As much I rail on the bad movies of 2017, there were plenty of good movies too. Some were entertaining and nothing more, some were very outstanding and noteworthy films. Basically, there were A LOT of good movies, so many that I couldn’t keep it down to ten. Hell, I tried to keep it down to 15 and even that wasn’t enough. So, I just expanded it to twenty this time around. Anyway, here it is:
20. My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)
I can only imagine what some people are thinking, like “why is this on the list?” Well, I’ll admit, I do like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and while I haven’t watched the show much recently, I was looking forward to this movie, and I wasn’t disappointed. Sure, it is a lot like the show in regards to story and character, that being it’s aware of what it is yet it has fun with it anyway and does pretty good, but the animation is vibrant, bright, and colorful; the story is one big road movie; the messages and morals in the film are interesting; musical numbers are fantastic; and the voice acting, both from the voice actors who do the show and the celebrity voice actors, is actually pretty damn good. Basically, it’s the polar opposite of The Emoji Movie. Plus, it’s the first major 2D animated movie released for theaters in YEARS (no I’m not counting the DC animated movies, those were one night only screenings). Now, hopefully this can pave the way for not only more 2D animated movies, but maybe a Derpy movie as well…
19. Power Rangers (2017)
Nostalgia has been pretty big the last couple years. Both good and bad things have resulted from this. This movie is one of the former. I grew up with Power Rangers, and while I don’t like much of the recent shows, there have been other stuff related to the franchise that are pretty good, like the BOOM! Studios comics, and of course this movie. The visual effects aren’t that great in some scenes, the story is a bit one-note, the tone is inconsistent sometimes, and there are some trappings of the “blockbuster mentality” that this movie suffers from, but the cast was pretty damn good in their roles, the music is a bit “Hans Zimmer-esque” yet awesome nonetheless, and I thought it was a decent update of the original show. It’s not perfect, but it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it for what it was. Though chances for a sequel are slim due to mixed reviews and poor box office, it was still awesome and I hope there will be one someday.
18. Wonder Woman
I’m amazed as anyone that DC and Warner Bros. FINALLY made a decent flick for the DC Extended Universe. Sure, it’s not perfect, and previous entries weren’t completely terrible, but I’d say THIS movie should be considered the “true” start of the DCEU, especially for the timeline since it takes place in World War I. While the movie does have some typical superhero movie cliches, Zack Snyder produced/co-wrote it so it’s got some “Snyderisms” here and there, the visual effects can be iffy, and the main villain Ares isn’t that compelling despite being played by a great actor, but the cast is solid, Gal Gadot is phenomenal as Wonder Woman, the music is awesome (I mean, that guitar riff for the WW theme song gets me pumped), the action scenes are intense for the most part, and just the fact that the movie focuses on being a “positive” superhero flick, being optimistic in the face of hardship, adversity, and the world being a dark place, so what better way to do that than have the movie set in WWI? It’s flawed, but it’s better than what came before, and if DC and Warner can learn to improve for the future, then I think the DCEU will be alright.
17. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man is finally back at Marvel…sort of. They still share rights with Sony, which are confusing as Hell since I have no idea wtf Sony is doing with their “spinoffs” like the Venom movie, the Silver Sable and Black Cat movie, and whatever else they got cooked up in their coked out heads. But still, how did Spidey’s solo flick in the MCU turned out? Pretty great, actually. It’s got some problems that other MCU movies have, some of the visual effects were a mixed bag and especially during the night scenes, and there may have been WAY too many characters for this movie that resulted in some less than stellar performances (looking at YOU, Donald Glover and Zendaya), but the story was good, tone was consistent, Tom Holland is awesome as Spider-Man, Michael Keaton is a knockout villain as Vulture, and it managed to showcase everything great about the hero while also being a good movie in its own right and a good MCU movie. Makes me look forward to more of this rendition of Spidey in the future. But seriously, Sony, give up the remaining rights already.
16. Brigsby Bear
I understand that Sony has been the butt of many jokes over the past couple years, but they actually do make good movies from time to time, and Brigsby Bear is definitely one of them. While I haven’t seen much of Kyle Mooney’s work on SNL, he does a pheomenal job both co-writing and acting in this film, along with the rest of the cast. I said earlier that nostalgia has been pretty big lately, and this movie certainly pertains to that with regards to its sentimental and optimistic tone. It does understand that it’s not easy trying to adjust to the real world, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Sometimes you can have fun doing it.
15. The Lego Batman Movie
This movie is not only a good satire on Batman, which I never thought was possible, but it’s also like a PG version of Deadpool, another thing I never thought was possible. Coming off the success of The Lego Movie, and probably being one of the more successful spinoffs that came out in 2017, and there’s likely gonna be more like it. The voice cast, especially Will Arnett as Batman, is great; the animation is fantastic; and it’s just a fun movie overall. Now, if only DC/Warner can do something similar with their upcoming DCEU productions…
14. John Wick: Chapter 2
Action movies have gotten a bum rap in recent years, mostly because they’re made by hacks who don’t know what they’re doing. In 2014, a little movie called John Wick came out, made by people who actually give a crap and knew how to make a good action movie, given their stuntwork backgrounds, and it was very successful. Plus Keanu Reeves got his comeback with these movies and rightfully so since he is very compelling in the role. It helped make action movies great again. Now, the sequel comes out, and it’s not only a good action movie, but a good sequel as well, maybe even one of the best I’ve seen yet. I’ll admit, the characters and story were a bit one-note, but that’s kind of the point of it, as they’re seen more for their actions, especially in action scenes, than anything else. The look and feel of the movie is also in line with how the first one was, pretty noir-like and vibrant, yet this expanded on the type of world this series takes place in. Since there’s gonna be more of these movies, including a TV show, I just hope they don’t lose sight of what makes them great in the first place.
Christopher Nolan comes out with another hit yet again. Sure, it’s different than what he’s done before, but that’s kind of the beauty of it. I don’t know whether this movie changes the idea of how to do a war movie, but it is an interesting take nonetheless. It delivers on the sense of dread and anticipation with good pacing, thrilling music, and fantastic visuals. It simply feels authentic and real, if that makes any sense. Granted, the minimal amount of dialogue and lack of characterization for the characters in the film may be frustrating for those looking for something more typical of what they’ve seen before, but it’s an interesting film nonetheless.
12. War for the Planet of the Apes
Not very often you can say that the third movie in a trilogy is a good one, yet this installment of the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise proved it. While there isn’t really a “war” as the title suggests, it’s more of a journey movie, something more in line with classical war and adventure movies, and it shows. The acting, whether it’s in motion capture or not, is great, especially from Andy Serkis, who REALLY deserves an Oscar at this point; the story is good; and it’s just overall a thoughtful and provocative film that makes for a satisfying conclusion to Caesar’s story. Of course, there’s gonna be more Apes movies in the future, so they definitely got to step up their game if they’re gonna be good at all.
11. Get Out
What happens when you mix The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Meet the Parents and have it directed by Jordan Peele? The result is Get Out, a fantastic horror/comedy with clever subtext and explores themes that are not only relevant for today, but for all times. Daniel Kaluuya achieves his breakout role here and the rest of the cast, especially Allison Williams and Lil Rel Howery, are amazing. It kinda reminds me of An American Werewolf in London, actually, how it blends horror and comedy, and is ultimately satirical of the genre that it’s a part of. All I can say is well done, Mr. Peele, I look forward to more from you.
Speaking of amazing horror movies, there’s Split. Some say that Alien: Covenant was a “return to form” for Ridley Scott, which is bullshit. One person who actually achieved a “return to form” with a movie was M. Night Shyamalan through this film, though he did have a bit of a comeback earlier with Wayward Pines and The Visit. A true Hitchcockian thriller from beginning to end, with phenomenal performances by both Anya Taylor-Joy and James McAvoy, who deserves an Oscar for it, and a good story that ended up being a surprise sequel to Night’s other classic, Unbreakable, setting up for the epic showdown between Bruce Willis’s character David Dunn and McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde, with Samuel L. Jackson’s “Mr. Glass” manipulating everything, in the next installment Glass. I’ll be sure to enjoy that beatdown when it comes out, but for right now I’ll enjoy the thrills and chills of this flick.
9. IT: Chapter One
2017 was not only a great year for horror films, but also films based on Stephen King stories, with the exception of the shitty Dark Tower movie. And yeah, I’m not calling it IT or IT 2017, I’m calling it like it says at the end credits. Sure, it does some pretty conventional stuff of typical horror films, but it’s not strictly just a horror film, at least not in a traditional sense. Much like the novel it’s based on, this movie is more of a coming-of-age story, with kids having to realize the world is a pretty scary place and they have to do whatever they can in order to survive. The acting from the child actors is great, though some characters don’t get explored as others, and Bill Skarsgard made his Pennywise stand apart from Tim Curry’s interpretation of the character. While multi-part adaptations of certain books do get a bad reputation, it’s understandable why this book gets two movies, since it’s a LONG one, and I’m definitely looking forward to Chapter Two. Hoping that Jessica Chastain as adult Beverly Marsh turns out to be true, then we can all float too.
8. Trainspotting 2
How do you make a sequel to a cult classic like the original Trainspotting? By making the same movie again…sort of. See, this movie is the polar opposite of Bad Santa 2: it’s a sequel to the original that’s aware it’s repeating the original, which is the overall point of the film. Both the cast and crew have stated that the story addresses how much the characters are affected by the time that’s passed since the first movie, question what have they done with their lives since, and that they’re still the same people, with both the positives and negatives that come with it. With almost everyone reprising their roles, it’s great to see everyone returning and how much has changed. Visual aesthetics also play a key part like the original, with colors muted and the characters youthful and energetic in the first, while everything is vibrant and colorful and the characters are mostly old and tired in the second. It’s interesting how that all plays out in this film. Shame that they couldn’t use the title of the sequel book for this one, Porno, but I can understand why. Still a good movie.
7. Baby Driver
While John Wick: Chapter 2 was the noir-driven action movie of the year, Baby Driver was more along the lines of a heist action movie. Just simply everything was awesome about this movie. The acting, music, action, car chases, writing, direction, and everything else made this movie such a masterpiece. Edgar Wright knows his shit. He knows how to blend comedy, action, drama, and suspense into one high-octane thrill-ride, unlike some people that deliver gratuitous, boring, bland pieces of crap like Michael Bay and others do. Let’s just say Edgar Wright does his movies…the WRIGHT way [puts on sunglasses while “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is playing].
6. Thor: Ragnarok
Let’s be honest, before this movie came out, the Thor movies were probably the dullest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They tried to have their cake and eat it too by taking themselves seriously in order to be taken seriously, but then they shove in comedy that doesn’t sit well with the rest of the movie, and as a result they became bland and boring, yet still entertaining. Thor: Ragnarok throws all that pretense out the window and just has a blast being a loud, dumb, colorful movie with great action, spectacle, comedy, and fun. Everyone in this movie brought their all into it, both cast and crew. The villain, Hela, is probably one of the best ones yet in the MCU. Thor and Hulk have never been more awesome than they were here. And yes, there was some Infinity War buildup, but it’s still an awesome movie in its own right. In a way, this felt more like the proper first Thor movie, and I hope after all that’s said and done in the Infinity War movies, there can at least be more after it. This movie definitely brought the lightning and thunder with it.
5. The Shape of Water
I’m not one for romance movies, unless they’re done in an interesting way. Good thing Guillermo del Toro knows how to do that. Who would’ve thought that a love story between a human woman and a fishman would become one of the most compelling romance movies ever made? The acting, writing, directing, production design, music, visuals, and atmosphere, when handled by del Toro, make for a wonderful, colorful, and kinda depressing tale. It even made me cry at some points, I’m not kidding. This was probably his most ambitious and best work yet, and I’m glad I got to go see it when I did.
4. Wind River
No movie managed to blend both Western and mystery genres better like Wind River did. The overall theme of survival and the things it drives people to do, both good and bad, is very prevalent and provocative. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen are in their best performances yet, and even the supporting cast is great too. While I haven’t seen Taylor Sheridan’s previous screenwriting outings, his directorial debut is nothing short of masterful here. It’s a movie that really makes you think about life, the atrocities committed unto others, and what actions must be taken to see them brought to light and to justice. A pretty brilliant film, nuff said.
Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine for almost two decades, so this movie helps him end his run with the character on as much of a high note as possible. I couldn’t imagine another way for it. Same thing with Patrick Stewart as Professor X, though that’s yet to be seen since he said he’d like to return for Legion and maybe Deadpool 2, but who knows. This is probably the best neo-Western movie I’ve seen yet. Dafne Keen is amazing as X-23 and I look forward to seeing her in hopefully more X-Men movies, granted if Disney will allow it since they’re buying out Fox and the Marvel stuff they have. This movie is on the opposite side of the R-rated spectrum that Deadpool is on, in that it’s an R-rated movie with lots of violence, blood, gore, and the drama that comes with it, which it excels at with flying colors. Sure, maybe the story doesn’t exactly line up with the rest of the X-Men movies in regards to continuity, but has that ever really mattered before with this series? It’s a perfect standalone movie featuring Wolverine and it perfectly ends this version of the character for this franchise, that is until Disney brings the X-Men into the MCU and does a different version. Regardless, some shoes are gonna be hard to fill.
2. The Disaster Artist
The Room is one of the most unintentionally funny, “so-bad-it’s good” movies ever made. So many questions have been asked regarded how this movie got made, where did the money for the budget come from, who is Tommy Wiseau and where did he come from, how did he and Greg Sestero meet and make this movie, and more. Since The Disaster Artist is based on a book co-written by Sestero about these events, we know just as much as he does, and it’s a great story even if it doesn’t have all the answers. James Franco is great not only in directing this movie, but his performance as Tommy Wiseau is both fitting and a standout for him. His brother Dave is also amazing as Greg. Other characters do kinda fall on the wayside, but that’s not what the story is about. It’s about trying to make it anywhere in life, in this movie’s case it’s Hollywood and the entertainment business, and that while it isn’t easy, it doesn’t mean you can’t try. One of the worst movies ever made became inspiration for one of the best movies of the year. Who would’ve thought it, huh?
1. Blade Runner 2049
Philip K. Dick is a very influential author, with his works providing the basis for some of the most thought-provoking movies ever made. His novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, became the basis for the original Blade Runner, a film that was ahead of its time and has become the template for an entire genre of almost every medium in fiction. So when it was announced that a sequel to this cult classic was being made, there was both excitement and dread. Denis Villeneuve, Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and everyone else involved, not only put those worries at ease, but made both a great sequel to a great film and a landmark movie in its own right. Honestly, I’m glad that Ridley Scott didn’t direct this and was a producer instead, because sometimes it’s best to have a different voice and vision to expand on one’s previous work. Everything in this movie was as perfect as can be for it. The visuals, action, cinematography, acting, writing, direction, and everything else made this movie the best of 2017. It blends themes of identity, culture, technology, society, and other aspects of cyberpunk fiction so elegantly together. This was a movie that existed to be just a movie in its own right, nothing more, nothing less, and it does a perfect job at it.
So those are my top 20 best movies of 2017, in my opinion. I included more than I usually do in these lists, simply because I wanted to avoid having ties this time around. What are your favorite movies of 2017? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading! 🙂