Logan’s Top 10 Films of 2017
There were times when 2017 felt like it was actually a decade rather than one year. There were other times when it felt like I sneezed and the year just flew by. It’s a year full of highs and lows and, thankfully, there wasn’t a shortage of great films this year.
After taking a few hours to think it over, here are the ten films that I believe are some of the best the year had to offer. If you have some that are different on your list, that’s great! This list is made not only for fun but to start conversations about last year’s best films.
10. Logan Lucky
I tend to forget that sometimes the best films don’t have to be revolutionary in any way. They just have to be so well done that you can’t help but be impressed by the execution of an idea you’ve already seen done well several times before. Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky” is just that: an almost redneck version of his “Ocean’s Eleven” that is so good it even excels beyond the 2001 film at times. A phenomenal cast, a hilarious and smart script, and great directing create what is probably one of the most underrated films of the year. It creates southern characters that feel nothing like stereotypical rednecks and more like human beings that you relate to. Add perfect pacing and you have a film that deserved a lot more money than it got at the box office.
9. A Ghost Story
I became painfully aware (almost immediately) that 2016’s “Pete’s Dragon” was not the best introduction to David Lowery as a filmmaker. Nothing could’ve prepared me for such a beautiful film dealing with love, death, time, the meaning of life, the shortness of life, the afterlife, and how we find our drive in a vast universe that ultimately doesn’t care. All of this in 92 minutes and, surprisingly, none of these ideas felt underutilized or underdeveloped in that time. Lowery’s incredible direction and writing create a film that drops the pretentiousness that could come with some of those ideas and creates an immensely personal story that I cannot wait to own. It lingers on the right shots, builds haunting imagery without being melodramatic, and features an incredible song by Dark Rooms (“I Get Overwhelmed”) that is used perfectly in the narrative. It’s one of the only films of 2017 that nearly made me cry.
8. Wind River
During the early stages of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, there was a ridiculous question being thrown around: Since “Wind River” is a Weinstein-produced film, should it be taken out of the awards season? For me, the answer is simple: Absolutely not. Taylor Sheridan’s noir-ish drama about the investigation surrounding the death of a Native American woman is way too great to be ignored. The film looks great, the story is tragic and gripping, and Jeremy Renner’s subtle performance might be the best I’ve ever seen from him. Add a great supporting cast and you have yet another great film that deserves more love than it’s currently getting.
If you would’ve told me years ago that there would be an arthouse film made in my hometown about John Cho bonding with a young woman over architecture, and that it would be one of the best films I’d see that year, I most certainly wouldn’t have believed you. Here we are though. Despite being the seventh spot on my list, Kogonada’s directorial debut felt like the realest film I saw this year. The performances from John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson were subtle and emotional, the cinematography was gorgeous, and the pairing of the editing and camerawork created something that felt more like a window into the lives of real people rather than a film. “Columbus” is full of surprises and I cannot wait to see where Kogonada’s career goes from here.
6. Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond
Being a behind-the-scenes Netflix documentary about one of my favorite biopics would’ve been enough for me. However, the documentary is more than that. It’s a film dissecting two of the biggest comedians of the 20th century, showing how Jim Carrey’s journey to portray an authentic Andy Kaufman led to him not only seeing the demons in Andy’s life but in his own life as well. If you’ve ever wondered why Carrey kind of fell off the map in the 2000’s, I believe this film does a good job of explaining why. It elevates itself from being just a companion piece to “Man on the Moon” so if you haven’t seen the biopic but want to watch the documentary, do it.
5. The Florida Project
“The Florida Project” is what happens when a great director is given more than just iPhones to use. Sean Baker creates a trashy yet heartwarming look at a hotel on the outskirts of Disney World, showing it mostly from a rambunctious girl’s perspective. Willem Dafoe gives an Oscar-worthy performance, Brooklyn Prince is incredible as Moonee, and the film does great work in editing, storytelling, and cinematography. While I have my problems with the ending, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear while watching the buildup to it. I’m glad I caught the film at the very last moment.
4. Loving Vincent
As much as I loved “Coco”, THIS is the real best animated film of 2017. I knew it would be a technical marvel going into the film. What I didn’t expect was to be emotionally invested in the performances and the mystery surrounding Van Gogh’s suicide. It’s a great film that just so happens to be rotoscoped and animated to painstakingly look like a moving Van Gogh oil painting. It’s a film that certainly has substance to its impeccable style.
3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
No film deserves Best Screenplay more than this one. Excellent performances from the main cast, a dark script with incredible wit, and wonderful direction result in a phenomenal film about how guilt and an urge to redeem oneself can bring together some of the most unlikely characters. It’s Martin McDonagh’s best and I can’t wait to watch this film a hundred times this year.
2. The Shape of Water
As a Guillermo del Toro fan, I’ve already accepted the fact that for every 5 ideas that he puts into development, only 2 of them will make it past the planning stages. However, when he’s actually given a chance to see an idea to the end, we get something like “The Shape of Water”: A deeply personal, dark fairytale with incredible cinematography, award-winning creature effects, great performances from everyone onboard, and the best score I’ve heard for a 2017 film. To me, it’s art that deserves every award it’s nominated for. Just like #1, it put a stupid grin on my face (almost making me cry at times) for the entire runtime.
1. Blade Runner 2049
There seems to be this unspoken rule felt through film lovers that mainstream blockbusters can’t be somewhat arthouse or vice versa. It almost seemed impossible to disregard that idea until 2017 brought us an incredible artistic film with a budget the size of one of Marvel’s team-up films. That film was Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049”. It’s a 35-year-old sequel to one of the best sci-fi films of all time, and It forges a path for itself without focusing too much on unnecessary nostalgia or filling much of what has been going on in that timeframe. The cinematography is awesome, the performances are great, the story is captivating, the visuals are perfect, and the score does a great job of inciting Vangelis’ score from the original film without ripping it off. It’s the type of daunting film that only Villeneuve could do flawlessly. When I first thought of building this list, this was the only choice I was absolutely sure of. “Blade Runner 2049” is, without a doubt, my favorite film of the year.