Finally! It’s taken a little longer than usual for me to see all of the films from the previous year that would likely vie for a spot on this list, but I think I’m ready to proceed. I’ll break the list up into five parts, each with five films, counting backwards (of course). So, what qualifies a movie to make the list and how are they ranked? From last year:
“What is a “top” film? A film that I liked on a subjective level? A film more objectively determined to be of high-quality, regardless of how much I personally did or didn’t enjoy it? Well . . . it’s both. The higher the combination of the two, the higher it places on this list. If these were my 25 “favorite” films, it would be a different list. If these were what I saw as 2016’s 25 “best” films, it would also be a different list. These are the films that I’m most likely to both recommend and revisit. So, here are the 25 films from 2016 that I felt had the strongest mix of quality and entertainment value. And it’s my list, so just deal.”
Okay, no more messing around. Here are . . .
The Top 25 Films of 2017
James Mangold’s Logan accomplished a lot with one film. It brought a long-standing film franchise to an essential end, in the process said goodbye to two fan-favorite actor/role pairings, and introduced a memorable new character from the comics in the form of X-23. Whether or not her storyline carries on in the wake of Disney’s Fox purchase, the film was a generally thoughtful, touching, and grandiose finale that (mostly) made appropriate use of its R rating and gave audiences a version of Wolverine that they always wanted to see but never thought they would. (Original review.)
24. Lady Bird
This one will be higher on most other year-end lists. And don’t get upset; if I didn’t love it, it wouldn’t be here! I loved it, I did! The reason it doesn’t rank higher is simply because I felt it offered very little that hadn’t been seen before in other coming-of-age films. It didn’t feel as fresh as 2016’s The Edge of Seventeen, nor was it as clever or as entertaining. But it was a very well-made film with solid performances and direction, and was still more clever and entertaining than most other movies one is likely to see. Maybe it didn’t resonate with me on a personal level as much as it did with others, but Lady Bird is still a smart, poignant film well worth the attention it’s receiving. (Original review.)
23. The Shape of Water
This is another film that will be higher on most other people’s year-end lists. There is no question that Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water brought audiences a story that hadn’t been seen before – sort of a King Kong tale that takes it to the next narrative level. For me, it just lacked the energy and cleverness that I look for in this type of film. Still, it’s certainly good enough to warrant its high praise and to crack my own personal list, as well. Mature, sophisticated science fiction tales aimed at the more intellectual crowd are rare, and del Toro makes it worth his time and the viewer’s money to come along for the ride. (Original review.)
22. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Oh, the outrage! A certain sector of viewers revolted against The Last Jedi, claiming it contradicted everything that had come before – particularly in reference to the characterization of Luke Skywalker. They were wrong, as everything that occurs in the film lines up beautifully with what we’ve seen from Luke and the rest of the Star Wars universe in the past. This is more of the dreaded Entitled Fan Syndrome wherein “fans” throw a tantrum if a film isn’t exactly what their irrational, specifically personalized, usually boring, and preconceived notions have convinced them it should be. In reality, the film was a smart, surprising, insightful character study that doubled as a raucous science-fiction escapade. I do think it suffered from the same issue that Avengers: Age of Ultron suffered from in that it’s missing numerous watercooler moments, which I expect from large-scale blockbusters. It also takes place over a very short period of time and doesn’t quite advance the story as much as I would like, considering that there are only three parts to the entire tale. Besides that, it’s deep, it’s fun, and it’s excellently crafted. (Original review.)
21. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was a popular target among people who don’t actually see movies but like to form an opinion on them, anyway. Unfortunately, that – coupled with mixed reviews – sank the film at the box office and I don’t see any chance of a sequel. That’s a shame because the film was a blast, solely crafted for entertainment. It was fun, it was beautiful, it had two charismatic leads, and it never tried to insist upon itself by forcing in subtext where it didn’t belong. Valerian was comfortable and confident in its own skin and that translated to the screen in the form of pure quality entertainment. We won’t see another one, but I’ll continue to enjoy this one in the future. (Original review.)
Okay, I’ll be back with the next part in the next day or two. Until then, share and like us on Facebook!