As 2017 comes to a close, it's time to reflect on the past year. For me, that means reflecting on the year that was cinema and putting together a list of my favorite films of the year. Overall, it was a pretty good year with several early year releases having staying power over the traditional year-end award season releases.
Telling the story of making what is often called the “best worst movie ever made,” The Disaster Artist is one of the most compelling and optimistic films of the year. Played by James Franco, Tommy Wiseau, director, writer and star of the cult hit The Room, is an enigma whose mystery is only deepened at the end of the film. It's a tale of true optimism in the face of, well, disaster.
10. The Big Sick
The Big Sick is a romantic comedy based on the real-life story of Comedian Kumail Nanjiani (who stars alongside Zoe Kazan) and his wife Emily Gordon started their relationship. It explores heavy-handedly and yet very sweetly the relationships between boyfriend and girlfriends, husbands and wives, and parents and children.
9. The Post
In a year in which the press is under attack on many levels, it's fitting that we get a movie specifically addressing the freedom of the press. This movie isn't made just for journalists. In fact, journalism has very little to do with the film's plot but rather the protection and utilization of the First Amendment in the face of an administration that is hostile towards the press. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are electric and empowering. Steven Spielberg has created a film that looks like a classic movie and is so important in telling the story of the Press holding the powerful accountable for actions that caused harm to an entire nation.
8. Wonder Woman
The movie that shut down all the studio fears of a female-centric comic book movie thanks to critics raving about and it was the highest grossing film of the summer. The “no man's land” scene is one of the best of any comic book movie. It's entertaining, fun, adventurous, and inspired a message of strength for young women and anyone who may have watched it.
Not the most entertaining film, but Christopher Nolan puts you in the seat and nails you in by creating high tension across three storylines that happen at the same time but told in a unique and exciting way. You'll feel exhausted when Dunkirk is over but it is a good exhaustion created from the experience. Watch this on the biggest screen you can find with the best audio system you can find.
It appears that a lot of Star Wars fans are not happy with Rian Johnson's entry into the 40-year-old franchise. Personally, I think it's among the best of the Star Wars movies because of the risks he took with the characters. Sure, making it a slow chase between the Resistance forces and the First Order wasn't very exciting, we didn't get what we wanted from Luke Skywalker, the Canto Bight sequence was very Disney, and there are some opportunities that were missed but surely we can agree that for Star Wars to stay interesting and relevant, we must move away from the original storyline, right? Right?
A good description of The Shape of Water is an adult fairy tale. Beautifully directed by Guillermo Del Toro it's the tale of a woman without a voice who falls in love with a mysterious amphibian-like man that has been captured by the government in the 1950's. It's a romantic and kind take on a monster movie especially when you realize who the monster really is.
4. Baby Driver
With the unique style of director Edgar Wright, Baby Driver is one of the most entertaining films of the year. The film uses the soundtrack to propel the story of Baby, a wheel man for a series of high dollar heists.
Very few comic-book movies have left me speechless at the end. I sat in silence for the entirety of the end credits of Logan. It's a different take on the character, taking what has traditionally been an action film and turning it into a western. It was a bold move and it pays off in every way grounded by Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Stewart puts in his best performance as Professor Charles Xavier and one of his best cinematic roles to date.
2. Lady Bird
Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird is like watching teenagers in the wild, if you just sat back and observed and they didn't know you were there. It's a captivating film. Parents of teenagers will be able to relate to the characters in this movie. I see my teenagers in this, I see my relationship with my teens in this, I see my teens' friends in this and I see myself in this movie. Look for great performances from Saoirse Ronan in the title role who is surrounded by a great supporting cast led by Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts who play her parents.
1. Get Out
Among all the movies of 2017, this one has stuck with me the most. Jordan Peele's directorial debut handles the balance of racial fear with light and dark humor. Turning social commentary into satirical horror. Pointing out the experiences and fears of being black, Get Out offers insight into an experience that most of us will never have but many have lived, and continue to live on a day-to-day basis. I never would have thought that a February release would stick with me as much as this one did. The fact that we're still talking about it only demonstrates its relevance to pop culture.