The Year in Film: 2017

In this age of nostalgia-driven entertainment, the best works explore the past rather than allow it distract us from the present. Too many bad sequels, prequels and remakes merely restaged an established story for a cynical cash-grab for those seeking easy escape or willing to accept their lowered expectation. On the other hand, some of the year’s best were not only original works but sequels, reinstated franchises and reconfigured narratives that came back stronger than ever.

The Best

  1.  Blade Runner 2049– In a year full of sequels, this one came with the most baggage. Made decades later by a new director, for a generation that grew up on the 1982 original, this one could gave very easily failed big. Instead, director Denis Villeneuve’s entrancing, complex work is less a chapter two than a companion piece that stands alone and might even, incredibly, be better. There isn’t a bad scene or performance anywhere in this is, as every moment is masterful in its composition and the stack of ideas it builds. Somehow both dreadfully sad and hopeful, it asks simple and forever valid questions: is there any humanity left in a world run by powerful corporations and, really, just what does it mean to be human? Villeneueve’s prior works had always been building towards this, a suitably hypnotic, risky and intelligent work of science fiction that hones in on the nature of true identity.
  2. All The Money in the World– Ridley Scott’s roaring depiction of how money defines and corrupts.
  3. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)– Noah Baumbach’s funniest, most insightful film yet.
  4. In This Corner of the World– Sunao Katabutchi’s insightful animated masterpiece on art and war.
  5. Columbus– Kogonada’s moving drama is the best of its kind since “Before Sunrise.”
  6. IT– Yes, it’s scary, but also a smart and compassionate look at a haunted childhood.
  7. War For the Planet of the Apes– A landmark in this franchise as worthy as the 1968 original.
  8. John Wick: Chapter 2– A fierce and amazing work of action cinema. This year’s “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  9. The Disaster Artist– James Franco’s uproarious comedy made me laugh the hardest this year.
  10. Song to Song– Terrence Malick’s experiment offers intuitive performances and sublime moments.

Runner-Ups: Jane, Alien Covenant, The Beguiled, Coco  and Wind River


The Worst

  1. Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween– Barely a movie, as every scene feels like an outtake from a dated sitcom. Tyler Perry’s best films are scrappy and made with passion, which in no way describes this one. I like Madea but the character needs a long hiatus and Perry needs to put his heart back into his work.
  2. Kingsman- The Golden Circle– Foul from top to bottom, with a gratuitous Elton John cameo.
  3. The Mummy– Tom Cruise has never been in a film this shockingly bad before, not even “Cocktail.”
  4. Fifty Shades Darker– What was initially tacky-bad is now just dull. Kim Basinger, why?!
  5. The Snowman– Val Kilmer’s dubbed cameo isn’t the only baffling thing about this failed mystery.
  6. Transformers: The Last Knight– Anthony Hopkins should’ve stayed in “Westworld” and not this.
  7. Snatched– A crushing letdown, as a grating Amy Schumer and poor Goldie Hahn couldn’t save it.
  8. King Arthur- Legend of the Sword– an obnoxious and thankfully DOA franchise studio “event.”
  9. The Great Wall– aside from “The Disaster Artist, this is the year’s funniest movie.
  10. The Book of Henry– What on Earth were they thinking? “Radio Flyer” meets Jason Bourne?!

Runner Ups- Rings, Justice League, A Bad Mom’s Christmas, The Emoji Movie, CHIPS


Better Than Expected

Annabelle: Creation

The Lego Batman Movie

Power Rangers



Good but Seriously Overrated

Baby Driver


Murder on the Orient Express

The Post

The Shape of Water

Wonder Woman


Flawed but Occasionally Brilliant

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets


Rock Solid

Get Out

A Ghost Story

The Hero


Insanely Overlooked

A Cure For Wellness



Guilty Pleasures

The Dark Tower

The Fate of the Furious

Girls Trip

Kong: Skull Island



Big Disappointments

All Eyez On Me

The Bad Batch

Battle of the Sexes

Beatriz at Dinner

Beauty and the Beast

The Circle


Ghost in the Shell

Happy Death Day


Logan Lucky

The Lost City of Z

The Snowman

Spider-Man: Homecoming


Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri


Forgot I Even Saw This in the Theater


It Comes At Night


The Zoo Keeper’s Wife


Best Comic Book Movie

Atomic Blonde


Great Sequels

Alien: Covenant

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

John Wick: Chapter 2

T2 Trainspotting


Best Movie Poster

Alien Covenant


Remakes No One Asked For




The No Thanks, We’re Good- RIP Franchise Awards

A Bad Moms Christmas

Justice League

King Arthur- Legend of the Sword


xXx: Return of Xander Cage


Best Use of David Hasselhoff

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


Worst Use of David Hasselhoff



Proof That, even with Dwayne Johnson, a funny trailer and a powerful marketing campaign to back it,  There’s No Such Thing as a Sure Thing



Really Sorry I Missed