Best Movies of 2017


Best Drama

  1. Darkest Hour – A powerful, and surprisingly moving presentation of Churchill’s (Gary Oldman) lovingly cranky leadership of Britain on the eve of World War II. The stirringly Capra-esque ending tugged unexpected tears from my eyes.
  2. The Shape of Water – A beautifully conceived and acted “adult fairytale” (translation: unnecessarily graphic sex), with an overly simplistic worldview: in the 60s pretty much all straight white men were evil. Nevertheless, it’s a wonder to watch.
  3. The Post – I’m not a huge docudrama fan, but this story of the Pentagon Papers scandal finds its heart in Florence Foster Jenkins’s (Meryl Streep) personal road to selfhood. A class act.

Best Comedy

  1. The Big Sick – A wonderfully offbeat mash-up of rom-com and meet-the-families. Hilariously and affectionately scripted, with some of the best ensemble acting in years.
  2. Coco – You have fun, you marvel at the animation, you laugh out loud, you hum along to the theme song, and then suddenly you’re crying like a baby. Does Pixar pipe something into the air?
  3. Lady Bird – An off-beat comedy-drama with nuanced, loving characterizations, subtly funny dialogue, and brilliant acting.

Best Action Movie

  1. War for the Planet of the Apes – A character-driven epic, and conclusion to one of the best action trilogies ever made. The mo-capped Caesar’s performance (Andy Serkis) is as richly subtextual as any inspired live actor’s.
  2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – So, apparently a lot of Star Wars fans were up in arms over Last Jedi’s character and story choices. Personally? I was thrilled to see the next generation boldly go where no Star Wars has gone before (yeah, I know, wrong franchise, so sue me) and stop recycling old plot elements.
  3. Logan – Wolverine and Professor X as we’ve never seen them before. This is not a “super-hero” movie, it’s a drama with Oscar-worthy performances.
  4. Wonder Woman – Proof that DC has finally figured how to combine wowie f/x with worthy thematic content (female empowerment, self-sacrifice, forgiveness)?

Honorable Mention

  • Get Out – Not the slam dunk for me that it was for everyone else, but strikingly original. I’m looking forward to more from Jordan Peele.
  • Dunkirk – I’m a longtime fan of Christopher Nolan, and enjoyed the tone, filmic look and old-fashioned air stunts. It just didn’t capture the character of the British people and the era for me the way Darkest Hour did.
  • I, Tonya – A mean-spirited and not particularly funny dark comedy, held together by two phenomenal performances.
  • Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri – Uniquely but unevenly scripted, with everyone, even a loving family, cheerfully overusing the f-word. Nevertheless, an engaging tome on forgiving and moving on.
  • Blade Runner 2049 – I so wanted to love this film. But its terrific story is lost in the manatee-paced running time. They could have shaved off half an hour (of it’s almost three hours) just by trimming down on Ryan Gosling’s enigmatic stares.
  • Brigsby Bear – One of the most original films in years, this dramedy about a boy-man raised in captivity delights until its uncharacteristically stock ending.
  • Mudbound – Not perfect, but a passionately told parallel story of two families, one black, one white, both suffering from the ravages of racism.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – It’s not a true sequel (it completely jettisons the tone and thematic content of the first Jumanji), and it’s formulaic. But the premise and execution are so fun, I just went with it.
  • The Lego Batman Movie – Same frenetic energy, pop culture gags, and covert sweetness as the original Lego Movie. Those little plastic bricks have heart!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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53 Responses to Best Movies of 2017

  1. Sandi says:

    Totally agree about Darkest Hour vs. Dunkirik: I liked Dunkirk, but I loved Darkest Hour. I haven’t seen too many of the others: Coco I liked much more than I’d thought I would (still don’t think it’s great for young children).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I liked Dunkirk and can’t wait to see Darkest Hour when it comes out on DVD. Have not seen any of the other movies you listed.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. stolzyblog says:

    Interesting to read and hear about. I don’t get to see films the way I once did. Except for toddler movies 🙂 Last really interesting things I saw in the theater were “Eye In The Sky” and “Arrival”, must be going on 2 years now. Both were really absorbing and well-done.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. says:

    I was highly impressed with Darkest Hour as well. The art direction was stunning along with amazing performances. It opened my eyes to the inner Churchill. He really was the man of the hour.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Mischenko says:

    Great post. 🙂 My favorites last year included Logan, Thor:Ragnarok, Guardians 2, Beauty and the Beast, Lego Batman, and many others too. I see some here I haven’t watched yet. Will add! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wonder Woman was my favorite 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Another great movie about Churchill is called: ‘Churchill’ I loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. revruss1220 says:

    “…manatee-paced running time…” I love it! But hey… no “IT”? No “Thor”? Not that I saw either, but they seemed to garner a lot of buzz.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      I enjoyed IT, but it didn’t make my final cut. Thor: Ragnarok was fun (I liked the buddy comedy vibe). But it introduced a completely one-dimensional bad guy with no clear motive or back-story, played by a world-class actress, no less (Cate Blanchett), so it lacked the sense of gravity I was looking for.


  9. E says:

    I appreciate good film reviews and have been curious about several of these. Thanks Mitch! And yes, thank god for Netflix 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. loreguardian says:

    I enjoyed your reviews immensely. You and Michael Medved are critics I trust.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. M.B. Henry says:

    Wonder Woman was hands down my favorite movie this year. I was sad to not see it get any Oscar mentions. I like your to-the-point way of reviewing here! Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. jrusoloward says:

    I’ve only seen Wonder Woman, AKA the movie that is making DC. I need to get out – I’ve only seen Wonder Woman, The Lego Batman Movie, and Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. dawnlizjones says:

    Interesting and fun that you put The Shape of Water up there! My husband’s brother, Doug Jones, is the “fish-man” in that one. We got to see him sitting at the table during the Golden Globes!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. nancyehead says:

    I loved Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, and The Post–saw The Post twice and may go again. Don’t get the critiques of it. Thought it was non-partisan.

    Liked by 2 people

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  16. gpavants says:


    Lots of great movies out this past year.


    Liked by 2 people

  17. I would add these movies on the honourable list as well: Between Worlds, Flatliners, The Man from Earth: Holocene, The Space Between Us, 2:22, Hostile, and Project Eden: Vol. I.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Seen quite a few of these and agree with your opinions. This settles my Darkest Hour vs Dunkirk quandary, I do enjoy a good war/period movie but it has to be good. If you enjoy the sci-fi I would suggest The Osiris Child, I was quite surprised by it myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. mindofmaron says:

    I was excited to see It on the featured image, too bad it didn’t make any of your lists/honourable mentions. What were your thoughts on it?

    Liked by 2 people

  20. All four of your best action movies are already on my “Need to Watch” list.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. classictv1970 says:

    I thought 10 Cloverfield Lane was interesting. I hate cliff hangers tho..

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Did anybody watch the movie ‘Brawl is cell block 99’? crazy movie. A little gory to say the least if not less.

    Liked by 1 person

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  25. Selami says:

    Very true about Jumanji. I loved it anyway though! Must have seen it in theatres at least three times.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. kinchski says:

    Nice list! I wish I’d seen all of these, but those I did see I more or less agree with you on. The fuss about The Last Jedi made noooooo sense. I had some issues with that movie, but none of them lined up with the weird criticisms I was seeing from the nerdier corners of the internet.

    I disagree about The Shape of Water having an overly simplistic view of straight, white men in the 60s. I’d say it was simplified, yes, but getting at a truth about the time and place – not that all white straight men were ‘evil’, but that the majority were complicit in a lot of social problems of the time, as we still are today (I barely qualify as straight, but enough to be complicit ha ha). Anyway, that aside, I strongly agree that it was a wonder to watch, and the performances were amazing! Has Michael Shannon ever played a mentally stable character? I can’t think of an example…

    Liked by 1 person

  27. 9xmovies says:

    The movie I celebrated the most was the Darkest Hour, it holds a great intensity during the watch time and the performance delivered by Oscar Winner Gary Oldman complimented it at the very edge. Moreover, Jumanji seems a good movie, don’t know why was it being underrated before releasing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Yeah, I loved The Darkest Hour. The Jumanji sequel was so different from the original (and so long after the fact) that the critics wrote it off as commercial junk; which is what I expected, too. Except that they hire some very clever people to make the film, and it turned out better than anyone expected it to.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Pingback: Best Movies of 2017 — Mitch Teemley – Livingsafetogether

  29. Have you seen The Florida Project? It’s my fave from 2017.

    Neil S.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Pingback: My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2018 | Mitch Teemley

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