Favorite Films of 2017
I had a brilliant time at the movies this year. I was in New York City in October and saw so many 80s horror films in the theater I lost count. A bunch of them were in 35mm. I saw all seven of the Fast and Furious films at Nitehawk in Williamsburg during one very good week. There was a new Star Wars and a new Blade Runner. There were re releases of Terminator 2, Close Encounters, and Casablanca. My senses were overwhelmed with awesome. Following are the new films released this year that I loved the most.
1. Lady Macbeth
I walked into this movie cold and only picked it because it was playing at a time I had free one afternoon in July. HOLY SHIT. It's a riveting period piece about a loveless marriage that is rooted in a deeply unsettling moral ambiguity. I loved it more than anything else I saw all year.
2. Call Me By Your Name
The film takes you on a journey for two hours so one character can deliver a several minutes long monologue essentially to the audience. It shouldn't work but it does. It's gorgeous and heart wrenching just like a real romance.
3. I, Tonya
Any movie that can make me genuinely empathize with Tonya Harding is okay in my book. The writing is spectacular and the editing is spot on. It's funny as hell and true ish. I haven't had this much fun at the movies in a long time. It's a must see. Allison Janney rocks my world.
4. The Square
People have called The Square a take down of the contemporary art world. I think its appeal is much broader. It tackles political correctness, egalitarian ideals, casual sex, parenthood, social media, and half a dozen other themes over two hours. Usually that would bother me. Usually I would say something like, "this movie was made in one of those $11 salad delis in Midtown." But somehow it works. There's so much going on but it doesn't feel overly ambitious. I was left breathless.
I love horror movies more than any other genre. Swoon. It's really exciting when someone does something different with the genre. This movie isn't as good as Let The Right One In, which was the best movie of the first decade of this century, but it evokes it stylistically. It's visually interesting, well shot, has awesome performances, and is totally fucked up. The themes and central metaphor are obvious but really well done. It's disturbing in the best kind of way.
6. The Shape of Water
I swam out of this movie dripping with romance. It's magical.
7. Good Time
Transcendent, moody, hallucinatory, desperate. It almost made me want to go hang out in Queens. Almost.
8. I Am Not Your Negro
This movie that dismantles racial assumptions and juxtaposes the lives of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. through the writing of James Baldwin was released the same year white supremacists took charge of the White House. Speak truth to power.
9. Lady Bird
I'm a sucker for coming of age films of all stripes but they are rarely this real or well done. The writing is superb and the casting and performances are perfect. Greta Gerwig nails it.
10. The Big Sick
This movie could be called "Boundaries: Respect." It's so good. There is an honest to Christ 9/11 joke in the middle and it totally works. Kumail Nanjiani is hilarious.
11. Atomic Blonde
12. Wonder Woman
13. Get Out
14. Blade Runner 2049
17. Wind River
18. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri