January 3, 2018

Top 10 of 2017 - Theatrically Seen

It’s that time of year, when everyone begins posting their best of the year lists. Each of which is sure to spark arguments among even the closest of friends. For what it’s worth, this is likely to be the leas definitive list that I have ever thrown together. For being the year in which I watched more movies than any other, it is also the year that I saw the fewest new releases theatrically, than I have ever seen before. Still, I did manage to see some really good movies and I suspect a lot of them would have made this list regardless of how many I’d seen. So, I am not offering much in the way notes for each each title, just know that I highly recommend each one. Below are the top 10, although I would be happy with the top 20, but I considered that to be a bit much, as I’v only see 45 eligible film.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2. The first was a film that came out of nowhere and became a huge hit. This sequel is a bit more of a known commodity, without the surprise factor and, hehe, surprisingly it proved to be at least its predecessor’s equal, delivering laughs, action, and fun, and managing to develop its characters a bit, It doesn’t hurt that they added Kurt Russell to the cast.

9. War for the Planet of the Apes. Who saw this coming? Seriously. This new trilogy of Apes films have been absolutely spectacular. Each one better than that which preceded it, culminating in this beauty of man versus beast. Although it seems to be more man versus man. This is a great film with great action and a depth of emotion not often seen, especially when half the characters are computer generated.

8. Get Out. Speaking of movies that come out of nowhere, here is a racially tinged horror/thriller that comes from a man known as a comedian. I swear I did a double take when I saw that this was made by Jordan Peele. The movie itself is a terrifying reflection on the state of race relations that not only plays commentary, but is a taught, well contained feature on its own.

7. Logan. After the mess that was Wolverine Origins, Hugh Jackman ends his run as the popular mutant with what may be the best X-movie to date. Playing much like a western, we see Wolverine struggling to survive, care for his friend and mentor, and find his place in the modern world. Filled with bloody violence, language, and heart. It is the emotion that puts this one over the top.

6. It. It is true, I never saw the television version of It, nor have I read the novel, despite being a big fan of Stephen King. This new take is an utterly phenomenal and rather terrifying film. Filled with good characters, scares, and a truly evil bad guy, this is one of the best horror films of the year.

5. Blade of the Immortal. Takashi Miike’s 100th movie was nothing short of phenomenal, an over the top orgy of blood and swordfights, straddling the line between the arthouse and the grindhouse. It is a tale of tragic mistakes and burning desire for redemption. I loved it.

4. Coco. Pixar knocked this one right out of the park. The animation and use of color is simply gorgeous. Then there is the story, family, friends, how everyone can pull together really gets at the heart, Seriously, by the end I was doing all I could to keep from sobbing.

3 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I love Martin Mcdonagh’s writing, I really should see one of his plays. His prior films, In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, were both phenomenal. This one delivers a compelling story with multidimensional characters and no real villain. It is a tale of loss and redemption that goes to some really dark places.

2. The Shape of Water. Guillermo del Toro does it again. This Creature from the Black Lagoon inspired fairy is simply beautiful. We are given a great central character played by Sally Hawkins, a mute outsider who finds a like soul in this creature. It Is beautifully shot film that really gets into your heart. It is hard not to become enamored with this film.

1. John Wick 2. Talk about an unlikely favorite, the first John Wick appeared from the ether as one of the best action films in years, and the sequel took the baton and took it all to the next level. Incredible action, a great story, and a fascinating title character that keeps your attention. Plus there is the story, it has that emotional gravitas that I look for that pushes it over the top. This is action filmmaking at its finest.

That about wraps it up. Sure, give me some more time and I may switch a few of these around, but this is pretty accurate of what I liked in the theater in 2017. Now, if my list continued, some titles you would see include Atomic Blonde, The Void, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and The LEGO Batman Movie. Not necessarily in that order.

What did you see that you loved in 2017?

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