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BEST OF 2017
Film

Images © Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, A24 

Images © Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, A24 

Sometimes, a year can be crystallized in one scene, and no scene felt more 2017 than Diana, Princess of Themyscira walking boldly into No Man’s Land, a one-woman army holding off a barrage of enemy fire. She’s not fighting to prove anything, as so many of Marvel’s heroes are, and she’s not fighting to assuage her own guilt, as were Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Batman before her. Her compassion has led her to that battlefield, and it is her bravery to be openly compassionate which inspires Steve Trevor and his ragtag group of soldiers to follow her lead. In a decade filled with perfunctory superhero origin stories, here, at last, is something truly heroic.

(Image © Warner Bros.) 

(Image © Warner Bros.) 

It’s little wonder, then, that Wonder Woman tops our list this year, but Diana’s one-woman battle was far from the only deeply symbolic image we got in 2017 - from the eternal freefall of the Sunken Place in Get Out to the fairy-tale ending of The Florida Project, this year was filled with memorable images. 

This list of our Top 10 Films of 2017 is a culmination of one of the closest votes we’ve ever seen in these year-end polls in the five years we’ve been doing them, an indication of just how many strong films graced our screens this year.


THE DRUNK MONKEYS

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2017


10. THE BIG SICK

Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani (Image © Amazon) 

Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani (Image © Amazon) 

The Big Sick is the film that 2017 needed, showing us how to laugh through the pain while reassuring us we are not alone. To call this film a comedy would be an oversimplification. Kumail Nanjiani creates a new genre: The Romantic Dramedy. Within this film, we see ourselves, our failures, and the loves we lost. Nanjiani gives us a lesson on navigating love through the oh-so-real hurdles of racism, family, and friendship, all the while reminding us that failure is inevitable. Overall, the film is an invigorating view on generational gaps and the modern romance in our messy world. 

Juliet Barney 

9. THE DISASTER ARTIST

Dave Franco and James Franco (Image © A24) 

Dave Franco and James Franco (Image © A24) 

The Disaster Artist is a warts-and-all retelling of how the cult classic The Room came to be.  James Franco channels himself into the spitting image of Tommy Wiseau, an enigma to everyone with boundless amounts of cash and passion for filmmaking that sharply contrasts with his actual talent and people skills. Dave Franco stars as the feckless Greg Sestero, one of the stars of The Room and author of The Disaster Artist memoir.  Greg is the balance to Tommy's flights of fancy, and their relationship is the true heart of this film. 

While you would do well to be already familiar with the trainwreck that is The Room, The Disaster Artist succeeds in presenting a standalone tale of ambition and loyalty, while faithfully recreating the events and chaos that surrounded the original film's creation.  Anyone who has worked on an independent film will relate to the seemingly universal recipe of inexperience, ego, and personality clashes; but the message put out by the movie's end is clear:  Follow your dreams, and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. 

Fritz Hoepfner 

8. A GHOST STORY

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara (Image © A24) 

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara (Image © A24) 

Let’s start with the hard truth: this is (the extremely problematic) Casey Affleck’s best movie. He says a few lines, is killed, and spends the rest of the movie in silence under a sheet. Honestly, there has never been a better Casey Affleck role.

That being said, A Ghost Story is gorgeous, though one needs Lynchian levels of patience in order to really get through it. It moves with the excruciating slowness that real life offers, but it is a beautiful representation of our presence, our energy, our place in the world (and the world of others). An added bonus is the ever eccentric Will Oldham, the most spirited (heh) character of the film, who states with a gusto only the most annoying of your drunk philosophy major friends have, that our lives are, ultimately, nothing. 

Kolleen Carney, Editor-in-Chief 

1st place votes: Kolleen Carney 

7. THOR: RAGNAROK

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth (Image © Marvel) 

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth (Image © Marvel) 

Thor: Ragnarok is so fucking good, it tempts me to go back, and watch the first two M.C.U. Thor adventures. Truthfully, I just couldn’t get into them. Something was missing. With Thor: Ragnarok, it isn’t just that Taika Waititi and the screenwriters infused Thor’s extraordinary, underappreciated-by-Marvel-Studios mythology with humor. Thor: Ragnarok is a complex, impressively multifaceted epic. If anything, the brilliance of the various forms of comedy thrown around this film have a slight tendency to overshadow everything else this film offered. There are moments of drama as compelling as anything Marvel Studios has put forth so far. Thor: Ragnarok’s intricate structure and impressively-flexible story are as compelling as any of the best movies of 2017.


Gabriel Ricard, staff writer  

6. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Daisy Ridley (Image © Disney) 

Daisy Ridley (Image © Disney) 

Pick a lane, Star Wars fans - do you want risks or don’t you? Is Star Wars built on mystery boxes or on mythic formula? And will you all ever come to the understanding that the reason you don’t like any particular installment of this supposedly beloved franchise is because you, yourself, aren’t determining its direction?

That mentality is the unfortunate, but inevitable, outcome of a franchise that was kept alive, for over two decades, solely by kids playing with action figures in the sandbox. But what Lucas tried to tell you with those prequels that you hated so very much, Rian Johnson is telling you again in The Last Jedi: this story is not participatory, and your sandbox glory days were never canon.

Matthew Guerruckey, Film Editor

5. THE FLORIDA PROJECT

Willem Dafoe and Brooklynn Prince (Image © A24) 

Willem Dafoe and Brooklynn Prince (Image © A24) 

The world that children often have to create to survive childhood is the heart of Sean Baker’s The Florida Project. Baker doesn’t pander to this thought. The film is not particularly interested in awards, although you can expect it to be a darling of the oncoming award season onslaught. Furthermore, the movie isn’t making light of the adults who are being swept away by bleak circumstances (Willem Dafoe may finally win the Oscar he should have won 15, 20 years ago). It is a multi-character study that treats its characters and stories with an unflinching eye for detail, dignity, and humor almost all of us can relate to—particularly if we happen to find ourselves dealing with bleak circumstances of our own.


Gabriel Ricard, staff writer  

1st place votes: Gabriel Ricard 

4. BLADE RUNNER 2049

Ana de Armas and Ryan Gosling (Image © Warner Bros.) 

Ana de Armas and Ryan Gosling (Image © Warner Bros.) 

Considerably less divisive than The Last Jedi, both films nonetheless proved one thing. As it turns out, you can go back, make dramatic changes to the DNA of the films that define your current efforts, celebrate that DNA, and then create something that feels like a fresh new chapter to an ongoing story. Blade Runner 2049 is without a question a sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner in every possible way. At the same time, the film has much to say on a number of ideas that are exclusive to 2049 and only 2049. It also doesn’t hurt that Blade Runner 2049 is supported by good performances from Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

Gabriel Ricard, staff writer

3. IT

The cast of It (Image © Warner Bros.) 

The cast of It (Image © Warner Bros.) 

The biggest concern for many was if anyone could trump Tim Curry’s Pennywise. Nobody needed to worry, because Bill Skarsgard found a way to be waaaaay creepier. Add in excellent child acting and an embrace of the R rating, and you’ve got yourself a horror that will scare people for another 30 years.

Taras D. Butrej, film critic

2. GET OUT

Betty Gabriel (Image © Universal Pictures) 

Betty Gabriel (Image © Universal Pictures) 

Is there a more apropos movie for this year than Get Out? What better film shows overt racism in a horror setting while realistically depicting privilege, past traumas contributing to current traumas, and how punchable some brothers can be?  Chris is presented in an uncomfortable position from the very beginning, with a sensitive and believable tension. 

And really, is there a better movie that shows the challenges of a black film maker creating an allegory for race relations compared to the obliviousness (or deliberate obtuseness) of a white audience— people who insist Rose was, too, hypnotized, unable to accept that she is a monster (seriously, this is a thing people think)? 

Get Out is an intensely uncomfortable film, beautifully executed (and that soundtrack!), a perfect 10 for Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. And honestly, the least believable thing is the championing of the TSA— hilarious in its dishonesty. 

Kolleen Carney, Editor-in-Chief

1st place votes: Derrick Lafayette, Fritz Hoepfner

1. WONDER WOMAN

Gal Gadot (Image © Warner Bros.) 

Gal Gadot (Image © Warner Bros.) 

Our sons have had their heroes on the big screen for as long as there were heroes to have. They have dressed up like Batman, Superman, and Captain America. They have smashed like the Hulk and swam the seas like Aquaman. They were taught early and repeatedly that they could save the world and that heroes looked like them.

Our daughters were not.

Until now. The advent of Wonder Woman, superbly acted by Gal Gadot and lushly directed by Patty Jenkins, gives women and girls the hero they always knew they could be. Gadot’s Wonder Woman/Princess Diana is a fully realized character – at home in her body and her world – even when her world is a new strange place. Though she is a fighter and a warrior (and let’s be honest, a goddess) and though the No Man’s Land scene moved myself and many of my friends to ecstatic tears, it is Diana’s goodness that is at the heart of her heroism. It is her kindness. It is her doing right simply for the sake of doing right. Not for a reward. Not for praise. But because people needed saving and she could save them. It is the truest, most altruistic form of heroism - one that could only be born of a world filled with the love and respect a community of women can foster.

It is everything our daughters deserve. 

Ally Malinenko, writer 

1st place votes: Matthew Guerruckey, Jennifer Lemming, SC Stuckey 


LISTS OF NOTE

Matthew Guerruckey, Film Editor 

1. Wonder Woman 

2. Mudbound 

3. The Square 

4. The Big Sick 

5. The Florida Project 

6. Novitiate 

7. Get Out 

8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

9. Wind River 

10. Colossal 

 

Ryan Roach, Drunk Monkeys Radio 

1. The Killing of a Sacred Deer 

2. Mother! 

3. Detroit 

4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

5. Molly's Game 

6. It 

7. Phantom Thread 

8. Good Time 

9. Call Me By Your Name 

10. Logan 

 

Taras D. Butrej, film critic

1. Baby Driver 

2. John Wick 2 

3. Get Out 

4. Mother! 

5. Blade Runner 2049 

6. Colossal 

7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

8. It 

9. Free Fire 

10. The Blackcoat's Daughter