The time has finally come! It took me a while to get to due to getting the chance to see ‘Downsizing’, ‘Pitch Perfect 3’, ‘Bright’, and ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’. Now, I can say that I am finally doing my favorite write-up of the year: Ranking my Top 10 films that made an impact on my movie-going experience! (Stay tuned for my 10 Worst films of the year!) Unlike previous years, these films are not specifically ranked by grade as much as to how I loved them. (even though, it is a major factor in my choices) With all that being said; on with the countdown!
#10. ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’
To be honest, Niki Caro’s ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ almost did not end up making my list. Had there been more worthy films, then it would have been bumped to, at least, an honorable mention. However, upon watching this biographical piece, it resonated with me on an emotional, quiet level. ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ may be Oscar bait, but it hearkens back to the days of ‘Schindler’s List’ as powerful storytelling graces the screen. The likes of Jessica Chastain, Daniel Bruhl, and Johan Heldenbergh add to the anger with emotional performances. Yet there is a reason it is so low on this list.
#09. ‘Baby Driver’
At first glance, Edgar Wright’s ‘Baby Driver’ looks like a stylish music video (The infamous six-minute opening scene where Ansel Elgort’s Baby is grooving to ‘Bellbottoms’ by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is proof of that); every scene and action set piece is choreographed in tune to a classic song of old. In fact, the never-ending soundtrack is what made it such a fun thrill ride, as if the action was not already fun enough. Wright captures every moment with sleekness, and combines the use of music and violence perfectly like bread and butter. ‘Baby Driver’ is a perfect mix of action, humor, thrills, and suspense.
It is a shame that Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Detroit’ is not getting the talk and awards buzz it so rightfully deserves! It is a film loaded with powerful performances (especially with Will Poulter as a racist cop), relevant social commentary, a thrilling screenplay, and amazing direction. It was released in August and did not get audiences flocking to it. However, I saw ‘Detroit’ before it left, and I was amazed, as well as quietly invested. It is a film that was made for the times, not only honoring the 50th anniversary of the horrifying event that took place in the Algiers Motel, but also served as a commentary about the rioting and protesting that has taken place in the wake of the Trump presidency.
#07. ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’
Keanu Reeves is back in business as hit-man-straight-out-of-retirement, John Wick in Chapter 2 of the possible ‘John Wick’ franchise, and he is better than ever; by better, I mean that Wick is – by far – Reeves’ best performance since ‘Bill and Ted’. (Just my opinion) The first ‘John Wick’ definitely had a style, but it was definitely underwhelming. Thankfully, ‘Chapter 2’ upped the ante with more violence, style, and creative kills as Wick finds himself in a more dangerous situation. Now, I am looking forward to ‘Chapter 3’!
Before I go any further on my explanation for why ‘Logan’ is one of the best films of 2017, I have to say for people who were not already aware of this fact: I have never really seen any of the ‘X-Men’ films (As much as I want to, I will not count ‘Deadpool’ since, even though it technically is a part of the franchise, it does not feature an appearance by The Wolverine himself.); but I already knew that it worked as a stand-alone film and as long as I knew the characters and what happened, I was fine. ‘Logan’ is a masterpiece in almost every sense of the word, from its cinematography to James Mangold’s direction to performances by Hugh Jackman (who was supposed to play the character one final time until news came about of Disney buying 21st Century Fox – which houses ‘X-Men’, which only time will tell if he will don the claws for another round.), Patrick Stewart, and newcomer Dafne Keen. As of right now, it is the best (and only) ‘X-Men’ movie I have seen, and I am pretty sure that once I finally watch the prior films in the franchise, I cannot guarantee that anything will top it. It is that great!
#05. ‘Ghost in the Shell’
I know a lot of people will disagree as soon as they lay eyes on this portion of my list, and that is fine. Compared to everyone else, I thought Rupert Sanders’ polarizing ‘Ghost in the Shell’ – an American remake of the 1995 anime movie in turn based on the manga by Shirow Masamune – was amazing in every sense of the word. It had a visual splendor similar to that of a Wachowski film and Scarlett Johansson kicked ass (literally and metaphorically) as Major. Admittedly, I avoided it during its theatrical release, since I have never watched the anime, but I gave in when my girlfriend wanted to watch it with me. (She rented it from our local Redbox!) Judging by my addition to add this at-the-time controversial movie on my list, you already know how I felt.
#04. ‘Blade Runner 2049’
Another sequel that surpasses the original by adding more style – and one taking place three decades after its predecessor. ‘Blade Runner 2049’ is a breathtaking splendor of both visual and sound (I especially would have recommended it seeing it in the best theater you could think of at the time of release for effect). Thanks to Denis Villeneuve’s direction and executive producer Ridley Scott’s willingness to continue the ‘Blade Runner’ story, we are treated to a future where technology is as real as the world we live in, and one whose locations range from colorful and neon-drenched to dusty and deserted. Ryan Gosling gives off another great performance as K, while Harrison Ford returns as Deckard – who is as gruff as ever.
#03. ‘T2 Trainspotting’
2017 must have been a great year for sequels and seeing old characters return, because this the third first sequel that has made my list. ‘T2 Trainspotting’ did not have much of a marketing campaign or box-office success as it deserved, but it managed to be successful in its heart and many call backs to Danny Boyle’s 1996 drama without feeling forced and pointless. ‘T2 Trainspotting’ is as real as any movie could be with Ewan McGregor’s Renton having seemed to mature as the years have passed; even more so than Robert Carlyle’s Begbie, Jonny Lee Miller’s Sick Boy, and Ewen Bremner’s Spud. Boyle seems to know his characters well, while twenty years have treated them well.
#02. ‘Wonder Woman’
“Wonder Woman is the superhero we need right now” has been the saying to accompany almost everyone’s opinion on this film – and with good reason. Just when many have thought the quality of the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) was dead after ‘Suicide Squad’ (which I honestly liked, but see why it received so much criticism). In came two female powerhouses to save the day: Director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot. Together, these two form a team that not even the Justice League could match. Jenkins’ bright and colorful world matches with Gadot’s balance of female empowerment and childlike naivety, making it the best super hero movie of 2017!
After seeing ‘Coco’, I knew no other film this past year could top it. Almost everything about Pixar’s newest outing can be described as perfect. It is thoughtful, well-animated to the minute detail, humorous, and as expected from Pixar a tad emotional (I even shed a few tears by the end of the film). Not since ‘Inside Out’ has Pixar managed to impress me with thoughtful storytelling – proving once again why they are the best in business. I cannot wait to see this again!
‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’
It seems like a ridiculous choice to mention ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’. According to this movie, the term could be considered a compliment. Like Dav Pilkey’s source material, ‘Captain Underpants’ is not afraid to embrace the childish humor that made the books so popular among elementary schools. I was even proud of this film for what it could accomplish.
‘Battle of the Sexes’
Emma Stone and Steve Carell prove why they are likable actors in ‘Battle of the Sexes’ – which was a retelling of the infamous “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. I bet it was a fun match, and the movie was kind of fun too. It was great seeing the banter between King and Riggs, as well as feeling immersed in a real tennis match.