2017 has been an excellent year of movies. Month after month, there’s been at least one big release to be excited about culminating in this month’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That being said, the blockbusters and horror films were far better than this year’s crop of Oscar hopefuls. The films that get described as Oscar bait (chiefly The Post and The Greatest Show on Earth) don’t interest me much.  My list reflects that, as it’s exclusively occupied by big budget and genre fare. There are a number of films that could dramatically alter my list, that I haven’t seen yet: I, Tonya, The Phantom Thread, Molly’s Game, The Shape of Water, Call Me by Your Name, Detroit, and Downsizing. Ava hasn’t seen: The Big Sick, Molly’s Game, The Phantom Thread, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. David hasn’t seen: The Phantom Thread, Lady Bird, The Florida Project, The Post, and The Shape of Water. So keep that in mind, but here follows my list of the ten best films of the year, along with my brother and sister’s:

1

Me: Get Out

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Directed by Jordan Peele    Starring Daniel Kaluuya

Jordan Peele knocked it out of the park with this debut. Original, funny, scary, and smart. Daniel Kaluuya (though it would be a shock if it happened) deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance here.

Ava: Blade Runner 2049

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Directed by Denis Villeneuve    Starring Ryan Gosling

It’s been three months since I’ve seen it, and I still think about it everyday. I remember new things that excite me.

David: Get Out

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Directed by Jordan Peele    Starring Daniel Kaluuya

One of the most original movies to come out in a long time, I would say.

2

Me: John Wick: Chapter 2

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Directed by Chad Stahelski    Starring Keanu Reeves

American action films had been running on fumes for a decade before the first John Wick film, and the sequel blew that film out of the water. The set pieces, the choreography, the speed of the performers, the mis-en-scene, all blew me away. And Keanu Reeves is still the ultimate in cool.

Ava: Get Out

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Directed by Jordan Peele    Starring Daniel Kaluuya

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, starring Daniel Kaluuya (who in my opinion gives the best performance of the year), masters the Kubrick-esque style, making it his own.

David: Blade Runner 2049

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Directed by Denis Villeneuve    Starring Ryan Gosling
The best visuals I’ve seen. Thought provoking. Incredible film.

3

Me: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Directed by Rian Johnson    Starring Mark Hamill

Is there over-saturation? Is the franchise being sucked dry? Based on the strength of The Last Jedi, I emphatically say no. Exciting, surprising, moving, and a total blast.

Ava: War for the Planet of the Apes

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Directed by Matt Reeves     Starring Andy Serkis

This was not the conclusion I was expecting, and I love that! Instead of being an over-the-top action packed finale, it is a methodical wonderment of epic proportions.

David: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Directed by Rian Johnson    Starring Mark Hamill

Might be my favorite Star Wars.

4

Me: Split

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Directed by M. Night Shyamalan    Starring James McAvoy

Insane, elevated B-flick from a reborn M. Night Shyamalan. James McAvoy gives a career best; in a role that begs for over-acting, he strikes just the right balance between crazy and believable. Anya Taylor-Joy, who made such an impression in The Witch a year before, gives another strong performance in a horror film. Cannot wait for the follow-up, titled Glass coming in 2019.

Ava: Lady Bird

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Directed by Greta Gerwig    Starring Saoirse Ronan

I have always been a fan of Saoirse Ronan (even if I could never pronounce her name until now). The movie and her performance in it hit so close to home, it’s impossible  for me not to feel strongly about it. I love you Mom.

David: Dunkirk

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Directed by Christopher Nolan    Starring Kenneth Branagh

Epic war film unlike any war film I’ve seen. Nolan is a master.

5

Me: Logan

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Directed by James Mangold    Starring Hugh Jackman

I’m a huge fan of Wolverine the character, and I’m a huge fan of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Never mind that he doesn’t match the physical description of the character from early comics. He owns this role, and I can’t imagine anyone else in it. This film, if it truly is his last as the character, is a fitting send-off. He’s a force of nature, and Dafne Keen more than holds her own.

Ava: Baby Driver

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Directed by Edgar Wright    Starring Ansel Elgert

This movie was so much fun and a rare film film for its many moments of wild plot turns. The music is the heart and soul of the film. Never before have I seen music be the heart of a film.

David: War for the Planet of the Apes

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Directed by Matt Reeves    Starring Andy Serkis

Not your typical blockbuster. Foregoes mindless action for amazing imagery and symbolism. Long live Caesar!

6

Me: War for the Planet of the Apes

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Directed by Matt Reeves    Starring Andy Serkis

Not the conclusion I expected, nor was it really a “war” film as suggested by its title, this installment in the revamped Planet of the Apes series nevertheless delivers on big ideas, drama, and spectacle in what is to my mind one of the best blockbuster trilogies of all-time. Andy Serkis astonishes.

Ava: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Directed by Rian Johnson    Starring Mark Hamill

Despite all the haters, I am in love with this film. I wish Rian Johnson was directing the next one. There were many Oscar worthy moments for Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, and for Carrie Fisher. It also manages to make The Force Awakens better.

David: Coco

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Directed by Lee Unkrich    Voice of Gael Garcia Bernal

I shed a few tears; can’t lie. Beautiful film.

7

Me:  It

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Directed by Andrés Muschietti    Starring Bill Skarsgård

It’s a testament to this year that It comes in at number 7 for me, because I loved this movie. The characters are endearing, Pennywise is an instant classic horror figure, and I’m convinced there’s a wealth of themes and subtext to be mined from further viewings.

Ava: It

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Directed by Andrés Muschietti    Starring Bill Skarsgård

I have no doubt that it is Carey Fukanaga’s involvement (initially the writer and director of the film before departing the project) in this that made it so good. It captures childhood fear so well.

David: Baby Driver

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Directed by Edgar Wright    Starring Ansel Elgert

One of the most entertaining movies of the year! Wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, otherwise great.

8

Me: Coco

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Directed by Lee Unkrich    Voice of Gael Garcia Bernal

An original Pixar film is still a wonder to behold, as evidenced by their latest, a take on the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. Gorgeous and affecting.

Ava: Coco

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Directed by Lee Unkrich    Voice of Gael Garcia Bernal

This might end up being a top three Pixar film. It captures Mexican culture, and tears at the heart like no other Pixar film for me.

David: Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

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Directed by Martin McDonaugh    Starring Frances McDormand

Movie gets better the more I think about it. Outstanding performances from the whole cast.

9

Me: The Big Sick

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Directed by Michael Showalter    Starring Kumail Nanjiani

The best comedy of this year is also a deeply engrossing drama and romantic comedy. The performances are touching as they share writer/lead actor Kumail Najiani’s true and amazing love story and courtship with his wife.

Ava: Logan

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Directed by James Mangold    Starring Hugh Jackman

An excellent conclusion to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine that has been a part of my life for over 15 years.

David: mother!

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Directed by Darren Aronofsky    Starring Jennifer Lawrence

Definitely not for everyone but very thought provoking. The last act was wild.

10

Me:  Spiderman: Homecoming

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Directed by Jon Watts    Starring Tom Holland

The best Marvel studios film (I’m generally pretty apathetic towards their output). Michael Keaton as an actual flesh and blood villain with relatable motives is a big part of its appeal. Funny teen film + big-budget super hero action flick makes for a terrific time.

Ava: The Beguiled

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Directed by Sofia Coppola    Starring Nicole Kidman

No words.

David: Logan

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Directed by James Mangold    Starring Hugh Jackman

Incredible super hero film in a year full of them. Weak villain keeps it from being an all-timer.

-W.L Howard-

 

 

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