With Oscar Season almost upon us, any film fanatic’s current “Top Movies of the Year” list most likely looks very different than it will come January. With such blockbuster titles as The Last Jedi or Justice League, along with definite Oscar front-runners like The Disaster Artist, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbings, Missouri, Phantom Thread, Darkest Hour, and Last Flag Flying all on their way, prior amazing releases from this year will undoubtedly receive not as much love once they are inevitably knocked off end of the year best lists by what are truly the best of the best. And since 2017 has been such an incredible year for film (1975 and 1994 levels of incredible), the following 10 movies deserve your attention.

Honorable Mentions:  Wonder Woman, The Big Sick, Song to Song

10. It Comes at Night

A24

If 2017 is going to be remembered for any horror film, it will certainly be IT. While It Comes at Night polarized audiences (if its audience rating of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes is any indication), IT was the undisputed crowd-pleaser of the year. However, where I found IT to be tonally inconsistent, needlessly boisterous, and predictably banal, I thought that It Comes at Night was just the opposite. Now, I could get into the reasons of why this movie failed so spectacularly as it did, but I’d rather just tell you why it was great. This was a horror-thriller through and through, containing both imagery and sounds that permeate the brain, haunting you long after the film has ended. Throw in some all around amazing performances (especially from Joel Edgerton), crisp cinematography, and bold direction from Trey Edward Shults; and you’ve got a recipe for a horror film that is destined to be a future cult classic.

9. Brigsby Bear

3311 Productions

With a combined total of only 4,170 user ratings between Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, Brigsby Bear is perhaps the best movie that barely anyone saw this year (no pun intended). Of all the films on this list, only two made me me cry and I’m not ashamed to admit that Brigsby Bear is one of them. Despite it’s oddly bizarre premise and an out-of-left-field performance from Mark HamillBrigsby Bear is a sentimentally sweet comedy that serves as a passionately emotional love letter to artists and creators everywhere. It has been an absolute pleasure to see Kyle Mooney, the film’s main star, go from being a no-name YouTuber, to a background Saturday Night Live writer/cast member, to a leading man in a film that he wrote and I cannot wait to see what he does next. It’s also worth noting that Brigsby Bear‘s score by David Wingo is one of the best from this year as well. 

8. Band Aid

IFC Films

While everyone was raving over the successfully massive waves that Wonder Woman was making for the progression of feminism both culturally and industrially (seriously, hats off to Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins), another film this year was making smaller yet equally as impactful waves: Band Aid. For writer/director/star Zoe Lister-Jones’ directorial debut, she made the bold choice to employ an all female crew, making film history by being the first feature to do so, which, according to several interviews, made on-set life all the more intimate and encouraging. As amazing of a feat that is, Band Aid is still great simply because of its own merits. As well as being one of the most uniquely original films of the year, Band Aid is also an endearingly sweet and laugh-out-loud comedy with just the right amount of drama to keep the viewer emotionally invested all the way through. Definitely check this one out.

7. Good Time

A24

If someone would have told me in 2008 that Robert Pattinson would one day give an Oscar-worthy performance, I would have laughed in their face. And yet here we are almost 10 years later… with Robert Pattinson… giving an Oscar-worthy performance. From the moment his character is introduced on screen in Good Time, the brooding presence that Pattinson evokes is almost unreal. One would think based on my praises for his performance that surely he carried this movie to its greatness (similarly to James McAvoy’s performance in Split earlier this year), but Good Time is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the heights that its main star achieves. The film bolsters a sense of undeniable confidence that shows through the Safdie Brothers’ tight direction, providing a white-knuckle thriller that never lets up even until the very last frame.

6. Dunkirk

Warner Bros.

This film really needs no introduction as it is one of the best looking, best edited, best sounding, and best directed movies of the year (Obviously since it’s on this list). However, as to why it is ranked so low on this list is because of the apparent reason that Christopher Nolan used Dunkirk as a means to prove something whereas, at this point in his career, he no longer needed to prove anything. I’m not one of those “Nolan fanboys” who cries that he can do no wrong, but Nolan has shown us time and time again that he is incapable of making a bad movie. Do his films have abundant flaws? Yes. Do these flaws make his movies bad? Not at all. So between the constant criticisms of Nolan’s past work being that he uses too much expository dialogue (Inception) that borders on being too “on the nose” (The Dark Knight Rises) and even hokey (Interstellar), it is no wonder that those conceptions were completely thrown out in Dunkirk and that is where the film ultimately falters. Despite its unbelievably fantastic pacing, by Nolan opting to have barely any of the characters speak in manners that have riddled war movies prior (see: Saving Private Ryan), it made it hard to actually become invested in any of the characters that we are presented with. Is Dunkirk a bad movie? Not at all.

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Marvel Studios

If any comic-book superhero movie deserves to be on this list, it’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. From the moment “a Film by Peter Parker” appeared on screen in all its 4:3-unprofessional glory, I knew that I was in for something special. And does Homecoming certainly deliver with both gut-busting comedy and high octane action, exceeding all expectations for that of a Marvel film. There was a moment about halfway through its runtime that was so shocking, that my jaw was on the floor for the rest of the film. It is because of this scene that Homecoming is elevated to greatness, causing it to be more than just your “run of the mill, good guy versus bad guy” superhero affair and that is why it is so high on this list. Also, Michael Keaton is seriously one of the best actors ever and he proves it here (as if Birdman wasn’t enough proof).

4. Baby Driver

Tristar Pictures

Though I am not a “Nolan fanboy” by any means, I am an Edgar Wright fanboy and I truly believe that he can do no wrong (not to mention that Hot Fuzz is one of my all time favorite movies). I saw Baby Driver five times in theaters. And all I can say is that if you haven’t seen it yet: What are you doing? People clamor for originality from Hollywood and yet the high school football team of cinema that is The Fast and the Furious franchise is still a moneymaking machine. Well here’s your originality! And that’s not to say Baby Driver wasn’t both universally loved by audiences and a financial success (it was), but it made me ecstatic to see Edgar Wright finally having a hit within the US that was outside of his perceived cult status.

3. Get Out

Blumhouse Productions

When I first heard that Jordan Peele, of comedy duo Key and Peele fame, was writing and directing a horror-thriller, I had so many doubts. And then that trailer dropped, ultimately changing my mind and causing my excitement for Get Out to grow. The fact that we are now in October and Get Out, having been released in February, is still one of the undisputed best movies of the year is a testament to just how fantastic it actually is. Regardless of where Peele’s career goes from here, I will firmly stand by my opinion that years from now this film will one day be remembered among the likes of other horror-thrillers such as Hitchcock’s Psycho or Spielberg’s Jaws.

2. Okja

Netflix

Not only was Okja the best theater going experiences that I’ve ever had (having seen it on a double bill with the 1933 version of King Kong at the New Beverly Cinema in LA), it is simply one of the best movies of the year. The way that the film managed to be hilariously zany, devastatingly heart-wrenching (yes, this is the other film I cried during), and a grand adventure all completely simultaneously is nothing short of astounding. Having Jake Gyllenhaal (my favorite actor) and Tilda Swinton ham it up and give the most wonderfully over the top performances of the year was an absolute marvelous sight to behold (not to mention that Paul Dano was great as always, seemingly having a knack for popping up in some of my favorite movies). However, the cherry on top was newcomer An Seo-Hyun, who gives such a moving performance that you immediately buy her relationship with the titular beast, Okja. Further, I completely adored how this film managed to pay homage to all of the animal movies that I would watch when I was a child (Homeward Bound, Babe, etc…), while simultaneously being its own original thing. I could incessantly gush about how much I loved this movie, but it’s on Netflix. You can literally watch it right now and see for yourself the utter brilliance that is Okja. I highly recommend that you do.

1. Blade Runner 2049

Columbia Pictures

I’m going to keep this short: Blade Runner 2049 is a flawless film and the fact that it is severely under-performing at the box office is an absolute tragedy. Go see it.

  • WitWolfy

    Dont really agree on “It comes at night”. That movie was so shite.