Some movies came out in 2017. As someone who loves movies, but finds most movies average at best, they weren’t great. I also watched less movies in 2017 than I have in any year since 2010, and I’m not sure if that’s the reason I’m underwhelmed or if it's indicative of their quality. However—as is the case every year, there was still a twenty way tie for tenth, so don’t let my pessimism get you down. Let’s start with some honorable mentions.
Worst Movie to Watch/Best Movie to Think About - Mother!
Mother!, as is the case with most Aronofsky movies, is almost unbearable to watch. It’s basically two hours of human beings being awful, and even when you figure out the metaphor and realize that human beings are awful is basically the whole point, you’ve already paused the film six times to go smoke cigarettes in anger. A few days later, when the anger has finally passed, you start to realize that the other point of the movie was that God is also awful, and that’s a lot more fun to think about.
Not Just Oscar Bait - Phantom Thread
I should have known better than to assume a Paul Thomas Anderson movie was simple Oscar bait, but The Master and Inherent Vice were travesties that threw off my expectations; so I can only apologize. While it starts off as the story of an insufferable artist and a woman who loves him for no apparent reason, it evolves into a power struggle between two insane people. Then, just as you thought you'd seen all the insanity it could muster—it takes it one step further; just like that girl you dated in college.
THE TOP TEN
10. The Babysitter
There were a lot of tongue-in-cheek horror movies this year (Tragedy Girls, Better Watch Out, Happy Death Day), and I actually watched most of them. The one I found myself recommending the most was The Babysitter, and not just because it's easily found on Netflix. Cole is a lame kid with a cool babysitter, and when he stays up one night in order to figure out what his babysitter gets up to while he's asleep, he discovers her and a group of friends performing a human sacrifice. Cole quickly finds himself trying to evade becoming a victim himself, and we are treated to a healthy dose of pop culture references and bad one-liners. Maybe I should feel bad for bumping films with actual weight from this slot, but The Babysitter is simply eighty minutes of silly fun, and sometimes that's just what you need.
9. The Lure
If you thought that The Shape of Water was the only 2017 film in which someone would have sex with a sea monster, you would be incorrect. I know that Polish musicals about mermaids aren't for everyone, but I can confirm after watching The Lure three times, that it is a genre I am a fan of. To be clear, if the phrase "Polish musical about mermaids" doesn't immediately entice you, I encourage you to not watch this film, because everything I like about it you will probably hate. The story is told mostly through musical numbers: some subtle, others elaborate set pieces. As a result, the plot sometimes disappears and then shows up again only to drag you into a new nonsensical direction. But if you don't need a taut narrative, The Lure is full of romance, heartbreak, and mermaids eating people; so that's fun if it's something that you're into.
8. Good Time
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have both been doing admirable work since they stopped sparkling, and while Stewart's Personal Shopper may have just missed the top ten, Pattinson's Good Time sneaks in at number eight. After his mentally challenged brother gets arrested, Pattinson spends a night attempting to break him out of jail. Complications arise, and the scenario keeps shifting, but watching Pattinson fumble through from one ridiculous predicament to the next should keep you amused.
If you skipped this movie on Netflix because you thought it was in Korean, let me first confirm that it is in English. I know you kids are too lazy to read, and I don't want you to miss out on the delightful tale of a young girl and her pet "supercow" and her quest to rescue it from becoming America's newest meat product. Despite cartoonish performances from Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tilda Swinton; it also manages to be an action/adventure critique of corporate greed, and a PETA commercial. Seriously. I didn't eat meat for at least three hours after watching Okja. That's heavy stuff.
6. The Florida Project
The Florida Project is the story of a group of kids who haven't realized that their parents are scumbags yet. And while it's very apparent to the viewer that their parents are, in fact, scumbags (or at least down on their luck, if you want to give them the benefit of the doubt), the film focuses on the residents of a cheap Florida motel through the eyes of six-year-old Moonee, who tends to be a bit more optimistic than I am. Moonee spends her days wandering about the motel and the surrounding area getting up to hood rat things with her friends, and doesn't seem to realize that she's not being raised in the traditional sense. The film is a contrast of childhood optimism, the harsh reality of adulthood, and the hope that Willem Dafoe is always somewhere in the background keeping an eye out for creeps.
5. The Big Sick
Movies about comedians are usually terrible, but The Big Sick is actually a movie about familial obligation and relationships, which makes the presence of Bo Burnham somewhat permissible. Kumail is a Pakistani comedian who falls for Zoe Kazan, a romance he can't tell his parents about for fear of being ostracized (Pakistanis don't like white girls, you see). This causes Kumail and Zoe to break up, but when Zoe gets sick, Kumail finds himself bonding with her parents and regretting that he didn't make the relationship work. Zoe Kazan is unconscious for most of the film, which makes me sad, but at least Ray Romano shows up. Kumail's relationships with Zoe's parents, as well as his own, make up a good portion of the film, and their interactions all feel realistic, even when played for comedy. It's a funny movie about relationships—a description you've certainly heard before—that still feels original.
4. Get Out
Laughing at white people is always fun, but Get Out teaches us that being paranoid around them is probably a good idea too. This 2017 version of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner understandably has a different theme, but Chris is still understandably nervous about meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time. If you lived under a rock in 2017 (and didn't get the previous movie reference), Chris is black and his girlfriend is white. Meeting your girlfriend's parents is always intimidating, but as you may have noticed, there is still racial tension in America. Luckily, Chris is welcomed into the home with open arms. He'll be fine as long as the parents don't turn out to be psychopaths.
3. The Disaster Artist
I don't care that it's a comedy. James Franco deserved a Best Actor nomination. The Disaster Artist is about the making of The Room, but in reality its almost entirely an excuse to watch James Franco act ridiculous for two hours. Seriously, it's mesmerizing. The plot may be propped up by its easily-mocked source material, but the making of "the best worst movie of all time" is just as interesting as the classic lines lifted straight from the original film. Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, a mysterious millionaire who sets out to make his own movie after being rejected by Hollywood. Tommy is quite possibly the strangest human being in existence, and Franco steals every scene simply by imitating reality.
2. Baby Driver
It's easy to make the joke Baby Drive or Drive for Babies, but Baby Driver and Drive share an awful lot more than driving. Withdrawn protagonist? Check. Soundtrack driven? Check. Getaway driver? Check. Does there also happen to be a girl that the protagonist becomes unhealthily obsessed with? Oh, why yes there is. But you know what? If you're going to clone a movie, Drive is a good one to pick. Baby Driver follows Baby (our getaway driver) as he listens to hot jams and drives cars. He likes a girl too, which is cute. What else do you need?
1. Brigsby Bear
James lives a sheltered life with his parents, keeping himself entertained with a healthy dose of the television show Brigsby Bear Adventures. When James is forced into the world, he discovers that no one else has ever heard of Brigsby Bear Adventures, and he sets out to make a movie version and finish the story. Having little to no social skills, James awkwardly interacts with humanity in what could have easily been one embarrassing interaction after another. But instead of mocking him, everyone James meets is...nice to him. What's great about Brigsby Bear is that while James' awkwardness is always present, his quest to resurrect Brigsby Bear Adventures is celebrated and never mocked. Brigsby Bear has some very dark themes that I've glossed over in my synopsis, but the film maintains an upbeat mood throughout. It may be about overcoming trauma, but it's also about collaboration and building relationships. It is a feel-good movie in the purest sense, and it is without a doubt my favorite of the year.
COULD EASILY BE ON THIS LIST
Lady Bird - Timothée Chalamet basically ruined this for me.
The Shape of Water - A lonely lady steals a fish.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Frances McDormand yells at people.
Phantom Thread - Loving an artist is like disciplining a child.
Personal Shopper - Kristen Stewart sees dead people.
Wind River - I have nothing bad to say about this movie.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer - Best spaghetti scene of 2017.
Logan - I forgot this was a superhero movie. I like that.
Call Me By Your Name - Just peachy.
Split - Shyamalan doesn't always ruin things.
I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore - The first time I've liked Elijah Wood.
Colossal - Jason Sudeikis ruins everything.
The Post - Better than Spotlight.
The Girl With All the Gifts - There's always a zombie movie.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Anything is better than The Force Awakens.
Dunkirk - I don't like war movies. But I like Christopher Nolan.
I, Tonya - White Trash on Ice
Tragedy Girls - The darkest version of Heathers.
It - Exactly what you'd expect.
Ingrid Goes West - If I could stand watching people be awkward, this would be in the top ten.
What Happened to Monday - Everybody hates Mondays.
Battle of the Sexes - Solved the gender pay gap.
Blade Runner 2049 - Ryan Gosling had a computer girlfriend, that was the only cool part.
Happy Death Day - Groundhog Day with Murder
A Ghost Story - Casey Affleck stands in a sheet.
Wonder Woman - I don't care what anyone says. It was just another average superhero movie.
Baywatch - I'll watch Dwayne Johnson do anything.
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 - Kurt Russell needs to chill.
Better Watch Out - The Babysitter but much darker.
Super Dark Times - Why can't kids just commit murder and then keep their cool?
Lucky - An old dude being old.
Columbus - Just some folks talking about architecture.
Marjorie Prime - Soon we'll all be best friends with artificial intelligence.
Wonder Wheel - At this point, it's better than I expected from Woody Allen.
Mother! - At least they eat the baby.
War Machine - Brad Pitt hams it up.
A Cure for Wellness - It's mystery is only exceeded by it's dullness.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle - One was enough.
A Cure for Wellness - It's mystery is only exceeded by it's dullness.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle - One was enough.
AND THE UGLY
Justice League - Just stop this.
Bright - This is only justifiable because it's a Netflix original.
Beauty and the Beast - How to ruin an animated classic.