Best Films of 2017 

10. Beauty and the Beast- The live action take on one of the best disney films of all time was a magical experience. Emma Watson was perfect as Belle and the rest of the All Star Cast definitely helped bring to life a film that definitely benefitted from the live action treatment. 2017 was off to a good start with this one. Emma Watson has turned into a bankable star and Disney continues to know what is best for their long standing fan favorite films. This was a visually appealing film and definitely bosted the star power to grab the film a spot on the list.

9. Shot Caller- Nikolai Coster-Waldau and Jon Bernthal lead this intense prison drama. It begins on a note of intensity and does not let up. This is my favorite kind of cinematic experience. One where the characters are full of faults and full of drama that escalates as the film progresses. What stops it from scoring higher is there was no particular scene that stood out. Of course the performances are memorable but no one scene sticks in your head long after this film is made. 

8. Dunkirk-  This film definitely had engaging visuals but did not quite connect on an emotional level like I was expecting it too. Christopher Nolan often creates an immersive story telling experience and this film while a true homage to visual artistry just did not capture  me on a emotional level like other films of this nature have in the past. For the sake of Dunkirk what really stopped this film from being much higher was the level of talent spread out amongst the film in seemingly throwaway roles with little to no emotional depth added to any character.

7. Wind River- One of Jeremy Renner’s personal best performances in his career Wind River benefits from the simplicity of the plot while still generating powerful performances from the entire cast. We catch a glimpse into what happens when people with pent up agression spend too much time away from the cities and Jon Bernthal turns in one hell of a performance in one of the films smallest but most crucial roles. Filled with dreary landscape and emotion, Wind River delivers a very sobering look at life for many Native-Americans.

6. Justice League- Probably going to catch a lot of flack for including this and placing it so high but who gives a damn. Justice League was a great fun action flick which gave us proper introductions to some of my favorite DC characters. Ezra Miller as The Flash was amazing and Aquaman and Mera looked badass together. It was a good team effort for long time fans of DC and there is more potential for things to come. Justice League balanced everything well and left me entertained and wanting more of my favorite DC character. Flashpoint cannot arrive soon enough. We all know the potential that storyline brings to the DCEU with the ability to right any of the wrongs that have happened and it could also serve as the catalyst for the next phase of DC related adventures.

5. Get Out- Jordan Peele directed the first of two horror films that are going to make the list. This movie was weird and crazy right from the start and it was one of the best horror films I have had the pleasure of watching. Jordan Peele is on the cusp of great things and this movie was one hell of a debut. Get Out challenged the norms of a genre that needs some fresh breath and Get Out most definitely helped out in that respect. A good physcholigical thriller can be more engaging than a straight slasher horror film and Peele was expertly able to weave the two together effortlessly and the final product definitely displayed the strengths of all sub genres under the banner of horror.

4. The Lego Batman Movie- This movie was awesome thanks in large part to the chemistry between Will Arnett and Michael Cera and that comes from their days on Arrested Development. This movie was a much different take on Bruce Wayne and Batman and it was more comedic with a tone that is definitely made for adults. All the classic Batman characters are present and with a much lighter approach with a very gifted voice cast. Animation usually is not my thing but most animated movies are not a satirical look at some of my favorite comic book characters designed to primarily look like a kids movie because it is Lego. This is just a continuation of fine Lego movies. 

3. Spider-Man: Homecoming- Marvel has their webslinger back and he is here too stay. Tom Holland is the defentive Spiderman that the MCU needs moving forward. Moving forward this character has so many directions he can take. Marvel did a great job skipping the whole origin story and jumping right into life with Peter Parker and Aunt May. Keaton was good as Vulture and provided a darker approach in a series debut and the seeds have been laid for more villains to come. There are many characters referenced from within the Spider-Man universe and while it is still unknown what characters will inevitably make it to the bigscreen the best thing the MCU can have right now is a little bit of unpredictabilty amidst a sea of films that draw from the same formula.

2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri- Frances McDormand commands the screen in a way that we hardly ever get to witness. Martin McDonagh creates characters that have flaws and he is not afraid to explore those faults and create realistic situations for them to be displayed. A long with McDormand, Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Sam Rockwell and John Hawkes round out the supporting cast that help nail home the emotionally crippling scenes. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is top of the class film making from a director that has not had a misfire yet. Three Billboards is the type of film that is sure to grab award attention and the campaign for it to win is one I can definitely get behind.

1. It- A year when horror makes a splash the genre was highlighted by the critical and box office successes of remake to an already bone chilling movie. This version of It was much different. Less of the creepy Uncle clown vibe and more of straight monstrosity type vibe thanks in large part to Bill Skarsgard for layering his Pennywise performance with just the right amount of charisma and the right amount of intensity. It was great film from start to finish and Skarsgard early on cemented his legacy in the horror genre with some fantastic acting in the opeing scene and then it just never let up and allowed the young cast the chance to show how bright their futures will be. Bring on the horrors that come with Chapter 2. It should be just as good if not better as next time around there will be more adult themes that can be explored. If the one constant remains in Bill Skarsgard turning in another physchologically damaging performance there is no doubt that purchasing the two part box set will be a must down the road.

Advertisements

Best of Television 2017

10. White Famous (Showcase)- This is one of the funniest new shows around. Having the ability to use secondary characters from Californication has both helped and hurt the show. It is a fun throwback to a show many people adore while it simaltaneously reminds us that there is only one Hank Moody. It is a good thing Tom Kapinos makes Floyd a character with his own path to take and one that we can definitely care about. The show certainly reels in the immaturity and shows the effects of a Hollywood lifestyle in a more serious tone as the series progresses.

9. A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix) Neil Patrick Harris is delightful as the sinister Count Olaf and these books have all the juicy drama that is made for Television. Plus Patrick Warburton helps make the narrative that much more sarcastic and effective. One of the oddest shows on Netflix but most definitely one of the most fun and engaging.

8. Gotham (Fox)- Gotham is a show that you just can’t hate. It has some very cheesy momemts but ultimately it is a refreshing take on the most iconic of Batman characters. Again lead by Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot and Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock Gotham is a darker show that is venturing into some new territory now that Bruce is a teenager. The addition of Crystal Reed as Sofia Falcone has also rejuvenated the show adding a stronger more engaging female presence as the show has previously done a bad job of handling female characters apart from Selina. Gotham has previously been hit or miss with certain storylines over the course of its run but the narrative has been tigther and more methodical in the approach to story telling. 

7. Empire (Fox)- The biggest drop on this list belongs to Empire. After the end of Season three it should have been a much better season 4 but it has just felt slow and not progressive. Empire has felt the shift in other ways as well with ratings continuing to fall. Mostly thanks in large part to the musical talent of the cast Empire still has a spot on this list. This is most likely just a bump in the creative flow of television writing but I really want to see Empire jump back into the top 5 in 2018. It was once a show you could not turn away from and now it is a solid show but is lacking something in the drama department this season.

6. Dear White People ( Netflix)- Based on the 2014 film of the same name Dear White People is also a story that is much better suited for television than film. Netflix allows the show to push boundries and continue to make relevant social commentary. As soon as this show was announced it was expected to generate buzz and people even called for boycotts of the show because of the same. Kudos to Netflix for allowing them to push back and for renewing the show for a second season. Strong acting and writing. Cannot wait to see more.

5. The Flash (CW)- The fifth spot on the list is not a punishment for the Flash. The story has been lighter and the Thinker has been a very refreshing change of pace compared to all the Speedster villains. The Flash is still one of the coolest shows on television with a well rounded cast who week in and week out continue to shine. Cisco continues to be the comedic relief and the dynamic between Barry and the rest of the team continues to be the shows driving force. Keep running Barry, the show is as good as it has ever been. Crisis on Earth X was a highlight for all four Arrowverse shows which definitely showcased the amazing women on all four shows.

4. Longmire (Netflix)- The sixth and final season of Longmire was bittersweet in so many regards. Arguably it was the strongest from a narrative standpoint the show has ever been. It was taking us one final ride with our favorite old school sheriff Walter Longmire that earned it a spot on the list. It brought resolution to each one of the key players through the first five seasons and absolutely left the door open for more down the road. For now this was one hell of a swan song for a show that has always been fun, smart and easy to follow. Thanks for the ride Sheriff Longmire and the Absaroka County Sherrifs department.

3. This is Us (NBC)- Last years first place finisher is back near the top again thanks to more emotion and more tears. This is Us continues to be one of the very best in terms of story telling, dramatics and tear jerking moments. NBC most certainly has a true drama on its hands, one thats extraordinary cast cannot be praised enough for the fine performances they turn in each and every week. Thank you Pearson family for allowing us to share moments with you, express our emotions to the situations in our own lives that need handling and for allowing us to grow with these incredible characters every week.

2.13 Reasons Why (Netflix)- This show broke me. It left me sobbing in my living room at 2:30 am when I finished the season. I was mad at Clay for not talking to Hannah about what had happened. I was shocked by the events that lead to Hannah Bakers suicide and I was ultimately broken by watching helplessly as she took her own life on the screen (a scene that is haunting and tragic and acted with too much realism by Katherine Langford). Thirteen Reasons Why left so much up in the air as the season concluded but the emotion and sheer force of the actors raw display of talent earns Thirteen Reasons Why a spot on the list.

1. The Punisher (Netflix)- Jon Bernthal is a beast of an actor and all his talent is on display here. The first few episodes allow us to reconnect with Castle in his new life while introducing properly all the new players in what will become the season long story. Frank is a man destroyed by the things he has done in the past and broken by what he has lost but also hell bent on making sure those who hurt him feel the same pain he did. Bernthal shifts between the two effortlessly and creates a Frank Castle with layers which is something we have not seen before. His cast mates elevate their game mostly when sharing screen time with him but the story was well crafted and picked up exactly when it needed to. The moment when all the key players motives were established and the story could ramp up the action to the finale was when the show really excelled. Top notch entertainment that dealt with some heavy themes such as betrayal, brotherhood, murder and PTSD. Marvel and Netflix this is your best show to date. I cannot wait to see more of this great series.