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Follow A Collection of Reviews By Ethan Brundeen on WordPress.com

It is 2018 now, which means it’s time to reflect back on 2017 and take a look back at the movies we loved. 2017 was a pretty good year for film, in my opinion. It wasn’t the best we’ve ever seen, but for the most part, I’d say I had more weekends leaving the theater impressed than otherwise. I was graced with many films that I will be watching for years, so many in fact, that I felt that a top ten simply wouldn’t adequately convey my respect and admiration for 2017 in film. So, I’ve decided to present you with a top 15, rather than a top 10, just to showcase as many movies as possible. It is important to note before you read this list that these are my favorite films of 2017. Movies that spoke to me in a certain way, or just kept me eternally entertained. The scores that I gave them don’t necessarily matter, but more just which ones I find myself still thinking about in 2018. Also, even though I saw more movies this year than ever before, there are still some films that may have made it onto my list that I didn’t get a chance to see. So, to avoid any outrage or confusion, I have supplied a definitive list of every movie I saw in 2017, along with the score I awarded them. Now, onto the list.

#15: Wonder Woman

wonder woman

Wonder Woman is a very special movie to me, as it managed to enchant me in a way that no other superhero film has been able of doing in a long time. I’ve been a victim of superhero fatigue for a while, so it was a genuine testament to Patty Jenkins’ ability as a director to deliver a traditional superhero flick that still won over my heart, in addition to millions of other’s. In my opinion, it’s a return to form for the genre, as well as just being a strongly entertaining and energized time at the movies.

#14: It

it

I am very impressed by how well It has stuck with me since September. As much as to some this might just be a simple horror/adventure film, to me, it’s one of the best onscreen depictions of adolescence in years. The relationship between the Loser’s Club was remarkably fun to watch, in addition to the new and inventive ways they tackled horror while still feeling inexplicably vintage. It was a love letter to a type of movie that just doesn’t get made anymore and had more heart than about 90% of releases in 2017.

#13: mother!

mother!

It might seem odd to some to include mother! on this list, but I can honestly say that no other film has ever surprised me quite as much as mother! It was just so bizarre and confident and audacious, and if anyone knows my taste in movies, they know I love things that are bizarre and confident and audacious. I defy those of you who saw it to tell me that it hasn’t stuck with you since you saw it. I just don’t think that’s possible. Now, if you didn’t like it, I’ll understand. It is a movie that almost dares you to dislike it. But for me, I can’t deny just how riveted I was watching it.

#12: Good Time

good time

If we’re bringing up daring films, it’s only right to present Good Time next. It’s likely that many of you haven’t heard of this movie, which is a right shame. Good Time was an indie thriller released this past summer by directors known as the Safti Brothers, who gave us one of the most gripping, new films made in a while. There are many times during Good Time when a plot point will be presented and you’ll expect the film to go in a direction that any other filmmaker would instinctively take it, and the Safti Brothers just ignore instinct and deliver a movie that is so fresh, and so intense, it deserves being seen by anyone who loves cinema.

#11: Call Me By Your Name

call me 1

Man, what is there to say about Call Me By Your Name that hasn’t already been said by many, many other people. Lauded by some as the Moonlight of 2017, this is one of the key contenders for the best picture race, and for good reason. While not quite as prolific as Moonlight, in my opinion, this exploration of a young man’s sexuality is one of the most beautiful, sincere films of the year. It will leave you breathless with its honesty and profound emotion.

#10: Get Out

get out

I genuinely believe that twenty years from now Get Out will be the most well-known film from 2017. A tour-de-force in comedy, horror, and drama, this movie by first-time director Jordan Peele is an absolute knockout from start to finish. The term “important film” is an obnoxious one, but this is the perfect example of how to do it right. Get Out is an extraordinary display of social commentary in addition to being a stellar film regardless of its content, causing it to be one of the indisputable best films of 2017.

#9: A Ghost Story

ghost 1

A Ghost Story is the most esoteric film on this list, not just because it was released limitedly but also for its incredibly anti-traditional story telling. An arthouse film if ever there was one, A Ghost Story is a haunting love story told by reverse engineering the archetype of a classic Halloween ghost and doing the unthinkable: making a feature-length character study on a silent sheet with two eye holes. It defines the phrase “not for everyone,” so if you prefer your movies to be, you know, exciting, then maybe skip this one. But, if you’re looking to get into arthouse, they don’t get much more beautiful than this one.

#8: Logan

LOGAN

If Wonder Woman was a perfectly executed traditional comic book film, Logan was a stalwart attempt to combat the very thought of such a movie. Serving for me as not just a Swan Song for Hugh Jackman’s seventeen year run as Wolverine, this was an elegy for the very genre itself. This movie was arrogant, grim, and profound in a way that is very, very seldom seen in big budget action flicks and deserves to be recognized for the success that it is both culturally and internally as a story.

#7: The Shape of Water

water 1

I absolutely love Pan’s Labyrinth, so when I heard that Guillermo Del Toro was taking a break from the CGI slop of Pacific Rim to do another “adult fairy tale,” I was understandably very excited. Thankfully, the film delivered in every aspect. It was an inventive story, an extremely compelling character study, and a grandiose canvas for Guillermo’s massive creativity. This is one of the greatest triumphs of 2017, I invite you to go and experience this entrancing project.

#6: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

jedi 7.png

While becoming what is arguably the most controversial Star Wars film to date, The Last Jedi enthralled me in such an expansive way that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. Sure, I had some issues with it, like everyone else, but I know that I will find myself watching it many times in the future. I gave it an A+ because I believe it is the best Star Wars movie it could have been, and I stand by that. It’s the riskiest film with a budget of 200 million dollars that I can think of, and for that, I can’t help but praise it. If you liked this movie as much as I did, don’t let other people ruin that experience for you. If anything it’s a monument to the subjectivity of film, in addition to being one of my favorite movies of the year.

#5: Lady Bird

bird 1

I rarely see movies this natural, this intimate, this immersive. It’s as if director Greta Gerwig just took a camera to a people and a time and let it run, presenting to the audience a realism that is very rarely found onscreen. It’s this style of almost Lo-Fi filmmaking, connected with a cast that is so perfect it’s almost criminal that creates a movie that is deserving of all the praise its garnered so far. I would absolutely implore you to see Lady Bird if you haven’t already, it’s essentially everything I love in a movie.

#4: The Big Sick

sick 1

I just can’t get over how much I loved The Big Sick. This little independent comedy had no right to be as great as it was but wound up embracing the hearts of all who saw it. It’s uncannily alive, with every scene just feeling so personal and brilliant. It will be the (500) Days of Summer of my generation, redefining the indie romance, subverting genre conventions and delivering on every front. I smile just thinking about this movie and want it to succeed as much as possible.

#3: Blade Runner 2049

blade 3

Listen. I know I cried after leaving my screening of Blade Runner 2049. I know it reinvigorated my love of film. I know that it awakened emotions inside of me that could only be accessed by a veteran director like Denis Villeneuve, but, and I realize this sounds insane, but somehow there were two movies I loved more this year even more than it. But, just because this film is at number three on my list, don’t let that detract from its brilliance at all. It is still an absolute leviathan of filmmaking. A technical marvel and a film that shows more ability in a single shot than most films even dream of, it is defiantly prodigious.

#2: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

billboard 1

I saw this movie on December 31st and it shook up my entire list, causing me to have to wait until today to release this. This is my best picture. It was, and I can confidently say this from all the movies I’ve seen this year, the best directed, acted, and written film of 2017. I sat agape with each passing scene as I watched Martin McDonagh deliver an insane, biting, incredible film about the nature of hate and the way very different people interact. It’s a genuinely transcendent film, one that will hopefully be compensated greatly at the Academy Awards for its triumphs in the world of filmmaking.

#1: Baby Driver

driver 1

I know what you’re thinking. How could Baby Driver be my number one film of the year, if I just said that Three Billboards is the best picture? Well, let me explain. Baby Driver might not be the best-made movie of 2017, but it is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite movie of 2017. I have seen it six times, three times in theaters and three times on Bluray, and each time I fall in love over and over again. Every single scene is just so perfectly composed and it’s nearly all thanks to Edgar Wright’s masterful auteur filmmaking. All of the acting is fantastic, even Kevin Spacey, even though he’s one of the world’s most hated men at the moment. I sincerely hope that his mudded name doesn’t tarnish what is a superb piece of cinema, one that has skyrocketed to becoming one of my favorite films of all time. I love, love, love Baby Driver and will continue to sing its praises for the rest of my life.

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions: American Made, Brigsby Bear, The Book of Henry, Personal Shopper, Wind River, and I, Tonya.

 

Monster Trucks: C-

The Bye Bye Man: F

Split: B+

The Lego Batman Movie: B+

John Wick: Chapter 2: A

The Great Wall: D+

Get Out: A-

I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore: B

Logan: A+

Kong: Skull Island: C

Beauty and the Beast: B-

Raw: B

Personal Shopper: A

Power Rangers: B

Life: B-

Ghost in the Shell: C-

Colossal: B

The Fate of the Furious: C-

Free Fire: B

The Circle: D+

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: A

King Arthur Legend of the Sword: C+

Alien Covenant: C

Baywatch: D+

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: C-

War Machine: B-

Wonder Woman: A+

The Mummy: B-

It Comes At Night: A

Cars 3: C-

Rough Night: B

47 Meters Down: B-

The Book of Henry: A+

Transformers: The Last Knight: D-

The Beguiled: B

The Big Sick: A+

Baby Driver: A+

Okja: B+

Despicable Me 3: D

A Ghost Story: A+

Spider-man Homecoming: A-

War For The Planet of the Apes: A

Dunkirk: B+

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets: D+

Atomic Blonde: B

The Emoji Movie: F

Brigsby Bear: A-

The Dark Tower: D+

Wind River: A

Good Time: A

Ingrid Goes West: B

The Hitman’s Bodyguard: C

Logan Lucky: A

It: A+

American Assassin: C+

mother! A

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: C+

The Lego Ninjago Movie: C-

Battle of the Sexes: B

Friend Request: F

Flatliners: F

American Made: A

Bladerunner 2049: A+

The Foreigner: B

Suburbicon: B-

Thor: Ragnarok: B+

Lady Bird: A+

Murder on the Orient Express: B

Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri: A+

Justice League: C-

Wonder: A-

Coco: B+

Call Me By Your Name: A+

The Shape of Water: A

I, Tonya: A

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: A+

The Greatest Showman: C-

Downsizing: B-

Pitch Perfect 3: C

All The Money In The World: A-

 

 

 

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