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Year in review: Top 10 films of 2017

Blake Gasner, Film Reporter

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Every year there are thousands of films released around the world. This past year, a remarkable portion of those thousands of films were surprisingly entertaining and wildly thought-provoking, making 2017, overall, one of the best years of cinema in recent memory. As a result, I have painstakingly gone through and cut together a list of my personal favorite films from the last year. “Get Out,” “Coco,” “Baby Driver,” “Wind River,” and “War for the Planet of the Apes” all get honorable mentions, but sadly, also join a long list of wonderful films that just could not crack the top 10. In honor of the past year, here are my 10 personal favorite films from 2017.

10) “Thor: Ragnarok”

This list kicks off with the euphoric high of silliness and fun that is “Thor: Ragnarok.” The Taika Waititi directed flick serves as a wonderfully inventive re-imagining of the Norse legend. From the opening scene, “Ragnarok” establishes its unique tone through wisecracks and winks. Then it proceeds to build off its foundation to the very climax, creating not just one of the best superhero films of recent memory, but also one of the best comedies too.

9) “Dunkirk”

Where this film will place if I re-order this list in ten years, I do not know. As usual with Christopher Nolan films, my enjoyment with the cinematic experience he shepherded onto the screen in “Dunkirk” has gotten better each time I’ve watched it. It’s not only a wildly tense re-telling of the real-life “Dunkirk” beach evacuation, but also a near perfect self-actualization of Nolan and company’s ability to pace through the manipultion of chronology and time. Few films in recent memory have kept me on the edge of my seat in so many instances. A true directorial feat.

8) “Good Time”

Speaking of “Dunkirk’s” pacing, “Good Time” is another film that thrills through its speed in an entirely different way. Think a realistic “Mission Impossible” featuring some of the scummiest characters you can imagine. “Good Time” pushes boundaries and features a knockout performance from star, Robert Pattinson. How this thriller slipped under the radar, I do not know.

7) “The Post”

“The Post” is evidence that age is but a number. Steven Spielberg’s meticulous re-telling of the leaking of the Pentagon Papers leaves view-

ers in a whiplashed state of realization that our world has changed far less over the course of 50 years than we initially thought. This is a no-

brainer however, since we all know the combination of Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep can only be magic.

6) “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Few films can examine three completely opposite perspectives and still drive viewers to sympathize with all three in one moment, then writhe in disgust at those same characters one moment later. Uncensored dialogue angrily explodes out of Frances McDormand’s, Sam Rockwell’s and Woody Harrelson’s mouths in one of the most unabashedly REAL films of the year.

5) “The Disaster Artist”

“The Disaster Artist” is a really good movie about the inception and creation of “The Room,” which is notoriously known as the worst movie EVER made. “The Disaster Artist” details “The Room’s” journey from the mind of the writer, director, producer and the leading man Tommy Wiseau to its premiere on the big screen. Although certainly full of laughs, “The Disaster Artist” surprisingly also strikes an inspirational chord that will leave audiences invested in the aspirations of the eccentric Wiseau and his equally eccentric vision.

4) “Call Me by Your Name”

Romance abounds from “Call Me by Your Name.” It is a beautiful and sensual film set over the course of a summer in 1980’s Italy. There is a startling relatability to the relationship that the two main characters build over the course of the film that ignites underlying feelings in one’s heart which are not normally exercised in our often cynical cinema landscape. “Call Me by Your Name” is simply sweet.

3) “Blade Runner 2049”

It is not so easy to slip past the “spectacle or substance” line in the sand that seems to divide most films, but “Blade Runner 2049” walks away owning both. With jaw dropping cinematography that enlivens its world even more so than the 1981 original, “Blade Runner 2049” initially locks eyeballs to the screen and keeps them there by exploring concepts that are larger than the buildings that tower over every shot of the film.

2) “A Ghost Story”

Definitely the most arthouse film on this list, “A Ghost Story” examines our favorite emotion, love. It takes love out of time and space in an existential journey that will break you. Usually experiencing devastating emotions like the ones presented in “A Ghost Story” could be viewed negatively, but this instead serves a reassuring reminder of how important this emotion is to us. Although captured through very unique techniques, this is a film that if given the opportunity to sit in our minds will be universal to everyone.

1) “Logan”

Once upon a time, there was a genre that assaulted cinema screens everywhere. It showcased larger than life heroes who are reluctantly cast into scenarios where their skillsets are used to benefit the good of the people. This was the western. They USED to be very common but now they are few-and-far-between. Today, there is a genre that has a similar narrative approach and even greater resonance with today’s audiences. This is the superhero film. They ARE very common. In 2017, there was an exceptionally powerful hybrid of both of these genres.“Logan,” will be considered a classic for years to come. Not only is it gut-wrenching, but it’s also the perfect superhero film to kick start a trend towards the future of the genre. This trend is already being evidenced in the highly inventive films that have sprinkled up over the past year, like “Wonder Woman,” “Thor: Ragnarok” or “Black Panther.” This film is evidence that we need to start taking these movies seriously.

About the Writer
Blake Gasner, Film Reporter

Blake Gasner works as the current film critic for the Winonan. He is in the midst of his first year with the paper, but his love for cinema is years in...

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Year in review: Top 10 films of 2017