Kaitlyn’s Top 5 Movies of 2017
While there are a lot of things that made 2017 a dumpster fire, the year in movies was not one of them. There were a lot of bad movies, but this was also a year with a lot of special movies as well. This is probably going to be one of the most interesting award seasons to date considering the sheer amount variety there is concerning genre and stories. We’re seeing hard working directors finally getting their shot at the big time, and there are some really special movies out there for all of us to watch. So let’s narrow is down the best we can in a year with some really good movies.
Honorable Mentions: A bunch of movies that are fantastic but didn’t quite make the top five. There are likely a few on here that flew completely under your radar. If you missed out on any of these they are absolutely worth a look. War for the Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I Tonya, The Big Sick, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Coco, Logan, Wind River, The Post, Get Out, Baby Driver.
#1 Movie of 2017: Blade Runner 2049
A movie that has precisely no reason to be as good as it is. Blade Runner 2049 already had the task of trying to compete with one of the biggest cult classics of all time and instead of trying to be bigger with more explosions it took the slow and atmospheric approach. This is a movie that is beautifully crafted in a way that going to have people familiar with cinematography talking for generations with some fantastic performances while also refusing to hold the hand of its audience. Blade Runner 2049 is a movie that’s here to make you think about what it means to be human and alive while also facing the prospect of having your entire existence change in a day. The box office says that many people didn’t take the time to go see this one which is a shame because it is one of the most visually stunning movies we got this year.
#2 Movie of 2017: A Ghost Story
It takes a lot for a small independent movie that I first saw back in January to stay with you for almost a year but this one did. It’s a movie that I kept coming back to and one that only seemed to move up the list as the year went on. It’s a movie about life, about death, about being forgotten and being remembered. It’s about time and our place in the world. It’s a movie that talks about the meaning of life while following a ghost that is clearly a person standing underneath a blanket and it’s perfect. The halfway mark kicks in, the movie tips its cards, and it becomes something truly special. This is one that will stay with you and is good enough that you can forgive casting the extremely problematic Casey Affleck as the lead. Fortunately, he’s under the sheet for most of the movie so there’s that at least.
#3 Movie of 2017: Lady Bird
There are plenty of coming-of-age movies but few feel as genuine and heartfelt as Lady Bird does. The story of a young woman growing up in Sacramento, California as she goes through the things we expect teenage girls in the early 2000’s do. It’s a movie that starts off with a mother and daughter having a fight in a car that the daughter wants out of so badly she throws herself from the moving vehicle and the next shot in the movie is her with a giant cast on her arm. Writer/director Greta Gerwig crafted something truly special about growing up and getting along with ones mother when you’re kind of the worst at seventeen. It hits home, it’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, with sharp writing brought to life with star making performances by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. One of the best of the genre that should not be missed.
#4 Movie of 2017: The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro is one of the best directors working today, period. He takes concepts that sound low class and bringing with them a level of sophistication and beauty that cannot be understated. With The Shape of Water del Toro looked at all of those old monster movies from the 50’s where creatures were dragging women off to be their brides and asked the question “what if the woman was into it? Like super into it?” It’s a movie that makes its proclamations very early on and we know going in that there are going to be some metaphors about 50’s conformity and what it means to be human. Sally Hawkins is stunning as our lead who never speaks a word but is more compelling to watch than almost any other leading woman this year. The script manages to convey a pretty sweet little love story despite this being about a woman who essentially has sex with a fish monster. He is a monster though and the movie doesn’t forget that. A beautifully soundtrack and masterful writing and directing from del Toro makes this one of the movies you don’t want to miss going into the new year.
#5 Movie of 2017: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The only genre that’s harder to pull off than the dark comedy might be satire. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri might be one of the best dark comedies to come along in years. A masterpiece of walking that line where it’s dark but also needing to make sure that things somehow stay funny. A jaw dropping lead performance by Frances McDormand who plays a mother broken by the brutal rape and murder of her daughter. She turns her eyes to the police and spares with Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell as the captain and an officer at the station that hasn’t solved the case. Rockwell might be playing one of the worst human beings put to screen and there isn’t a moment where you should think otherwise. He’s not redeemed by the end as he shifts his terrible priorities onto other things. A movie that leaves you laughing when you know you shouldn’t be and staring in shock at some of the things that end up on screen. It also has the best use of the word “cunt” in a movie possibly ever. If dark comedy is your thing then this is one you cannot miss.
Special Mention: Wonder Woman
Were there better movies this year? Absolutely. This one had some serious act three issues and a villain that, at the end of the day, was extremely lackluster. However, there is no denying the impact that this movie had this year. A movie that made women everywhere burst into tears (note: it took three tries before I made it through the No Man’s Land scene without crying) because they finally got to see a woman being strong and beautiful without a hint of the male gaze. A movie that took the flailing DC Extended Universe and showed us that they can make a good movie with the right people behind the helm. It shot Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot to superstar status and made Wonder Woman the breakout character of the year. People have been waiting their entire lives to see this movie and the fact that it worked so well and hit so hard cannot be understated, even if it isn’t perfect.
Special Mention: The first five minutes of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was not a good movie. In fact it was kind of a mess but it was a beautiful mess if nothing else. However, the beginning of this movie might some of the best five minutes put to screen in years. It’s just a simple montage showing how the human race managed to get to the place we reach in the movie proper and it’s just beautiful. There is more hope for the future in these five minutes than maybe any other movie this year. It’s a hell of a beginning that couldn’t be topped. It’s a shame the rest of the movie couldn’t keep up this momentum because this opener is a stunner that needs to be seen to be believed.
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