Welcome back, all ye peeps, to the third installment of the 2017 Movie Countdown (or, if you prefer the longer title, The Ranting SBox’s Annual Movie Countdown [2017 Edition]). For those of you just joining us, this is Part 3 of a 4 part miniseries where I gather all the 36 movies I saw in the year 2017 and rank them from worst to best, discussing each as I go. This has been a tradition of mine for the past 4 years, and may I’m having a blast making these posts so far. These are always some of the my favorite posts of every year, so I hope you’re enjoying these as much as I am making them.
Anyway, to see the full list of movies I’ll be covering throughout the countdown, click here for the series’ intro post. There you’ll also find links to the previous installments of the countdown, but you can also find those links for Part 1 and Part 2 right here.
Last time we went up a notch from some of the year’s weakest offerings to the more middle of the road films. Now we take things up another notch higher with the “Great” category. What separates the following 10 movies from those of the “Good” category is the frequency of rewatchability. “Good” movies are ones I’d see every once in a while, but “Great” movies are ones I’d see again and again and again. It’s not about just being willing to see a film again. It’s about how much more I’ll see a certain movie in the future.
As always, I’d like to stress that this is purely my personal opinion and only takes into account the 36 movies I saw last year. So don’t take this to be a be-all-end-all kind of list and feel free to disagree. That said, let’s get to it!
#20: The Fate of the Furious
Hard to believe it’s been nearly three years since Furious 7, but here we are in 2018 having gotten its follow up. While I didn’t expect to feel as strongly about this movie as I did Furious 7 (and I didn’t), I was simply ready to move passed the sentimental elements of the previous film in favor of the franchise’s regularly scheduled programming: fast cars, corny catchphrases, and stupidly exaggerated action scenes. To that end, I wasn’t disappointed. This time around, I enjoyed seeing the return of Jason Statham as a somewhat protagonist alongside The Rock. I thought the arc with Vin Diesel’s character was handled just right, and Charlize Theron’s performance as the villain was great. (Her character motivation sucked, though). The action scenes were perfectly preposterous and the dialogue remains just as endearingly corny. What’s not to love? Easy pick for a day when you just need to unwind.
#19: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
I did not like this as much as the first Guardians of the Galaxy. However, even compared to the original, this still kicks some serious… a-hole. Everything you liked about the original is here and accounted for, particularly the characters, the settings, and the lulz. By switching to a 4K camera for the first time in the MCU’s history, the movie is allowed to enchant the eyes with beautiful vibrant colors, which benefits the action like you wouldn’t believe. The soundtrack, as expected, should might as well be its own character, because it steals the show every time. What ultimately separates this movie from its predecessor is its focus on character development instead of plot, which I personally found jarring. Don’t get me wrong. I want to learn more about these characters, but I wish they went about that in a less expositional way. For instance, have you ever wondered why Rocket Raccoon is kind of a dick? Of course you didn’t, and the explanation isn’t that riveting either.
Despite my nitpicks, though, this is still one of the best times I had in the theater in 2017. It’s also a movie that gets better each time you watch it, and I know I’ll be seeing this one tons of times in the future.
For a more detailed look at my thoughts on the movie, be sure to check out my full review here.
#18: Kingsman: The Golden Circle
I love the first Kingsman. It was one of my favorite little discoveries of 2015, which made me overjoyed to hear that a sequel was on the horizon. And sure, its not as good as the first movie, but the difference between this and that film isn’t as pronounced. They went in an interesting direction this time around by introducing an American division to the equation. (By the way, if this is really how other nations stereotype Americans, then I must say we’re still pretty badass). For the most part I believe the new characters blended in well, despite Tatum being in much less of the film than you’d expect. Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong do great reprising their roles. Firth in particular had a really nice arc that added something to the movie for me. Then there’s Elton John, who… You know what? I’ll leave that for you to experience. If you’re looking for an awesome spy flick with the most insane action sequences you’ve ever seen, look no further than the first film and then this.
#17: The Greatest Showman
Some may be surprised to see this movie so high on my list; even above Guardians of the Galaxy. Truth be told, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. Yes, it’s inaccurate and its plot is shallow, but I had so much fun that I could really care less. To me, the story was good enough to get me invested, and while I would’ve preferred an honest adaptation of someone as interesting as P.T. Barnum, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying a loose adaptation, too. The soundtrack and musical numbers are unparalleled. The performances by actors like Hugh Jackman, Zach Efron, Michelle Williams, and Zendaya are just so passion-filled. The film also looks extraordinary when it comes to set design, editing, and general digital flare. I can’t promise you’ll enjoy the movie as much as I do, but if this even remotely interests you, or if you’re a fan of musicals, you owe it to yourself to give it at least one shot.
For my full thoughts, be sure to check out my full review here.
#16: Girls Trip
I’d like to take this time to thank John Campea. Why? Because if it weren’t for his glowing review of the movie, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash in the direction of my favorite comedy of the year: Girls Trip. This is up there with Mean Girls as one of the best chick flicks a guy can watch with no issue. Indeed, the comedy is so universal, focused, and spot-on hillarious that I dare anyone to not get sucked into this journey with the Flossy Posse. Speaking of which, the four members of the Flossy Posse are fantastic, each one funnier than the other, each given their own time to shine, each one complimenting the other flawlessly. This especially goes for Tiffany Haddish. If Regina Hall, Queen Latifa, or Jada Pinkett Smith aren’t enough to suck you in, Haddish is the reason to stay.
Do yourself a favor and don’t be skeptical about this one. Take my word for it that this movie will be the perfect one for when you just need to laugh your ass off.
#15: The LEGO Batman Movie
Some people say The LEGO Batman Movie should’ve received an Oscar nomination over The Boss Baby. Other people… don’t exist, because everyone knows damn well The LEGO Batman Movie was snubbed big time. Dear Academy: I know it can really hurt when you step on a LEGO piece, but come on! There’s no excuse to hold a grudge over it. Get your shit together!
Now back to the matter at hand. This movie ruled. I mean, of course it ruled. This movie has Batman in it, and (as he’ll repeatedly tell you throughout the movie) Batman is awesome. You know what else is awesome? The animation that takes CG to a whole new level with how seamless and fast-paced everything is. The mock stop-motion touch that carries over from the first LEGO Movie looks even better than ever. You also have to commend the writers for making this the best cinematic tribute to all things Batman to date. There are enough references to Batman’s mythos, movies, comics, and TV shows among other things to make any nerd’s head spin. The way they take full advantage of the IP and character really shows how much respect and love for said property the writers have. If you want a fun, beautiful, high-energy movie to make you smile, look no further than this.
Choosing between LEGO Batman and this was surprisingly difficult. I actually may love both films equally, but ultimately I had to give the advantage to Coco for just how brilliant it is. Strangely enough, I had a lot of skepticism with this movie due in part to the Dia de los Muertos concept being already covered by Book of Life not too long ago. I questioned what Pixar could’ve done differently with the subject (you know, because I’m an idiot) and ended up seeing very quickly that Coco trumps Book of Life in at least one area: heart. Pixar always had a knack for pulling at the heart strings like a guitar; a trend that continues here with a heavily emotional tale of staying true to yourself and the importance of honoring where you came from. Plus, just look at how pretty this movie is! The imagery and artistry shown by the Land of the Dead is incredible as are the film’s countless homages to Mexican/Latino culture. Really there isn’t any reason not to check this movie out at least once, especially if you love Disney and Pixar.
#13: Beauty and the Beast
Is this movie’s existence pointless? Sure. Is it better than its animated counterpart? Probably not. But I’d be remiss to say I didn’t enjoy this movie nonetheless. The benefits of telling the story in live action includes masterful set design, beautiful integration of CG with live action, and the performances of the likes of Watson, Stevens, Gad, Evans, and the like. Hearing Disney-made reimaginings of their classics songs like “Be Our Guest” and “Gaston” is always a treat, as is their inclusion of original songs like “Evermore” and “How Does a Moment Last Forever”. The film also did something very clever by expanding certain parts of the story in order to answer questions you never knew you had about the 1991 version. You get slightly new takes on characters like LeFou and Gaston while also getting more insight into why Belle and the Beast fall for each other (besides Stockholm syndrome of course).
I can’t promise purists or die-hard fans of the animated version that you’ll love this. What I can promise is the tale as old as time is still as good now as it was in 1991, and if you haven’t given this a chance yet, you absolutely should…or don’t. Be my guest!
For my more detailed thoughts on this movie, check out my full review here!
#12: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
At last, I get to talk about The Last Jedi and how controversial it has become. Upon coming out, it was as if a million voices cried out and were suddenly silenced as fans saw the risks the movie was taking. Make no mistake about it. This is a very unique Star Wars movie, and whether that difference is a good thing or not will have to depend on you. As you can see, I lean a bit more on the positive side than not.
Without spoiling anything, I didn’t find their playing fast and loose with what the Force can do that much of a problem. The direction of Luke’s character is something I’m somewhat mixed about, but seeing Hamill take on this role for the first time in decades was absolutely extraordinary. The dynamic built between Rey and Kylo Ren was really cool and led to one of my favorite scenes in all of Star Wars yet. No joke! The film’s beautifully shot and wonderfully orchestrated, but those are givens. The homages to the original trilogy were great, too, especially one moment that shocked the hell out of me.
I look forward to seeing this movie several times more in order to get a feel for just how much I like this compared to past films in the series, as it stands now after one viewing, I enjoyed myself while also recognizing its flaws.
#11: Wonder Woman
Have to admit I’m a bit shocked that this didn’t make the Top 10. It came so damn close to that honor and I’ve gone back and forth in my head over this movie or the other superhero movie I put in its stead. In the end it ended up here, though that’s still a testament to how surprisingly great Wonder Woman was.
There’s a certain purity that this movie has that most comic book movies, whether Marvel DC, Fox, Sony, or what have you, lack. There truly was something different here, and I believe that the answer to what that is lays in its spirit. The film’s sense of optimism and justice, mirrored by the character of Diana herself, is powerfully felt throughout the entire adventure, and I believe that is what made Wonder Woman so great. Granted, there’s a lot of great still in the movie from the performance of Gal Gadot and Chris Pine to the fast-paced, stylized action scenes. Not to mention Gal Gadot herself. (I said it in my review and I’ll say it again… that is one good looking woman)!
Whether you love the DCEU or hate it, whether you love comic book movies or can’t stand them that much, whether you love comics or not, as long as you like action movies in general I think there’s something here for you.
For my more detailed thoughts on this movie, check out my full review here!
I think now’s a good time to apologize for the fact that this post is 5 days later than promised. I meant to have an update explaining why I’d be late on this one, but long story short, I was in Disney World for the weekend and miscalculated the amount of downtime I’d have to finish this post. Additionally college is still a thing, and this semester appears to be kicking my ass as it is, so that was cause enough for a delay.
That being said, thank you guys so much for your patience in the matter. As for the next installment of the countdown, that will also have to be delayed slightly to compensate. Don’t worry too much though. The delay will only last two days from its original Superbowl Sunday schedule (Go Eagles!). So, be sure to tune back this upcoming Tuesday for the fourth and final installment of the 2017 Movie Countdown. There I will be going over the Top 10 films of the year, which includes the long-awaited announcement of #1 Movie of 2017.
To find out which movie that will be, make sure to follow The Ranting SBox blog via email or here on WordPress by clicking here. Hope to see you there!
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!