This year I watched 38 movies that were released this year(4 of them were Netflix exclusive) and overall it was a good year though not particularly a great one for movies. Most of the movies I saw were in the B-C grade area with only one clear standout amongst them. Of the BIG movies that I wish I had seen but haven't at the time of writing this are mother!, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Phantom Thread, Only The Brave, and A Ghost Story.
I wanna give a special shoutout to the following movies who didn't make the top ten list but are still very good movies, or have very enjoyable moments. Lady Bird for giving me memories of high school and having the best Dave Matthews Band moment in any movie ever. Wonder Woman for the No Man's land scene. War for the Planet of the Apes for having mind blowing visuals and a great story. Captain Underpants:The First Epic Movie for being silly and fun and lighthearted. The Shape of Water for being original and wonderfully imaginative, Logan Lucky for bringing back the heist movie, The Florida Project for being crushing, and Power Rangers for that one scene with the zords that made me feel like a kid again. All these movies were good but didn't make the top 10.
Again I just want to reiterate, these are the ones I Enjoyed the most. Doesn't mean they're THE BEST MOVIES OF THE YEAR. Nor does it mean they're gonna win any awards or make a bunch of money, I just enjoyed these the most.
I was never really a huge fan of the X-Men movies. When Hugh Jackman first came on the screen as Wolverine in the first X-Men movie I was filled with the highest grade pubescent nerd rage. How the hell is Wolverine supposed to be this tall, handsome, Australian man? Still in the 18 years since Hugh Jackman has been the only consistently GOOD thing about the X-Men film universe.
Logan is Mr. Jackman's last movie as Wolverine and he went out with style. The movie has what very few superhero movies have in spades, it has stakes. Our protagonist is in danger, constantly, he's at times almost powerless and you know that any other person in his situation would cave. Wolverine FINALLY feels heroic. Another thing that I really like about this movie is that it's incredibly violent, not that I like violence in and of itself but a movie about Wolverine SHOULD be violent because the man is a maniac. I've watched this movie 3 times since I first saw it in theaters and each time I think 'why couldn't all the X-Men movies be like this?'
Now with Disney buying out 21st Century Fox I have no doubt that they will have their own Wolverine and it will be pretty good. But I will be seriously impressed if any one Wolverine movies they make is as good as this one. As far as swan song goes this is a great one.
This is a pretty friggin' original movie, it also does something that very few movies have done, make Anne Hathaway unlikeable. I don't wanna spoil this movie because I still think there's many people who haven't seen this one that really should but you can look at what happens in the movie as pure symbolism and it works well. You can also take what happens in the movie at face value and even then it's a pretty great monster movie. Above all this movie is original and I love it.
I think this movie was hurt by its marketing, but it's so unique that I don't know how it could have been marketed without letting a segment of people who were pulled in down. It's kinda like the same problem Get Out had except since the subject matter isn't as culturally relevant the audience didn't react in the same way.
Jason Sudeikis is a real bastard in this one too, and it's the first time I can say that about him since he played the ahole in those snl skits.
8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Surprised to see this here? Don't be. The Last Jedi didn't answer everything and it's not perfect but it's still an enjoyable movie. While it didn't go full Martin Luther and reform everything in the universe it still did plenty to advance the "Disney's Star Wars" and set the stage for what's to come in the future.
I wanted this movie to be Empire Strikes Back and it served that purpose as well, it gave the new saga a deeper revelation of the force, both Kylo Ren and Rey intuitively know more than any book can teach them, and also left our heroes in a position of being screwed so they can make a come back in the third film. The reformation of the Force is well underway. The soundtrack of this movie is exceptional as well.
I am a little wary of the future of "Disney's Star Wars" just like I'm wary of "Disney's Marvel" as each movie is pumped out each year. I don't doubt fatigue will set in as each movie follows a formula and lowers the stakes. Let's hope not because one Space-Mary-Poppins resurrection is enough. Still it's hard to argue that this movie and the last two haven't made for a good three years for Star Wars fans.
7.Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
TWO super hero movies. TWO! I'm as surprised by this as anyone, but I can't deny that I loved Guardians 2. I just did. I really wanted to hate it but I couldn't. Guardians 1 was already the best movie of any Marvel movie in my opinion but Guardians 2 surpasses it. It never slows down, almost every scene (except for the intro) has some sort of character development and despite it adding more character to the Guardians it feels a lot tighter than the first movie by far.
The music continues to be the shiniest part of Guardians, and visually it's so unique that it's no surprise Disney used almost this exact same style to revitalize it's most stagnant super hero franchise, Thor. I already wrote in depth about this movie so you can read that but all I'll say is if you don't get emotional at the last scene you may not have a heart beat.
Coco is not the best Pixar movie, it's not even in the top 3 but from the moment "When you wish upon a star" was played by Mariachis as the Disney castle was on the screen I teared up. As a person of Mexican descent this movie is special to me. I saw my people up there, and they weren't a joke or a cholo or a cleaning lady. They were a real family. This wasn't "Pixar's Mexican Movie" It was a movie by Pixar that featured a Mexican family. Not all of us celebrate Dia de Muertos, in fact I don't know anyone personally who truly observes it in the way that Miguel and his family did but that doesn't mean it was gimmicky in any way.
Visually the movie was stunning, the scene where Miguel crosses the bridge into the land of the dead is stunning as is the scene where he's in the ditch swimming in water. The music in this movie is great, I saw it both in English and in Spanish and the Spanish dub featured great music by pretty accomplished artists and that made me feel much more proud. The last song of the movie particularly captured how I felt while watching this movie as whole.
Ay, mi familia, oiga, mi gente, canten a coro nuestra canción
Amor verdadero nos une por siempre, en el latido de mi corazón
Thanks, Pixar for a beautiful movie.
5. Blade Runner 2049
As a movie going experience I think only one movie tops Blade Runner this year, but nothing has made a theater rumble the way this movie does. Visually, each shot in this movie is like a painting. Time and time again I wanted to take a screenshot and just stare at what was on the screen for an extended time. The use of colors alone in this movie deserve a whole write up.
The story is fantastic, the world building is great, and most importantly perhaps is that it still withholds some from the viewer to allow for interpretation. I was particularly a fan of Ryan Gosling's character's interaction with his virtual girlfriend/wife/waifu Joi. The dynamics between humans, replicants, and AIs was fascinating and sad. While Ryan Gosling probably won't win any acting awards for this movie I think he should receive SOME recognition for the best "I'm about to poop myself" face of anyone in any movie. Also the movie nails the tolerable level of weird Jared Leto screen time.
I was never a big fan of the original Blade Runner but I am a big fan of this one, Denis Villeneuve can do no wrong it seems.
4. The Big Sick
I was very surprised by this movie. I know Kumail Nanjiani from almost every comedy podcast out there so I knew his story, but seeing it on screen was completely another thing. This movie was advertised as a rom-com and while it IS that, kinda, it's so much more.
The Big Sick shows us what it's like to be an up and coming comic struggling for stage time. It also gives us a view into Pakistani families in America and how arranged marriages work in their culture. It has brilliant performances by both Holly Hunter and Ray Romano and has one of the best 9/11 bits ever. It's full of genuine emotion, and genuine laughs. It's real. It feels like a real movie, with real people.
There's one scene in the movie where Kumail is talking to Holly Hunter and he says something about how the Doctors know what's best she simply says "No they don't. They're just winging it like everyone else" I love that moment. It made me feel like I'm not the only one who's overwhelmed and scared at times and sometimes it's good to be reassured of that.
3. Brigsby Bear
This movie was made for people who have blogs, or youtube channels, or podcasts or any hobby. This movie was made for the irrelevant by and large and it made me feel so good.
Brigsby Bear features Kyle Mooney who plays an awkward(surprise) man-child who was raised removed from society and has an almost unhealthy obsession with a kid's TV show called "Brigsby Bear". When confronted with the real world he can only really talk about Brigsby and most of his life revolves around Brigsby, yet despite all that he finds a group of people that he can relate with and it's all because of his genuine love for that one thing.
I truly believe that people will be attracted to whatever it is you're into if you're genuine. People love passion, and being passionate about something has in the past been seen as dumb. Ironic detachment was the cool thing. Brigsby Bear and its characters reject that and that resonates so much with me.
If you've EVER had a weird hobby that only you were into and it made you happy independent of what anyone thought, watch this movie.
2. Get Out
What a surprise. I hate horror movies and this movie was marketed as a horror movie, and well, it is...but it's not a demons and spirits or clowns type of horror it's far more real than that.
The use of sound in this movie was perfect, the inventiveness of the sunken place. The humor was perfect. I don't think anything has elicited a more perfect groan than "I would have voted for Obama a third time" and the auction scene was just so creepy. This is a movie that rewards rewatches.
I must admit I didn't see this movie until well within its theater run, but even then I think I was in a theater full of people like me because it was packed and everyone was into it. I don't think I've ever been in a movie where EVERYONE in the room had the same reaction at the end, and it was a vocal reaction. I loved it. That moment alone puts this movie on the list and I think that moment must have happened in every theater. In 2017, this movie was a miracle.
1. Baby Driver
I love everything about this movie.
The only movie that is more of a "theater experience" than Blade Runner 2049 and Get Out and as big a rejection of ironic detachment as Brigsby Bear. Baby Driver is Edgar Wright wearing his heart on his sleeve and saying "I'm going to make something that I'm REALLY into" and I'm really into it too.
The music throughout the whole movie, is perfect, each scene is choreographed and in that sense it's as much a musical as La La Land was last year. The stunts are brilliant, the opening scene ALONE should go down in movie history as one of the best openings to any movie ever. The humor in it is hilarious, and Lily James' Deborah is probably one of the most likable and pure characters in cinematic history.
I just can't get over this movie. I've seen it more than 5 times since it left theaters and I saw it twice in theaters. Most of the time I can't believe what I'm seeing is really possible, and the rest of the time I'm catching my breath. It's a fantastic movie and it definitely filled my heart more than any other movie this year.