With much ballyhoo, bleached eyes, tongue scrapings and fingernail pulling, the staff of GEEK managed to put together a list they all agreed upon that comprised the top ten best films that came out in 2017. While not every movie on the list may be the most technically sound amongst the lot, they all were films that were major releases that tracked hard with GEEK, and in a year where there were lots of surprises in the superhero genre, there weren’t really any surprises about what made the list this year!
Instead, we have a solid list of movies that would’ve all made a top 5 easily in any other year, yet with strong entries coming late like The Last Jedi, things did get bumped around a bit. What’s left is a long list of so many excellent movies from this past year that we couldn’t quite fit them all in, so be sure to check the honorable mentions. Without further adieu, here’s GEEK’s top ten best movies of 2017!
10.) Guardians Of The Galaxy 2
James Gunn is good at this. I mean, not just in a comedic way, although he’s certainly an excellent comedic talent, he’s a good negotiator, obviously. How else can you explain the dearth of creative, inspired, hilariously off-the-wall, borderline inappropriate material he manages to cram into these films? The man can not only block an excellent action scene, but he knows when to let his comic actors stretch their funnybones and when to settle down and make things matter. The Guardians Of The Galaxy films are complete outliers in that they don’t feel at all like other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and it uses that to its benefit greatly. I think I put it best in my review:
It’s a flick that oozes chemistry, and it flows from the screen into the audience like some kind of techno-biological happiness tube, intent on medicating your brain with pure, unfiltered entertainment through its bizarre cerebra-tentacles of celluloid-based joy.
Christopher Nolan is the only old-school prestige director around, and he’s mostly just doing an excellent impression of the Kubricks, Demille’s and Preminger’s of yesteryear in Hollywood’s past. Appropriately enough, he decided to make a war movie that would have made all those auteur directors fumingly jealous of the sheer scale, commitment, and successful application of real props and sets for maximum authenticity that genuinely enhanced the storytelling. There’s a care taken for every scene’s detail to accurately measure the desperation of these soldier’s struggle, and the unique way their salvation came from the collective good of others. It’s a story worth telling in a war movie, when so commonly the theme is the odiously repeated “War Is Hell” mantra that has been driven into your skull since we all watched the first war movie our uncle showed us. Or dad. We all had that relative who was into war movies, right? Just me? Nevermind.
8.) Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman came at a time when nobody expected it to be good, hot off the heels of the abysmal Suicide Squad. The contempt for the DCEU was at an all-time high, and little did we know that backstage shenanigans were already brewing on the set of Justice League, so there was quite a bit of pressure on Wonder Woman to come out and do well, not only commercially but critically. Of course, and fittingly, Wonder Woman did so in strides, and easily claims its rightful place as one of the best, if not THE best female-centric superhero film out there. Chock full of memorable scenes and characters worthy of their own films, Wonder Woman went and did the near impossible, and almost singlehandedly justified the entire DCEU. That is until Justice League came out. Womp womp.
7.) Baby Driver
Ansel Elgort plays a guy named Baby who has to listen to music to get his drive on. Then he meets a hot chick and they do some stuff, and in the meantime, a bunch of music plays and there are some car chases! Bang Bang! Edgar Wright’s stylish music-video-mashup-cum-action-crime-thriller is like a catchy pop earworm you can’t help but groove to right before you blackout in the club. Audiences were hypnotized by the film’s flashy spectacle and thumping tunes and Edgar Wright’s direction is in top form, as every scene is meticulously planned out for musical efficiency. Baby Driver, what can I say? If you liked it, you liked it.
6.) Get Out
Simply put, I believe this is the only original, non-property based, non-adapted film that we’ll still be talking about 30 years from now. This is a horror comedy that people will be debating, studying, watching and loving for decades, and it’s in good company with other horror comedies that are equally perfectly balanced. In my review of the film, I compared it to the Evil Dead 2‘s of the cinematic world, and other perfect comic/horror amalgamations:
Story isn’t necessarily the strongest point of any comedy, and neither is it for horror, though of course there’s many notable exceptions for each genre, but even fewer for films that combine the both. Shaun Of The Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ’74, American Werewolf In London. All amazingly made movies that are hilariously dark humored, and at times, intensely terrifying. Add onto that list of exceptions: Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
It’s a movie that rewards repeat watching, is full of details and payoffs you wouldn’t expect, and ultimately has created a new lexicon and cultural statement that’s highly needed these days. If you can watch Get Out and not feel perturbed, you better check that place where you’re supposed to keep your heart, you cold unfeeling robot person.
5.) Spider-Man: Homecoming
This one was probably the most surprising to me personally, this entire year. I’ll admit to an extreme bias against Spider-Man, induced from multiple origin-movie based fatigue, along with a lifetime of spider prejudice. I’m not saying I hated Spider-Man but “strongly disliked” would not have been an inaccurate term to gauge my appreciation of his character. Especially any new movie rebooted versions of him. So when it came time to watch this movie, to review it, I saw it as a kind of personal albatross, and did my best to throw away all my preconceptions and just enjoy the film for what it was. Luckily, I never had to, because the movie was legitimately genuinely incredible, and made me fall in love again with a character I believed was dead to me. It was SO good, It revitalized my hope and desire to see new Spider-Man movies, which is a sentence I’m sure many on the GEEK staff would be surprised to hear me say. This movie is a gem, a gift, and I’m hoping it’s not a fluke, but that’s the pessimist in me, that’s never been used to having a truly great Spider-Man movie.
4.) Star Wars: Episode VII – The Last Jedi
Is that the full title? That’s the official full canonical title if I believe I’m correct. Or does it start with Disney’s Star Wars now? All cynicism aside, The Last Jedi was a welcome shot in the arm to a franchise that was quickly growing stagnant and brought a breath of fresh air that itself did not come without controversy to Star Wars fans. While perhaps divisive with some fans of the series, the kind folk at GEEK were all in unexpected agreement on the sequel’s distinct choices and storyline subversions. Simply put, The Last Jedi shot, killed and cannibalized the corpse of The Force Awakens, and for better or for worse, you loved or hated it. We loved it.
3.) IT: Chapter 1
Sometimes, out of the ashes, a good remake will appear. Granted it doesn’t always happen, but it helps that the child actors in this film are leagues beyond the TV grade child actors of the early nineties, Seth Green notwithstanding. Ultimately what made IT really work was the effective and genuine characterization, and how that relatability can translate into genuine empathy for these characters who we see confront a literal demonic fear entity. IT‘s the horror version of Stand By Me mixed with a fascinating mythology only hinted at casually. This was nostalgia filmmaking done right, and while Tim Curry may hold the legendary status for his original Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård gives him a run for his money. Skarsgård’s Pennywise is truly chilling when standing still, and his menacing look will always hold stronger and deeper menace than any of his flashy “jump scare” moments. It’s a wonderful group of performances all around and deserves its place on the best of the year list. Everyone here at GEEK is in hot anticipation of Chapter 2, as is evident from our attempts to predict the cast.
2.) Thor: Ragnarok
Having not seen this film myself, I turned to GEEK’s resident manboywonder, Josef Rodriguez, aka Lil’ Joey for his opinion on the film, one nearly all of the GEEK staff agreed with:
I liked that it was a Marvel movie that knew it was a Marvel movie and knew it had to bend to a certain formula. But instead of everything being business as usual, Taika Waititi had a really good understanding of where he has the most wiggle room creatively, and goes for the most creatively inspired and insane version of whatever he’s allowed to do. It’s also funnier than most comedy movies were this year, and overall, I thought it did a good job of being very fun and very minor while moving the MCU in an interesting direction.
This was the hardest possible choice in a year full of so many good movies. However, Logan managed to hit the right buttons for a lot of different audiences. It had all the comic-book fans in rapture with its excellent worldbuilding and characterization. It brought in action movie fans who wanted to finally see Wolverine do some realistic damage, and with that came the horror fans who are just gorehounds hungry for more cinematic splatter. While all of these are no doubt strengths of the film, it’s true ace in the hole was its scripting, which was so tightly compacted, structured and executed that the whole movie felt like an indie drama you’d see from a smaller studio. This Venn diagram of interests created the massive crossover appeal it has for us here at GEEK, since everyone agreed no matter what their tastes, Logan was a real gem of a film and one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Blade Runner 2049 – Gorgeous. Heartbreaking. Humbling. Magnanimously impressive in scope, execution, style, and grace. Also, insanely long.
The Big Sick – The single best rom-com of the year, with particular emphasis on the comedy, as I’ve not laughed harder in theaters at any movie this year. There’s one particular 9-11 joke that might actually be the funniest joke I’ve ever heard, it’s that good. All this in a year full of multiple big-budget superhero comedy films that were truly hilarious in their own right means this one really stands out in my opinion.
Split – Simply put, Shyamalan’s comeback. The man spent the better part of a decade with a half-dead career only to rise from his the ashes like a bizarre, twist-ending obsessed phoenix.
Images: Disney, 20th Century Fox, Amazon Studios, Universal Pictures,
Marvel Studios, Sony Pictures, Tristar Pictures, Warner Bros.