Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It’s now that time of year, 2017 is over, we’re heading into 2018, another year down, another one to go! Now that we’re here, it’s time to count down my top 10 BEST movies of 2017! As far as 2017 goes, I wasn’t exactly as impressed by many of the movies I saw that came out in this particular year as I was in 2016, but there were definitely some options to choose from for this list. By the way, that statement shocks me given how terrible or underwhelming some of the big blockbuster or summer films were to me in 2016 (Indepndence Day: Resurgence, Ghostbusters, Suicide Squad). Before we start the list, let me just remind you that I have not seen every single movie that has come out during 2017, so if you’re wondering why “Logan” isn’t on this list, that’s why. Also, this is MY list, not your list, nor is it anyone else’s list. If you have a top movies of 2017 list, it should be formed based on your own experiences, because ultimately there’s a chance you could disagree with a certain pick I have here. Before we dive into my top 10, let me just have you know that there are forty-six possible movies to choose from for this list, I saw more than that number as far as 2017 movies go, but not all of them were theatrically released. Since there are forty-six to pick from, not all of them could be in my top 10, but just because I’m nice, I’m gonna do something I didn’t do last year, and include two films that I believe deserve honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention: John Wick: Chapter 2
My first honorable mention is “John Wick: Chapter 2,” a sequel which does what it needs to do. Keep some parts of what made the first movie interesting, while still progressing the franchise’s universe. It’s action scenes have extended shots, which I admire because it doesn’t give me a headache. Also, the mirror scene is badass!
Honorable Mention: Atomic Blonde
On the topic of action, my next honorable mention goes to “Atomic Blonde,” a really intriguing flick which shows lots of noir inspiration. It also has one of the most well shot action sequences of the year, specifically the scene on the stairwell.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get rocking and rolling! These are my top 10 BEST movies of 2017!
#10: The Big Sick
Starting off this list is “The Big Sick.” This film is basically about how Kumail Nanjiani met his wife, Emily. Who plays Kumail in this film? Well, he plays himself. And while I will admit that’s kind of playing it safe, it’s done very well. Overall this film was lovable from start to finish, I love a lot of the performances here, especially Holly Hunter’s. I’m a guy so love stories aren’t exactly my thing, but this was a really enjoyable look at a relationship, not to mention a real one. I am curious to know how much of this was fact and how much was fiction, but only time will tell. Also, I’m glad we finally got Ray Romano doing some good work once again instead of another forced “Ice Age” sequel that you’ll try to forget once you finish watching it. One of this film’s distributors is Amazon Studios, and as much as I’m somewhat concerned that Amazon might take over the world, or perhaps take it over alongside Disney, I’m glad they’re making films because most of the content coming out of Amazon Studios is worth your time. This is just one of them. Speaking of which…
#9: Crown Heights
I didn’t start 2017 off anticipating, looking forward to, or even thinking about watching “Crown Heights,” but after watching it, I was given an absolute surprise if there ever was one. This movie is based on the true story on the false accusation involving Colin Warner. Did I know who Colin was prior to this film? I wouldn’t say I did, but now that I saw him, I have to say I felt bad for him. This movie had a job, and that is to make us root for this one guy who wasn’t given a proper verdict in court, and the movie did that. I’m somewhat interested to do some research and see if there’s anything this movie didn’t cover, but I thought the movie, in general, was awesome. The acting was great, the atmosphere was indescribably perfect, the scenes had the right emotions at the right times. I got to watch this film for free on Amazon, and if I don’t like the film, I do think to myself that at the very least I didn’t pay much to see said film. I had that experience when watching films like “The Wall” and “The Only Living Boy In New York.” Luckily, “Crown Heights” stayed out of that territory.
#8: Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo
#8 is something that went under the radar for a lot of people, and that is a documentary called “Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo.” Yes, this is a documentary, but I wouldn’t say I’m cheating with this entry because it is feature length, not to mention it was shown in some theaters. This movie premiered at South by Southwest, it was also shown at the Sarasota Film Festival, then a couple weeks after Sarasota, it released theatrically and on several streaming services. The movie wasn’t shown in any theaters around me, but I did manage to watch it on Amazon. I would like to thank one of my best pals, Kayla, for mentioning this movie at one point and bringing it to my attention, otherwise I would have never watched this. If you know the stories behind the Apollo missions detail by detail, chances are you’re gonna probably know what’s coming here. Although if you don’t know what these missions are as well as other people know them, this movie goes into detail about it and it does provide some decent explanation throughout. I can still remember sitting on my bed, I’m watching this on my TV, and they get to the Apollo 11 segment, which I did know about and I imagine a lot of other people share that particular knowledge. As I’m watching, I’m on the edge of my seat. Oh yeah, and Apollo 13, I remember one of the interviewees giving some of the funniest and all time greatest phrases ever spoken while reflecting on an event.
JIM LOVELL: “After the flight were discussions with the control people, I said well, we thought we would deliberately not talk to you, so that might make a good movie one of these days.”
This is overall a great documentary, I do recommend it, not just if you’re a space junkie or a history buff, but if you’re just looking for something good to watch, it’s a real fun journey.
#7: Baby Driver
“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Fast & Furious,” “La La Land,” combine those three movies and tell me what you get. Don’t know? I’ll tell you. One epic thrill ride I like to call “Baby Driver!” This movie was my introduction to Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shaun of the Dead) and after seeing this film on the big screen, I want to go back and watch a lot of his other films because from a cinematography standpoint, this movie stands as a beast. I mentioned this film is kind of like “Fast & Furious,” and that’s because of the action and car chases, but in all reality, this is better than any “Fast & Furious” movie ever released because the camera doesn’t cut as much when you’re simply trying to enjoy some action! Ansel Elgort surprised me wholeheartedly with his amazing performance, and F*CK IT! I’ll say it! Kevin Spacey was awesome here! I know about the whole allegation thing and it is insane, but I can’t help but point out a simple positive this film had!
#6: The LEGO Batman Movie
In 2014, “The LEGO Movie” came out, it was awesome. Now one of its major characters is getting a spinoff in the movie’s universe and damn it turned out to be just as good! I give you, “The LEGO Batman Movie!” When I watched “The LEGO Movie,” Will Arnett’s interpretation of Batman undoubtedly made him the best character in the film from my personal view, and the Caped Crusader continues to show that here. The tone is set right from the beginning! You know how in “Deadpool” they went in a spoof direction for the opening credits? They didn’t do that here really, but they did happen to go in said direction for the title sequence and the pre-end credits sequence as well, which was hysterical to say the least! The script was hilarious, the jokes were timed well and everything was fast paced, the chemistry between Batman and Robin was played out perfectly here! I also want to give massive kudos to whoever decided to include all sorts of Warner Brothers affiliated characters in the climax! I mean, HOLY CRAP! YOU HAVE “MATRIX” CHARACTERS IN A KIDS MOVIE AND IT ACTUALLY WORKED! Before we move on, let’s also not forget the epic song in the beginning.
“Who always pays their taxes?”
Also, something I have to get off my chest is that there’s one character in this movie, Alfred to be specific, and he’s played by Ralph Fiennes, who also plays Voldemort in “Harry Potter.” This movie also has Voldemort in it, but he’s being playing by Eddie Izzard. I have nothing against Eddie Izzard, but how awesome would it have been for Ralph to play Voldemort here?
#5: Wonder Woman
This may be hard to believe based on how this movie’s universe prior to this film’s release was chaotic, but this was my most anticipated film of the year, and holy crap those expectations were met! What movie am I talking about? I’m talking about “Wonder Woman.” Everything about this movie was done the way it needed to be done. My only criticisms of this film is bits and pieces of the story considering it’s rather cliche. Also, the villian was somewhat forgettable. You can say it takes a lot of inspiration from 1978’s “Superman” and borrows elements from 2011’s “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Doesn’t change the fact that the cliches were handled extremely well! Gal Gadot proves to the world that she IS Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins’s vision was very well realized, the score was awesome, Wonder Woman’s theme is one of the best themes I’ve heard for a hero in my entire life! Oh, what’s the other thing? WE FINALLY HAVE A FEMALE SUPERHERO ORIGIN STORY THAT DOESN’T SUCK! In fact, it’s not just good, it’s kick-ass to the tenth degree!
This next movie just tells you one thing. Christopher Nolan’s a f*cking genius. That’s right! Coming in at #4, is “Dunkirk!” This was undoubtedly one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Christopher Nolan is directing, so how could I NOT look forward to this? The guy has directed some of my favorite films of all time. These include “Interstellar,” “Inception,” “Memento,” films such as those! From a story, this is something that is extremely experimental, and I’d say it worked out. One key difference between this and other war films like “Saving Private Ryan” is that you don’t really take any time to get to know any of the characters. The whole movie is essentially one giant action sequence, which is what war is. There’s no sitting down for breaks! There’s no talking with others for fun! There’s no looking at the camera to tell how important you are to an audience! There’s no crying in baseball! Actually, take out that last one. THIS IS WAR! While I admit, upon first experience, I was trying to wrap my head around everything, including the non-linear story, I will state that when I saw the movie, it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in a theater. I went to see the movie in IMAX 70mm, and if you didn’t get a chance to watch the movie in that format, I’m sorry you missed out because it was absolutely worth every penny. That’s not saying you can’t watch this movie anywhere else, it’s just enhanced in some places compared to others. There were several sequences where the sound was inside me and the full frame IMAX projection was unleashed to its total potential. I bought the movie on 4K the day it came out on home video. I didn’t have a 4K Blu-ray player, but I had a standard one, so that lead to me rewatching the movie on standard Blu-ray, and the film looked like a detailed painting. This film is what actually going to the theater is all about. Not renting a movie on DVD, not streaming it on Netflix, but getting off your ass, getting in your onmyassmobile, and heading straight to the movie theater.
#3: The Disaster Artist
Up next, we have, “The Disaster Artist.” This film is based on the making of “The Room,” a so bad it’s good movie that gained a cult following over time. I was so excited for this film to come out, that I anticipated it more than I did for “The Last Jedi!” I watched “The Room” before this movie came out and I have to say that everything which is being said about it, I can totally side with. It’s a stupid movie, but it’s the kind of stupid that you have to see. On that subject, “The Disaster Artist” is brilliant, and it’s the kind of brilliant that you have to see. Despite waiting three weeks, I got to watch this film in a crowded theater, and it was an utter blast. It’s definitely the funniest movie of the year, James Franco not only did a great job acting, but also directing this film. It’s not just James’s acting chops that are unleashed to full potential. You’ve also got some killer performances from actors such as Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, and Ali Graynor. This film is a great example of how hard it is to make a movie, and how much harder it is to do it in Hollywood. In fact, based on what’s unfolded during the picture, you can say it also tells you how hard living in Hollywood as someone who works in the film industry, regardless of whether it’s film or TV we’re talking about truly is. To me, in a way, “The Disaster Artist” is this year’s “La La Land,” although I’d say this is actually better than “La La Land” because it’s a thousand times funnier!
#2: Blade Runner 2049
They say that sequels usually don’t surpass the original. Whether or not this movie does, is debatable, but it doesn’t change the fact that the overall experience of watching “Blade Runner 2049” was probably one of the greatest I’ve ever had. When I originally saw this film, I gave it a 9/10, and that was because a number of characters almost felt like they didn’t have too much of an effect on the plot. Although looking back, they didn’t take away that much from the film, and this is one of those films I saw that I thought about almost every single day after I saw it. Roger Deakins’s cinematography was breathtaking, the visuals were spectacular, the screenplay was brilliant, and it probably contained my favorite line of the year, specifically when Deckard says “Her eyes were green.” The score of the film is legendary! I cannot begin to tell you how many times I listened to the soundtrack after watching this film! I did it during spare time, I did it during homework, I did it in the car, I did it wherever I could! Major credit to Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch on creating this epic soundtrack that for some reason wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe! I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the Academy says before the Oscars. I went to see this in IMAX laser and while I will say “Dunkirk” was a better and more immersive experience, this was a close second in terms of movie-going experiences this year. I’m not even finished with this yet, Harrison Ford gave a performance of a lifetime! The transition from 2019 Deckard to 2049 Deckard was perfect! Ryan Gosling was just as great as the character of K! I also love how it doesn’t try to set up a future universe or sequel, even though a sequel to this film would be nice. As much as I admire some movies that do that, we’re getting that way too much of that and it’s kind of getting less exciting the more we see it. This is a film that stands on its own, EARNS its near 3 hour runtime, and is something I’m deeply saddened that more people didn’t go see.
Also, before we go on, I’d like to say once again, I have an enormous admiration for this movie’s soundtrack. Since I might be a know-it-all, I will state that there is a song that’s on the “Blade Runner 2049” album which isn’t in the movie. It’s called “Almost Human,” it’s written by a Christian singer known as Lauren Diagle, and it’s a ride from start to finish. Lauren’s song is the last song on the album, and I think it really fits with the film. As far as it not being in the film, that’s not a major complaint to me because I don’t know how well it would fit in any of the film’s scenes. I’m not saying that because it has lyrics and the movie heavily relies on mostly grand techno music that is supposed to give a sense of scope. After all, this movie has songs from Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. I have a YouTube video up above that will allow you to listen to the song. If you have seen the film, but haven’t gotten a chance to listen to this song, give it a listen and tell me what you think, because this is how we roll on Scene Before. Even if you didn’t see the movie, you can still listen to this song and tell me your thoughts.
That’s right folks! We have arrived at #1! We’re about to conclude what I consider to be one of the most important countdowns of the year! We are at the top of Mount Everest! We are at a cliffhanger! What’s my best movie of the year? “Logan’s” not on my list, so it can’t be that! Let me give you a hint. As mentioned, we’re at the top of the Mount Everest, and I assure you that Mount Everest itself is… “Colossal!” There are a number of movies where I literally went out feeling moved, and this my friends, is one of them. “Colossal” is not just one of my favorite movies of the year, it is one of my favorite movies PERIOD. I went in thinking this was going to be great. But I didn’t think it was great. I thought it was F*CKING GREAT! In fact, instead of going to see this movie, I actually wanted to go see “Kong: Skull Island,” but due to time constraints, I couldn’t. You know what? I think I made the right choice. This is one of the most original films I’ve ever seen. Sure, you’ve seen monster movies. Sure, you’ve seen drama movies. Sure, you’ve seen comedy movies. Sure, you’ve seen superhero movies. “Colossal” combines elements of all these genres to create one thrilling experience. The story of the film, is awesome! A party girl who likes to drink has connections with a monster in Seoul, South Korea. How f*cking rad is that?! Not only that, but there’s this whole thing underneath about alcoholism that’s handled very well. I felt somewhat bad for the characters who would constantly drink in this film. There’s a lot I want to talk about related to this film, but in order to do that, I need to spoil the hell out of it and I don’t want to do that. So I’ll just say, just about every scene involving the sandbox, made the movie worth a watch. Speaking of which, the climax contained two of my favorite scenes of the year, and those two add to be a couple of my favorites in cinematic history. Those scenes dropped my jaw and haunted me instantly. It took this film as it is and almost gave it a war film vibe, and then said vibe changed into something that would probably come from someone as insane as Orson Welles. In the year of 2017, I’m glad films like this are being made. Films that are original and moving. We need more of these films. I adore these films. And films like these can quite possibly make my #1 spot on my top movies of the year list.
Well folks! This list is over! We now have my top films of the year! I enjoy making countdowns like these, because unlike other countdowns where I have to do research sometimes, this is mainly just reflection. Pure reflection. Plus, this is on a topic I think about all year long. I build it all up for months and months in advance, we’re getting closer to the end, I can’t wait to talk about it, and it finally arrives. It’s kind of like sex, only longer. Although one thing’s missing, because I’m also a Negative Nancy. Since this year had some pain and suffering in it, not just in terms of the US and how its being run as a country, but also in terms of movies, I’m going to counting down my top 10 WORST movies of 2017. That list will be up very soon, I promise you. Thanks for reading this post and stay tuned for more great content! One such piece includes my top 10 WORST movies of 2017, as recently mentioned. I want to know, what are YOUR best movies of 2017? You can list one, you can do a top 5, top 10, top 15, top 20, whatever you want to do. I just want to know! This is where it all gets fun because I get to hear from you and I would be interested to see if our lists differ in any way. Do you think I missed a movie on this list? Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!