Top Ten Movies of 2017

2017 is complete, so here comes another of my top tens of the year!

Note that I have yet to see Downsizing, Hostiles, All The Money In The World, and probably some others that I don’t know about yet.

10. Get Out

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I loved the humor and social commentary in this film. I love that it was about something, and I really enjoyed the acting and character development as well. Especially the girl: “You were one of my favorites”, sounds like something I’d put in one of my films. The only thing I didn’t love about this film is that it is a giant rip-off of Stepford Wives, and doesn’t even acknowledge it: the film tried to present its premise as a mystery but anyone who had seen Stepford Wives knew exactly what was going on. Granted, not many people have seen that film, but I have, and it was really distracting. Hence the film is not higher on this list.

9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today, and Three Billboards was an excellent film, funny and powerful, particuarly Francis McDomand, who was awesome. My only qualm with this film: the ending was awful! I was so looking forward to that one last scene, it would’ve been awesome and I felt it was promised and then they pulled the rug out from under me. I was pissed! I’m not even upset that SPOILERS! nothing was explained, they could have that scene and still not explain anything. But to promise such a fun and exciting scene, then end the film before it occurs. Lame! Had they done that scene they promised right, I could easily see this film being #1 or #2 on this list.

8. The Big Sick

Another excellent film that did almost everything right. Compelling story, funny and likeable characters, unpredictable, great acting, and so on. Again, just one qualm here: the girl had no purpose of her own, she only existed to complete the guy. I hate it when filmmakers do this, its typically done with women but I hate it when it is done with any character. Oh well. Outside of this one issue, this is an excellent film.

7. Ingrid Goes West

Welcome to Instagram: the movie, and this film is everything you could want from a premise like that. It’s funny, biting, provocative, satirical, and lots of fun. It does stretch believability at times, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Oh, and the the two leads (Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen) are awesome.

6. The Florida Project

You know what there was a lot of this year? Films that critiqued modern society through the lens of some whacko characters in it, basically asking: what kind of society are we that we are entertained by shit like this? Ingrid Goes West did it and this one does too; the shit in this film being a doesn’t-give-a-shit single mom prostitute who is raising a six year old, and not well. This film so authentically and amazingly captures this side of our society, one almost never seen on film. It is raw and powerful and nothing is sugarcoated, and it is really good.

5. Okja

Bong Joon-ho is another one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. Like most of the above, this was another film that mixed drama and comedy, stretching the limits of believability to deliver as strong a story as possible. And deliver it did! This film ended so powerfully, it was really disturbing, one of the strongest critiques on society I’ve ever seen.

4. I, Tonya

I love black comedies and this was a great one, delivering lots of laughs and also another biting critique on society. I mean, at one point, the film literally calls the audience out on it! That’s like the riskiest thing you can do in a film, but they did it well. I also enjoyed this film because even though I was alive when the events happened, I didn’t know any of the story, which actually was very sad, and very different from what I knew from the media coverage when it happened.

3. The Disaster Artist

You never know what you’re gonna get with James Franco; sometimes it seems like he doesn’t care, sometimes he plays himself, and sometimes he absolutely kills it. This film was the latter; he was incredible. The whole film was actually; it was funny, heartwarming, and inspirational, but also with that same critique that’s in almost every film on this list. The critique was super subtle here, and because of that this was easily the most entertaining of the bunch, but after it’s over, when you realize what it was doing, wow!

2. Lady Bird

I don’t know how Greta Gerwig does what she does. She takes characters that would be so awful if done by anyone else, and makes them wonderful. It’s amazing, she has this ability to make fun of her ridiculousness while simultaneously making you love her for that ridiculousness. She’s does in all the works I’ve seen from her, and every time, it is wonderful. And this one also had a surprisingly powerful story, a mother-daughter relationship unlike any I’ve ever seen before. All while being fun and funny. This is a great film!

1. Dunkirk

Hey! The first film on this list that isn’t a comedy. And one of only a few that isn’t a critique of society either. This film really impressed me because of how different it was. It was like an anti-film. It wasn’t an anti-war film, it was an anti-‘war film’ film. Everything about Dunkirk was just not how movies are, specifically it was a war film with no fighting, no heroes, and the victory was actually a massive defeat. The no-fighting aspect is what impressed me the most, lots of films have captured the horrors of war but this was the first time I ever really felt the dread. This film wasn’t about the horror of battle, it was about the terror of waiting for battle. And to make a compelling film about waiting? That is impressive.

Strangely though, even though I thought Dunkirk was great, I have surprisingly little desire to see it again. Can’t say the same for the other films on this list. Might have to do with the fact that the other films are comedies, but this one isn’t.

Well, there you have it, my top ten of 2017. A pretty good crop of films for what I consider an off year, and so hopefully 2018 will be even better!

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About Gabriel Bruskoff
I make movies! See gabrielbruskoff.com for more information.

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