Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Best of 2017: The Best New Movies I Saw

I can't help but think that if more people saw more of the types of new movies I saw in 2017, the world would be a better place.

Yes, I know how naive, foolish, snobbish and vainglorious that sounds.

Yet I really don't mean to suggest my tastes are better than anyone else's, or to condemn blockbusters about superheroes or space battles.

I enjoy several of those myself.

But I liked how the crop of new films I saw this year depicted real people facing identifiable issues.

Such as the British pensioners fighting cold bureaucracy in I, Daniel Blake, the Hasidic widower trying to retain custody of his child in Menashe, the Native American couple coping with tragic loss in Wind River, the Iranian theater director seething after an attack on his wife in The Salesman, African-Americans facing abject brutality in Mudbound and Detroit and aiming to rise above it, the Georgian (the country, not state) woman searching for appreciation & peace of mind in My Happy Family, the teenagers discovering young love, sometimes with those of the same sex, in Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name.

Hence, the idealist lefty in me can't help think that if more people saw--at least onscreen--others they presumed were nothing like them, but who faced similar struggles, heartbreaks, etc., we wouldn't be besieged by so much bigotry and xenophobia.

And with that I move onto my rather standard disclaimer my selections below do not adhere to Academy Award eligibility for "2017," but rather include any films that first played at a movie theater or TV screen near me over the past 12 months.

I've decided to list out My Favorite Documentaries separately, and actually will do so right here:

1. I Am Not Your Negro
2. Chasing Trane
3. Pearl Jam: Let's Play Two
4. One of Us
5. Loving Vincent
6. Joe Cocker: Mad Dog with Soul
7. Long Shot

As in years past, after my list I will include the Top 10 of my friend Dave, who tends to see a wider swath of art films than I do.

I won't take the time to spell out which films are still in theaters, on Netflix or other streaming service, rentable or whatever else, but have found an app called Just Watch is quite valuable in this regard. 

Best New Movies Seen in 2017
(F = Foreign; A = Animated; 16 = Officially a 2016 release)

1. Dunkirk
2. I, Daniel Blake
3. The Salesman (F, 16)
4. Lady Bird
5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
6. Wind River
7. Mudbound
8. Call Me By Your Name
9. Silence (16) 
10. The Shape of Water
11. Molly's Game
12. Okja
13. Menashe
14. Detroit
15. My Happy Family (F)
16. Darkest Hour
17. Coco (A)
18. Hidden Figures (16)
19. Logan
20. Everybody Loves Somebody

Honorable Mention (in preference order)

Baby Driver
Columbus
The Lost City of Z
Colossal
Get Out
20th Century Women
Wonder Woman
The Big Sick
Their Finest
Beauty and the Beast
Good Time

Notable 2016 Movies Not Yet Seen
The Florida Project, The Square, All the Money in the World, The Disaster Artist, I Tonya, The Post, Phantom Thread, Wonder, It, The Ornithologist, God's Own Country, A Ghost Story, Blade Runner 2049, Battle of the Sexes, American Made, Logan Lucky, War for the Planet of the Apes, A Quiet Passion, Last Flag Flying, Thank You For Your Service, Marjorie Prime, Brigsby Bear, Brad's Status


Notable Movies Seen But Not Cited Above
The Meyerowitz Stories, Megan Leavey, Graduation, A United Kingdom, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Spiderman Homecoming, Split, Paterson, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, John Wick 2, Atomic Blonde, Mother







Dave's Top 10 Movies of 2017

1. Baby Driver
2. The Salesman (F)
3. Lady Bird
4. Dunkirk 
5. Julieta (F)
6. The Square
7. The Big Sick
8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
9. The Florida Project
10. Frantz (F)

No comments: