Top 15 Best Movies of 2017

Finally! Onto the good stuff!

As I mentioned before, I decided to hold off on my list of the best movies of the year for a bit to catch up on some movies that I have yet to see. I can’t recall a more memorable year for film than 2017! From the breathtaking to the original to the haunting to the downright powerful, these are only several words on how I can describe these fifteen great movies on my list. Let’s get started!

Honorable Mentions: Coco, Darkest Hour, The Florida Project, Get Out, A Ghost Story, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, I Am Heath Ledger, John Wick: Chapter Two, Logan, Logan Lucky, The Lost City of Z, Maudie, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), Only the Brave, The Post, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Stronger, Wind River, Wonder Woman

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(Source: Vulture)

15. It – Starting off the list is the long-waited second adaptation of Stephen King’s 1,000+ page epic. Andy Muschietti’s first of two movies follows seven kids teaming up to take down Pennywise the Clown (a wicked terrifying Bill Skarsgard). This movie brought together some of the most talented child actors working today, including St. Vincent’s Jaeden Lieberher and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard (laugh-out-loud hilarious as the trashmouth Richie). While a lot of people may not think this version of It is not entirely scary, I found it to be a little more than just scary. This is a funny, intense, graphic, and downright devastating coming-of-age story about the loss of innocence. I have a bad feeling the sequel is going to suck, but I’m glad I went to see this one!

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(Source: Billboard)

14. Baby DriverFresh from finishing his Cornetto trilogy with 2013’s The World’s End, Edgar Wright’s next feature is more personal. Not only did he direct Baby Driver, he–and only he–also wrote the screenplay. This throws every Fast and Furious movie out of the water! With Ansel Elgort leading a talented cast, this is fast-paced, slick, and darkly-funny action film featuring some of the best action and the best soundtrack of the year. It also contains perhaps the coolest warehouse shootout I’ve ever seen!

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(Source: Esquire)

13. Thor: Ragnarok After the disappointment of Thor: The Dark World, the MCU has improved quite a bit. I wish Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) would direct every film in the MCU. His direction and sense of humor has put into great use here. It’s a great opportunity for him to film in his New Zealand homeland, like Peter Jackson did with his Lord of the Rings franchise. While it may have emotional moments here and there, Thor: Ragnarok is a blast from start to finish. No one can play Thor better than Chris Hemsworth. Thumbs up for its amazing use of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”!

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(Source: Coming-Soon.net)

12. DetroitIt’s a shame this movie didn’t get the attention it deserved. Kathryn Bigelow’s portrayal of the 1967 Detroit riots is as heavy-handed as it is powerful. It focuses on the incident at the Algiers Motel where three black men were killed and nine others injured. With Mark Boal’s brilliant screenplay, fantastic performances by Anthony Mackie, a suave John Boyega, and a sinister Will Poulter, and effective use of the handheld camerawork, Detroit keeps you on the edge of your seat.

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(Source: The Playlist)

11. The Big SickIf you’re sick and tired of those cliched rom-coms (like myself), The Big Sick will help you forget about them. This movie is based on a true story about Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani living in Chicago, who falls for a woman who goes into a coma. It’s funny as it is heart-wrenching. The 9/11 scene is nothing short of marvelous writing! Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan make a cute couple. Ray Romano and Holly Hunter are also great as the girl’s parents. I would be bummed if Nanjiani doesn’t earn an Oscar nomination as a fictional version of himself who wants to marry for love, not because of his culture. Easily one of the best comedies I’ve ever seen.

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(Source: IndieWire)

10. Mudbound – After a few mishaps, this is the first Netflix original movie I actually loved! The movie follows two families–one black, one white–as they face tensions in the South during World War II. This is a gritty yet moving picture with Carey Mulligan leading an excellent ensemble and tackles the topics of racism and PTSD. Definitely a Netflix movie I’ll watch for the rest of my life.

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(Source: The Atlantic)

9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Who knew a British filmmaker like Martin McDonagh would direct a future all-American classic? Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has the perfect blend of dark comedy and devastating drama. I hope Frances McDormand wins the Oscar for her performance as a mother fighting for justice and vengeance. Woody Harrelson and the underrated Sam Rockwell give some of the best performance of their careers as the two authorities who get in her way. Great stuff!

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(Source: Vice)

8. KediThis is the best (and only) documentary I’ve seen from last year. It follows the lives of seven out of thousands of stray cats roaming the streets of Istanbul, Turkey’s capital city. I love how positive the residents are about these wonderful creatures. Ranging from a bakery worker using his tips for vet visits to a middle-aged man explaining how cats helped him recover from a nervous breakdown. Istanbul native Ceyda Torun creates a gorgeous ode to her “cat metropolis” and reminding how they are one-of-a-kind animals. In the beginning of the movie, one of the residents says, “Without cats, Istanbul would lose part of its soul.” Cat lovers and animals will certainly love this documentary!

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(Source: IndieWire)

7. Blade Runner 204935 years after the original Blade Runner, Ridley Scott returns to his sci-fi world as a producer. Denis Villeneuve takes his place as director to expand the gritty future. Ryan Gosling is no stranger for playing dark, violent characters with subtle emotions. Along with a massive cast, he does a wonderful job as Officer K, the new cop in the LAPD assigning to take down old replicants. Combining Roger Deakins’ impressive cinematography and thought-provoking ideas, Blade Runner 2049 is slightly better than the original. I’m glad Harrison Ford returned as Officer Deckard.

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(Source: IMDb)

6. Phantom ThreadLegendary actor Daniel Day-Lewis teams up with Paul Thomas Anderson for the first time since There Will Be Blood. Phantom Thread is perhaps Day-Lewis’ last film before his retirement. I hope he decides to return to acting one day. From My Left Foot to Last of the Mohicans to Lincoln, he has had an impressive filmography. In this movie, he delivers one of the best performances of his career as Reynolds Woodcock, London’s most successful fashion designer during the 1950s (some of the dresses he makes takes your breath away!). One day, he falls in love with a woman named Alma (the lovely Vicky Krieps). Things get real intense. Through PTA’s marvelous direction, writing, and cinematography and Jonny Greenwood’s breathtaking score, there is so much beauty and suspense that Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of! Surprisingly enough, Phantom Thread is also pretty damn funny!

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(Source: Hollywood Reporter)

5. War for the Planet of the ApesWhen Matt Reeves took over to direct Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, it exceeded everybody’s expectations. While Rise was a great set-up, Dawn took the beloved sci-fi franchise to new heights! With War, he finished one of the best trilogies of all-time! Through the motion capture, Andy Serkis’ Caesar makes a kick-ass hero! Newcomers including Woody Harrelson’s Colonel (paying tribute to Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now) and Steve Zahn’s Bad Ape provide enough humanity this gritty, action-packed, emotional conclusion. I’m hoping for more Planet of the Apes movies in the future.

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(Source: Washington Post)

4. DunkirkAfter the sap-fest known as Interstellar, Christopher Nolan goes back to an important time in history. The Dunkirk evacuation (a.k.a. Operation Dynamo) of 1940; where 300,000 troops from Britain, Canada, Belgium, and France were rescued off the coast of Northern France surrounded by the Germans. Dunkirk might not be an easy movie to follow. It follows three different storylines in non-linear fashion–one on the beach; taken place over the course of one week, the other out to sea; taken place over the course of one day, the last in the air; taken over the course of one hour. Trust me, I had to see it twice in theaters in order to place the pieces of the film’s timeline together.

Nevertheless, this movie pinned me to my seat with its high tension, historical accuracy and authenticity, refreshing use of practical effects (rare in summer blockbusters nowadays), Hans Zimmer’s eerie score, and powerful performances by Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, and Harry Styles (who never breaks into song and dance). Peter Travers went as far to call Dunkirk “the greatest war movie ever made”. It sure is one hell of an experience!

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(Source: The Atlantic)

3. Lady Bird – This is perhaps the best directorial debut in recent memory. Known for collaborating with director Noah Baumbach in Frances Ha and Mistress America, the delightfully quirky Greta Gerwig makes a film based on her early life in Sacramento. Saoirse Ronan gives yet another miraculous performance as Lady Bird, a senior at an all-girl Catholic high school. And we follow her throughout her school year set a year after 9/11, joining in the school plays, having two boyfriends, and attempting to get accepted at a college in New York. Most importantly,  she wants to be loved by her hard-working mother (a spectacular Laurie Metcalf). The mother-daughter dynamic is one of the reasons why this coming-of-age story as hilarious as it is poignant. Gerwig has literally hit home with Lady Bird. Finger crossed that she directs more great movies in the near future.

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(Source: Vox)

2. The Shape of Water – It’s hard not to appreciate the vision of Guillermo del Toro’s films. From Hellboy, Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak to his masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth. His new film, The Shape of Water, is a fairy tale, love story, Cold War thriller, and a tribute to cinema all wrapped into one. Sally Hawkins is a revelation as Eliza, the mute janitor who develops an attraction with Doug Jones’ Amphibian Man (a nod to the Creature from the Black Lagoon). This bizarre fantasy has enough of everything to carry through–humor, violence, beauty, and suspense. With an Oscar-worthy score by the great Alexandre Desplat and a gifted supporting cast including Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and a deliciously evil Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water is most certainly likely this will take home the big prize at this year’s Oscars. However, this is not my favorite movie from 2017.

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(Source: Variety)

1. Call Me by Your Name – I have been waiting for Call Me by Your Name ever since it premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. While I didn’t have the time to read André Aciman’s novel before seeing the movie, I became anxious to see what the praise was about. From its first image, I have never seen a more beautiful romance in my entire life! Through Luca Guadagnino’s spectacular direction and James Ivory’s astounding screenplay, this is less of a gay love story than a coming-of-age story. Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer are downright magical as Elio and Oliver, the two lovebirds who decide to spend the long summer together in northern Italy. While this movie can be compared to last year’s Oscar winner Moonlight, these movies are different in their own right.

As a 17-year-old, Elio–the main character–is living a happy life with his parents (Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar) in his Italian country house. He loves his books and music. However, he’s struggling to come to terms with his identity. Everything changes when the handsome Oliver visits his family for the summer as an intern. Throughout the first hour, they begin teasing and flirting with each other until they develop a friendship unlike any other. This is a summer they will never forget. Kudos to marvelous chemistry between the two, it’s hard not to smile whenever these two are together. It’s impossible not to get teary-eyed during father’s monologue near the end of the movie. Call Me by Your Name is one of these movies I’ll watch for the rest of my life!

Guadagnino said he might direct sequels to this movie; like Richard Linklater did with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight. I don’t see why it won’t happen. I would love to see how Elio and Oliver evolve as they get older!

It’s hard to believe this decade is almost over! Only two more years to go until I compile a list of the top 100 best and worst movies of the decade…I guess it’s about that time to get started on that.

Anyway–I hope you enjoyed reading about my picks of the best and worst movies from this past year as I did writing about them. Please feel free to leave a comment about what your favorite movies of the year are. Here’s to another great year for film in 2018!

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2017 Summer Movie Preview: June

I hope every single one of you had a great Memorial Day. Going to a local parade, meeting up with your folks at a local barbecue or restaurant, and remembering those who gave their lives in combat. This past month has been something special. I just graduated from college after three years, and beginning my road to life. I’m still trying to see some movies in theaters. Let’s not waste any time, and talk about what has yet to come in June.

June 2

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Source: IMP Awards

Wonder Woman – The DC Extended Universe is off to a rocky start. Before Man of Steel, I was excited to see another rendition of Superman. It looked like a gorgeous retelling of how Clark Kent became the god-like superhero. It seems as if director Zack Snyder misunderstood the origins of one of the greatest superheroes ever. Batman vs. Superman had potential to make up the flaws of Man of Steel, but it ended up being a straight-up disaster.

As much as I hated Batman vs. Superman, I thought Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman was one of the only redeeming qualities. A movie featuring the origin story of Diana Prince, the Princess of Amazon, encountering World War I in front of her own eyes, might be good. Yet again, it might end up being like its predecessor. I’m surprised to hear this movie getting positive reception. I’ll keep an open mind.

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Source: IMP Awards

Captain Underpants – Any one of you remember reading the book in elementary school? I’ve never read any of the Captain Underpants books. Just because this movie features a gifted cast including Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, and Jordan Peele, and having similar animation to The Peanuts Movie, it doesn’t mean it sparks my interest. This movie is easily intended for kids only.

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Source: IMP Awards

The Exception – Lily James is one of the most charming actresses working today. From playing an aristocrat in Downton Abbey, to playing Cinderella, to kicking zombie ass as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, she has a pretty damn impressive resume. Here, she plays a Jewish Dutch woman who falls in love with a German soldier (Jai Courtney) on a mission to protect Kaiser Wilhelm II (legendary Christopher Plummer) from a spy. To be fair, this seems to be a very standard romance taken place in World War II.

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Source: IMP Awards

Churchill – One of two movies featuring the British prime minister (the other being the upcoming Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman, released during the holiday season), this movie follows Churchill, played by Brian Cox, during his rise to power during D-Day. This might be okay due to Cox’s portrayal of Winston Churchill, but I would rather wait to see what Gary Oldman can bring to the screen.

June 9

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Source: IMP Awards

The Mummy – This is the beginning of a new cinematic universe: the Universal Monster “Dark Universe”. It’s going to feature the Bride of Frankenstein (coming in 2019), the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Invisible Man, Van Helsing and Dracula, and the Wolf Man. The Mummy stars Tom Cruise as Nick Morton who discovers an ancient tomb where an ancient princess lies. For someone who has never seen The Mummy with Brendan Fraser, I would rather see this (and the 1930s version) over the ones starring Fraser. On the verge of age 55, Tom Cruise proves he can do just about anything. With him having a showdown with Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll should be a sight to see.

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Source: IMP Awards

It Comes at Night – A24 has distributed one of the best horror films in recent memory with last year’s The Witch. It relies more on atmosphere and the supernatural as opposed to cheap scares. It Comes at Night seems as if this will forget about those terrible horror films that are always coming recently. Some people are claiming it as a “horror masterpiece”. So—let’s hope this delivers.

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Source: IMP Awards

Megan Leavey – This is the movie what Max should have been. The true story of marine corporal Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) whose trains a German shepherd named Rex, and accomplishes hundreds of missions together. After the devastating Fant4stic, Mara went on to do better movies including The Martian. This seems to be a very powerful movie, and something I would definitely like to see with my father (who used to be in the Army National Guard).

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Source: IMP Awards

My Cousin Rachel – When I saw Daphne du Maurier’s name watching the preview for this movie, I had no idea she wrote The Birds and Rebecca. Her stories have been adapted into movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock. My Cousin Rachel seems to be an intense story of an Englishman’s plot for his revenge on his cousin for killing his guardian becoming complicated. I think Hitchcock would be pleased with this.

June 16

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Source: IMP Awards

Cars 3 – I never miss out on a movie by Disney/PIXAR. This animation company has created some of the greatest shorts and movies of all-time; appealing to both kids and adults. While I did enjoy the first Cars for having its heart and soul at the right place at the right time (while some of the comedy fell short), the sequel was the only PIXAR film I hated with a passion. Not only was it a little too violent for a G rating, but this colorful adventure sucked out all the fun. I hate to say this, but Cars 3 will be the only PIXAR movie I will most certainly skip.

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Source: IMP Awards

Rough Night – Oh boy—another raunchy comedy with a dead person involved. As much as I love Scarlett Johansson, it seems she doesn’t give much to it. I swear, Jillian Bell plays the same character in everything that she’s in. Skipping this one for sure.

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Source: IMP Awards

47 Meters Down – The shark-attack movie has always been familiar in the B-movie territory. With The Shallows, it was refreshing to see a good shark movie without any B.S. In my opinion, 47 Meters Down might be a tense survival flick, but it just looks so boring.

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Source: IMP Awards

The Book of Henry – With Colin Treverrow returning to his indie roots, this looks rather standard, by-the-numbers thriller. After his breakthrough roles in St. Vincent and Midnight Special, Jaeden Lieberher has a long career ahead of him (same goes to his co-star Jacob Tremblay). Who knows? Maybe The Book of Henry will become one big surprise. I don’t know.

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Source: IMP Awards

Maudie – After earning an Oscar for her supporting role in Blue Jasmine, Sally Hawkins went on to star in supporting roles in Godzilla and Paddington. Here, she plays a woman from Nova Scotia who gets attention in her small community when she becomes a painter, and admired by President Dick Nixon. This seems to be a delightful little film about following one’s dreams. I will see anything starring Ethan Hawke, even when he does his best attempt at a Canadian accent.

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Source: IMP Awards

All Eyez on Me – The first movie featuring the rapper Tupac Shakur (otherwise known as 2Pac), who became the best-selling rapper in the 1990s until he got shot in 1996. I’m not the biggest fan of rap/hip-hop, but Straight Outta Compton was one of the most powerful movies in recent memory having to do with rap. All Eyez on Me seems to be no exception.

June 23

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Source: IMP Awards

Transformers: The Last Knight (opens June 21) – Ah—back to the franchise that I didn’t care about after the disastrous Revenge of the Fallen. What the hell is Anthony Hopkins thinking to sign on a project like this?

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Source: IMP Awards

The Beguiled – Another remake coming out this summer. Yes, as a matter of fact, this is a remake of the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood as a Civil War veteran seeking shelter at a girl’s school in Virginia, run by Martha Farnsworth, played by Nicole Kidman. Sofia Coppola won the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (the second woman to win such an award). This seems to be one hell of a nail-biter!

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Source: IMP Awards

The Big Sick (expands nationwide July 14) – Today’s comedies have been nothing but tiresome and clichéd as all hell. After receiving unanimous praise at this year’s Sundance, I can say this seems to be a funny and adorable romance. Produced by Judd Apatow, the movie stars Pakistani comedian, played by Kumail Nanjiani, who falls in love with a grad student in Chicago. When a medical scare tears them apart, things get serious. Also starring Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, I’m prepared for a good laugh and tearjerker.

June 30

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Source: IMP Awards

Baby Driver (opens June 28) – OH MY GOD! Can June 28th come quicker!?

Director Edgar Wright, who also wrote the screenplay, always wanted to make a movie that can be carried through by music. He seems to be right at home here with Baby Driver. With a seemingly killer soundtrack, car chases, a marvelous cast including Kevin Spacey, Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx, is there anything else not to get excited about?

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Source: IMP Awards

Okja (opens June 28) – After directing the Orwellian Snowpiercer, South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho returns to his roots of his monster flick The Host with an all-star cast. All I can say is, Wow! This looks to be visually stunning! And certainly more than just your typical monster movie. I look forward to watching it on Netflix!

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Source: IMP Awards

Amityville: The Awakening – After having this being delayed so many times, can I just say that this might be a gigantic flop? And also, Bella Thorne needs a new acting agent, pronto! Moving on.

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Source: IMP Awards

Despicable Me 3 – Great. Another installment to one of the most overrated movies of the decade. In the words of Deputy Sam Gerard from The Fugitive: “I don’t care!”

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Source: IMP Awards

The House – Will Ferrell is bit of a mixed bag. Some people think he’s really funny, while others think he’s really obnoxious. I, for one, like Will Ferrell. Starring alongside Amy Poehler, The House might be okay for a laugh or two.

Recap:

Most Anticipated: Baby Driver, The Beguiled, The Big Sick, It Comes at Night, Maudie, The Mummy, My Cousin Rachel, Okja

Least Anticipated: 47 Meters Down, Amityville: The Awakening, Captain Underpants, Cars 3, Despicable Me 3, Rough Night, Transformers: The Last Knight

I hope you enjoyed reading on what my thoughts are on several movies for the month of June. Tell me in the comments below on what your most anticipated movies are. Stay tuned for a movie preview for the month of July at the end of the month. Take care.