I know we're all tired of talking about 2017—the year that mostly belonged in the garbage, or to queens Laura Dern and Cardi B.
Unlike Trump's first year in office, the year in cinema was full of surprises.
2017 was a great year for big and busty Blockbusters, with many of the top 10 grossing films being actual quality pictures. (Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, Logan, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) This may be due partly to the fact that talented auteurs are being given the chance to flex their cinematic muscles with these high-budget franchises and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
It was also a great year for queer cinema. The gays made waves with films like Call Me By Your Name, Thelma, Beach Rats, Battle of the Sexes, Beats Per Minute, and Tom of Finland (zZzz).
So now onto my personal Top 10 list. I'm no expert, so please let us know what we may have missed. And before you ask, I really hated Three Billboards, so don't ask me about that overhyped, sentimental turd.
10. BLADE RUNNER 2049
In a year full of notable blockbusters, remakes, and sequels, it was tough to decide which one came out on top for me. Ultimately I was most moved by Blade Runner 2049, which is much better than the 1982 Ridley Scott original. Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) helms this visually-stunning, longawaited sequel starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. It's like an extended Black Mirror episode on acid.
9. GIRLS TRIP
Not only is Girls Trip the funniest film of the year, but I would argue it is one of the funniest films in the last decade. Tiffany Haddish steals the show as the bubbly Dina, who reunites with her three best friends for a vacation in New Orleans. Girls Trip is a celebration of friendship, with a little bit of gross out humor and a whole lot of black girl magic.
8. THE BEGUILED
Director Sofia Coppolla is back and better than ever in this lush Southern Gothic remake of the classic Clint Eastwood film. The Beguiled is about a wounded Union soldier who seeks refuge in an all-girl boarding school in the deep south. It’s an intensely erotic and disturbing fairy tale about power and female desire. Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Colin Farrell round out the powerhouse cast.
7. THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ (Dogtooth, The Lobster) latest is a cinematic gut punch starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman. The film is a psychological horror, but much like The Lobster, still maintains a sense of humor. Barry Keoghan gives a creepy, standout performance that carries Sacred Deer to horrific heights. It’s best to go into this one not knowing the premise.
6. I, TONYA
Part white trash mockumentary, part made-for-tv-movie-realness, I Tonya takes a closer look into the fascinating rise and fall of two-time Olympic figure skater, Tonya Harding. The film ultimately wants you to root for the underdog in Tonya, while still painting her as a crass, complicated antiheroine. As someone who has been obsessed with this story since I was a lil baby gay, I was not disappointed.
5. GET OUT
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is a revelation. Combining Hitchockian suspense and social critique, Peele has crafted a terrifying genre of racial horror. Get Out is about one black man’s (Daniel Kaluuya) trip to visit his white girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) family home. In a year full of disappointing horror and genre films, Get Out left a huge impression on me. Avoid spoilers and watching the trailer before seeing this one.
A nuanced and honest portrait of a mother/daughter relationship, written and directed by indie film favorite, Greta Gerwig. Ladybird is laced with humor and deep affection for its lead characters, played expertly by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. Gerwig’s directorial debut captures the complicated pangs of growing up, figuring out who you are, and the people who get hurt along the way. It feels reductive to call this the ‘feel-good film of the year’ but fuck it, Ladybird is the feel-good film of the year.
3. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Timothee Chalamet is transcendent as young Elio, a 17 year old American who begins an intense love affair with the 24 year old Oliver (Armie Hammer) over the course of one summer spent in Italy. With delicate direction and expert performances by the films leads, Call Me By Your Name will go down as one of my favorite queer films of all time. That final monologue by Elio’s father (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) had me WRECKED. Check out my full review here.
Darren Aronofsky’s latest masterpiece is a gut-wrenching and provocative take on what it means to be an artist and creator. Dismissed by many critics and filmgoers who perhaps weren’t prepared for the often derogatory Biblical allegories, Mother! commits fully to it’s ambitiously creative structure. Love her or hate her, J-Law is electrifying in the leading role. Like any good piece of art, Mother! seered itself into my brain and refuses to quit taking up space.
1. The Florida Project
The last film that I saw from this list is incidentally my favorite. The Florida Project is the latest from Tangerine director Sean Baker—a deeply empathetic and moving portrait of childhood in the shadows of Orlando, Florida. Seven year old star, Brooklynn Prince plays Moonee, a devious child living with her mother in a hotel just outside the world of Disney. The film is mostly without traditional narrative, allowing the child stars to flourish, play, and just get by from week to week—turning the streets into their own magical theme park. The Florida Project is shot beautifully, combining traditional camera work with the type of iPhone shots that we saw in Tangerine. Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Baker's latest depicts a specific time and place in America's landscape, without ever exploiting or romanticizing its subjects or location.
Lady Macbeth, The Shape of Water, Personal Shopper, The Other Side of Hope, Good Time, Thor Ragnarok, Atomic Blonde, Dunkirk, I Am Not Your Negro, Wonder Woman