the Year: If I was asked for only one reason why Episode VIII was such a grand event, I would say: Rian Johnson made it possible for a 40-year fan like me to 'love' a new Star Wars movie again. That's it. Before The Last Jedi premiered, I was undecided between Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk for the best movie of 2017. But then The Last Jedi opened, and that just sealed the deal.


Worst Movie of the Year: The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Square (both by rising newcomers) would've been strong contenders for this award ... but no. Darren Aronofsky, a very respectable filmmaker, became cocky and made a selfish movie for his own artistic interests, without any regard for the audience. He made a film aimed at bewildering us, so when we ask: "What the hell was that?!", he could say: "I don't know; what do you think it was? ..."  and conveniently stand aside. Even the movie's title (lowercase 'm' and exclamation mark) is self-promoting. So annoying.


Discovery of the Year: This year's discovery was neither a director, nor a running movie theme. I found this film from nearly four decades ago; a Michael Mann film as great as the best crime stories, and shockingly, the film-maker's directorial debut. Mann has consistently made one grand movie after the other, and his first was so groundbreaking, it later inspired other crime shows and even video games (watch here). Don't miss the James Caan-starring Thief.

Discovery of the Year:

1 comment:

  1. "When I see a good film, it's like a whiplash. I run away, in order not to be influenced. Thus, the films I liked most are those I think least about."
    Michelangelo Antonioni

    These are best movies of 2017 that I've seen so far : Baby driver
    Call me by your name
    Disaster actor
    Star Wars: The Last Jedi
    Phantom Thread
    A ghost story