First, there was my subjective film list of 2009....
Then came the lists of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
And now, faithful readers, since I know that you've all been clamoring for it, here is the official countdown list of my favorite films that I watched in 2017.*
*They didn't have to be released last year, though most of them are this time. Strange.**
**I also watched many of these films using ClearPlay and VidAngel. If you wonder why I watch edited movies, you're in luck! I wrote a post about it back in 2013.***
***Made you look.
10. Baby Driver (2017)
With Baby Driver, Edgar Wright has, once again, proved himself as one of the most creative directors of our time. And I'm not just giving him a pass because he is the man who created Shaun of the Dead. This movie is refreshingly original. It's an action/musical hybrid, complete with carefully choreographed car chases and gunfights timed to a toe-tapping soundtrack. It's darker than I thought it was going to be, but I still couldn't stop smiling the whole time during this film.
9. Hell or High Water (2016)
Hell or High Water is an intense and complicated film. I found myself rooting for Chris Pine at certain points in the story, and then, at other times, I was rooting for Jeff Bridges -- both of whom give fantastic performances. This is a slow burn movie with plenty of suspense before the explosive and emotional ending.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
From the opening credits to the final battle, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is highly entertaining. I think I like this sequel more than the original. It may be a bit silly for cynical adults, and it's a little too dark for children, but it feels just about right for teenagers. Is it a perfect movie? No. Do all the hundreds of jokes land? No. That doesn't really matter, though, because if you just sit back and enjoy the ride, you'll realize this is precisely what a summer blockbuster should be.
7. Get Out (2017)
Get Out is unique, captivating and, at times, absolutely uncomfortable. I wasn't sold on Daniel Kaluuya as the lead initially -- he seemed kind of wooden -- however, by the end, I was completely sold on his performance. And the rest of the cast adds to the suspenseful ambiance of this film. Jordan Peele has proven himself as a hilarious comedian, now he can check the box next to talented writer/director, as well.
6. Arrival (2016)
Arrival seems very plausible, which is why it works. It feels like a realistic response to an extra-terrestrial encounter. This isn't an action-packed alien invasion blockbuster -- it's a deep-thinking drama about trying to understand the incomprehensible. Amy Adams carries this movie, and Jeremy Renner isn't annoying, which was a surprise. This is slow, but smart science fiction.
5. Split (2017)
Split is not M. Night Shyamalan's best work, but it was one of my favorite experiences in a movie theater in a long time. When I realized ****SPOILER ALERT**** this movie was really a secret sequel to Unbreakable, ****END OF SPOILERS**** I was blown away. It's obvious that James McAvoy enjoys playing the different personalities, and he does a fantastic job with that role. If you like Shyamalan's earlier films like Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, then you should avoid any spoilers and go see this movie.
4. The Big Sick (2017)
The Big Sick starts out like a standard low-budget indie movie about a comedian trying to make it big, but then it morphs into something different and better. It's quite funny, but there's also a dramatic edge to it that pulls you in. Kumail Nanjiani isn't just a goofy character, he actually emotes and makes the whole film feel more believable. This is a surprisingly impressive film.
3. Moana (2016)
Moana is a memorable movie with beautiful music (that isn't as annoying as some other, colder, soundtracks I could name) and stunning animation. Disney is hitting on all cylinders this time around. I loved the story and Auli'i Cravalho as Moana is particularly endearing. And who knew The Rock could sing? This has definitely earned a place among the Disney animated classics.
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
I was very skeptical about yet another web-slinging reboot, but Spider-Man: Homecoming surprised me. It is much more than I expected it to be. It's fun, it's funny and it's cleverly tied in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland plays Peter Parker perfectly, while Michael Keaton is excellent as the villainous Vulture. This film gives me hope for the future of the Spider-Man franchise.
And my #1 movie I watched last year is....
1. La La Land (2016)
La La Land offers a stunningly beautiful portrayal of the joy of falling in love, as well as the agony of trying to follow your dreams. This throwback to classic musicals features a highly impressive opening number and powerful performances from both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It gives us the sweet without being too sappy and shows us the bitter without being too pessimistic. Here's to the ones who dreamed up this film.
And since I can't fit all of the films I really liked in the top ten (I watch a lot of movies), here are my honorable mentions for others I enjoyed seeing for the first time this past year: Alien: Covenant (2017), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), The Conjuring 2 (2016), The Descent (2005), Dunkirk (2017), A Fistful of Dollars (1964), Hacksaw Ridge (2016), Justice League (2017), Logan Lucky (2017), Logan (2017), Wind River (2017) and Your Name (2017).
And, as an added bonus, if you want to hear my worst-hated movies of 2017, you can listen to this episode of Baconsale: https://baconsale.com/2018/01/15/baconsale-episode-138-best-worst-movies-of-2017-ish/
Stay well, faithful readers!