CRITTICKS PICKS — Adam’s Favorite Films of 2017
Honorable Mentions: Get Out, I, Tonya, Good Time, The Disaster Artist, Wonder Woman, Coco, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Dunkirk, Thor: Ragnarok, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
James Mangold’s Logan is a blessing for the superhero genre. It’s a gnarly, dark, brooding, and violent flick that is simultaneously beautiful, touching, and wonderfully unique. It’s rare that in this day and age of superhero filmmaking to get a sense of finality for these characters. Logan provides a masterful and fitting swansong for not only the character of Wolverine, but also Hugh Jackman’s incredible portrayal of him.
9. The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro has always been a filmmaker that I admired, but none of his previous films made me fall in love the same way The Shape of Water did. From the absolutely mesmerizing production value and cinematography to the loveable characters and sweeping romance – this is without a doubt one of the most original and absolute best films of the year.
8. The Big Sick
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon have one of the craziest true-love stories I’ve ever heard, and thankfully, they were able to make it into a movie. Even better, they were able to make it into a movie that captures the craziness, the heart, and the honesty of it all in such a beautiful way. The Big Sick is not only one of the best films of the year, but it is one of the most culturally important and feel-good films that I’ve seen in many.
7. Blade Runner 2049
I always believed that one sequel that should never be made was that of Blade Runner. The best bits of the original is the ambiguity that gives it a lifeline of discussions decades later. Sequels, by their sheer existence, should tarnish that mystery. Denis Villeneuve proved me wrong on nearly every level. He not only made a film that is one of the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen, both thematically and visually, but he crafted a sequel that is somehow just as good as it’s all-time great predecessor. Blade Runner 2049 finds the sweet spot of building this world, enriching its themes and messages, but also maintaining the mystery of these characters intact. This is one of the best sequels of all time.
6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh films aren’t made to cater to mainstream audiences. They are often vulgar, darkly funny, depressing, and usually, include some type of underlying themes underneath of the craziness that occurs. Three Billboards is my new personal favorite from the writer/director, as he not only hits his heights of craziness but makes something much more sincere and potent than I was ever expecting. If Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell don’t get some love at the Oscars in a few months then what are these awards shows even for?
5. Call Me By Your Name
Out of all the films that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this year, I don’t know if I’ve seen one that is as quietly beautiful and touching as Call Me By Your Name is. Luca Guadagnino is a director who does without the typical three-act structure found in most films and gives these characters plenty of space to breathe and live. This may turn off some viewers, but I got captured into the lives of these characters from the get-go and by the end, I felt everything that they felt.
4. Baby Driver
Edgar Wright has always been one of my favorite directors. His attention to detail has always been one of his most admirable qualities, but with Baby Driver he goes above and beyond in that regard. Every moment is set to a particular beat or tune that fits the flow of the narrative and pace. This is a colorful, exciting, gorgeously shot, and absolutely breathtakingly original masterpiece from Wright. An all-time technical achievement for cinema, but a goddamn’ blast of energy as well.
3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The least controversial film of the year! Rian Johnson took every bit of nostalgia and idea of what Star Wars was supposed to be and threw it over a cliff. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an ambitious, dark, and truly original spectacle of blockbuster filmmaking. Aside from Mad Max: Fury Road, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an entry in a franchise that is as bold and comfortable in its own skin as this one was. By the end, I was moved and mesmerized by everything that I saw. Are you prepared for even more controversy? It might even be my new favorite Star Wars film. Let the past die.
2. Lady Bird
Lady Bird feels like you’re watching someone else’s memories; as if every bit of heartache, confusion, and beauty that they felt as a teenager was somehow transferred onto the screen in the format of a 90-minute film. The authenticity that Greta Gerwig captures is so sweet and real that it simply made my heart soar. Maybe this one cuts deep for me because very recently I felt the same well Lady Bird felt, and had the same realizations about life that she does. Even if this does his particularly close to home for me in nearly every regard, it’s still one of the finest achievements for cinema this year.
1. The Florida Project
Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is one that I haven’t been able to get out of my head ever since I saw it back in October. By all standards, a film about poverty and living in a motel with a fairly awful parent should be a hard-watch. However, this is one of the most gorgeous and moving films that I’ve seen in a very long time with an insane amount of entertainment value. It’s never once a drag to get through, and the emotional beats punch you in the gut. It’s an amazing to skill to be able to capture such raw authenticity and realism in your films – to the point of where it feels like you’re no longer watching one. The Florida Project feels like you’re peeking into the lives of people you weren’t aware existed, and may even be living closer than you think.