I placed rankings on these films because it is fun and if you asked me to order my favorite films again I would probably have different rankings depending on my mood. Most of these films I have only seen once with the exception of Blade Runner 2049 which I saw in theater three times. I think with time my opinions of films from this last year will change but that is the point. I want to keep a record of the year while my opinions are fresh. It will be interesting to see how my opinion of these films will change over the years. After all some films end up aging better than others. This list is not of the films I think are the best of the year but are rather selected and order based on what I enjoyed. Also I tried to keeps this spoiler free as much as possible even though I think spoiler culture is destructive for meaningful art discussions.
10. Call Me by Your Name
Sufjan Stevens! Any movie that has original music by Sufjan is instantly better. Looking at you I, Tonya. Call Me by Your Name is special because basically nothing happens in the movie. This film feels like a 132 minute vacation. How old Armie Hammer appears and how young Timothee Chalamet looks in the film constantly set off creepy bells in my head and was a distraction for me in the film. One of the last scenes in the film about dealing with emotions is in my opinion the best scenes of the year. 🍑/10.
This is one of Christopher Nolan’s best films but probably not one of his most exciting. It’s free from most of his typically problems as a director although I could have done without the non linear editing, which made the film needlessly confusing. Christopher Nolan films are normally a bit clinical with human emotions and in Dunkirk this was not the case. The film juggles flawlessly the feelings of several characters it follows through out the film and the story intertwine in a perfect ending. The sound design and cinematography is excellent and lend to the realism of the film.
8. Lady Bird
OK first of all how do you not like this movie? Of all the films in my list this is by far the most broadly appealing film which is not a bad thing but rather a compliment. The characters are relatable and cover a bunch of complex themes in a nuanced manner. Coming of age movies are done to death but that does not mean you can not still make good ones and this a great one.
Raw is well raw. I think this is probably one of the more overlooked films of the year with Get Out getting all the attention in the horror genre. This horror movie is actually kind of similar to Get Out in terms of dealing with social issues. The reason I prefer this film is that unlike Get Out which dulls its social commentary with comedy Raw doubles down on horror. This film is deeply horrifying in a way that makes it unforgettable.
6. Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner 2049 is the big Hollywood blockbuster we need more like but for some reason no one actually wants. Blade Runner 2049 is wonderful sequel to on my favorite films of all time. The way this sequel does not pander to the original should be admired. It’s the most visually striking movie of the year with cinematography and a look that surpasses the original Blade Runner.
5. The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water is a movie that is you read the description of the film you would not think it works as a film but it does. Sally Hawkins’s character being mute is amazing because she is so expressive with her sign language and emotions. It also server the plot in a clever manor that allows here to sympathize with a creature that does not speak English. This film is so charming you will forget how creepy the actual plot sounds.
4. Molly’s Game
Aaron Sorkin’s first time directing starts off with a bang which should not be too surprising having created several hit TV shows. Molly’s Game features the best movie open I saw this year as well as the quick, sharp and witty dialog Sorkin is know for. This movie was the most fun I had watching a movie this year.
3. Phantom Thread
Phantom Thread is a more commercial mother! (a film I will address in a bit) and that is not a complaint but rather a compliment. It is way more accessible to most people and hits upon the same themes. The score is one of my favorites of 2017 and feels organic and alive. This film is chic and balances perfectly humor and drama. Phantom Thread is crazy and over the top but does not feel that way. This scripts and the acting are so engrossing you can not help but laugh as the absurdity of this film plays out.
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
This film is messy. Characters are constantly all over the map as far as morals go. Which leaves the viewer confused and challenged. For some people that is just too much. Three Billboards will seamlessly switch from anger to empathy in a single scene. This emotion whiplash makes the film flawed for some and complex for others. I fall on the complex side. The assemble cast of this film is the best of the year and Frances McDormand is a clear standout of the year.
Darren Aronofsky is my favorite director. This is important because to properly watch one of his films it helps to have seen his previous works. This is his most crazy and out there film to date. It takes all of the style and themes of previous movies and slams them into a single film. The thing I find most interesting about this film is how different people’s viewing experiences are of mother!. The common thing in discussions I have had about the film is that it was such an obvious metaphor but then when prompted for what the metaphor was I have been told several different examples. This gets at what makes Aronofsky such an interesting director. His stories are myths. They deal with basic stories that have been told for decades and even sometimes thousands of years. He finds a way to flip them sideways and look at them in a new light.