Ladies, gentlemen, and other general peeps, welcome for the last time to The Ranting SBox’s Annual Movie Countdown (2017 Edition)… aka the 2017 Movie Countdown. For those who are joining us for the first time, this miniseries serves as an annual tradition on this blog where I gather all the movies I saw the previous year and rank them from worst to best, giving my brief thoughts on each as I go.
This year there were 36 movies up for consideration. (See the full list here). We started our journey through the year of 2017 with the worst and most Mediocre offerings of the year. This was shortly followed by discussing the more middle of the road, Good movies of the year, and then a look at 10 of 2017’s Great films. However, it is now time to wrap things up by counting down the… *drum roll please*… Top 10 movies of 2017.
As the title of this post suggests, the following 10 films include those I perceive to be the greatest, most fun, highest-quality offerings of last year. Not a lot separates a movie in the Great category from those on the Top 10. Every great film has the ability and potential to make the Top 10, but what ultimately landed these movies on the list over the others isn’t just a matter of how many times I’d watch the movie again. It also comes down to quality. It’s about how much fun I had seeing it, how masterful the overall package is, and how big an impact it had on me after I saw it. That’s what makes these movies worth mentioning above the rest.
Before we get started, though, I’d like to stress that this list is purely based on my personal opinion and is only with respect to the 36 movies I’ve personally seen throughout 2017. So, feel very free to disagree and leave a comment telling me why!
It’s been a long time coming (as in this post is incredibly late… stupid college), but let’s bring this shit home! Here are my favorite movies of the year:
#10: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spidey is back home baby!… Mostly. Eh, no need to harp on details. Let’s just celebrate the fact that this merger finally happened.
While I can’t say for certain, even after all this time, if Homecoming is my favorite Spider-Man movie to date, I can say that this movie improves every time I see it. Tom Holland’s portrayal as Spidey, between his young spirit and quick wit, is far and away the definitive version of the web-slinger yet. Seeing him interact with Tony Stark’s Iron Man and Michael Keaton’s Vulture is just a bonus to an already great setup. The film’s style of 80’s teen movies meets MCU is ingenious, and gives us one of the more unique films in the series. The story perfectly captures the complications of being a teenage superhero with a secret identity — from the sense of obligation he has to his peers/family/friends to the obligation he chooses to employ as a public servant. It all just comes together so nicely. I highly recommend swinging on over to wherever this movie is and giving it your time.
For my more detailed thoughts on this movie, click here for my full review!
#9: The Disaster Artist
This movie is good. Anyway, how is your sex life?
When I heard that they were making a biopic partially about Tommy Wiseau, I lost my shit. I couldn’t think of a more fascinating individual to base a movie on than this mysterious, football-throwing, bellybutton-humping, chicken-mimicking creator of The Room. However, even outside the context of The Room being a ginormous meme before a light was shined on it by Greg Sestero, this is still a really charming, lighthearted film. You wouldn’t think a movie about The Room (perhaps the most well-known bad movie in history) would be so inspiring, but it is. In fact, its message of making your dreams come true no matter the outcome and making the best of a bad situation is probably my favorite theme of the year. Kind of personifies that Rocky Balboa quote about how hard you can get hit now that I think about it.
Did I mention the performances of the Franco brothers yet? Well, let’s just say I got the results of the test back. James Franco definitely was Oscar snubbed. (I’ll leave it at that so I don’t get into controversial territory). Bottom line, this movie is quick, funny, surreal, and inspiring all in one.
#8: John Wick: Chapter 2
John Wick is probably my favorite action movie of the past 5 years. No joke. (For the record, The Avengers is 6 years old now). That was a damn-near perfect action movie in every sense of the phrase. It had everything a growing boy needs: a masterful performance by Keanu Reeves, objectively good cinematography, simple yet emotionally-charged plot, a developed mythos, and action so amazingly shot and choreographed it’ll make your head spin. And that’s just the first movie. The second installment in this series by comparison is… well, more or less the same. But, hey! If it ain’t broke don’t fuck it up. (You can quote me on that).
This time around, the series moved slightly away from the internal struggle of an ex-assassin clinging to the possibility of a normal life in order to delve deeper into the mythos of the criminal underworld presented in the first film. At first I was a little turned off by some of the exposition, but on second viewing you pick up a ton more and weed out the stuff you don’t need to know. The dilemma ultimately posed to Wick towards the end was very intense, too, leaving me wanting more. And those fast-paced, gruesome, beautifully shot action scenes are even more amazing here than ever before. There is no excuse for an action movie fan not to witness this for themselves.
#7: Thor: Ragnarok
Picking between John Wick and Thor was really tough for me. They’re both really close in enjoyability for me, but I gave the advantage to Thor. The main distinction was in the fact that Ragnarok stands alone much better from its predecessors than John Wick: Chapter 2. So despite John Wick technically being the better movie, I like this about .001% better. (Please don’t hate me).
I stand by what I said about the film’s comedy in my full review. Yes, Ragnarok has a major tendency to go for the easy joke every time. If an opportunity for a joke exists, it takes full advantage of it whether it’s a good idea or not. However, for every hit-and-miss joke the film goes for, there’s at least two that absolutely land. Though, it’s the comedic chemistry among all of the cast that really makes this movie something special. Literally everyone is on their A-comedy-game here: Hemsworth, Hiddleston, Ruffalo, Thompson, Goldblum, literally everyone. Let’s also not forget the action sequences that show the true power of Thor for the first time. There’s also the introduction of Valkyrie, the inclusion of a talking Hulk, and a huge stinger for my most anticipated movie of this year. Seriously, what else do you need to know before you see this movie already?
For my more detailed thoughts on this movie, check out my full review here.
The last thing I thought would come out of me watching a modern remake of It was a spot in my Top 10 films of the year list. This is a movie I actually thought would bomb. I thought it was going to end up a disappointment that’s no better than the corny original miniseries, but that shit went way out the window when I was finally convinced to see it. I was blown away.
I think my favorite part of the movie is its sense of atmosphere. The world seems so tangible and real, but you also can’t help but feel that there’s something horribly off in this town. No matter how much optimism the kids try to make life in Derry, Maine, horrible things keep happening both around them and to them. It’s an amazing setup for shit to go down, and that’s where the actually solid plot comes into play. It’s a gripping narrative bolstered by such wonderful performances by our heroes and Skarsgård. And yes, this movie can be legitimately terrifying, especially if you have a fear of clowns or are easily scared. Hell, even if you aren’t all that scared, you don’t mind because the story and these characters make you want to see this adventure through to the end.
Go ahead and see this movie when you get a chance… or else you’ll float, too!
For my more detailed thoughts on this movie, click here for my full review!
I say this without any form of irony. Logan is a masterpiece. In fact, it is as close to the term “masterpiece” as a comic book movie has gotten in a long time if ever. Logan isn’t just a good comic book movie; it’s a damn good movie, too!
I’ll concede to the fact that this movie is basically The Last of Us (X-Men Edition), but if you know anything about The Last of Us you’ll know that isn’t a bad thing. I loved the story of an older, weaker Wolverine caring for a feeble Professor X and a little girl version of himself in a world where mutants are nearly extinct. The setting and vibe of the movie — much closer to a Western than a superhero film — is absolutely perfect. The pure emotional weight that can be felt in every frame is remarkably felt; not just due to the excellent writing but also performances by out 3 leads. Hugh Jackman’s final bout as Wolverine couldn’t be more perfectly executed. Dafnee Keen’s nonverbal portrayal of Laura is hugely impressive. As for Patrick Stewart, I said it before and I’ll say it again: he deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance as Professor X. (I still call foul on him getting snubbed for the nomination)!
I don’t care who you are in the movie-going spectrum. Casual viewer, hardcore moviegoer, comic book movie fan, comic book movie hater, fan of the X-Men films, fan of the MCU, fan of the DCEU, purists who love the “Old Man Logan” comic. No matter who you are, you owe it to yourself to see this masterpiece for yourself.
#4: War for the Planet of the Apes
The new Planet of the Apes trilogy may very well be perfect. It had a solid beginning, awesome sequel, and a brilliant end in the form of this movie. This is a prime example of a series that just kept getting better and better with time. The plot got better, the world got bigger, the characters literally evolved, the stakes got higher, and the emotions ran deeper. That’s the progression of this series, and I adore it.
War for the Planet of the Apes introduced a slightly different style, mostly due to the setting of a world much farther removed from the time humans ruled the Earth. More than just a big action movie, this one felt like a gritty, introspective Western. Things seem drabber, more dire this time around, and that’s where the best part of the movie begins to show itself: the dynamic between Caesar and The Colonel played by Woody Harrelson. It’s an element introduced in the last third of the movie, but that psychological back-and-forth the two have is golden. In fact, a lot of the character arcs in this movie are really good in this movie, especially with the fully evolved Caesar complete with the ability to say full sentences. Caesar’s personal journey makes this movie what it is, and what this movie is is incredible.
Against all the odds, I’m happy to report that M. Night Shyamalan is officially back. Whether he stays back remains to be seen, but until Glass comes out next year let’s just ride this wave while it lasts.
Split was the first major film of the year, and a hell of a way to start a year in film. It’s a solid, intense, suspenseful horror flick that hearkens back to the style of Shyamalan’s glory days. I don’t say that because of the connection this film has to one of his earlier movies but because of how similar in tone and feel it is to movies like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs. Much less concerned with abstract plots and ham-fisted twists and more concerned with telling a grounded, character-driven story which happens to have a twist here and there. I enjoyed the movie’s unique take on the very complex psychological issue of DID as well as the James McAvoy performance that came with it. I was certain the Academy would recognize McAvoy for what I know had to be a very complicated portrayal of Kevin. They didn’t, but I sure as hell will. He was fantastic in this movie, as was Anya Taylor-Joy and Betty Buckley.
Whether you’re a Shyamalan fan, you used to be a Shyamalan fan, or you have no clue what in the hell a Shyamalan even is, I think you’ll find something to enjoy in Split.
I swear this will be the last time I rant about the Oscars in this series, but if you guys saw Detroit you’ll understand why I’m so bewildered by the Academy’s choice to not nominate it for a single Oscar. I mean… how?
This movie was spectacularly done in spite of its practical limitations. Let’s be real. It could not have been easy for any director or writer to adapt the Algiers Motel incident during the 1960’s riots. Not only was it an intense and uncomfortable scene to recreate, but the nature of the incident makes it impossible to adapt the story without the use of some artistic license. And yet, despite that huge limitation, Kathryn Bigelow still manages to treat the material with the respect and class it needed to be effective. She also manages to create one of the most intensely horrifying films I’ve seen in a long time. With the film’s handheld style and (for lack of a better word) intimate cinematography, you manage to feel like you’re in that room, fearing for your life and undergoing massive psychological stress along with the victims. Naturally, it’s a massively uncomfortable experience but never to the point where you’re not grasping your chest and waiting to see what happens next, hoping in vain for things to get better when you know it’s only going to get worse.
I didn’t even mention the performances of this movie yet. Detroit hosts a very starstruck cast in some respects with familiar faces both big and small doing an excellent job. However, none were as show-stoppingly brilliant as Will Poulter as a police officer. I say this of the character he played and not of Poulter himself, but what a fucking evil prick! I don’t mean Dr. Evil evil, either. Oh, no! I mean, he quite possibly may be Satan in this movie. It’s something you have to see to fully understand, but when you do… you’ll wanna punch this asshole. (Also, Poulter not receiving an Oscar nomination for this performance is highway robbery at its finest).
This is a movie you have to see at least once. It’s an objective masterpiece if I ever saw one and a movie you’ll never forget. (Just do yourself a favor and don’t watch this before going to bed… you’re welcome in advanced).
At long last we’ve come to the main event. The moment you’ve all been waiting for, I’m pleased to announce that The Ranting SBox’s #1 Movie of 2017 is…
#1: Get Out
Let me tell you that this choice was a tough one to make. I’ll continue to have this back and forth in my head for years, but picking between this and Detroit as my #1 was very difficult. I love these movies for somewhat similar reasons, but the reason I placed Get Out ahead of Detroit was a simple one. At the end of the day, I’d pop this movie in more easily than I would Detroit. That may not be entirely fair as Detroit is a much darker movie, but the point remains that this is my preferred movie.
As you can see, I love this movie! To this day, it is the only movie I gave a 10 out of 10 to, because I find absolutely nothing wrong with it. The story, the direction, the performances, the music, the themes, the cinematography, everything about this movie works. I love how this film approaches the topic of interracial relationships. The way they expand upon the unease and stress of meeting a non-colored person’s family makes for a genuinely fascinating story. In fact, the way they approach the idea of racism also makes for a fascinating story once you find out what’s really going on. I won’t go much further than that, because this is the kind of movie that’s best experienced as blind as humanly possible.
Outside of plot, the film is visually stunning. So many wonderfully shot scenes I wish I could mention without spoiling the movie. The performances by Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, and others are flawless. Speaking of Howery, one thing I forgot to mention was how funny this movie can be as well as horrifying. This is of course due to director Jordan Peele, who’s work on Key & Peele demonstrates that no one on Earth could’ve made a movie like this work except for him.
As I speak, this movie has been placed back in theaters along with other Oscar nominated movies. That means not only do I recommend seeing this movie, I’d recommend you find a showing of this in the theater and enjoy this with a crowd of equally invested people. You won’t be disappointed by the experience. Either way, this is a movie that’s compelling, dramatic, thrilling, humorous, intelligent, refreshing, and absolutely recommended.
For my more detailed thoughts on this movie, check out my full review here.
Holy shit, I actually finished this countdown before the month of May. That is a first for me so far. Even though I technically should’ve gotten this out weeks ago, I’m gonna go ahead and consider the 2017 Movie Countdown a complete success.
Guys, I want to thank you for going on this ride with me. I had a ton of fun making this year’s countdown and look forward to continuing the same tradition again next year. Here’s to 2018 being just as good, if not better, than the awesome year in film before it.
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!