2017 blew away my expectations for the movie industry. Art, diversity, strong females leads and thought-provoking themes all prevailed. 2017 broke new ground in how we elevate the narrative and give powerful stories for people too rarely seen in the spotlight. It's a revolution for filmmaking and I cannot wait to see more films like these become a regular in the theaters. Here's my Top 20!
Noble Mentions: Columbus, The Breadwinner, Mudbound, The Greatest Showman, and I, Tonya.
An Arnold Recommendation (Great Film):
Okja is an ambitious and powerful creation by writer-director Bong Joon Ho. A picture that never stops moving with a deep sense of emotion and message. Okja possesses heart and soul as we travel with Mija in an eco-fairy-tale that critiques our methods of food production, the role of corporations in our daily lives, and animal rights. Okja is a wild ride underlined with a scathing satire that asks the question, how we can act humanely towards other creatures? In the end, this is a film that sticks with you.
An Arnold Recommendation (Great Film):
Imaginative and beautifully sewn together by the artistic visions of French photographer JR and legendary director Agnès Varda. Studying the human connection, Faces Places takes us on a charming journey that tributes the essence of art.This is a wonderful portrait that explores life's riches rewards — scenery, photography, and cinema.
#20 Baby Driver
The coolest movie of the summer has finally arrived. Baby Driver is driven with great writing, acting and direction. Plus, the film features a killer soundtrack!
One of the rawest blockbusters ever to hit the theaters, War for the Planet of the Apes is a mighty film. Filled with breathtaking visual effects and moving narrative, War will leave you shell-shocked in the end. The ending results to this reboot trilogy are awe-inspiring.
A moving melodrama, BPM (Beats Per Minute) reflects a pivotal moment in history and the battle with HIV/AIDS. A righteous struggle, filled with optimism and joy. It's a film that expresses the beauty of life and the little time we really have.
A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) handles its timely subject matter with care and affection. This superb movie about womanhood is nothing short of fantastic. I am happy it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Representation matters.
#16 A Ghost Story
A Ghost Story is a poetic experience seen through the eyes of love and loss. This ambitious film hits the very core of our souls and, in the end, becomes a poignant exploration of life itself.
Coco is another win for Pixar, as its thoughtful narrative embraces the rich culture of Mexico. This family-friendly animated film couldn't have been more timely as it celebrates culture, family, life and death. A Day-of-the-Dead gem that's also a honorable tribute to Mexican culture. It's a must-see extravaganza!
#14 Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is fierce, colorful and full of heart. Gal Gadot soars as the woman in red, gold and blue. Her charismatic performance helped the film succeed in spectacular fashion throughout. It’s a complete 180° for the DCEU and it's probably one of the best superhero films to-date.
At Last, we have finally reached Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the claw-shredding hero. In Logan, we get that final goodbye helmed through blood, sweat and tears.
#12 The Post
Director Steven Spielberg’s The Post is a rallying cry for journalist everywhere, as its political themes couldn’t have been more timely.
#11 The Big Sick
The Big Sick is the best romcom of 2017, hands down. Real, funny and heartwarming; The Big Sick comes in as a late-summer surprise full of rich rewards.
The Last Jedi broke new ground and soared to new heights in the Star Wars saga. This wasn’t your average sci-fi flick and for that I applaud it. Director Rian Johnson also threw in his own creative spark. Plus, superb performances from both Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher. The Last Jedi advanced the universe and blurred the lines between good and evil.
#09 Phantom Thread
Phantom Thread is a self-absorbing tale of love and desire. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson has polished one of his finest films to-date, backed by a grand and final performance from legendary actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
#08 Get Out
Get Out is a social critique that's laced with racial tension and packaged in a horror/comedy duo. Now, Academy Award winner, Jordan Peele (that feels good saying), bestows a world of madness in this timely affair that parallels with ours. It's a prestigious film, kudos to Peele!
A poetic experience, Call Me by Your Name is 2017’s hidden gem. Full of beauty, heart and the human connection this is a must-see film. For one shining moment, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. It's raw emotion filled with tender love. Perfetto!
Poverty and poetry through the eyes of children. The Florida Project is an astonishing movie. On the surface, The Florida Project is a purple utopia, but below it lies a place full of conflicts and heartaches.
A rare sequel that both deepens and expands the universe of Blade Runner. Denis Villeneuve’s masterpiece is probably one of the greatest cinematic experiences I’ve had in a long time. Blade Runner 2049 is a knockout sequel, well worth the 35 year wait.
Oh man, this was a great movie. Director Martin McDonagh has a gift for crafting well-balanced films. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was the perfect blend of dark humor and intense drama. Plus, a veteran cast at the core. Actress Frances McDormand might have even surpass her all-star performance from Fargo.
Director Christopher Nolan's film serves up as an emotionally satisfying spectacle and helps break new ground in the war genre. Dunkirk serves as a grand example of spectacular writing, acting and directing. Plus, seeing it in the 70mm version was a glorious experience.
#02 Lady Bird
Sheer perfection. Writer-director Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age directorial debut is a marvelous gem, while actress Saoirse Ronan has never been better. Lady Bird delivers a fresh insight on the pains of adolescence. All-in-all, Gerwig's first feature film is flat-out amazing.
I don’t have enough words to describe how great this movie is. In the simplest of terms, The Shape of Water is marvelous, just marvelous. Everything about director Guillermo del Toro’s newest creation is exulted to the highest form of perfection. With it just winning Best Picture this year that the Oscars, that makes its incredible journey more surreal. The Shape of Water will open your heart and fill it with wondrous imagination.
For Your Consideration:
Cup Of Soul Show
In Their Own League
Mashley at the Movies
Mike, Mike, and Oscar
The Movie Oracle
Next Best Picture
Reos Positive POV
The SoBros Network
Untitled Cinema Gals Project