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The Best Films of 2017

A List by KJ Proulx

Promotional Artwork for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, and Coco

Films are subjective. That statement has been true for decades upon decades, dating back to the early days of cinema. A single viewer could enjoy watching a movie that's universally disliked or vice versa. It's become a popular thing among film fanatics to post their favourite films every year. 

I love awards seasons and always look forward to seeing what voters will crown as the best of the year. 2017 was a particularly impressive year for the medium of filmmaking. Yes, there were some truly awful films, but there were quite a few memorable experiences I had. 

Due to that, I have made a list of my 15 favourite films, because there were a few more that I felt I needed to mention. Here's my extensive list of favourites from the year 2017.

15. Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out [Credit: Universal]

Although I believe the hype surrounding Get Out is slightly overblown and nominating it for best picture may be a bit of a stretch, it certainly is one of the most impressive films in its genre in quite some time, so I can definitely admit when something warrants praise. 

From the performances to the terrific direction by Jordan Peele, this is easily one of the most memorable moviegoing experiences I had in 2017. If you're in the minority of those who haven't checked it out, it may not be for you, but I feel the need to recommend it regardless. 

14. Good Time

Robert Pattinson in Good Time [Credit: A24]

Once again a movie that probably won't be for wide audiences, Good Time is an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride from start to finish. Robert Pattinson has never been better and the fast pace that this movie maintains makes it feel like a 30-minute short film. If you're looking for a quick 90-minute adrenaline ride, look no further than Good Time. Easily one of my favourites of 2017. 

13. The Big Sick

Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick [Credit: Lionsgate]

This choice may be for my personal reason of loving a good romantic comedy, but The Big Sick is one of the better ones in recent memory. From being consistently funny throughout, even though it deals with some very serious themes, this is a film that audiences can either relate to or find funny. This is one of the more accessible films on my list and I believe many people will love this one as I do. 

12. A Ghost Story

Promotional Artwork for A Ghost Story [Credit: A24]

This is the very definition of silent storytelling. There are a few films on this list that I have mentioned won't be for everyone, and this is exhibit A. A Ghost Story is a literal presentation of a loved one following you around once you die, but there's so much more to uncover beneath that very thin premise. 

If your mind is thinking rapidly about the imagery as you're watching this movie and your taste in film can be extremely abstract, then I can't recommend A Ghost Story enough. If you're a fan of films that have a beginning, middle and end with a definitive conclusion, then I can't quite recommend this one, but it's one of my favourites nevertheless. 

11. Stronger

Tatiana Maslany and Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger [Credit: Roadside Attractions]

Filled with a powerfully emotional climax, Stronger is a film that relies on its performances to sell its true story. Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany are award-worthy here and I believe they've been snubbed at the awards this year. I found myself in tears on multiple occasions here and the final act is one of the most memorable in all of 2017. 

Stronger makes you strengthen yourself and think about the harsh realities that happen to many people around the world on a daily basis. This movie showcases these horrors in a positive light and it works very well. Easily one of my favourites of 2017. It went under the radar of many viewers and I think it deserves much more attention. 

10. Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in Molly's Game [Credit: STX Entertainment]

I may be biased again here in praising a movie for one thing, but Molly's Game has an incredible screenplay that can't go unnoticed. Just like The Social Network, A Few Good Men, Moneyball, and Steve Jobs, writer Aaron Sorkin is no stranger to awards season. His dialogue leaps off the screen, making each and every scene feel real. 

Molly's Game is just another addition to his catalog of well-written films and he just happened to make his directorial debut with it as well. Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba light up the screen and the overall story is worth witnessing and exposing to the world too. Molly's Game is one of the best films of 2017 that I believe not enough people have seen. 

9. Logan

Dafne Keen and Hugh Jackman in Logan [Credit: Fox]

I'm a huge fan of the ever-growing superhero film genre. That being said, it's still very rare to include them on my list of best films of any year, because many of them feel similar to one another. Logan was on another level for me in 2017. 

Yes, movies like Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming were terrific for what they accomplished in their own right, but Logan was the conclusion of a decade-long arc for a character, which also happened to be one of the best, if not the best film in the X-Men franchise to date. From cinematography to the story itself, Logan isn't just a great comic book film, but a great film in general. 

8. Wind River

Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner in Wind River [Credit: Weinstein Company]

This film was a surprise to me. Whenever you see a movie that's cast two performers that have both been in Marvel films together, it's natural to assume the filmmakers are trying to bank off them selling tickets for their film. That was not the case with Wind River

This lived-in town deals with a murder mystery in a unique way the reveal is more than worth the wait. The conclusion is satisfying and there are moments and visuals from this film that still remain in my mind to this day. Wind River is a fantastically slow thriller with a great conclusion. Well-written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, this film comes highly recommended in my eyes. 

7. War for the Planet of the Apes

Promotional Artwork for War for the Planet of the Apes [Credit: Fox]

Aside from masterpieces like Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, it's hard to have a third film topping your list of favourites when neither of the previous two installments made on your list in their consecutive years. War for the Planet of the Apes managed to build off what had happened throughout the previous two films and become its own slow-moving, epic tale in its own right. 

From the very serious themes to the incredible performances through motion capture, this Planet of the Apes movie isn't just one of my favourites movies of this year, but I believe it even tops the original classic in being the best of the franchise. For fans of the franchise or newcomers, this trilogy of films is one that continuously got better and ended on a very high note. 

6. Last Flag Flying

Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, and Lawrence Fishburne in Last Flag Flying [Credit: Lionsgate]

Last Flag Flying is the type of movie that could've easily been left off my list, but I also considered it to be my absolute favourite film of the entire year at one point. This simple drama that was superbly scripted and directed by Richard Linklater is a premise that may not be all that intriguing but has a lot more to say under its surface. 

Each and every scene sucked me in with its dialogue and I find myself wanting to continuously revisit it. When talking about films that not enough people have seen, I think this one tops my list of recommendations, because it only played in a few theatres with hardly any marketing and made its way onto physical and digital release without anyone even noticing. 

5. Blade Runner 2049

Ana de Armas and Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 [Credit: Warner Bros.]

Now we've reached the best of the best. These next five films are interchangeable really, but I have Blade Runner 2049 in this slot. From very minimal dialogue to tell your story, visuals that people who are turned off by science fiction films won't be able to latch onto, and having a story that builds off an original film that hardly anyone saw back in the day, Blade Runner 2049 had a lot to do in order to impress. 

Not only was this the most stunning film to look at in 2017, but director Denis Villeneuve once again proves that he's someone to keep your eyes on. This is visual storytelling at its absolute finest and although many people won't gravitate to this movie as some others did (including myself), it's still worth every bit of praise it's been receiving. 

4. Brigsby Bear

Kyle Mooney and Mark Hamill in Brigsby Bear [Credit: Sony Classics]

I feel like not enough credit has been given to certain independent movies over the last decade. From Sing Street to The Place Beyond the Pines, I feel as though some terrific films are highly rated critically, but fall under the radar when it comes to winning any big awards. Brigsby Bear is one of the more recent examples of this. 

Being a very strange and off-beat look at a kid in isolation whose only dream is to conclude his favourite television show by making the finale himself, it's a story that most audience won't ever gravitate to. This is sadly why we receive so many lame blockbusters these days. I think people should take chances on movies they think they may not enjoy because I think you'll be surprised every now and then. I highly recommend this one.  

3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Francis McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri [Credit: Fox Searchlight]

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri would've easily been my favourite film of 2017 if it wasn't for the way it ends. Personally, I've grown to appreciate the ending, but I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed the conclusion upon first viewing. 

Overall, this is a fantastic story that deserves the attention it's getting and Francis McDorman, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson all deliver award-worthy performances. From an incredibly written screenplay to superb direction when it comes to the characters, this is an extremely engaging drama that just happens to be hilarious at times as well. Can't recommend this one enough. 

2. Coco

Promotional Artwork for Coco [Credit: Disney/Pixar]

Disney is the absolute king when it comes to producing films that are widely accepted and celebrated on a global scale. There's usually at least one film that's highly acclaimed each year and more than likely wins best-animated feature at the Oscars. 

Coco is probably next in line for that achievement and I truly believe this to be the most deserving of many animated films over the past few years. Not only does this film provide great life lessons for kids, but the family aspect leaps off the screen and will put many audience members in tears as it did to me. From the music to the visuals, everything about Coco is wonderful. 

1. Baby Driver

Lily James and Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver [Credit: TriStar]

Let me be perfectly clear here and state that I'm well aware this isn't the best piece of filmmaking from 2017, but simply the most fun I've at the movies in a very long time. The filmmaking techniques and unique editing styles, along with great characters and fun action sequences, make Baby Driver a film for the ages, at least in my eyes. 

This film moves along at a fantastic pace, never leaving you bored. Each character is fleshed out even when they aren't speaking because the music the main character plays helps to tell the story. As I said, this isn't quite the most significant film of 2017, but it's my personal favourite for being innovative, energetic, extremely memorable, and downright unique from beginning to end. Baby Driver is a fantastic thrill ride. 

Other films I loved and highly recommend from 2017:

- Wonder                                      - Call Me by Your Name

- The Meyerowitz Stories          - Darkest Hour

- The Post                                     - Only the Brave

- Loving Vincent                         - Ingrid Goes West

- Phantom Thread                      - Spider-Man: Homecoming

- The Shape of Water                 - Super Dark Times

- Star Wars: The Last Jedi         - The Disaster Artist

- Lady Bird                                  - Logan Lucky

- Wonder Woman                       - A Silent Voice

- It                                                 - I, Tonya

What are some of your favourite films of 2017?

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