Hellllllllo and welcome to We Bought a Blog! I’m Aaron and I am going to be doing a quick year-in-review for you guys! Before we get to the list I do want to make some things clear. 1) There are still some big movies I haven’t seen from 2017 mainly Lady Bird and Three Billboards (I know. I’m a bad critic.) so keep that in mind when going through my list. 2) These were my favorite movies not necessarily the movies I thought were the best. The list would look very different if I were to parse out my own personal biases but then that wouldn’t be any fun. 3) There might be some mild spoilers in the movie descriptions so tread these waters carefully.
With that let’s jump right to it!
My top 10 list has been in flux for almost the entire year and I have to say Dunkirk just hasn’t stuck with me the way a lot of the other films have. There is no doubt that Dunkirk is truly a masterpiece, but this year was the year of masterpieces. Maybe things change a year from now, or even a month from now but Dunkirk sits just outside the top 10.
The Disaster Artist/I,Tonya
Both of these films fill a very similar niche for me. They are hilarious bio-pics that have a lot more to them than meets the eye. James Franco does an excellent job as Tommy Wiseau and Margot Robbie does an excellent job as Tonya Harding. Both films were great but just out of the top 10 for me.
Any trailer that can genuinely use Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” already has a big head start in my book. Just so happens the movie is incredible as well. The perfect send-off to both Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Professor X. This dark and violent film stands out from the rest of the X-Men franchise with its R rating and boy does it use that R rating to its fullest. Besides the incredible performances by Stewart and Jackman we also get Stephen Merchant playing the sassy albino Caliban. The biggest surprise was Dafne Keen as X-23. Child actors are…..bad, but she does a great job as the mini-wolverine. This film isn’t the best taken on its own, but as the culmination of a decade’s worth of films it is truly the crowning achievement.
9. The Big Sick
Rom-Coms are always a bit dicey. If they go too far into the comedy then the romance just seems thrown in. If the comedy just doesn’t land you end up with a pretty bland love story. There are so few writer/directors that can pull off a truly spectacular Rom-Com and yet Michael Showalter and Kumail Nanjiani pull it off with ease. Based on Nanjiani’s real life story, the film does a great job balancing love and loss, laughter and tears. Ray Romano and Holly Hunter do an amazing job as the parents of Kumail’s girlfriend and showcase their own struggles of being in a relationship. In a year with not too many Rom-Coms this is easily able to stand out as something special.
8. Star Wars the Last Jedi
I want someone to make a loop of all the highlights of The Last Jedi and put it to Taylor Swift’s magnum opus “Shake it Off” because god damn there are a lot of haters out there. In what I think will be remembered as the best film of the new trilogy, Rian Johnson brings us a Star Wars film unlike any other. Literally throwing away the past into the seas below, Johnson makes a bold statement to the world; Star Wars can be so much more if you are willing to let go. This theme rings throughout the film strong as characters deal with their place in the universe both literally and within the Star Wars universe. While I will admit that this is in no way a perfect movie (Fuck Rose) but it is way above the bar for a Star Wars film. Adam Driver steals the show as Kylo Ren which is a huge departure from The Force Awakens. The Last Jedi makes a great addition to the Star Wars Franchise.
7. Logan Lucky
Logan Lucky is something else. Coming from the same director of the Ocean’s series, Steven Soderbergh delivers an interesting take on the heist film. Setting the movie in West Virginia with a couple of southerners could have been a disaster with a less deft director. Soderbergh doesn’t take any cheap shots at the Logan family’s southern culture, accent, etc. Instead we get a funny, character driven movie with a surprisingly large amount of heart. Adam Driver (two movies in a row!) and Channing Tatum make a surprisingly great team. Daniel Craig gets to flex his acting muscles a bit playing the eccentric demolition expert Joe Bang. This was by far the biggest surprise of the year and I’d recommend Logan Lucky to any fans of the Ocean series.
6. Spider-Man Homecoming
Who knew if you made Spider-Man a funny, quirky high-schooler that you would make a great film? Everyone? I think literally everyone knew that (except Sony AM I RIGHT). Homecoming is aptly named as it officially brings everyone’s favorite web-slinger back into the MCU. Tom Holland was born to play Spider-Man and he gets to face off against literal bird-person Michael Keaton. Speaking of Keaton, it certainly was a change of pace to have a villain whose motives don’t boil down to “I’m evil. I want to destroy everything.” The film does a great job filling out the supporting cast, with unique takes on the classic comic book characters. Not to mention two great cameos from Donald Glover and Hannibal Buress. Homecoming is my pick for Superhero movie of the year.
Why are we wasting time making another Day of the Dead movie? This was the thought I just couldn’t shake going into Coco. The answer of course was that no one had done Day of the Dead the right way: “The Pixar Way”. The celebration of family, the remembrance of those who have passed on, the festive colors and music; that’s the easy part. But the world building. The. God. Damn. World. Building. The Land of the Dead may be the single greatest achievement from Pixar and shows off their incredible art direction. No one does it better. Full stop. This film will warm your heart and then tear it out and stomp on it and make you cry in front of all your friends. But it’s okay because they will also be crying so they won’t notice. I’m not sure why I keep low-balling Pixar films but I really got to stop (last one I low-balled was Inside Out and boy was I wrong about that one).
4. Baby Driver
If you had told me that two of my favorite movies of the year would be heist films I would have had a hard time believing you. Amid the Kevin Spacey controversy, Baby Driver has waned in the eyes of the public. Personally I find that unfair. Not that Kevin Spacey isn’t a creep/slimeball but because the movie was great. What at first looked like a weird mixture of Drive and Ocean’s 11, Baby Driver was able to overcome those comparisons and distinguish itself from the crowd. With excellent use of music, adrenaline pumping stunts, and a great cast, it’s hard not to fall in love with Baby Driver. Ansel Elgort does great in his portrayal of Baby but the real star here is Jon Hamm who absolutely crushes it as Buddy. Buddy’s character arc kept the movie balanced and really pushed the film deeper into this list. This is my pick for best popcorn-flick of the year for sure and if you haven’t seen it yet this is one to definitely check out on DVD.
3. Blade Runner 2049
When was the last great sci-fi epic? When were you last transported to a world filled with wonder and awe that you could lose yourself to it? It sure as hell wasn’t Valerian, City of a Thousand Planets. Denis Villeneuve not only made a great sequel to a beloved film that came out almost 40 years ago, he showed us what sci-fi can be in 2017: Grandiose. The cinematography in this film is breathtaking, every frame a painting, but to focus only on the spectacle sells it short on its narrative and philosophical journey. Ryan Gosling proves once again that he is a masterclass actor with his portrayal of K, a replicant trying to find his place in the world; what all of this, any of this means. It sucks that the film was a relative bust at the box-office because these are the types of films we deserve.
If Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is a preview of what’s to come, I welcome it with open wallets. The haunting journey we take in this film is one that will hit close to home with many audience members. Get Out may be the most important film of 2017 in terms of its messaging and subtext, and more importantly, the delivery was spectacular. Daniel Kaluuya shines, delivering a tour-de-force performance definitely deserving of his Oscar nomination, and leaves us with arguably the most iconic shot of 2018: Him mouth agape, with tears streaming down his eyes. It’s a haunting image and one that sticks with you for long after the film ends. The twists in turns of this movie are so unexpected, so misleading, that just when you think you’ve figured it all out it completely throws you for a loop.
1. The Shape of Water
A fantastical love affair with the weird, the strange; The Other. Guillermo Del Toro defies traditional genre by blending the worlds of sci-fi, romance, espionage, and classic musicals creating a truly magical experience. He transports you to a world that feels so similar to our own, so lived in, that the idea of a secret government base storing deadly fish monsters seems totally within reality. The attention to detail is outstanding, and the dialogue is thoughtful and with purpose. Every character matters. Every line of dialogue matters. Every single scene matters. This one is truly something magical. Bonus points for including two of my favorite sex scenes of the year and their inclusion in the film made its message just that more powerful.
So what did you think? Did I leave something out? Want to tell me how wrong I am about The Last Jedi? Leave a comment below and tell us what movies are in you’re top 10 are!