The best films of 2017

by on November 27, 2017 at 12:09 am in Film, Uncategorized | Permalink

I thought the year started very slowly, but later picked up, here were my favorites.  There are reviews behind the linked items, or occasionally a link to outside information.  With the foreign films, as always, I classify these according to the year I saw them, not the year of their initial overseas release.  Here goes:

Toni Erdmann (rollicking German satire about parents and children)

After the Storm (Japanese complacent class, plus pending doom)

Magnus (the chess prodigy)

Tower (animated with graphics, about the Texas tower shooting in Austin, history of violence and how people respond to it)

Wonder Woman

Paths of the Soul

Dunkirk (uses angles better than any movie ever)

Get Out (racial discrimination, plus a satire on both horror and Sidney Poitier)

Columbus (architecture in the Indiana town, when to leave home)

Two Trains Runnin’ (history of rediscovering the blues)

The Florida Project (the Brazilians and Cubans find American lower income groups tough to deal with)

Faces, Places (Agnes Varda, travel, memories, art, and the transience of it all)

Thor: Ragnarok

The Square (European intellectual mainstream is bankrupt)

For visuals and the staging of scenes, the winner was Dunkirk.  For social science, Get Out and The Square and Paths to the Soul (pilgrimage) were the richest.  If I had to pick a single winner, it would be the Chinese-Tibetan Paths to the Soul, replete with tales of signaling, social cooperation, journeying, and life and death, especially when seen on the large screen.

1 Steve Fritzinger November 27, 2017 at 12:26 am

I thought Get Out was a terrible horror movie. Predictable and dull, with enormous plot holes.

Spoilers.

If the bad guys could just kidnap black people off the street, as shown in the very first scene, why was the rest of the movie needed?

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2 Tom T. November 27, 2017 at 7:47 am

How often does it happen that a black man is walking vulnerably alone along a quiet suburban street? That first scene was a metaphor for police harassment. Remember, the movie is racial satire.

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3 Tanturn November 27, 2017 at 10:55 am

I doubt Tyler actually wretched the movie. It’s signaling.

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4 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 27, 2017 at 11:39 am

Oh, there are more direct ways to do that.

https://twitter.com/jerry_jtaylor/status/934916999251222528

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5 Brian Donohue November 27, 2017 at 12:27 pm

But there are hardly any Libertarians at all. Also, alt-right has been redefined to mean anyone not far left. Obama’s stance on gay marriage in 2008, e.g., is now an alt-right staple. And don’t even look at what alt-right monsters like Krugman were saying about borders and immigration a decade ago.

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6 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 27, 2017 at 12:50 pm

From the second link:

“I think this explains some of the right’s enthusiastic drive to rig future elections through congressional redistricting, disenfranchise voters with strict ID requirements (justified by specious panic about voter fraud), keep released felons from voting, and constrict the flow of immigrants likely to become or produce Democratic voters. But I don’t think mere hardball partisanship explains all of this. And it certainly doesn’t explain the shamelessness with which Republicans routinely stomp on civics class ideals of democratic participation and representation. The right’s unruffled conscience about grubby electoral realpolitik requires a justifying ideology. Some of this is bad, old-fashioned American racial ideology, of course. The Republican Party these days is more or less the party of older white people, especially white men, who don’t live in big cities. And the history of American democracy is not, to put it delicately, a history of country white folk insisting on democratic equality for others. But there’s more to it than that. As MacLean suggests, some of the right’s enabling anti-democratic ideas have distinctively libertarian roots.”

7 Anonymous November 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm

@Brian Dohohue, this is about the tenth time the same commenter has linked the same piece, irrelevant to the topic at hand. Don’t feed the troll.

8 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ November 27, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Taylor’s thread is brand new, and definitely tied to the MR subtext, what many of you would see as Tantrun’s “signaling.”

But you know. Maybe it explains why the “signaling” is more in vogue among moral leaning libertarians. Or libertarian leaning moralists.

9 Hazel Meade November 27, 2017 at 11:35 am

Get Out is not a horror movie, it is a comedy that plays on black people being afraid of whites – it’s a role reversal parody.
Instead of white people fearing black criminals and portraying blacks as exaggerrated gangster stereotypes, it’s imagining a world in which blacks are afraid of whites and all the white people are wierd stereotypes of what black people think of whites.
Rich, suburban white family with (at first appearance) black servants. The white woman as a predator/honey trap. The “appropriation” of black culture by literally becoming black people. The bizarre exaggeration of the cultural manners of white people.
To me it was all comedy gold. It’s a comedy about being afraid of whiteness that was literally made by black people for other black people. Totally unique.

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10 Brian Donohue November 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm

That was my take as well. The dude spouting the crazy conspiracy theory was right all along. Very funny movie.

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11 Hazel Meade November 27, 2017 at 9:17 pm

He’s a TSA agent. He handles shit.

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12 Larry November 27, 2017 at 12:26 am

Would any of those win for best imagination? Or truest?

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13 Gregory Blake Johnson November 27, 2017 at 12:29 am

seen 3 billboards outside ebbing missouri? my favorite so far, but didn’t see many movies this year.

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14 Brian Gibson November 27, 2017 at 12:34 am

This was not a good year for movies. Which probably makes sense given that last year was a pretty strong year.

I will have to watch Paths to the Soul.

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15 CalebO November 27, 2017 at 12:37 am

No Blade Runner 2049? I thought that film was totally sublime!

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16 Moo cow November 27, 2017 at 1:30 am

So they say. Idk though…

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17 Chip November 27, 2017 at 7:13 am

The only movie this year that I wanted to watch again immediately.

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18 Just Another MR Commentator November 27, 2017 at 9:08 am

Extremely Muuhhhh movie for nerd fanboys.

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19 JCW November 27, 2017 at 9:41 am

+1 for Blade Runner–I found it transcendent. That said, I’m not sure how well it would speak to you if you hadn’t seen and liked the first one. The sequel was clearly a love letter (and all the more impressive for it, given how often those kinds of movies go wrong).

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20 Just Another MR Commentor November 27, 2017 at 10:21 am

“I found it transcendent”

It was okay. WTF is wrong with your weirdos?

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21 Khalil November 27, 2017 at 4:23 pm

+1 to these comments. It was a sequel that I had simultaneously not been expecting and waiting to see for 25 years. To have a new closure on probably my favourite film of all time (after more than two decades!) was very moving on a personal level. So it’s probably quite difficult to be objective about it.

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22 Andrea Ostrov Letania November 27, 2017 at 1:41 am

Wonder Woman?

Why don’t you grow up?

It’s freaking pathetic a grown up man listing some buxom babe movie as one of his favs.

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23 Ali Choudhury November 27, 2017 at 2:53 am

It was decently acted and the leads had great chemistry. My wife loved it for being an action movie where the women were not put in ridiculous costumes for the purposes of slavering over.

Also I’ve never understood the concept of showing up to comment on a blog by calling the author pathetic. It’s akin to walking into someone’s house and insulting them. Definitely not grown-up behaviour. It would be like me going to your blog and saying your “neo-fascist” site reads like a parody site written by someone who has experienced constant rejection and humiliation by women.

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24 OneGuy November 27, 2017 at 10:19 am

You do understand that mother nature designed women to be “slavered over” and that all/most women are quite happy with that fact of life until they grow old and are no longer slavered over and then in jealousy and anger they resent it..

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25 Ali Choudhury November 27, 2017 at 4:42 pm

LOL Maybe if your sample size is restricted to strippers.

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26 OneGuy November 27, 2017 at 5:08 pm

So what you are saying is you are naive and do not understand sexual attraction. You are here simply because of the sexual attraction your mother induced in your father. It is a biological imperative. Men are attracted to women who (Little Richard said it best) She got everything that Uncle John needs.

27 Blades November 29, 2017 at 9:06 pm

Ali, well done!!

28 Edward November 27, 2017 at 3:05 am

Same man who said he didn’t like Amazon bookstores because there are comic books on display.

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29 Andrea Ostrov Letania November 27, 2017 at 1:42 am

BABY DRIVER is obnoxious but ingeniously made by Edgar Wright, a true wizard.

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30 So Much For Subtlety November 27, 2017 at 7:00 am

Definitely obnoxious. And Kevin Spacey is disappointing. The romance is unbelievable as are the crimes. John Hamm is fine but not particularly impressive. However Jamie Foxx is brilliant as a psychopath’s psychopath. In fact he is almost the only thing that stands out in a generally disappointing film.

It is interesting for Foxx because he played Baby’s role, more or less, in Collateral with Tom Cruise of all people doing an excellent job of the psychopathic murderer. So he has played both sides of that role.

In movie trivia, Foxx missed out on an Oscar in 2004 for his role in Collateral. It went to Morgan Freeman. Not for Driving Miss Daisy or The Shawshank Redemption but for the anti-Christian sermon Million Dollar Baby. Foxx should have thrown a pedophile priest off a skyscraper or something.

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31 Ali Choudhury November 27, 2017 at 3:00 am

Move of the year for me would be Logan. It delivered a fair number of heavy emotional punches. Dunkirk was good and another marvel of film-making by Nolan but the really spare character development and use of non-stars did not make it easy to be invested in the stories of those on the beach.

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32 Steve November 27, 2017 at 3:38 am

2017 was a great year; Top 3: Bladerunner2049, Logan and Baby Driver. I also really enjoyed Trip to Spain and strangely, The Circle

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33 jb November 27, 2017 at 4:15 am

A little bit it is still 2017.
What about Coco, Call me by your name, and Lady Macbeth just to mention a few.

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34 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 4:51 am

Such is life in Trump’s America.

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35 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Stop impersonating me!

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36 Grammarian November 27, 2017 at 4:59 am

Paths “of” the Soul, not “to”; different meaning.

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37 Dave Birch November 27, 2017 at 5:12 am

Loved “Baby Driver”. If you turn the movie off when he gets arrested on the bridge, it’s a great movie. If you watch to the end, it’s a good movie.

And yes Dunkirk – I liked this way more than I was expecting.

My friends tell me that the movie of the year is “Paddington 2” but I haven’t seen it yet.

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38 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 6:26 am

I still can’t go over the fact “Columbus” is not about the detective.

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39 Alistair November 27, 2017 at 6:58 am

” If I had to pick a single winner, it would be the Chinese-Tibetan Paths to the Soul, replete with tales of signalling…”

Of course, picking a Chinese-Tibetan film entitled “Paths to the Soul” is a VERY specific signal in its own right. And that signal is *EXPLETIVES DELETED*

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40 So Much For Subtlety November 27, 2017 at 7:07 am

I might agree about the signalling but it is hard to tell without seeing the film. However the Tibetans can make pretty good movies. The 1999 film The Cup is actually not bad. It is not absolutely brilliant but it is a nice story that is told well. Unlike most Hollywood films, it is made by people who do not hate their culture, their people, their religion and their way of life at any rate.

I would say it is self-recommending but unfortunately the only people who could benefit from a self-recommendation are the sort of people I do not much care for.

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41 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 7:12 am

“Unlike most Hollywood films, it is made by people who do not hate their culture, their people, their religion and their way of life at any rate”.

Maybe Hollywood folks hate your culture, your people, your religion and your way of life. Or they would if they thought about you as much as you think about them.

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42 So Much For Subtlety November 27, 2017 at 7:17 am

And the clown nose comes off. I take your point. It is my culture. Not theirs.

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43 A Truth Seeker November 27, 2017 at 7:25 am

After decades ranting against Hollywood (we have our equivalent cultural war battles), Conservatives (or whatever you may want to call yourself) have kept an inspiring fresh ability for pretending they are surprised and outraged by it. It is only matched by the Democrats’ ability to dexide the new Republican president, as opposed to all the previous Republican presidents they attacked, is the apex of evil.

Yes, your culture is not Hollywood’s, and I happy I don’t have to live neither.

44 Brian Donohue November 27, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Well, Clooney spent enough time thinking about suburban life to crap out Suburbicon (didn’t make Tyler’s list), a trenchant critique of suburban life made by folks in Hollywood who have a real handle on things. Hollywood puts out such trenchant critiques regularly.

I, on the other hand, made zero films about life in Hollywood in the past year.

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45 Tom T. November 27, 2017 at 7:41 am

OK, so how many of these obscurities did Tyler actually see, as opposed to hearing an NPR podcast about them? 🙂

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46 Raj Patel November 27, 2017 at 8:31 am

Creep 2 was a good film. Watch Creep first though. Creep is on Netflix, Creep 2 is on Amazon.

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47 Todd November 27, 2017 at 8:38 am

A Ghost Story, A Quiet Passion, Get Out

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48 Ted Craig November 27, 2017 at 8:57 am

After the Storm (Japanese complacent class, plus pending doom)

You could use the same description for Shin Godzilla.

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49 Echarles November 27, 2017 at 9:35 am

This list seems premature unless you have seen this:

-Professor Marston And The Wonder Women
-The Killing of a Sacred Deer
-Call Me by Your Name
-The Disaster Artist
-The Shape of Water
-Lady Bird
-Three Billboard Outside Ebbing Missouri
-I, Tonya

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50 Corey November 27, 2017 at 9:37 am

Thank you Tyler for recommending After the Storm. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise & I quite enjoyed it.

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51 peri November 27, 2017 at 11:24 am

So TC liked “Thor” solely because somebody’s accent reminded him of the funny deadpan kid in “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and there was some Maori set decoration but “Wonder Woman”‘s plot was apparently worth pondering.

Has he ever signalled that he found something a rollicking good time full stop?

Really, though, I enjoy his reviews. He’s unusual in being a reader with an attention span for movies and I would never know about these things otherwise.

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52 Hoosier November 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Colossal was better and more interesting than Wonder Woman by far. Haven’t seen Thor but I have my doubts after having seen a few of the other massively overrated marvel universe films.

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53 Hazel Meade November 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I saw a 2016 film just recently called ‘The Handmaid’. It’s a Korean film noir with lesbian erotic elements. We only saw the extended version, but it felt perfectly cut in that version even at almost 3 hours long, so I would just go straight for the extended version. It’s got a great intricate plot with multiple twists, and also is interesting for being set during the early 20th century when Korean and Japanese people were adopting Western styles of dress. This is what makes it work so well as a noir – everyone’s Asian ,but they’re still wearing the styles of the noir films of the 1930s, except when wrapped in a traditional Kimono.

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54 Ted Craig November 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

It’s a Korean adaptation of “Fingersmith.”

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55 Hazel Meade November 27, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Also, ‘Tulip Fever’ is very good. I won’t say great, but a beautifully produced, well written, acted, and directed piece, as you would expect from the Weinstein Company.

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56 Ricardo November 27, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Wow. Toni Erdmann? Really? Uber long. Uber tedious. Uber unrealistic. Uber stupid. Uber unfunny. One of the very worst movies I have ever seen in my 1/2 century on this planet-can’t believe I didn’t follow your edict with books and cut my loses after about 20 mins. of watching that super dreck. I can’t believe I ended up watching that whole thang! Ugh! Kubrick would be uber mad at me!

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57 aaron December 4, 2017 at 1:23 pm

I saw Loving Vincent this weekend. I highly recommend it.

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