THE YEAR IN MOVIES - 2017
- 2017 was one of the best years for movies in a long time - maybe the best overall since 2007. And thank god, because this was a year in which we really, really needed great films. We needed them to help us reflect on and make sense of the world around us. We needed them to escape. We needed them to get inspired, to get motivated. And we needed them to remind us that there can still be great art that gives us hope, even in occasionally hopeless-seeming times.
Some of the best movies of the year were not just great movies, but urgent and hyper-relevant commentaries on the world we live in today. Films like The Florida Project, The Big Sick, and Get Out held up a mirror to our present-day reality. These films shed light on sometimes harsh truths - exposing an America that struggles with poverty, racism, and bigotry. But these films weren't just preaching at us - they wove complex themes into incredibly well-realized narratives, and they did so with humor, horror, and heart. At the same time, films like The Post, Darkest Hour, and Mudbound used history to reflect back on today - showing us times in the recent past where politicians, leaders, and ordinary people faced similar challenges as we do today. They warned us of the dangers of repeating history, and inspired us that change is possible - that the arc of time bends towards justice, or so we hope. And then there were the big, epic, blockbusters - some of the best ever. War For the Planet of the Apes concluded one of the best trilogies in modern cinematic history with an action-packed, at times heart-wrenching finale filled with biblical overtones. Logan was one of the best superhero movies ever, period. A dark, intense, brutal odyssey that finally gave us the Wolverine movie we've always wanted. Wonder Woman finally brought some much-needed light to the DC cinematic universe - reminding us why Wonder Woman is an icon that's lasted 75 years and counting, and inspiring women, girls, and really, all of us to aspire to the never-give-up ideals of Diana of Themyscara. Finally, there was Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Like Wonder Woman, it felt like a movie that we needed in 2017 - a surprisingly layered and complex re-tweaking of the Star Wars mythology for a new era. No longer was Star Wars the story of a single, messianic "chosen one." Rian Johnson wisely molded the saga into a story about how The Force is in all of us - about how each of us must channel that Force to rise up and resist. As I think about how these blockbusters collectively - sometimes overtly, sometimes less so - told the story of 2017, I keep coming back to the ending sequence of The Florida Project - probably the most powerful moment of any movie this year. No spoilers, but the sequence, to me, was all about how fantasy can lift us up out of ruts, gives us hope even when there is none, gives us a dream to aspire to.
Like I said ... thank god for the movies.
DANNY'S BEST MOVIES OF 2017:
1.) The Florida Project
- I'm not sure how to talk about The Florida Project, except to say that no other 2017 movie left me as breathless, as floored, as moved as this one did. Director Sean Baker crafts a film that feels like a documentary, but he knowingly subverts the film's aesthetics at key moments in ways that surprise and exhilarate. The film tells the story of a young mother and her precocious daughter who live on the outskirts of Disney World in Florida. They are part of a sort of tribe of impoverished, barely-scraping-by people who live off the local tourism trade - always living in the shadow of the just-out-of-reach theme park wonderland that fuels their well-being. Willem Dafoe, in an amazing turn, plays the owner of one of the area's gaudily-colored motels, who takes in and cares for the various vagrants who nomadically wander from block to block, each day worrying about where they'll spend the night. The Florida Project is a quintessentially American story, and one that particularly resonated in 2017. It's about the juxtaposition of artifice with reality, of poverty with middle class consumerism, of hopelessness with hope. Kid actor Brooklynn Prince is amazing in this film - hilarious and scary and sad and tragic all at once. Bria Vinaite who plays her mother is similarly amazing - this doesn't even feel like acting, it feels like we're peering in on a real person's life. Sean Baker accomplishes something remarkable with this film.
- Dunkirk is disorienting at first. It's hard to wrap your brain around the film's various timelines, events, and characters. And the movie's breakneck pace and constant you-are-there intensity doesn't help. But by the time the credits roll, it's clear that we were in good hands all along. Christopher Nolan weaves together the various threads of the film brilliantly, and when all is said and done what we're left with is an absolute marvel of immersive, visceral, unforgettable filmmaking. This is Nolan re-asserting that he's one of the most talented directors on the planet. In Dunkirk, he puts you in the heat of battle - you'll feel like you've been through hell by movie's end, and feel all the better for it. Because Dunkirk is intense-as-hell, sure - but it also puts you squarely in the middle of one of history's most remarkable battles - in which the under-siege British forces escape annihilation by the skin of their teeth (and thanks to the last-minute aide of a legion of civilians who helped to evacuate soldiers). Seen in glorious 70MM IMAX, Dunkirk was an unparalleled movie-watching experience.
3.) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
-Writer/Director Martin McDonagh has a way with words that few others working in film can match. His third film, Three Billboards, is not just a pleasure to watch, but a pleasure to listen to. Every word its characters utter feels deliberate and carefully chosen. And McDonagh uses his skill as a playwright to make this film into something truly special - a smart, witty, darkly comedic look at small-town America and the struggles of people who have been hurt, been screwed, been forgotten. It's a film about their anger and their pain, but also about their grit and determination and persistence. Frances McDormand absolutely kills in this one, in an all-timer performance. And she's surrounded by an all-star cast doing their best work - led by a great Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson, supported by the likes of Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, Clarke Peters, and more. This one floored me.
4.) The Shape of Water
- How can one not love Guillermo Del Toro? The man bleeds passion for film. He's a walking encyclopedia - an expert on fantasy, folklore, myths, and monsters. And he makes movies that radiate that passion - his films, always, are lovingly crafted, visually rich, and rife with imagination. I always look forward to a new Del Toro movie - but the man has truly outdone himself with The Shape of Water - a film I'd dare say might be his best movie yet. It's got his trademark visual splendor, but it's also got a huge heart - it's a monstrous love story in the classic horror tradition, but also a story that's uniquely Del Toro. Sally Hawkins is phenomenal here. Michael Shannon plays the year's best movie villain. And Doug Jones (not the politician) is his usual awesomeness as the mysterious sea creature at the center of the film's plot. Absolutely loved this film.
5.) The Big Sick
- Kumail Nanjiani is one of those people whose career I've followed to the point where he almost seems like a personal friend. I became a fan of his years ago via the podcast he and his wife used to record weekly - The Indoor Kids. Each week, Kumail and Emily Gordon talked video games, movies, TV, and pop-culture. They were the cool, hilarious friends that everyone wants to have - the ideal couple who everyone aspires to be like. But in listening to the podcast, you'd get bits and pieces of their backstory and realize that their story had its share of heartache and challenge. And that story was amazingly, wonderfully told in The Big Sick. The movie is slice-of-life, but it's a slice that everyone, everywhere, can relate to in some way. It deals with complicated issues like religion and intolerance with hilarity and nuance and self-aware humor. It gives its characters humanity and depth, but isn't afraid to show their flaws, or to show them at their worst. It's super funny and it's a great comedy, but it's also one of the most important films of 2017.
6.) Lady Bird
- It's about time that Greta Gerwig got her due. Not only is Gerwig a fantastic actress, but she's helped create some of the best indie comedies of the last several years - having written Frances Ha and Mistress America. Now she's outdone herself with the amazingly realized, brilliantly written Lady Bird - which Gerwig also directed. Lady Bird is one of those great small movies that tackles the big issues. It's a coming-of-age story that's one of the best films in recent memory about finding one's place in the world while temporarily trapped by the expectations of where you were born and what you were born into. Saoirse Ronan - who's quietly been one of the best actresses of the last few years - does maybe her best ever work here. She brings humor and a boatload of depth to the titular character.
7.) Phantom Thread
-We know that director Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Daniel Day-Lewis make for a potent combo - their previous collaboration, There Will Be Blood, still stands as one of the great films of the last twenty years. And their latest (and supposedly Day-Lewis' swan song - let's hope not!) does not disappoint. Phantom Thread is a gorgeously-directed, impeccably acted gothic romance/thriller that is, in a word, mesmerizing. It's a movie that's best to go in cold, so I won't say too much about the plot. But I will say that Daniel Day-Lewis crafts another iconic character - and he's so good here that it's next-level. And I will say that leading lady Vicky Krieps is equally astounding - giving us a character who surprises us with her hidden layers. This is just such a spellbinding, intense, unpredictable film. You're never quite sure where it's going - but you know that you're in good hands with PTA at the helm.
- Logan doesn't quite fit into any broader narrative about the films of 2017, so perhaps that's why it feels like it's not being praised quite as much as it should be. But the fact remains: Logan is pretty incredible - a gritty, badass, brutal symphony of violence that ranks as one of the greatest superhero films ever made. The funny thing is, until this year, I never actually loved Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. But Jackman has now aged into the role, and he's aged even further in Logan, playing a grizzled version of Wolverine that easily trumps every previous cinematic incarnation. This, finally, is the character done right. This is not just Jackman's best performance as Logan, but maybe his best performance ever. The film gives Patrick Stewart his best showcase to date in the X-films as well. And what can be said about Dafne Keen - the young actress who kicks ass seven ways to Sunday as the berzerker-in-training X-23. Director James Mangold really outdoes himself as well. In a year that saw several excellent comic book movies, Logan reigns supreme.
9.) War For The Planet of the Apes
- In a perfect world, the Apes films would be perennial Oscar favorites and star Andy Serkis would have a closet full of trophies for his genius portrayal of Caesar, king of the apes. And so too would these modern Planet of the Apes films be heralded as the new classics that they are. In any case, War made for an epic finale to the trilogy - as good of an ending and as profound of a conclusion as anyone could have hoped for. Director Matthew Reeves really needs to be commended for what he did with these last two Apes films - they look incredible, both in terms of overall aesthetics and in terms of the way in which Caesar and his simian ilk are brought to life. Credit to Serkis for being the master of mo-cap acting. And credit to Woody Harrelson (between this and Three Billboards he had a hell of a year), for being a great final villain in Caesar's saga. What I love about this series is that it takes big narrative swings. This one isn't playing franchise paint-by-numbers - it's making art. So for the last time: hail, Caesar!
10.) Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- It's always difficult to know how to rank big franchise blockbusters like Star Wars. By their nature, these kinds of movies tend to be imperfect beasts - forced to be more than just movies, they've also got to tie up loose ends from previous films, set the stage for subsequent chapters, and please corporate overlords who have their own particular agendas. But that makes what Rian Johnson accomplished here all the more impressive. Rather than just give us the obvious next chapter following JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens, Johnson recognized the need to shake things up. JJ painted the franchise into several hard-to-escape narrative corners, and Johnson saw that and decided to make necessity the mother of invention. With humor, wit, and infinite cleverness, Johnson coalesced the scattered, only-hinted-at thematic threads of The Force Awakens into a retooled and refocused film - and in doing so he reshaped the entire Star Wars saga. He doubled down on the idea that Rey comes from nothing, yet has within her the power to be something special. He expanded on that theme, to show that The Force is not just for a select few that are chosen, but for anyone willing to tap into their own latent potential. The Force can and will be strong in those ready to fight the good fight, to rebel, to resist. And so, The Last Jedi arrived as the most thematically rich and deeply textured Star Wars film to date. At the same time, it gave us enough genuine holy-$&%& moments that stand among the year's best cinematic geek-outs. The Last Jedi didn't just give us a Luke Skywalker cameo for a bit of nostalgia - it gave us a whole new Luke Skywalker story, with a complete arc of failure and redemption. And gave us Luke's epic final battle that was not at all what I expected yet more than I could have hoped for. It raised the stakes of the Rey / Kylo Ren rivalry, giving it a surprisingly charged and personal dynamic. It gave a fitting send-off for Carrie Fisher, whose Leia got to have the last word, and in so doing bid farewell to the old guard and welcomed the next generation. The Last Jedi was not just a repetition of familiar Star Wars tropes, but the introduction of a whole new vocabulary to the franchise. And that made it one of the year's most exciting, riveting, and yes - thought-provoking! - films.
JUST MISSED THE CUT:
11.) Ingrid Goes West
- A pitch-black social satire, Ingrid Goes West looks long and hard at our obsession with social media and shows us the consequences of going too far down the online rabbit hole. Audrey Plaza is fantastic in this one as an unhinged stalker - and man, what a year it's been for her (she also killed it weekly on Legion). O'Shea Jackson Jr. also kills it as Plaza's smitten accomplice. This one flew under a lot of people's radars, so check it asap if you've yet to watch it.
- It was such a perfectly-executed, insanely fun horror film. The movie felt more like quintessential Stephen King than any other King adaptation ever. The kid actors were all fantastic, Bill Skarsgard was iconic as Pennywise the Clown, and director Andy Muschietti 100% nailed it - giving the film equal measures of horror and adventure - and giving IT some of the most audience-pleasing, applause-worthy moments of any movie this year. Bring on Part 2.
13.) Baby Driver
- Edgar Wright gave us the coolest action movie of the year in Baby Driver - a breakneck, amped-up, kinetic movie that also had the year's best soundtrack. Wright has long been a master at delivering genre-bending, high-concept, pop-culture savvy films - but he outdoes himself here. He gets out of his comfort zone and gives us some of the best car chases ever put to film, a unique protagonist in Baby, and a memorable cadre of villains led by Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx - in their best movie roles in years.
- Pixar stumbled earlier in the year with the meandering Cars 3 - but man, what a rebound in the form of Coco - a masterful animated film that will make even the most hardened of hearts leave the theater with a tear in their eye. Coco is a visual stunner, bringing Day of the Dead aesthetics to colorful, eye-popping life. It's also a moving story about death and legacy that pulls very few punches in the name of being kid-friendly. And it's exactly that kind of sophistication and respect for an audience's emotional intelligence that tends to make Pixar films a cut above. Coco is one of their best.
15.) The Post
- The Post is a movie that I can imagine being used as a teaching tool in classrooms for years to come. And I mean that in the best way possible. Steven Spielberg's latest is just that vital - an urgent reminder about a democracy's need for a free press that holds all institutions, including our own government, accountable for its actions. Spielberg directs this one with soaring aplomb - and he's aided by a triumphant John Williams score, a crackling screenplay, and awards-worthy turns from Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. Americans and people around the world need to see this movie, and need to heed its lessons.
THE NEXT BEST:
16.) I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore
- Blue Ruin star Macon Blair makes his writing and directorial debut with this Netflix original film, and the result is one of the year's best and most badass (and darkly funny) movies. Melanie Lynskey is fantastic as an ordinary women driven to take extreme measures when her home is robbed, and Elijah Wood is hilarious as her would-be sidekick.
17.) Get Out
- What a brilliant directorial debut from Jordan Peele. As a longtime Key and Peele fan, I was primed and ready for Peele's first film - but the end result far exceeded my expectations. Get Out is an instant-classic horror-comedy that is one of the sharpest, funniest, scariest, and most spot-on social commentaries on race that I've ever seen on film. Aside from that, it's just a flat-out great horror movie. Can't wait to see what Peele does next.
18.) I, Tonya
- A darkly funny, in-your-face roundhouse kick of a movie, this one hits hard from the outset and never lets up. Director Craig Gillespie, he of Lars and the Real Girl fame, gives us a tragicomic look at disgraced figure skater and tabloid news punching bag Tonya Harding - and makes us empathize with this woman who lived a hard-knock life and fell from grace just as she was nearing the top of the mountain. It's a cautionary tale that will stick with you, and Margot Robbie is fantastic in the lead role.
- Lucky is, sadly, the final role for the late great Harry Dean Stanton. But man, what a showcase for the consummate character actor and his unique and inimitable presence. Harry Dean looks every bit his 90 years in the film, but then again, he was never the embodiment of youthfulness. But it was his sunken eyes, craggy face, and cantankerous attitude that made Harry Dean such a beloved, iconic actor - and Lucky is a fitting swan-song. It's a sad, funny, moving look at one man coming to terms with his own mortality. It's a great hang-out movie, a thought-provoking film with a lot of big ideas, and a story that will leave you with a smile on your face and a tear in your eye. RIP Harry Dean.
20.) Darkest Hour
-Gary Oldman - unrecognizable under layers of prosthetics - delivers an acting masterclass in Joe Wright's stirring drama. Wright gives a sense of epic theatricality and gravitas to this fascinating look at Winston Churchill's tumultuous early days as Prime Minister - during which he was faced with the choice of a truce with Nazi Germany or continued hostility in a war they might very well lose. It's a thrilling history lesson and a wonderful character study. It's also a rousing call to action - at a moment when our President calls Nazis "very fine people," Darkest Hour is a reminder of a time when a Prime Minister had to rally a country to fight against the evils of Nazism, despite of the high cost to do so.
- Director Nacho Vigalondo is one to keep an eye on. With Colossal, he's crafted a unique film that's one part giant monster movie, one part dark comedy, and one part character study about a women struggling not to fall off the wagon. Anne Hathaway surprised me in this one - she's fantastic, playing against type as a down-on-her-luck everywoman trying to overcome her demons. Such an interesting, original film. We need more like this.
22.) Brawl In Cell Block 99
- Pure badassery, plain and simple. I was a huge fan of writer/director S. Craig Zahler's previous film, the horror-western mash-up Bone Tomahawk. But he matches that movie's awesomeness with Brawl - another pulpy, slow-burn grindhouse flick that feels like it's channeling the nihilistic spirit of John Carpenter. And who knew that Vince Vaughn could be so good at playing a badass hero? He destroys here - in my opinion it's his best role ever. This movie is just so brutal and shocking. It's got some stuff that will leave even the most jaded action fan's jaw on the floor.
23.) Logan Lucky
- Here was one of the year's more underrated films - a frequently hilarious heist film from Steven Soderbergh that, to me, hit higher highs than the director's more celebrated Oceans movies. I loved Logan Lucky because it had great, endlessly quotable dialogue, some of the year's most laugh-out-loud moments (that Game of Thrones joke ... amazing!), a top-notch cast (Channing Tatum doing best-ever work), and unexpected levels of heart.
- Let's face it, it's going to be tough for director Bong Joon-Ho to ever top the out and out insanity that was Snowpiercer. But he comes close with Okja, his Netflix original film (one of many great ones in 2017) that again combined high-concept sci-fi with dark humor, frantic action, and inspired lunacy to make for a fairly unforgettable film. No one else makes movies quite like Bong Joon Ho, and I hope we get many more of them.
- Darren Aronofsky's latest was probably the year's most divisive film - and to be honest, I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about it. Part of me wonders if it has a point. Part of me wonders if it crosses the line into pretentiousness. But part of me also acknowledges that of all the movies I saw in 2017, mother! stuck with me more so than most, and found its way into my dreams and nightmares. This is a profoundly disturbing, uniquely unnerving film that had me on the edge of my seat for its entire running time. I don't know what it all means - and it might very well mean nothing! - but man, watching this one was an experience. Aronofsky remains one our most interesting, risk-taking filmmakers.
MORE GREAT FILMS OF 2017:
26.) Wonder Woman
- Powerful and inspiring, Wonder Woman gave new life to the DC cinematic universe and was a legit star-making turn for Gal Gadot. The already-legendary "No Man's Land" sequence is, I think, among the best moments yet out on film in any superhero movie.
27.) Thor: Ragnarok
- A complete blast from start to finish, Thor: Ragnarok paid loving homage to the cosmic acid-trip aesthetic of the late great Jack Kirby, while also staying true to director Taika Waititi's uniquely quirky sense of humor. One of the best, most fun Marvel movies to date. Definitely the funniest.
28.) The Disaster Artist
- Oh, hai! The Room has fascinated me for many years now, and so too has its iconoclastic and enigmatic creator Tommy Wiseau. Wiseau is parodied to hilarious effect in James Franco's look at his life and his most famous creation. But the film is also an at-times poignant look at how legit creative spark can make even the most misguided art have value. It's also a cautionary tale about hitching your wagon to the wrong person. Most of all though, it's a celebration of one of the all-time best worst movies.
29.) Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
- All hail James Gunn, and the sense of fun, imagination, and subversive humor he brings to Marvel's infectiously entertaining cosmic odyssey franchise. Vol. 2 upped the ante with cooler visuals, memorable new characters, and Kurt freaking Russell as Peter Quill's mysterious long-lost dad. I had a blast with this one.
30.) The Beguiled
- Sophia Coppola directs the hell out of this new take on the classic Clint Eastwood film. I loved her darkly funny take on the material, and firmly believe that this one is deserving of more big-awards love than it's getting. I mean, the entire cast is fantastic, with Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning killing it as the movie's warring "vengeful bitches," and Colin Farrell in top form as their object of desire-slash-vengeance.
31.) John Wick: Chapter Two
- While it didn't wow me quite as much as Part 1, the second John Wick movie still delivered some of the year's most kick-ass action. And the world of John Wick is still cool, slick, and full of ruthless assassins eager to make their next kill. Keanu is so great in these films too - I wouldn't mind of this series just continues ad infinitum.
32.) Brigsby Bear
- This is a quirky, oddball gem of a film - a wonderfully weird movie from SNL's Kyle Kinane. It's about a guy kidnapped at birth and raised in isolation in a bunker, whose oddly endearing kidnappers (hello, Mark Hamill!) force him to watch a kids' TV show called Brigsby Bear, which ... okay, nevermind, I'm not going to explain the whole plot. Just trust me on this one - it's well worth a watch, and it's an amazing, oddly affecting ode to the creative spirit and the way in which our favorite stories can shape our lives.
33.) Alien: Covenant
- And here is my pick for the year's most unfairly-criticized film. I'm not sure why critics were so harsh on Ridley Scott's latest Alien installment. To me, it was a vast improvement over Prometheus - matching that movie's awe-inspiring visuals while giving us a much tighter script that focused on character-driven moments rather than go-nowhere mystery boxes. Scott gave the movie some great action and some memorable horror beats. And Michael Fassbender owned, doing double duty as identical androids David and Walter. Here's hoping we get one more film to close out the franchise.
34.) Blade Runner 2049
- Yet another highly divisive 2017 movie. The original Blade Runner is one of my favorite films of all time, so I was highly excited yet highly nervous for this thirty-five-years-in-the-making sequel. In many ways, BR2049 was a stunner. It was maybe the year's most visually impressive movie - with eye-popping direction from Denis Villeneuve, and jaw-dropping cinematography from the legendary Roger Deakins. The movie had so many cool moments and interesting ideas. It had a great central performance from Ryan Gosling, and a motivated Harrison Ford, back as Deckard, bringing his A-game. That said, I did feel disappointed by just how self-serious the movie was. Ridley Scott relishes sci-fi pulp (think of Rutger Hauer's insanely over-the-top, eminently quotable villain in the original), whereas Villeneuve deals primarily in dour, somber, humorless tonality. I wanted a movie that had dialogue to match the original's "tears in rain" soliloquy. And I didn't quite get that. But what we did get is one of the most interesting and discussion-provoking sci-fi films in a long while. We'll be talking about this movie and debating its merits for a long time to come.
- This Netflix original was directed by Dee Rees, who impressed me a few years back with her debut film Pariah. This one is a big change for her - while Pariah was focused and personal, Mudbound is a sprawling, years-spanning epic that tells the story of two families and how their relationship embodies the racial struggles and conflicts of post-WWII America. It's a movie filled with great performances and layered characters. It's not subtle and can get a bit melodramatic at times, but the film at its best is powerful, affecting, and tells a story that's sadly felt all too relevant in 2017.
36.) Roman J. Israel, Esq.
- Many critics panned this one, but I really dug the latest from Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy. Based on the marketing, I expected a traditional feel-good film about an unlikely success story. But what I got was a super-dark neo-noir about a man who trades in his ideals to achieve success, only to find that it can all just as quickly come crashing down. Denzel Washington is terrific here - he's over-the-top, sure, but so is the movie as a whole. It's a heightened morality tale. I really dug it.
37.) It Comes At Night
- 2017 didn't have quite as many great indie horror films as the previous couple of years, but one real standout was It Comes At Night - a post-apocalyptic paranoid thriller that's just a great genre exercise in tension and creepy atmosphere. Joel Edgerton leads a strong cast, and the film keeps you guessing right up until the end. If you dig a horror movie with a great premise, be sure to seek this one out.
38.) The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
- Noah Baumbach's latest is yet another standout Netflix original that launched on the streaming service in 2017. I've long been a fan of Baumbach, but I'll admit that my favorite movies of his have been his collaborations with Greta Gerwig. Obviously Gerwig had a breakout year with the success of Lady Bird, but Baumbach's new film was no slouch either. The Meyerowitz Stories is a funny, affecting tale of a fractured family coming together again after their father falls ill. It's got some great acting - Dustin Hoffman is particularly great as the family patriarch, and Adam Sandler turns in his best acting in many years.
39.) The Foreigner
- This is one of those movies that, while not a new classic or anything, is exactly what the doctor ordered if you're in the mood for an old-fashioned action/thriller with an extra helping of badassery. Basically, this is Jackie Chan's Taken, with the added bonus of an ultra-hammy Pierce Brosnan as the main antagonist. The movie has Chan play a very meek-seeming dude who looks over-the-hill and by no means superheroic - which makes it all the more exciting when Chan does finally get to kick ass and show glimpses of the legendary martial arts wunderkind of old. It's all done in a supremely fun and satisfying way. This is the year's best "watch it on a rainy Sunday afternoon" sort of movie.
40.) Happy Death Day
- I wanted to include Happy Death Day somewhere on my list because, for me, it was one of the year's most pleasant surprises. I went in with minimal expectations, and left with a big ol' dumb smile plastered across my face. Because, as it turns out, Happy Death Day is a ridiculously fun, deceptively clever, slyly subversive horror-comedy that's legitimately funny and that actually makes great use of its Groundhog Day-meets-Scream premise. A great audience movie, I can see this one being a midnight movie favorite for a long time to come.
HONORABLE MENTIONS - OTHER HIGHLY RECOMMENDED MOVIES FROM THIS YEAR:
Battle of the Sexes
All The Money In the World
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The Little Hours
The LEGO Batman Movie
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The Fate of the Furious
I Do ... Until I Don't
Murder on the Orient Express
The Great Wall
INDIVIDUAL 2017 AWARDS:
BEST LEAD ACTOR:
1.) Daniel Day-Lewis - Phantom Thread
2.) Gary Oldman - Darkest Hour
3.) Kumail Nanjiani - The Big Sick
4.) Hugh Jackman - Logan
5.) Harry Dean Stanton - Lucky
BEST LEADING ACTRESS:
1.) Sally Hawkins - The Shape of Water
2.) Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
3.) Saoirse Ronan - Lady Bird
4.) Vicky Krieps[ - Phantom Thread
5.) TIE: Bria Vinaite - The Florida Project, Margot Robbie - I, Tonya
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
1.) Willem Dafoe - The Florida Project
2.) Sam Rockwell - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
3.) Mark Rylance - Dunkirk
4.) Patrick Stewart - Logan
5.) Michael Shannon - The Shape of Water
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
1.) Laurie Metcalf - Lady Bird
2.) Helen Hunt - The Big Sick
3.) Nicole Kidman - The Beguiled
4.) Kirsten Dunst - The Beguiled
5.) Alison Janney - I, Tonya
1.) Sean Baker - The Florida Project
2.) Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk
3.) Guillermo Del Toro - The Shape of Water
4.) Paul Thomas Anderson - Phantom Thread
5.) Edgar Wright - Baby Driver
1.) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
2.) Lady Bird
3.) The Big Sick
4.) The Florida Project
5.) The Shape of Water
6.) Get Out
7.) Darkest Hour
8.) I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore
9.) The Post
10.) Ingrid Goes West
And there you have it. It was fun writing about movies a long break. Hopefully you discover some new films from this list, and hopefully there are many more great films to come in 2018.