Posted by: ckckred | February 21, 2018

The 10 Best Films of 2017

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The late, great Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky, one of 2017’s best films

A few weeks ago, I admitted to a couple of my friends that I thought 2017 was a lackluster year for movies, missing a film as grabbing as Son of Saul or Green Room. Yet after compiling this list, I’ve come to the realization that 2017 was actually a very solid year for cinema, providing us a number of pictures that provided intelligent looks at contemporary racism, class conflict, and social dysfunction. So, without further ado, here are my 10 favorite movies from the past year:

10. A Ghost Story (David Lowery)

David Lowery mixes Malickian imagery with Wenderian drama with A Ghost Story, a beautiful, touching story about the dreams, desires, and romances that dominate and control our lives.

9. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)

The original Blade Runner never really warranted a sequel, and although on paper 2049 shouldn’t work, it is a impeccable continuation of Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic, adding to Philip K. Dick’s original mythology without simply rehashing the same notes.

8. Faces Places (Agnès Varda and JR)

At 89 years old, Agnès Varda is still as good of a filmmaker as she was back in the French New Wave. This documentary collaboration with famed photographer JR is a delightful, charming depiction of contemporary France.

7. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos)

I’m not sure if I’ve seen a film quite as terrifying and unnerving as The Killing of a Sacred Deer since Funny Games. Like that Michael Haneke picture, Sacred Deer is a cocktail of humor and sadism, a startling exhibition of human malice that despite its morbidity is a movie so captivating you cannot turn away from.

6. The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki)

Amidst the unfortunate ugly stereotypes and rancid portrayals of Syrian refugees over the past few years, The Other Side of Hope is a movie that captures the misfortune and severity of the situation. Yet Hope is not a completely bleak picture but one of 2017’s most colorful, exuberant, and funniest films, a delightful satire of Finnish society and of cultural stodginess.

5. Lucky (John Carroll Lynch)

The late, great Harry Dean Stanton boasts one of the most impressive filmographies of any modern actor, and as the eponymous protagonist in Lucky, his final leading role, Stanton once again demonstrates his magnificent prowess. Focusing on Lucky’s struggles with his age and fears of his own death, John Carroll Lynch’s film is a poignant, touching melodrama, a terrific companion piece to Paris, Texas, that will leave you in awe of Stanton’s performance.

4. The Florida Project (Sean Baker)

There were plenty of provocative films from the past year (Michael Haneke’s Happy End, the abovementioned Sacred Deer), and although The Florida Project is not as disturbing as those two pictures, in many ways it is even more difficult to watch. Centering on what goes on outside of “The Happiest Place on Earth,” The Florida Project, like Moonlight beforehand, reveals the life in the outer fringes of society, tragic yet never condescending or crass in approaching its subject matter.

3. The Square (Ruben Östlund)

The most inspired absurdist comedy since Toni Erdmann, Ruben Östlund’s The Square is a ruthless satire on the contemporary art world and its curators. Brutally mocking the pretentiousness and cluelessness of Sweden’s bourgeois, The Square is one of 2017’s most pointed dissections of culture, class, and race.

2. Good Time (Ben and Josh Safdie)

In the past several years, Robert Pattinson has transitioned from starring in teen romances to serious dramas, and the actor is in top-notch form within the Safdie brothers’ crime caper. 2017 had no shortage of suspenseful films, yet Good Time may have been the year’s most unpredictable feature, with a plot that twists from one point to the next. It’s a picture whose ending will haunt you, and it’s the movie from this past year I would most want to watch again.

1. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)

It’s been over twenty years since Hard Eight, PTA’s first movie, debuted, yet the San Fernandan filmmaker has not yet made a film less of greatness. Phantom Thread is amongst Anderson’s best work, as intricately crafted as The Master, as provoking as There Will Be Blood, and as emotionally rich as Magnolia. Daniel Day-Lewis, in his (alleged) final performance, is as great as he ever was, aided by his equally talented costars Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville. Though Phantom Thread’s conclusion may raise some eyebrows, it is the strongest, most perfect picture that came out of 2017.

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Responses

  1. Yay! Another big fan of the Safdie bro’s Good Time. Man, that movie was such a rush! I really really loved that thing. Im still waiting my turn to see Phantom Thread — really getting antsy here!

    • Definitely see Phantom Thread when you can. I caught a 70mm showing and it was amazing.

      Good Time was a great little movie, wasn’t it? Heard that the Safdie brothers are doing a remake of 48 hrs, am looking forward to that.

  2. Phantom Thread, The Florida Project and A Ghost Story certainly make mine too but Blad Runner 2049 would be my #1. Interesting list, though. Can’t wait to see Lucky.

    • Definitely check Lucky when you can. Makes a great companion piece for Paris, Texas (and also pairs well with The Straight Story). Plus, Lynch has a great supporting role where he tries looking for his lost tortoise.

      I was surprised how good Blade Runner 2049. Too bad it didn’t do too well at the box office, but it’s a movie I suspect that like the original will get a cult following in the future.

      • My aim is to do a double bill of Paris Texas and Lucky.

  3. Phantom Thread’s ending was perfect. Such a psychologically fucked up movie!!!

    I need to faces places

    Good to see Lucky on there!! 😀

    Gotta say tho a ghost story went over my head. Seemed slow and odd and I felt the messages could have been put across much better if the whole thing wasn’t from a dead person’s viewpoint. But eh maybe I need to watch it again.

    Good Time was my fave. That thing was mental.

    • Check out Faces Places if you can, a really solid doc, and if you like Agnes Varda, you’ll love this. And yeah, Lucky and Good Time were both superb.

      • I just got a hold of Faces Places, looking forward to it

      • Tell me what you think, really solid doc.

      • Gonna watch it tonight I think. Will let you know what I think mate.


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