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I, Brandon’s Top 10 Films Of 2017!

No matter what the final box office tally winds up being, that doesn’t matter in terms of the quality of films that 2017 delivered.  While for a long time it seemed like it only had one true Best Picture frontrunner, that’s a whole different bag because there are a lot of awesome films we know they won’t let sniff a nomination. And, that whole Oscar thing seemed to fill out quite easily in the final months of the year. In terms of just speaking genre, specifically the falsely loathed super hero one, it was a pretty outstanding year. Aside from Justice League (Which I found to be a mess, but fun enough regardless), every output felt top tier, with Marvel seeming to have a welcomed comedic approach to its movies this year. There will be focus on box office misses, but that doesn’t make War For The Planet of the Apes any less incredible or Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets the best summer blockbuster film you didn’t go and see. Sure, there were turds and if you’re paying attention in this, you’ll know my bottom 5. 2017 produced a lot of greatness and this list was DAMN hard to whittle down to 10.  It pained me to cut some favorites, but my next would be all films I loved quite a bit (Oddly, I’ll probably watch Happy Death Day as the years go by more often than some of these).  But, anywho…here’s my 10.

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10. mother!

What a trip this film was, and I loved it all. Its a bit heavy handed, but Aronofsky is just really letting loose and going all in here. The film is quite bold and just never quits. Every performer here is on point and the film utilizes Kristin Wiig in the most unique possible way. No, not a film for everyone, but its super arthouse and very challenging. Not everyone is like me either and appreciates when a horror film actually punches you in the gut and truly disturbs you. Some people just like traditional tactsics and a quick “Boo” and to go home (Which I do enjoy as well).

9. Blade Runner 2049

I was against this movie existing as I found the original Blade Runner to be a complete entity in and of itself. There was nowhere else to go. But, as they kept making great behind the scenes decisions and the trailers gave me the “feels”, I happily ate crow when the film became the perfect compliment to the original. It also stands on its own two feet as well and is one of the most amazing films of the year in just the pure cinema visual aspect. The sex scene in the film is possibly the greatest visual/special effects in all of 2017. I’m excited for this to come to 4K UHD soon so I can just wrap myself around it more and more for years to come. After some years, I’m sure this could climb the list higher, as its a film like the original that will continue to unlock itself over time.

8. Logan

Its hard for a movie to deliver on such a damn good trailer, and Logan’s was an all timer, but it did. This became the perfect whirlwind for the evolution of the comic book super hero movie and was a great send off not just for Hugh Jackman, but Patrick Stewart as well. While many will nit pick on continuity or how this fits or what it means for the end of Days of Future Past…I really don’t care. As someone who was a fan of convoluted comic book continuities, reboots, crises, ages of apocalypses and whatnot…I’m down with being loose and appreciate the well done one off movie. When I first saw the film I had a really minor nit pick or quibble (Clone Logan instead of bringing back Sabretooth), but that has since gone away and I’ve found appreciation in what that actually means to the characters with what they gave me instead of what I thought they should have done.  Anywho, in a year of fantastic comic book movies, this one stood tall as my favorite.

7. Get Out

In a year that was quite prosperous and surging for the horror genre, none was better than Jordan Peele’s instant classic. The film featured a unique eye, social commentary, good scares, the sunken place, great characters and some really good humor. It was everything. This film is going to stick in pop culture for a long time. You’ve heard the term “sunken place” whether correctly or incorrectly reference all year long and probably will for quite some time to come.  Hell, its even interested those who aren’t even into horror movies and they’ve gone ahead and checked it out because it was that much of a cultural touchstone.

6. Lady Bird

Long time Greta Gerwig fan and so happy to see her film has been such a huge success. I’m really really attached to this one as it moved me quite a bit and its ultimately a really sweet, innocent and genuine coming of age story from an honest perspective.  Granted, I’m of the same generation as Lady Bird, she’d have been about 3 years younger than me, so maybe I can relate to the period and how things were.  While I’m a DMB fanatic and appreciate their usage in the film, how cool is it that a Reel Big Fish song made it into a highly regarded and possible awards contending film? This one really reminded me of all the things I loved about Ghost World and Saved! while ultimately being its own thing.

5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Disney has made this lifelong Star Wars fan quite happy the last 3 years. As you’ve noticed, each one of them has made my top 10. And hell, ultimately this probably would be my #1. I freaking LOVED The Last Jedi. While I was a  big fan The Force Awakens, it had a lot of hollow set ups that Rian Johnson took care of and handled with an incredible expertise that only strengthened that film. The Last Jedi truly has been the best Star Wars film we’ve seen since Empire (An overused phrase, I know), as it came full of unpredictable twists and turns and really pushed and challenged the Star Wars universe as a whole. There are great character arcs with layering and depth that only strengthens with each revisit. Plus, the opening sequence and the final hour of the film deliver some of the most pulse pounding and intense Star Wars action of all time. With the Star Wars universe, I’m someone who wants different, I want risks, I want something that has me not knowing what’s next. And for the first time EVER in the Star Wars saga, I have no idea what’s coming in the next episode and that’s incredibly exciting to me.

4. Detroit

Maybe the most baffling thing about the films of 2017 is how Detroit just came, got great reviews, underwhelmed at the box office, then just disappeared for discussion and probably won’t even make much of a peep at the Oscars. Kathryn Bigelow’s depiction of the events of a true story during the Detroit riots might be one of the biggest and sadly still relevant stories told in film this year. Not only is the film an eye opening and educational experience, its also one that has you clutching tightly to anything near as you watch in horror as this unlawful interrogation unfolds before your eyes. Will Poulter is SUCH a bastard in this, you just want to cause the guy physical harm after seeing it and he’s so damn good, had this been a big hit, he’d never be able to play a sympathetic protagonist again. Bigelow’s direction is top notch as always and the film plays as much suspense as it does horror. It’s hard not to be glued to this movie. Detroit is one of the most important films of the year, its now available on Blu-ray/DVD/Streaming…go frickin’ watch it.

3. Dunkirk

If there was one film that absolutely demanded you see it on the big screen this year, its Dunkirk. And you needed to do this damn thing right, IMAX 70mm. If all you had near you was a fake IMAX…then, that’s better than nothing. Christopher Nolan shot this damn thing almost ENTIRELY with IMAX cameras, engulfing the viewer right in the thick of this escape. Paced like a Hitchcock chase thriller, the film opts for going at a core level of chase thrills with light characters that keep us on our toes with their true intentions. No, I’m sorry, but like Snoke, you don’t need a full set of biographies on these people to make the film work. The film is built on the thrill of the chase and the technical craft. If you have a hard time finding sympathy for soldiers being shot at and hunted by Nazis, then I don’t know what to tell you. The dogfight scenes in this film are breathtaking and worth your time seeing it in the theater alone. Nolan continues to impress me even in his weaker efforts, though Dunkirk proves to be one of his his biggest triumphs.

2. Baby Driver

Edgar Wright’s take on a classic chase film is nothing but a real joy to watch. Taking inspiration from films like Walter Hill’s The Driver, Wright takes what he’s learned and even one ups those inspirations. The film is full of music led car chase choreography as well as some cool shootouts. Wright is a master and an artist and he just knows how to weave a complete symphony.  No better example comes than when we lead up to the finale and it turns into a foot chase instead of another wheels and gear shifting compilation. Helping the matters through are some charming and memorable players, filled in by the likes of your Jon Hamms and Jamie Foxxes. This might be one of the all around most crowed pleasing films of the year from critics to audiences. It was my clear #1 film for most all the year, but in the final month of the year finds itself dethroned by…

1. The Shape Of Water

How in the world does Guillermo del Toro make masterpiece after masterpiece and continue to top himself? Its unbelievable. Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth have all been fantastic achievements and has filled his canon with great monsters and fairytales. Hellboy II is also one of my all-time favorite comic book movies to boot and Pacific Rim was a big screen full scale bit of popcorn fun. Now, The Shape Of Water brings us a remarkable tale about love with such detail, craft with a painting-esque setting and events. There are dynamite performances here, another excellent villain in the Del Toro line and a real sense of relief with the acceptance and understanding the characters in the story immediately bring, keeping us from tired tropes and arcs. I’ve long pined for another great Creature From the Black Lagoon tale (The most under utilized Universal Monster), this is close enough to consider myself satisfied.

Movies I was not able to see in time for my list: Call Me By Your Name, The Phantom Thread, All The Money In The World, Molly’s Game, Darkest Hour, Daddy’s Home 2 (Just kidding).

10 Films it pained me to cut: The Big Sick, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Disaster Artist, Brawl In Cell Block 99, Happy Death Day, Brigsby Bear, Wonder Woman, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Good Time, Coco.

As always, thanks for reading…and until next time…

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

4 Responses to “I, Brandon’s Top 10 Films Of 2017!”


  1. Brian White

    So happy to see your Top 2 choices. I was really expecting Star Wars to be up there. Detroit again huh?
    I will have to blind buy Lady Bird when it comes out, but really interested in checking out Happy Death Day the most. It’s in 4K online.

  2. Brandon Peters

    Why not Detroit? Its an amazing and powerful film that I could easily have it trickle up and be #1.

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    What an okay list! I know you well enough to not be crazy surprised by what made the cut, but glad to see Detroit getting a mention. Also cool to see your choice in photos. I like that theme. I gotta do a special tally to see what the Why So Blu film of the year is, as we’re getting lots of overlap.

  4. Gerard Iribe

    Nice! Glad to see Shape of Water as the #1 choice. I thought Lady Bird was overrated and did not care for it, but that’s life. I still need to see Detroit, though.