FlixChatter’s TOP 10 Films of 2017

Ok let me preface this with a confession that there are still a ton of critical darlings I haven’t seen yet… Get Out, Lady Bird, Mudbound, Call Me By Your Name, The Florida Project, etc. 2017 proved to be one of the busiest, craziest year ever for me. In fact it’s been a pretty crazy whirlwind ride for me. So being a first-time filmmaker meant your priority had to shift a bit (or a lot) and for the past year, my life as a blogger kind of took a backseat.

In any case, everyone’s list is going to be different anyway, even if we all saw the same movies in a given year. As customary, this list is a cross between a ‘best of and favorite’, so sometimes I feel like a film deserves to be on my list because it was masterfully-crafted, whether or not I connected with the story. But generally, my criteria is that a film makes a lasting impression on me, combining the virtue of being entertaining, deeply-moving, thought-provoking, and indelible. Replay-ability is a factor I take into consideration as well, though I don’t necessarily want to rewatch every single film on my list.

So without further ado, I present to you my TOP 10 list (in reverse order):

10. Lost City of Z (full review)

Charlie Hunnam & Tom Holland as father and son

This film opened the Minneapolis St Paul Film Festival and I’m glad I got to see it on the big screen. I think it’s a massively-underrated adventure drama about a British explorer who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s. I also think Charlie Hunnam is a terrific actor and here he truly shows his dramatic chops. I like that the focus is on his psychology as he grew more obsessed with finding Z, taking a toll on his family despite the support of his loyal wife (Sienna Miller). Director James Gray‘s biopic feels authentic and involving, and the jungle visuals are appropriately lush and gritty, both stunning and dangerous. I also enjoyed Tom Holland‘s performance, memorable despite his brief screen time.

9. Thor: Ragnarok (full review)

This isn’t the first time I have a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe on my top 10 list. I think the fact that Taika Waititi took on the third installment of a so-so franchise in the behemoth MCU and pushed it to forefront in terms of critical + audience reception AND box office take is something to be admired. I’ve been a huge fan of Taika’s work since What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople and he brought his zany sense of humor to Thor as well. The brilliant cast are all fun to watch and they looked like they had such a fun time doing it that’s contagious. Cate Blanchett relished in her naughty, playful side, as did Chris Hemsworth who showed off his comedic chops. But it’s Taika’s witty humor that made the film, even his own character Korg deserves its own spin-off. There’s so much to love about this movie, including the rousing 80s music and the hilarious cameos!

8. Their Finest

Interesting how the Brits suddenly keen on telling the Dunkirk story all within a single year. We’ve got Dunkirk of course, then The Darkest Hour specifically from Churchill’s perspective. But one that’s the least flashy of them all is a pretty brilliant film with a charming cast led by Gemma Arterton. She played Catrin, a newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films during the London Blitz of WWII. I always enjoy stories involving a film within a film and this one has both joy and pathos mixed together given the wartime setting. The sexism Catrin faced in the misogynistic workplace and how she stood up for herself feel quite timely. There’s also a sweet-but-not-saccharine romance in the air that’s well-handled, and fun humor courtesy of Bill Nighy as a famous actor whose fame is eluding him. It’s perhaps my favorite film from Lone Scherfig to date, beating even the terrific An Education.

7. Wonder Woman (full review)

Another female-directed movie of 2017 that left a lasting impression on me. Even in a year with a plethora of superhero films, Patty Jenkins‘ movie stands out because it’s fun & entertaining as well as heartfelt and inspiring. It’s also visually striking, especially the scenery in sunny Themyscira before Diana sets foot in a gritty urban setting in WWI London. And that fight scene of the Amazonians vs German forces took my breath away every time!! Gal Gadot absolutely rocks as the mighty heroine, balancing her earnest, valiant, yet compassionate side. I also love Chris Pine‘s casting as Diana’s sympathetic comrade/love interest, and their scenes together could make the best superhero rom-com. This movie couldn’t have come a better time too given the surging women empowerment in Hollywood fighting for gender equality.

6. War for the Planet of the Apes

Who knew that the ‘Apes’ movie trilogy ended up being one of the strongest trilogies out of Hollywood. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was on my Top 10 list of 2014, which was also directed by Matt Reeves. Glad he’s back to helm this one again, what a terrific conclusion to the Apes’ charismatic leader Caesar (Andy Serkis in another phenomenal mo-cap performance). His struggles to avenge his kind while being torn to his loyalty to humans is heart-wrenching. This time we’ve got a genuinely hilarious addition to the Apes’ cast with Bad Ape (Steve Zahn), plus a tragic villain The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). I look forward to rewatching the entire trilogy once again, but the last two sequels under Reeves are definitely the most brilliant.

5. Phantom Thread (full review)

I’ve just reviewed this one and it’s also the last film I saw that ended up on this list. Though it’s an emotionally cold film, I still think it’s masterfully-crafted and brilliantly-acted. One thing I should mention about this film is its intimate feel, it’s as if you’re getting a sneak peek into the life of an artistic genius. It’s a gloomy and twisted affair, but also tantalizingly honest. Daniel Day Lewis is superb as always, but it’s Vicky Krieps who’s quite a revelation as his unlikely equal. With Lesley Manville as her headstrong loyal sister, the three actors makes quite a fantastic trio. I mentioned that I didn’t quite fall in love with this film, but undoubtedly I admire it greatly.

4. Blade Runner 2049

It’s a bummer this film didn’t do well at the box office, and puzzling too given the buzz surrounding it. It may not be as iconic as the original by Ridley Scott, but it’s still one heck of an epic film. Denis Villeneuve is becoming one of my favorite filmmakers since Sicario. Though his films are always so beautifully-shot, it’s never style over substance. I’m glad I saw this on IMAX, man I hope Roger Deakins gets his overdue Oscar this year! As the quintessential sci-fi that ponders what it really means to be human, the story lingers for days after you watched it. Ryan Gosling delivered a quiet, soulful performance, while Harrison Ford reprised his role memorably with endearing curmudgeon-ness he’s famous for.

3. Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan is one of the rare filmmakers whose complete work I have seen and this is perhaps one of his ambitious one yet. He set out to create an experience rather than simply showing what happened on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. Instead of just telling the narratives in a linear way, Nolan told the story from three different perspectives: land, air and sea. There’s no huge movie stars in this film, the most famous one is Tom Hardy in a practically wordless but charismatic performance as a pilot. Fresh out of an Oscar-winning performance in Bridge of Spies, Mark Rylance once again did an outstanding job as a common sailor who became one of many unlikely heroes. An immersive experience that truly made us feel the horror of war, as intense and thrilling as a war film could be, without resorting to blood and gore. This memorably tense film is not your average blockbuster.

2. Logan

My hubby and I just rewatched LOGAN this weekend since we’ve bought the Bluray a while ago. This time we opted to watch the b/w noir version. WOW we’re blown away once again, this film is actually better on second viewing! James Mangold redeemed himself after his oh-so-promising-but-turns-out-meh The Wolverine as writer/director. He and his co-writers Scott Frank and Michael Green scored a groundbreaking Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination, a unique landmark for superhero stories, as it became the first film based on superhero comic books to be nominated in that category! Well it’s so well-deserved as the writing is truly amazing and it doesn’t feel much like a superhero film at all. It’s a character-driven piece that relies heavily on the relationship between three key characters: Logan, the now ailing Professor X (the venerable Patrick Stewart) and a new young mutant girl Laura (Dafne Keen, sensational in her debut role).

It’s also a very emotional film albeit perhaps too violent at times. The fight scenes definitely made you wince, not only because of how brutal they were, but because what each of the beating meant for the once-invincible hero. Hugh Jackman‘s portrayed the tortured soul for seventeen years, but you’ve never seen him like this before. Every line on his face, every bloody wound, brings Logan closer to what only mere mortals get to experience. That last dialog between him and Laura is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes I’ve seen this year. This is not a happy and fun superhero movie, but not somber & dour for no reason (*cough* Justice League *cough*), but it’s one I know I’ll remember for ages. What a spectacular farewell from Jackman to a role that made him famous, he’ll be sorely missed.

1. Shape of Water (full review)

Once in a while came a film that tickled your fancy and ended up sweeping you off your feet. This year that film is The Shape of Water. Yes it’s perhaps it’s the romantic in me, stories of star-crossed lovers always gets me and it doesn’t get more unlikely-matched than a human + sea creature. But Guillermo del Toro could inject so much humanity into his monsters. In fact, the real ‘monster’ in the film is the human who wants to keep the two lovers apart for his own gain.

A dark fairy tale of a beautiful love story and friendship that’s gorgeous to look at. Led by an empathetic performance by Sally Hawkins as well as a slew of terrific supporting cast, The Shape of Water is emotional, thrilling, funny, suspenseful… everything one would want in a period romance, and then some. On my review I also mentioned how there’s such a dreamy quality to the whole production, yet something I can connect with it emotionally. All in all a superb film I’m glad I got to see just before 2017 was done!


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

I always make room for those that didn’t quite make it to my Top 10 but still made a lasting impression on me. Some of these actually came very close to being on my top 10. Thanks to Twin Cities Film Fest for screening some of the films that ended up being some of my faves of the year, Darkest Hour (w/ phenomenal Gary Oldman as Churchill), Breathe (wonderful directorial debut of Andy Serkis featuring sublime performances from Andrew Garfield & Claire Foy), Last Flag Flying (what a cast!), Walking Out (Matt Bommer is more than a pretty face), and The Bachelors (Josh Wiggins is a fantastic young actor, the world shall know who he is soon!).

  1. Darkest Hour
  2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  3. A United Kingdom
  4. Last Flag Flying
  5. Let Me Go
  6. Baby Driver
  7. John Wick 2
  8. Colossal
  9. Loving Vincent
  10. Breathe
  11. Walking Out
  12. The Bachelors
  13. Logan Lucky
  14. Pilgrimage
  15. What Happened To Monday

So what do you think of my Top 10? Which of these are YOUR faves of the year?

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35 thoughts on “FlixChatter’s TOP 10 Films of 2017

  1. Love your selections! Dunkirk and Logan are possibly on everyone’s list, but I do love those movies. I really need to watch Blade Runner 2049 and Shape of Water, both of which I missed in the cinemas. Loving VIncent was also on my top films I watched in 2017, it was such a beautiful movie.

    1. Hi Ayunda! LOGAN is such a phenomenal film, not just a great superhero movie. I hope you check out BR 20149 but especially Shape of Water which is just stunning. Glad you saw Loving Vincent, it’s remarkable what they’ve accomplished. Which of your faves that are not on my list?

  2. I am SO glad to see “The Lost City of Z” on someone’s Top 10 list other than mine. I absolutely loved it and it seems to be one most people forgot about. Also love seeing “The Bachelors” as an honorable mention. It landed in my #11-20. It’s an underseen film that blew me away. Also a big thumbs up on “Dunkirk”!

    1. Glad to see “The Lost City of Z” made your list too Keith! Yeah I think most people didn’t see it or forgot about it. It’s a shame as it’s a terrific film.

      Oh I met the young actor (who played the son in it, Josh Wiggins) and the writer/director of The Bachelors at last year’s TCFF. They’re both so down to earth and I agree the film is wonderful! Glad you like Dunkirk too, and I’m sure you have Phantom Thread on YOUR top 5 too 🙂

  3. Brittani

    I love that War for the Planet of the Apes made it on your list! Excellent film that should’ve had a way higher box office.

    1. I LOVE the ‘Apes’ trilogy, it currently stands as one of the best Hollywood trilogies IMHO. It’s a shame Andy Serkis isn’t getting enough recognition for his mo-cap work, Caesar gives a far more emotional performance than many human actors.

  4. From your top 10, I saw The Lost City of Z, Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049, War For the Planet of the Apes, Thor 3, Wonder Woman and Logan. Blade Runner 2049 is definitely my favorite of the year, saw it three times at a theater and have watched the 4K Bluray like three times since I bought it; yeah I’m obsessed with the Blade Runner films.

    Not surprised at all though that 2049 failed at the box office like its predecessor. I think the studio folks overestimated how popular the original film was, it didn’t really become well known years after it was released in theaters and most critics dismissed it back in 1982. Then when some people who finally saw it years later, they didn’t really like it so I don’t think many people were excited for the sequel, unless they’re the super fans of the original film like myself.

    Dunkirk is probably my second favorite film of the year. I was kind of disappointed with the last Planet of the Apes film, I liked it but I was hoping for something bigger for the finally in the trilogy.

    1. Hey Ted, BR 2049 is definitely more of a cult film, it’s too long so probably put off some viewers who just can’t be bothered spending over 2.5 hours in the cinema. I didn’t mind it as the visuals are so stunning. I still think the original is more iconic, I rewatched it after seeing 2049.

      What do you think of LOGAN? As for the latest of the Apes film, I actually like the non bombastic and rather peaceful ending. I also like that they didn’t kill off the villain and Woody Harrelson was such a tragic character. I never thought I would like the Apes trilogy as much as I did, but it really was well-written.

      1. I liked LOGAN a lot, probably on my top 5 of the year for movies I’ve seen. The only thing that kind of bugged me was that some of the action and story kind of reminded me of Van Damme’s and Dolph Lundgren’s UNIVERSAL SOLDIERS.

  5. I’ve been meaning to see The Lost City of Z for a while now! This might just be the push I needed. I still need to see Blade Runner too, but honestly I wasn’t a fan of the original so that’s why I’ve been putting it off.

    1. The Lost City of Z is well worth renting, Allie! Esp. if you like Charlie Hunnam 😉

      As for BR, well if you’re not keen on the original, you might still enjoy the new one. I’m curious to hear what you think if you decide to see it.

    1. Awwww what a sweet thing to say, thank you Shivani! But I’m really curious which movies are your faves from 2017, any of them on this list?

  6. With Shape of Water topping your list I’m now even more eager to see this one. Looks great! Nice to see Logan make your list. For a franchise film it really was a stand out piece of work within the X-Men series. I didn’t like Lost City of Z but glad you did. The film certainly looked good.

    1. Hey Dan! It’s interesting how two of my fave Del Toro films are so different, the other one is Pacific Rim. Shape of Water is so beautiful and emotionally rich as well, which I love. LOGAN is amazing, it’s a GOOD film, not just a good superhero film.

    1. Hi Courtney! Did you do your own top 10 list? Curious to check it out. I LOVE how hilarious Ragnarok was and I’m a huge fan of Taika.

      Yeah I think it was an ok year for films last year, but it’s extra special for me as it’s the year I made my own film 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing your best of 2017 Ruth! I’ve seen three from your top 10 and Phantom Thread later in Feb. Because of the release of War for the Planet of the Apes I decided to watch part 1 and 2 and so happy I did. An excellent trilogy that surpassed my expectations. Agree the last two are the best.

    Blade Runner 2049 I admire for its dazzling visuals, unfortunately I struggled to connect emotionally with Gosling’s character. hopefully a film I can better appreciate on rewatch! My expectations were probably ludicrous as the original is in my top 10 of all-time 🙂

    1. Hi Chris! Glad you’re a fan of the ‘Apes’ trilogy too. Such a pleasant surprise to me, I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did but Caesar’s journey was so emotionally involving.

      I have a similar feeling w/ Gosling’s character initially but the more I think about it, the more I sympathize with him. The original is still much more iconic of course, but I think 2049 is a well-crafted sequel.

  8. I have yet to see Shape of Water (thought I’m debating going today), but I am happy to see Dunkirk high up, and Planet of the Apes. That one wasn’t talked about much, but you are right, it ends the trilogy off really well.

  9. Films Family

    Nice Listing basically i think Dunkirk, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman, War for the Plannet of the Apes and, Logan was the best movie in 2017

    1. Hello there! Glad we have some films in common on your top 10. LOGAN was such an amazing film, didn’t think the director would surpass himself in such a way after the disappointing The Wolverine.

    1. Hello Mark! Hope you are well my friend! Hope you like Shape of Water, but yes Dunkirk is definitely one of the strongest films from Nolan even amongst his stellar resume.

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