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Before we get into my list of the best movies of 2017, here's a brief list of the movies that almost made this list. In no particular order:
- Song to Song, directed by Terence Malick
- The Killing of a Sacred Deer, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
- Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees
- Thor Ragnorak, directed by Taika Waititi
- The Beguiled, directed by Sophia Coppola
- Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villenueve
- Maudie, directed by Aisling Walsh
10. 'Wind River'—Directed by Taylor Sheridan
Wind River came out of nowhere for me. The Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olson-starring thriller about a murder on Native American soil has incredible twists and turns and a gut-wrenching finale flashback that is as riveting and heartbreaking as any scene in any movie in 2017. But it’s the final moments of Wind River, between Jeremy Renner and Gil Birmingham, that leads to the reveal of a stunning statistic that left me winded.
9. 'Wonder Woman'—directed by Patty Jenkins
Wonder Woman is unquestionably the year’s best blockbuster. Filled to the brim with the best action of any movie in 2017, it’s the characters of Wonder Woman, specifically that of Diana Prince herself, that make Wonder Woman so winning and memorable. Gal Gadot has been the biggest revelation of the last two years and her chemistry with Chris Pine is off the charts, making them one of the year’s best duos.
8. 'Call Me By Your Name'—Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Call Me By Your Name is one of the smartest and most charming movies of 2017. A coming of age romance unlike any other movie this year, Call Me By Your Name is engaging, romantic, surprising, and brimming with compassion. Luca Guadagnino is proving to be one of the finest directors working today and he directs Timothee Calamet to the year’s breakout romantic performance.
7. 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri'—Directed by Martin McDonaugh
Angry, fiery, sharp, and daring, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri features a career best performance from two of our finest working actors; Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell have crafted two indelible characters who drive a thrilling plot to one of the most unexpected and strangely satisfying conclusions of the year.
6. 'The Florida Project'—Directed by Sean Baker
Sweet, sensitive, and surprising, The Florida Project is another of the great movies of 2017 that seemed to come out of nowhere. This story of children in a small, rundown part of Florida, just outside the shadows of Disney World, rolls over the viewer like waves until it recedes like an evening tide and comes to a chilly conclusion. This is a sweet and sorrowful movie, overflowing with indelible moments that, even though dealing with the subject of children, never becomes cloying or feels manipulative. It’s pure, moving, and entertaining all at once.
5. 'Get Out'—Directed by Jordan Peele
Count me among the many who did not expect Key & Peele star Jordan Peele to deliver a masterpiece his first time out as a writer and director. That’s not to say I had low expectations—Peele was always very funny on television and his most recent film work, Keanu, was a winning surprise just last year. But with Get Out, Jordan Peele has arguably made the most relevant and damning masterpiece of this young century; a film that attacks racism from the most unexpected and terrifying angles. A film that forces even those who consider themselves allies in the war on racism to consider their conscience is a film of remarkable bravery and valor. That the film is also wildly entertaining and darkly funny only underlines what a masterwork Get Out truly is.
4. 'The Disaster Artist'—Directed by James Franco
It took me seeing The Disaster Artist three times before it hit me just how much I love this movie. The Disaster Artist is a tribute to art and the artist, a loving look at movies and a wonderful exploration of true friendship. It’s also a movie about one of the single worst movies ever made and a tribute to the failing ambition that made that worst movie. The Room may be terrible, but The Disaster Artist reminds us that it’s terrible in the most wonderful and entertaining fashion.
3. 'Split'—Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
No single performance in 2017 has matched, for me, the performance of James McAvoy in Split. Playing aspects of 24 different personalities inside the head of a possible serial murderer, McAvoy has to give several different performances at once throughout Split and never fails. He’s aided greatly by Shyamalan who seems to have rediscovered his directorial talent. Shyamalan amps up the tension to almost unbearable degrees in Split until he reaches a jaw-dropping and genuinely delightful twist ending; by far my favorite twist of any movie in 2017.
2. 'Lady Bird'—Directed by Greta Gerwig
Lady Bird is touching, romantic, smart, and snappy. Centering on the performance of Saoirse Ronan at her absolute finest, director Greta Gerwig delivers a movie that is a coming of age story, a mother daughter story, a romance, and so much more. The love, compassion, learning, heartache, and laughter of Lady Bird is like a wonderful rollercoaster of great emotions. It’s a ride I never wanted to end and my second favorite movie of 2017.
1. 'The Big Sick'—Directed by Michael Showalter
The Big Sick is the single most fun I had at the movies in 2017. There is something so fresh, so winning, and so wonderful about this movie, it’s almost indescribable. I connected to Kumail and Emily in ways I’ve never connected to movie characters before. Add in Ray Romano as the most adorable and loving dad you could want and Holly Hunter as the fierce and loving mother of your dreams, and the combination is just irresistible.