Monsoon-A-Day: 2017 Year In Review (Part 1)

783.

There was 783 films released in 2017.

There’s a million reasons why 2017 was a colossal shit show for everyone on planet earth but there was at least 783 reasons why it didn’t. No matter how bad things get, film will always be there to offer an escape. Whether it’s the good, the bad or the ugly (see what I did there? I referenced a film while talking about film. That’s why they call me Oscar “Shakespeare” Wilde), film is an important distraction.

These are the 58 films that helped distract me from the garbage fire that was 2017.

 


The Bad


 

53. Kuso

Events unfold after a devastating earthquake in Los Angeles.

To quote Roger Ebert in regards to the 2001 film Freddy Got Finger:

“This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.”

If Freddy Got Fingered is below the bottom of the barrel, what hellscape must Kuso reside? It redefines the definition of terrible. This isn’t the worst film of the year. This might be the worst film of the decade.

Imagine the most annoyingly disgusting Adult Swim sketch stretched to 90 minutes and then imagine someone recreating that sketch with paint huffing homeless people. It’s unbearable.

 

52. We Are The Flesh

After wandering a ruined city for years in search of food and shelter, two siblings find their way into one of the last remaining buildings. Inside, they find a man who will make them a dangerous offer to survive the outside world.

Remember that Mexican film Atrapados that came out in 1981 and is about two people stuck in a room? No? Well, that’s because nobody has seen it besides the director of We Are The Flesh. He remade it but with less transcendentalism and more incest and bodily fluids. Not a great time.

 

51. XX

Four short horror films that are directed and written by women.

Horror anthologies are always a mixed bag. This one isn’t. It’s all bad. Not a single segment is scary and not a single segment is memorable. The wrap around is a pretty decent bit of stop motion though. So, there’s that.

 

50. The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.

Took nearly two years to get an official release after playing at numerous film festivals. It was originally titled February. Was it worth the 17 month wait? No. Did a change in title improve it’s quality? No. For fans of Ti West. All others, run.

 

49. The Love Witch

A modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her.

Films that are pastiches or homages to a specific style and not genre, only work in small doses. Hobo With A Shotgun is a perfect example of this. It worked as a fake trailer but stretched to 90 minutes, it starts to fall apart. The Love Witch is 2 hours of technicolor melodrama that over stays it’s welcome by a good 80 minutes.

 

48. Death Note

A high school student named Light Turner discovers a mysterious notebook that has the power to kill anyone whose name is written within its pages, and launches a secret crusade to rid the world of criminals.

Judging this as an adaptation of an anime, this is an abomination that should be soaked in gasoline and piss and lit ablaze. Judged as a film separate from its source material, it’s a back alley abortionist with hooks for hands. Catastrophically messy and has no right existing.

 

47. Cult Of Chucky

Chucky returns to terrorize his human victim, Nica. Meanwhile, the killer doll has some scores to settle with his old enemies, with the help of his former wife.

Brad Dourif feels like he’s phoning it in and he still gives the best performance in it. It adds a ton of fan service and new lore for the diehards but everyone else will shrug harder than Kanye.

The Forgettable


46. Cars 3
Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.
When nobody can name more than 2 animated films this year that are legitimately good (Your Name and My Life As A Zucchini technically don’t count), you know it’s a record breaking shit year for animation. Captain Underpants has a legit chance at getting nominated for an Oscar based solely on process of elimination. A film nobody saw has a better chance at a nom than a Pixar film everyone saw. That’s how bad Cars 3 is. Nobody can remember it exists.
44. Ghost In The Shell
In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.
 
This is almost a shot for shot remake of a film I’ve seen over a dozen times and I can’t recall a single thing that happens in it other than the fact that it was gorgeous and that Beat Takeshi was great in it. Those two things kept it from being in the bad category but only just barely.
43. It Comes At Night
Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son. Then a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.
I have no problem with slow burn thrillers as long as there’s a payoff but this films ending doesn’t justify its methodical pace. It’s building towards something that never happens. Amazing trailer though.
42. Small Crimes
A disgraced former cop, fresh off a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder – returns home looking for redemption but winds up trapped in the mess he left behind.
I have no idea whether or not this is faithful to the novel it’s based on but it feels like someone just took an Elmore Leonard book and removed all the clever dialogue and plotting. Watch it with a life guard because every actor is drowning.
41. Gifted
Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.
Harmless. Inoffensive. Charming. It’s a perfect date film but besides the little girl and the cute cat, you’ll have a hell of a time trying to remember a single thing about it a week later.
40. Brigsby Bear
Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children’s TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James’s life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story himself.
My elevator pitch so far has been: Napoleon Dynamite with elements of Be Kind Rewind. I think Kyle Mooney is an interesting new voice and I eagerly await is next film but this one did nothing for me.  It is always great to see Mark Hamill in something though. Not enough roles for Hamill these days unfortunately.
39. Dave Made A Maze
Dave, an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career, builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation.
 
If I’m creating a list, uniqueness and creativity are part of the metric I use to determine what goes where but this isn’t a list. There is no objectivity here. No pity points. Nothing is graded on influence or impact. Just an emotional connection I had with the film. I mention this because I really want to give a shout out to the little guy. We need more films with original concepts but regrettably this film is the definition of forgettable. I saw it last month and completely forgot it existed.
38. Colossal
Gloria is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in New York City and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this phenomenon.
A mixed bag. Great performances and an interesting premise but it never comes together. It’s like an amazing burrito made by a guy who doesn’t know how to fold burritos. All the ingredients are there but you have to enjoy them one element at a time.
37. The Void
Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.
 
A film held together by only it’s influences. You remove the ghosts of Carpenter, Fulci and Cronenberg from this and you’re left with nothing. Amazing practical effects and a great set up are squandered on a weak script that doesn’t give anyone anything to do for most of its runtime.
36. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy
Personally the most disappointing film of the year. I’m a huge fan of the first one but the sequel cranks all of its problems up to 11. Unnecessary character resurrections, unbelievable leaps in logic, unjustifiably long runtime, unneeded celebrity cameo that’s not really a cameo and uninteresting side characters are but a few of the problems in this film. It feels like Robert Rodriguez made this but at gunpoint.

35. Alien: Covenant

The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

I don’t hate Prometheus. Besides the characters making incredibly stupid decisions (which is literally no different than any other film in this series) and not exactly understanding the new lore, I have no issues with it. The vitriol it’s received is baffling to me. It’s not the best but it’s not even in the same conversation as the worst.
I do, however understand the hate for Alien: Covenant. It’s not a poorly made film but it’s far too long and ultimately tells a story that’s been told before and better. But I will applaud Scott’s effort in trying to make the xenomorphs scary again.
34. The Babysitter
The events of one evening take an unexpected turn for the worst for a young boy trying to spy on his babysitter.
If the first half of this film was as fun as the second half, this would’ve gone into the Underrated section of the list. But everything before the WTF moment is cringe inducingly terrible. I don’t buy the relationship between the kid and the babysitter and hate how hip It’s trying to be. Skip the first 20 minutes and you’ll probably have a ball.
33. Lady Bird
In the early 2000s, an artistically-inclined seventeen year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California.
One of the worst aspects of movie watching, is getting to a film after every one has seen it. Every year, there’s one film that the critics all fucking love and sometimes It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype. It’s usually an indie and it’s usually about teenagers. Lady Bird is 2017’s Juno. But the difference between the two is, Lady Bird did absolutely nothing for me. It might’ve been the hype but I doubt it.
Honestly, my only reaction to this film is a mild shrug. It’s not good enough to be disappointed nor incompetent enough to be angry. It just exists.
The director, Greta Gerwig was in 20th Century Women that came out two years previous. See that instead.

The Average


32. What Happened To Monday
In a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, a set of identical septuplets must avoid being put to a long sleep by the government and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.
Orphan Black mixed with Children Of Men but not as good either. Neither the excellent world building or original setting would matter if the lead actress couldn’t pull off playing seven distinct characters but Rapace knocks it out of the park. It feels more like a mini series edited down for length rather than a fleshed out film but there’s a lot of quality shit here.
31. Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
 
If you’ve ever played any role playing game in the last ten years, you’re intimately familiar with side quests. They’re optional missions that are designed to pad out a games length. This entire film is side quest: the movie. The film looks gorgeous and the creature designs are top shelf but I feel like this will be the next John Carter. It’ll slowly gain a loyal fan base but the rest of us will forget it exists.
30. Life
A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars and now threatens all life on Earth.
An Alien ripoff thats better than it has any right being. The excellent cast and cool alien design get bogged down by a literal shit ton of cliches but as long as you’re not a cynical asshole, you’ll enjoy yourself. But better watch it with friends and alcohol just to be safe.
29. Gerald’s Game
While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame
Regardless of my personal feelings about the film, Mike Flannigan did the impossible. He adapted a novel everyone considered unfilmable. Stacked with some of the best performances of the year and one absolutely unforgettable sequence, Gerald’s Game wins by default. I just feel like now that he’s down the legwork, someone will eventually make a much better adaptation.
28. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.
Director Yorgos Lanthimos is an enigma to me. He occupies the same space as Lynch, Noé, Haneke or Trier in the sense that I don’t gel with their work but I’m intrigued by it. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is his most accessible film and less than 1% of the population will love it. I’m clearly not part of that group but I respect and admire any filmmaker that doesn’t cater to the other 99%.

The Good


27. Free Fire
Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.
Free Fire is one of those rare films that delivers on its premise. Bunch of guys (and a lady) shooting at each other in a warehouse. That’s it. 90 minutes of people shooting other people or getting shot by other people.  If that doesn’t instantly sell you, the fact that one of the walking human targets is played by Sharlto Copley should. He’s almost at Sam Rockwell’s level at scene stealing and will probably be your favorite part of the film.
26. I, Tonya
Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.
 
Drawing heavily from 90’s era Scorsese, I, Tonya is a fast paced, hyper realistic look at one of the most controversial figures in sports history. Robbie and Janney are guaranteed noms for their brilliant performances. They elevate would could have easily been a Lifetime movie of the week. The rest of the cast is no where near their level but are still very good. The obvious CGI is a tad distracting but it doesn’t pull you out of the film. Come for the performances and stay for the energetic use of the phrase “suck my dick.”
26. The Lego Batman Movie
A cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick.
I feel like this will move up the list considerably after a second viewing but as it stands, I don’t honestly remember that much about it other than I liked it. It came out so early in the year, that it’s faded pretty significantly from my memory. I do remember thinking Cera and Fiennes were stand outs and that the 3rd act was crazy fun but that’s about it. Just pretend there’s an asterisk by this entry with an addendum being inevitable.
25. Wonder Woman
When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
Gal Gadot is a straight up murderer, son. She killed every fucking fan boy that bitched on the internet that she was too skinny or that her tits (yes. This was a thing) weren’t big enough to play the part. She not only shut them the fuck up but has gone on to be the saving grace of the entire franchise. She’s spectacular. The third act however, is not. This is a solid, albeit very reminiscent of Captain America, action film but has a huge villain problem. The problem being that he’s terrible. If the third act was as strong as the rest of the film, this would be in my top 15 of the year.
24. Kong: Skull Island
A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.
As someone that loathes Jurassic World with every fiber of his being, I completely understand why someone would dislike this film. There’s a lot of dumb shit in this film. Everything involving Vietnam feels like a parody, the two biggest actors are wasted and the actual plot is kind of ridiculous but none of that bothered me. Vogt-Roberts created a big ol’ sandbox filled with all of his favorite things and I enjoyed watching him play with his toys.
23. Patti Cake$
PATTI CAKE$ is centered on aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, who is fighting an unlikely quest for glory in her downtrodden hometown in New Jersey.
Bordering on lawsuit levels of homage to Hustle and Flow, Patti Cake$’s saving grace is it’s characters. The relationship between the main character and her mother is one of the most emotional moments of the year. It’s a highly entertaining dive into the world of underground hip hop but lamentably the water is a bit lukewarm.
22. Wind River
A veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service helps to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier act of irresponsibility which ended in tragedy.
A murder mystery that focuses on the characters more than the mystery itself, Wind River is a scathing attack on the jurisdictional nightmare that allows crimes against Native American women to go unsolved forever. Most thrillers are whodunits with a list of red herrings leading to an eventual killer. The real killer in this film is injustice and there is no happy endings.
21. Thor: Ragnarok
Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.
I’m definitely feeling the superhero fatigue. No matter how great the films are, I can’t help myself from visualizing the behind the scenes machinations. The MCU has a formula and it’s becoming more and more noticeable with each subsequent film. They’re becoming paint-by-numbers epics that I’m getting tired of describing as “well…It’s fun.”
20. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.
It may take a couple more years before the superhero bubble bursts but the public has already gotten tired of ol’ web head and his misadventures. Every single person I know avoided this film because they assumed it was another origin story. I had to individually tell them that it wasn’t and that “it was fun.”
19. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.
 
Picture you’re a kid and it’s your birthday. You’re having a good time at your party being a stupid ass kid and then it’s time for presents. You open the first one and it’s a cake. “That’s weird” you think to yourself as you open another gift. It, too, is another cake. Present after present, it’s nothing but cake. Even if every single one of those cakes is the greatest cake that’s ever been made, do you think you’ll be excited to eat the last one you received?
That’s how I feel about the MCU right now. Replace the decadent buttermilk frosting that’s generously covering every single one of those cakes with jokes and replace those cakes with movies and that’s my problem. You remove just 20% of the jokes from this film and there’s a strong chance that it would’ve made my top 10. Remove half and trim the time by a good 15 minutes and this could’ve been my number 1.

The Great


18. Split
Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.
I always believed in you Shyamalan. I’ve been in your corner since the beginning and I’ve defended everything you’ve made with the exception of The Last Airbender. Because it was garbage. But now you’re back. You had a recent tv show that people seem to have dug and your last two films were well received among horror fans. It’s cool to like Shyamalan again but hopefully at least a couple of the hipsters that have adopted you has their new favorite director, take a day to watch your entire filmography to realize you’ve been great since the jump.
17. The Big Sick
Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.
Rom-coms are a dime a dozen. They’re the female equivalent of horror movie slashers or cheesy ass action films. They’re made on the cheap and are designed to emotionally manipulate you into feeling happy and then sad and then happy etc. They’re cinematic roller coasters that leave you crying instead of exhilarated. The Big Sick hits all the same notes as any other rom-com but is far better written than any in the last decade. It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s filled with great characters preformed by great actors and it has nothing but heart.
16. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.
 
Instead of waiting for them to retire, die or find a predecessor, Martin McDonagh is trying to wrestle the baton away from the Coen Bros. And based on the three films he’s made, he’s a really good wrestler. Every single aspect of this film worked for me. The writing, the directing, the characters. It’s the antithesis of Lady Bird.
15. John Wick 2
After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.
 
Not as good as the first but is still an entertaining crowd pleaser. I don’t know what I like more, the comic book-esque universe they’ve created or watching Keanu Reeves reload a gun. It’s literally a coin flip.
13. War For The Planet Of The Apes
After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.
A prequel/reimagining to a classic nobody wanted birthed one of the great action trilogies of the 21st century. The CGI work in this film is, as Guy Fieri would say “out of bounds.” I have no fucking idea what that means but based on the inflection and cadence of his voice when he says it, I’m assuming it’s a compliment. This film deserves all of the best Fieri compliments, whether I understand them or not.
12. Baby Driver
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
 
Edgar Wright has such a remarkable track record, that I think this is his worst film and it’s still better than 80% of the films that came out this year. Fun cast, ingenious premise/delivery and some of the best car stunts committed to celluloid. Hal Needham would’ve been proud.

11. Dunkirk

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

This film should been shown in every classroom across the country. It’ll teach them historical facts as well as the power of the human spirit. What those civilians did for those soldiers is the definition of courageous. Americans are too self centered to ever care about the horrors that befall other countries but this is a story that 2017 needed the most. It’s about heroism. It’s about hope. It’s about risking your life to save a stranger. Although it wasn’t my favorite film of 2017, it is inarguably the most important.

 


The Underrated


Sleight

A young street magician (Jacob Latimore) is left to care for his little sister after their parents passing, and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads.

I decided to mix up the ordering by shining a light on some films I believe fell through the cracks. For all intents and purposes, Dunkirk is number 11. It just missed my list. These aren’t the runners-up or the honorable mentions. They’re just five solid films that deserve a little more attention.
Every single plot synopsis for this film gives away the entire plot. Which doesn’t mean there’s a Shyamalan like twist or anything. It’s just very light on actual story. It’s a character based drama that tries to juggle multiple ideas and while it doesn’t exactly catch them all, it still catches the right ones. Skip the trailer. Go in blind and you’ll enjoy it a lot more.
The Devil’s Candy
A struggling painter is possessed by satanic forces after he and his young family move into their dream home in rural Texas, in this creepy haunted-house tale.
“Rock and roll is the devil’s music!”
Before video games were accused of destroying the youth and long before the internet became the big bad wolf, rock music was public enemy number 1. It was doing everything from talking teenagers into suicide to being used to summon the dark lord himself. It was all very silly but there was a time where it was a major concern.
There was a million things warning our children against the “devil’s music” and part of the reason why I really dug The Devil’s Candy, is the fact that heavy metal is actually a tool against Satan.
Turns out Lucifer is more of disco guy. Who knew?
Okja
Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a fascinating animal named Okja.
Okja is E.T but instead of an alien, it’s a giant pig monster. And instead of the government trying to abduct him for scientific purposes, it’s a food company trying to get him to turn him into the most delicious of hamburgers. I will be shocked if this isn’t labeled a classic ten years down the road.
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore
 
When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.
Elijah Wood has one of my favorite careers of any actor. He started out as an amazing child actor, was trust almost immediately into Lord Of The Rings and followed up that massive success with a string of unpredictability. He’s done the big animated films, the small Indies, shorts, commercials, videos and videogames. The man attaches himself to intriguing projects.
I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore may be his best work to date. I know that’s a bold claim considering his track record but his work in this is some of the best of the year. This is the best adaptation of Elmore Leonard that doesn’t exist.
Super Dark Times
Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.
Stand By Me meets The River’s Edge. Even more so than Sleight, it’s imperative that you go into this cold. This is one of the best depictions of teenage life I’ve ever seen. It perfectly captures all of the minutia that comes with that period in life while also telling a profoundly dark story that’ll keep you uneasy till the credits roll. In a just world, this should’ve gotten the acclaim Lady Bird did. Infinitely better in every conceivable way.

The Top 10


10. Raw
When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.
Every once in awhile, there comes a film where your immediate response is “I have to see everything this director has ever made and I will see everything they will ever make. Give me more things please.” Witnessing a film that is truly unique, is a rare occurrence. They are few and far between.
Raw is one of the most unforgettable film experiences I’ve had in a long time. Every aspect of this film is firing on all cylinders and everyone involved is going to be the next big thing. I can’t wait to devour the next thing anyone of them makes.
“Rare.” “Devour.” “Firing.”
All clever references to eating steak. Which ties into the themes of this film. Orson “Shakespeare” Welles at it again.
9. Good Time
After a heist goes awry, a bank robber spends a night trying to free his mentally ill brother from being sent to Riker’s Island prison.
Holy fuck was it refreshing to be constantly surprised by a movie. At no point during this film could I guess where it was going. It grabs you by the throat and takes you on a 100 minute insane thrill ride. If this had come out in the late 70’s, it would be labeled a masterpiece of American cinema. Robert Pattinson turns in a performance that’s reminiscent of early Pacino. It’s raw, it’s intense and it’s dangerous.
This isn’t my favorite film of the year but It’s a strong contender for the film with the best performances. This is the kind of film Hollywood doesn’t make anymore and will inevitably get forgotten come Oscar time.
As a great writer once said “Good Time is a Great Time.”
That great writer? It was me.
8. Mother!
A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.
 
Now, since I judge films differently than most people, one of the things I look for when I watch a film is, did I see something new? Did it offer me a unique experience? Is it like any other film out there?
Whether you love or hate this film, there’s no denying that it checks every single one of those boxes. The last 30 minutes of this film is my favorite film of the year. It’s wall to wall insane and throughout the entire sequence, I just kept imagining Aronofsky directing with his balls in a wheelbarrow because they must be the size of fucking boulders.
This film is going to stick with me for a long time.
7. The Florida Project
Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.
 
Delightful. I dare you to find a more enjoyable thing this year than Moonee. Every word out of her mouth is 24K gold. This would be in my top five of the year if it wasn’t for the last 30 seconds. I absolutely adored every single thing about this film and then it felt like the director suddenly burst into my house and then kicked my cat.
I have never seen a film go out of its way to shit the bed harder in all my life.
You turn it off at the right moment and you’ll be spared the worst movie moment of the year.
And that’s including what happens in Mother!
6. World Of Tomorrow: The Burden Of Other People’s Thoughts
A future clone of a little girl named Emily, travels back in the past to relieve some of her memories through a convoluted series of memory wipes. Hilarity ensues.
Don Hertzfeldt is a fucking genius. There’s only a handful of directors that I feel like make shit just for me. Our comedic sensibilities line up perfectly. It’s almost as if he was an alternate version of me that’s far more talented and far more successful.
That’s clearly not the case (because as anyone who’s seen my extensive collection of turn of the century tophats could tell you, I’m rich as fuck) but even if it was, that would mean in a parallel universe, I’m as talented as he is.
And even if i lived to ne a billion and five, I could never make anything as good as this.
This is better than almost every other film I saw this year and it’s only 22 minutes long.
5. The Shape Of Water
In a 1960s research facility, Elisa, a mute janitor, forms a relationship with a mysterious aquatic creature.
Guillermo Del Toro doesn’t make films. He makes cinematic love letters to whatever genre he’s obsessed with at the moment.
He happened to be obsessed with Universal Monster films when he made this and thank god he was because this is the greatest homage to the old school monster films we’ve ever gotten.
He easily could’ve just remade the Creature From The Black Lagoon but instead, he decided to create his version of the story. The version where the creature and the woman fall in love with each other.
This is a love story disguised as a monster film masquerading as a valentine to everything Del Toro loves.
This film is the reason I watch films.
4. Logan
In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X, somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world, and his legacy, are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.
I had zero expectations that this film would be good. The X-Men franchise is hit or miss with the majority of the misses coming from the wolverine side, so I fully expected this to be a shit show. Turns out, much to everyone’s amazement, It’s a goddamn masterpiece. Who the fuck saw that coming?
Jackman and Stewart give two of the best performances in a comic book movie. You feel the weight of the entire franchise on their backs and they deliver the goods.
For years, it’s always been The Dark Knight and everything else fighting for second place but now, The Dark Knight might have to be the one fighting to remain king of superhero films.
3. IT
A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.
Film is my favorite thing in the world. It’s as important to me as water is to fish or tits are to strippers. I believe it was Kurosawa that said “me minus film equals nothing” and there’s no quote I relate to more. It’s in my DNA and the little cells (hemoglobins? More like hemogoblins cuz I’m talking about horror films. Amirite?) that make up that DNA are horror films.
There’s nothing on earth I love more than a well crafted horror film. Designing a film that’s sole purpose is to frighten you is gift not many possess but Andy Muschietti has it. He has it in spades.
If you didn’t see this in theatres, you missed out on one of the best cinematic roller coasters to come out in a long time. This film played the audience like a goddamn fiddle. A fiddle made up of screams.
Oh and if this film isn’t nominated for at least 4 Oscars, I’m going to dress up like a clown and throw rocks at Michelle Williams. Is that what you want academy?
Balls in your court but don’t you dare call my bluff. I’ve gone to prison for worse things. Believe that.
2. Brawl In Cell Block 99
 
A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.
I love every fucking frame of this film. It feels like the lost film of Walter Hill. It’s the type of badass filmmaking we haven’t had since the 70’s. A deliberately paced character study that suddenly turns into a non stop violence extravaganza, that never loses focus on character. Even when the carnage hits it’s apex, it’s still all about character. It’s over the top but deliberate. Since half the film is spent with these characters, you understand why the main character does what he does.
“Anything done in love is beyond good and evil”
Apparently that also includes brutally murdering everyone in your path. Skip the new Punisher show and watch this instead. It’s a million times better.
 
1. Blade Runner 2049

A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.

I’ve never liked Blade Runner. I admire it and appreciate what it did for cinema but I find it boring. Something about it just didn’t click with me.
The sequel retroactively makes me really like the first one now. I still don’t love it but now that’s it’s tied into this film, my fondness for it is growing.
Of all the hyperbolic descriptors I throw around like candy, the only one I try to avoid is perfect. I’ll use it to describe an experience or an emotion but I really try and avoid it when describing a film. No film is without flaws but this one comes astronomically close to being perfect.
The only thing the first film has over this one is the character of Roy Batty. There’s no character in this as interesting or iconic as Batty nor line of dialogue as good as the tears in the rain monologue but besides that, this is a near flawless masterpiece that’s among the very best of not only the 21st century but the history of film.
It’s that fucking good.
Well there you have it. Every film I watched in 2017 reviewed and in order. If it wasn’t on the list, I didn’t see it. So don’t bitch at me about Star Wars or Justice League not making the cut.