TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2017
By Jay Roberts
Another year has gone by and it is time for anyone with an opinion to reveal their picks for the best movies of 2017. While I haven't seen nearly as many films as some other people I know, I did see a number of films that I enjoyed. I know that many will have Star Wars: The Last Jedi on their list and I initially planned on including it as well. However, as I crafted my list, I realized that I had more and more problems with the movie and thus it ended up dropping out of the top 10. I guess you can call it my Disappointment of the Year.
As for what I liked, the movies had to be released in the 2017 calendar year to be considered for inclusion. It should be noted that I own six of the ten films on DVD at this point.
01. LOGAN - Not only was this the best movie to feature the X-Men universe, but it was a great movie overall. The performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart were outstanding and though I'm sure that being a "comic book" movie will be held against them, their work deserves Oscar nomination consideration.
02. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS - I have a soft spot for most of the movies in this series but what I really like most is how they manage to give not only the all out action sequences that is demanded but also continually expands the characters and their stories. Even though this film featured a development I hated so very much, I was entertained from start to finish and can't wait for the next installment.
03. THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD - Hilarious one liners and an amazing amount of profanity highlight this unwilling buddy comedy with Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson on the run from people trying to kill them. You could thrill to the action scenes in one moment and then find yourself busting a gut laughing the next.
04. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES - The seemingly final chapter in this new Planet of the Apes trilogy finds the apes on the run from yet another unprovoked attack by the humans. But that is just the bare bones breakdown. This was a well told tale and the best out of the three movies. If this was a just world, Andy Serkis would get his due for the performance he gives as Caesar.
05. WIND RIVER - A taut, gripping murder mystery thriller set on a Wyoming Indian Reservation during the winter, where the weather can be just as deadly as a bullet (or deadlier). Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene star in the film and they all do excellent jobs. Greene is especially good as the chief of the Tribal Police. The film looks at various issues affecting the reservation and its citizens while telling a great mystery story. That is until the final act which I had big problems with how things were written. Despite the glaring plot hole in that final act, this was still a pretty entertaining movie.
06. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 - I think the first movie was far superior but I did tend to enjoy Round 2 with Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Baby Groot. While there was a little too much in the way of humor that fell flat (as opposed to how well it worked at other points in the movie), I think the main problem I had with the movie was having Sylvester Stallone show up as one of the Ravagers. It took me right out of the movie because you didn't see him playing a character, you just saw Stallone.
07. MEGAN LEAVEY - Based on a true story, this movie tells the story of a woman from a scarred family background who joins the Marines and eventually becomes paired with Rex, a military working dog trained as a bomb sniffer. The film details their initial training and bonding, their time deployed in Iraq and Leavey's quest to adopt Rex when his bomb sniffing duties come to an end. It is a well told story with a solid performance from Kate Mara in the lead role.
08. HIDDEN FIGURES - This is another movie that was based on a true story focusing on three African American women who worked at NASA in the 1960s as preparations were being made to send the first astronauts into space. There's a huge well known cast in the movie but they told this story as straightforward as they could without adding too much in the way of cheap sentimentality. By letting the story be told that way, it made for a more interesting and effective film.
09. WONDER WOMAN - I really liked this movie. Well for the most part. I had two problems with it. The first is that casting David Thewlis as Ares the God of War was just a bad decision. I'm sure the argument will be made that going against type was a good idea, but it just made for a seemingly weak villain in my eyes. Storywise, that was my chief problem. I think this was a good but not great movie and this is where the second problem I had comes in. Because the movie was directed by a woman, the female audience seemed to go out of its way to completely overpraise it. Hey, I liked it...it's on my Top 10 list for cripe's sake. But unlike Logan, it did not transcend the genre.
10. JUSTICE LEAGUE - Other than Wonder Woman, The DC Universe movies have tended to be almost uniformly drab, dreary and awful. So I had very low expectations for Justice League. So you can imagine how surprised I was to find myself quite entertained by this one. Yes, the villain was kind of lame but I really dug everything else going on in the movie. And I never thought I'd find myself thinking that.
Just missing my best of list was American Assassin and Gifted. The worst movies of the year for me were: Thor: Ragnarok, The Book of Henry and Atomic Blonde.
WInd River looks like it would be awesome. Since I grew up in the Yellowstone region (Idaho side) this has a hometown appeal to me. Kind of the way that Netflix series, Longmire, does.
The Longmire series is utterly fantastic. I still haven't seen Season 6. I don't have Netflix so I have to wait until it comes out on DVD.
And like I said, Wind River was superb until the last act. If it had been a better last act, it would've been given more serious consideration for my #1 movie of the year.
Eight is the only one I have seen and I thought it was good. I would like to see 3, 4, 5 and 6. Never could get into The Fast & The Furious franchise.
Let me know if you get around to seeing those and what you think of them.