Gerard’s “They Saved the Best for Last” Top 10 Films of 2017

They saved the best for last, that’s why I’m last. It was a great year for movies and a shame that I couldn’t include more than what’s already included, but my Top 10, give or take, of 2017 is a nice and hearty list. A fellow reviewer from a different website used a cool word for his list when I noticed that he had a particular film one would not consider for traditional Top 10 year-end accolades. “Iconoclastic.” I am taking that word and using it for my list. Some of the films on my list are on there just for the sheer enjoyment I had in viewing them – not necessarily for their cinematic merits. Enough with the pleasantries – step right up and enjoy the show! 


Miscellaneous trinkets, oddities, and films that deserve honorable mention…


AftermathYes, the big guy still has some good work left in him. Daron Aaronofsky produced Aftermath, as well. Arnold stars as a grieving father who lost his wife and daughter in a tragic airplane crash. Scoot McNairy plays the air traffic controller responsible for the accident. Both men end up on a collision course with disaster as they seek to find closure to an unfortunate event. I was quite impressed with Aftermath. All Arnold wants is an apology from the parties responsible and he can’t even get that. Not from the airplane company officials, airport, or the traffic controller himself (since he’s been relocated and the accident has been settled). Aftermath is like a kettle waiting to boil over and when it does you better move out of the way.




The Bad BatchI’ve been a fan of Ana Lily Amirpour since her breakout hit  A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night premiered a few years ago. Hollywood took notice and a bigger budget and ensemble cast was gathered. Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, and Dominic Ribisi are some of the miscreants that populate the post-apocalyptic world of The Bad Batch. Cannibals look like you and me and live by the golden rule of: don’t play with your food. The film is not mainstream at all – it retains a killer arthouse vibe, is a slow burn, and has an epic soundtrack. In fact, I was so “consumed” by the film that I did not recognize Jim Carrey at all. It was only fitting that The Bad Batch make it on this portion of honorable mentions. I can’t wait for her next film!





Free FireFree Fire is director Ben Wheatley’s (High RiseThe Kill List, A Field in England) latest film that is less abstract, and quite frankly, his most accessible film since The Kill List. The film takes place in the late 70’s and it’s all about two gangs that meet up in a warehouse to secure a business deal that turns into one of the coolest, goriest, and funniest shootouts I have seen in recent memory. Free Fire has an eclectic cast led by Brie Larson and was also executive produced by Martin Scorsese. Well, it mattered not, because the film bombed, but got a second chance at redemption via Blu-ray and DVD. Those that have seen it, like some of our writer here at WSB also loved it and it made quite a few year-end lists, as well. It’s out now on Blu-ray and is highly recommended.





And now for the main course…

10) A Cure For WellnessWe had an unseasonably colder than normal winter back in early January of 2017, so maybe that’s why A Cure For Wellness cracks the Top 10 list here. Gore Verbinksy (The RingPirates of the Caribbean) crafted a rather sumptuous film featuring wacky experiments, eccentric characters, and electric eels. It left a great impression on me, because every frame of film was a work of art — it was technical perfection. Does the story still resonate? Who cares. I’d watch the film on mute just to take in all the sights it offers. Rumor even had it that Verbinski recycled some of the sets that were going to be used on his Bioshock adaptation that was canceled at the last minute. Looking at the color palette of the finished film I would not be surprised. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, and Mia Goth.




9) Valerian and the City of a Thousand PlanetsI told you that the list would break down the status quo didn’t I? Continuing with films that blew me away in 2017, and the return of Mr. Dane DeHaan, is Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I missed the film in theaters, which meant I could not contribute to its disappointing box-office. Home video was something else, though. I went all in and blind-bought the Blu-ray and have already watched it several times. It never ceases to amaze me at the amount of detail and fun the movie has and is. The film grabs you in the beginning with David Bowie’s Major Tom and never lets go. It’s a real thrill and it’s loaded up with eye candy. In fact, eye candy is an understatement. Valerian is just a blast and valid just for that. Good job, Luc!





8) Split2017 was the year that M. Night Shyamalan finally got his mojo back. Split features a tour-de-force by James McCavoy has takes multiple personality disorder to new and outrageous lengths. I will refrain from spoilers, but let’ just say that folks will want to stay tuned for Shyamalan’s next feature, because all hell will be breaking loose…in a good way. I should also point out that my favorite personality in Split was that of Hedwig’s. Cute kid. It’s also kind of strange that Split was released in January. The Academy tends to forget about films released that early, but here’s hoping that they remember McCavoy’s performance. It is quite deserving of special attention.





7) I, TonyaI caught I, Tonya in the nick of time since it opened near me. I initially did not care to see it until the home video release was upon us, but since it literally opened down the street I had to take a walk. Margot Robbie plays the disgraced former Olympian with great vigor and sort of makes us sympathize with her a bit. The primary cast is great – I did not recognize the Winter Soldier himself, Sebastian Stan, playing Harding’s husband.  Now the true revelation here is that of Allison Janney as Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden (yes, LaVona). Holy crap, was Allison hysterical. Not only hysterical, but insanely hilarious. Janney should be considered for a Best Supporting Actress nominee come Oscar time. The film is a black comedy, with various dramatic touches sprinkled in. It’s one of those films that is so messed up that you cannot help but laugh at the misery. You won’t feel depressed after the film, that I can guarantee.




6) Get OutBlumhouse Productions makes them cheap and stocks them deep. Get Out hit theaters about a month after Split did and it was great. Jordan Peel wrote and directed the film and it centers around an interracial couple played by Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams. Chris (Kaluuya) and Rose (Williams) go off for the weekend to visit her parents – this being Chris’ first time meeting the ‘rents. Let’s just say that hijinks ensue and it will be a weekend to remember for the lovely couple. Get Out was a phenomenon. It cost next to nothing to make and made over 175 million dollars at the box-office. The catch is that it’s actually a real cool film that blends horror and satire into a really good final product. There are many homages throughout the film – some are even giallo, which is cool for us horror film nerds. Get Out is definitely required viewing.




5) Ingrid Goes WestAnother film that I missed in theaters but caught on Blu-ray was Ingrid Goes West. The film stars Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, and O’Shea Jackson Jr.. Ingrid (Plaza) has problems. She is addicted to social media and basically stalks people on Instagram. After getting out of a mental institution for a previous case, she uses the money that was left to her by her dying mother and moves out to L.A. to stalk a popular “influencer.” Elizabeth Olsen plays that particular influencer and all seems well before Ingrid hits the gas. There are many awkward moments peppered in with some hilarity. Jackson’s character in particular is hilarious as he is one of the only people in the made up world, that likes Batman Forever. His stuff is golden. Yes, the film is a dark comedy, but also a completely screwed up drama. I remember finishing the film and contemplating shutting down my social media accounts due to what I had just watched. There are two points of view that are illustrated that folks could take some notes from. Ingrid Goes West was quite a surprise and she barreled her way to crack the Top 5 of my film list.



4) Brawl in Cell Block 99Bone Tomahawk was on my best films list last year, or the year before, and I had already read some of director’s S. Craig Zahler’s novels, as well. I knew I’d be in store for something special with Brawl in Cell Block 99. The film did not disappoint. Vince Vaughn gives a great performance as a down on his luck individual trying to make it in life. When things go drastically wrong and is sent to prison – Bradley (Vaughn)must make amends. What comes next features some of the most brutal scenes I have seen committed to film in 2017. During some scenes of brutality I literally had my hands over my mouth like Bill Hader’s Stefan from Saturday Night Live. Seeing the hits was insane but hearing the sounds of what certain parts of the body make when they are scraped through the floor was on another level. After watching the film I thought to myself that Vaughn would make a perfect Kingpin in the Marvel universe should Vincent D’Onofrio not want to come back. S. Craig Zahler is two for two and I can’t wait until his next film drops this year.




3) The Limehouse GolemBefore Jack the Ripper there was The Limehouse GolemThe Limehouse Golem is a refreshing horror-thriller of a film that focuses on a serial killer stalking the Limehouse district of London years before the Ripper did. Bill Nighy is the reluctant inspector assigned to the case. He is being set up to fail by his superiors, but must do the job either way. Nighy gives an amazing performance as do his co-stars: Olivia Cooke and Douglas Booth. The script was written by Jane Goldman (Kingsman 1 & 2The Woman in Black). I don’t believe the film got a wide stateside release, but it was available through VOD, which is how I first saw it. I was floored and have probably watched the film at least five times since its release date. It’s just a solid film overall and the cast carry the material to a higher level. One could easily see something like The Limehouse Golem as run-of-the-mill, but it is far from it. The Limehouse Golem is an underrated gem of a film and is highly recommended.




2) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Three Billboards was another film that I caught right before the New Year and I was floored by it. I’m a big Martin McDanaugh fan –  I think In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are fantastic films. Well, Three Billboards makes the trifecta. I do predict that the film will get nominated for a bunch of awards come Oscar time – it is assured. Frances McDormand plays a mother who is out for justice in the small town of Ebbing, Missouri. Her daughter was raped, killed, and set on fire. She has a grudge with the local Sherif of Ebbing and gets the idea of plastering taunting messages on three billboards on the outskirts of town. She figures that maybe the attention the billboards get will shake the local police department out of complacency. What follows has one of the strangest character arcs out there. I literally went from hating a character to potentially liking them. There is some great dialogue and performances featured in Three Billboards. 




1) The Shape of Water: Now at last – the film that made me tear up three times while watching it in theaters: Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. Sally Hawkins delivers a powerhouse performance as a janitor working at a top-secret facility that falls in love with a merman. Yup, you heard that right. A fishman of the sea is what she fancies. The film is set in the early 60’s – deep in the Cold War. The Shape of Water is a fable of remarkable power due to the fact that it tackles several social issues head on. It’s a love story, horror film, drama, etc. Equally as power as Hawkins is Doug Jones, who inhabits the creature in a most graceful manner. There are several points throughout the film that you forget that this is a film about a woman falling in love with a freakin’ merman. The Shape of Water is such a classy film. I was reminded of films from Jean-Pierre Jeunet like Amelie and City of Lost Children. The Shape of Water is a feast for the eyes and the soul and was my favorite film of 2017.




That’s a wrap! Another year of movies in the books — here’s hoping that 2018 continues the trend. All of the movies featured on this list are now available on Blu-ray, with the exception of I, Tonya, Three Billboards, and The Shape of Water – these three are still in theaters.





4 Responses to “Gerard’s “They Saved the Best for Last” Top 10 Films of 2017”

  1. Gregg

    Wow! Valerian made a list! I have not seen it yet but maybe now I should give it a go. I will say, of everything you mentioned, Cell Block 99 and The Limehouse Golem sound pretty good so I’m continuing to take notes and put these unfamiliar films on my list to watch. Definitely a status quo getaway.

  2. Brian White

    I love this list as I’m familiar with most selection.
    I did use the word iconic for a selection on my Top 10 4K list this year.
    Happy to see the following: I Tonya and how our streams as you say in Ghostbusters lingo mixed
    What I am happiest about the most is no Jedi 🙂 Thank you!
    Three Billboards is a must see. No Detroit?
    I remember you telling me about Limehouse and I wouldn’t watch it because it was only a DVD lol and you already know my opinion on Brawl.
    The Bad Batch is a film I completely intended to watch and one point in time and forgot about it. I need to resurrect those plans. Thanks

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Fun Fact G: The films we cross over with are ranked exactly the same on our lists. Love me some Valerian and sad I had to push it a couple spots on the Top Ten. A Cure For Wellness!

    Brian should really just watch Detroit for himself and stop asking everyone about it.

    Bad Batch has been hovering around the top of my Netflix list. I’ll get to it soon.

  4. Jason Coleman

    Dug Valerian as well – there’s something to be said for tasty visual eye candy!