Today I’m continuing my series of festive blog posts to close out 2017 with a definitive power ranking of the best movies I have seen this year. A couple of these films technically first came out in 2016, but did so right at the end of the year and were still in theaters in 2017, so I’m allowed to include them under the Federal Statute of It’s-My-Blog-And-I-Can-Do-What-I-Want. So grab yourself a mince pie, a tall glass of milk and enjoy!
I only discovered X-Men in the last two years or so, but I tend to latch onto things quickly. I was looking forward to a super-hero movie that was based around harrowing character development and horrific, nauseatingly-realistic gore. Logan didn’t disappoint, but at the same time I wasn’t quite as engaged as I thought I’d be. However for superb acting, cinematography, and writing it deserves its place on this list. Put simply, it’s just extremely well-made.
#9 Hidden Figures
This might be my feel-good movie of the year. It might not have the indie tones and raw artistry of Logan, but it just about edges it in my rankings because I found it to be more engaging. It’s a heartwarming, intelligent story that fills in the blanks of our history. If you enjoy 20th century historical dramas- this is for you!
Netflix have been balling recently, producing a slew of dark, close-ended drama series and nuanced arthouse features. I watched 1922 a few weeks ago on the basis that Stephen King is a genius, whose works have been so well translated to the big screen in such classics as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. I loved the minimalist, claustrophobic setting and the dark narrative, and the motif of the rats was both chilling and masterful.
#7 War for the Planet of the Apes
I love this franchise because it proves that not all summer blockbusters are devoid of self-awareness. It has the budget and look of a Hollywood action flick, but to be honest this movie has an emotional depth and complexity far beyond something you would expect about a movie based on talking apes whacking humans over the head with two-by-fours. It’s a depiction of a post-apocalypse that feels fresh and interesting, and Woody Harrelson’s portrayal of the deranged, Kurtz-esque isolated military leader was perhaps my favorite performance of the year!
This was the only movie I watched on my 10-hour flight from London to Houston in May of this year. I love the stage, and this is a mesmerizing adaptation of the great August Wilson’s drama of the same name. Denzel is unforgettable as the jealous patriarch Troy Maxson, and his performance alone makes this the most intense movie I have seen all year.
#5 Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Before this year I had never seen a Pirates of the Carribean movie, but a bunch my bestie’s fellow therapists asked us if we wanted to go see it with them, so I watched the very first one the night before. Missing the next three installments didn’t ruin my enjoyment of Dead Men Tell No Tales however, and I had no idea just how much I needed a swashbuckling pirate adventure in my life. This movie was a barrel of laughs and just pure, summertime entertainment.
#4 Spider-Man: Homecoming
When I saw that there was a new Spider-Man film coming out, I asked if the world really needed one. It was War for the Planet of the Apes that I was begging my roommates to take me to. However I ended up enjoying the new Spider-Man more than I ever thought possible, and it’s easily my favorite summer flick. The fact that the main villain was the evil mastermind behind the stealing of the McDonald’s brand from its namesake made it all the more sinister (and hilarious).
#3 Manchester by the Sea
The top three on this list are all masterpieces that are all worthy of a Best Picture Oscar trophy in my opinion, and- for what it’s worth- the TumbleweedWrites Film of the Year Award. This character-driven drama was the first feature I saw in the movie theater this year, and it got 2017 off to a fantastic start. I loved every aspect of it, and it kept me engaged from beginning to end. Out of all the movies on this list, it’s probably the most “quintessentially Michael”. I love stories about family, personal tragedy, and working class neighborhoods. This movie didn’t so much tug at my heartstrings as it did bloodily rip them out.
When I said that Netflix was straight saucin’ this year, I wasn’t kidding. Mudbound is the latest entry on this list- I watched it this afternoon in fact. It’s a powerful, exceptionally well-written drama set in the Mississippi Delta. It follows two families, one black and one white, and follows their struggles before, during, and after World War 2. It’s a poignant, heart-wrenching depiction of race relations, poverty, and PTSD. Oh, and any fans of Breaking Bad– get ready to hate Jonathan Banks’ character a lot.
#1 Blade Runner 2049
While it’s true that any of my top 3 are TumbleweedWrites Film of the Year Award caliber movies, there was really only going to be one winner. Choosing Blade Runner 2049 was easy because it displayed such excellence in almost every category measuring the quality of a movie might have. It is probably the most visually-stunning film I have ever seen, and every minute of this 3-hour epic was one of intense enjoyment on my part. It was so good that it didn’t even feel like a long film at all. The performances of Gosling and Hoeks in particular were stellar, the sound effects, musical score and clever use of colors so perfectly captured the essence of a Philip K. Dick post-apocalypse, and the inclusion of the Elvis Presley hologram was the cherry on top of the birthday cake as I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my birth watching this masterpiece.