1. A GHOST STORY
Reminiscent of its lyrical narrative, when mankind ceases to exist, David Lowery’s low-budget brainchild will remain an exemplary whisper of the power of film and art in general. Through a boring couple, a house, and a white sheeted ghost, Lowery tackles the meaning of life and mystery of death, and does it so successfully the sheer feat of intrigue will take your breath away. Stunning visuals are also complimented with one of the best scores of the year (by the same composer as the Serial music) and one of the best cameos ever (it’s Kesha).
2. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
In tackling the sameness of homoeroticism and pervasiveness of desire, Call Me By Your Name also serves as the best wish-fulfillment of 2017. The best adapted screenplay in recent memory, a touching affair becomes a relatable coming-of-age story through Guadagnino’s symphonic lens. Performances are so honest they’re shocking. Soundtrack is so marvelous it’s become both my “lit” and “introspective” playlists. Call Me By Your Name is both the clear fan-favorite and rightful Academy Award Winner.
3. THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Baker’s sophomore look at post-capitalistic poverty is better than his first, both heart-wrenching and joyous. More refined and more beautiful than Tangerine (2015), The Florida Project takes perhaps the most recognizable and loved place in the United States and rips it out of context, forcing audiences to experience the nuance of poorness, in all its heartbreak and simplicity. Breakout performances, great child actors, not-Green-Goblin Willem Dafoe, and Disney World. What more could I want?
4. LADY BIRD
As a Catholic school veteran, someone who ditched my best friend in the drama club to hang out with the cool kids, and wore a salmon dress to my senior prom, watching Lady Bird for the first time was a transcendent experience. Greta Gerwig wrapped up every complexity and sadness of my own coming age, packaging them through wonderfully stereotypical archetypes of teenagers and their parents. Relatability in the language of Gerwig (and Baumbach) is something untapped by any other filmmaker(s). Lady Bird is the first masterpiece of its kind. It’s in its own league.
5. PHANTOM THREAD
Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack for Phantom Thread is the best, perhaps only second to Fellowship of the Ring. While the bizarre, comedic experience of Anderson’s latest is more than its music, the transfixing gestures of the album set a precedent for how compellingly fucked up the film is as a whole. The music itself is narrative, mirroring the winding paths of passion and excess throughout the film. Also, DDL deserves to win. Sorry, Tim.
6. GET OUT
Yes, it’s really that good. Peele multi-tasks so well, melding absurdism and social commentary with the tension and thrill expected from contemporary cinema. No part of this complicated machine falters, the actors and iconic moments spinning together perfectly. It is an apex of human creativity. It deserves all the recognition it’s gotten and more.
7. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
A risk with Star Wars is an incredible one to take. In reinventing some of the most beloved characters and tropes of pop culture, The Last Jedi also reenvisions essential elements of its genre. Aside from the macro effect of Johnson’s Star Wars, the movie delivers entertainment in every way. Opposite to its somber predecessor, it is an exciting and sexy Star War (can I say that?) for a new generation.
8. BABY DRIVER
Audiences have been thrown around by the box office for a long time. To interrupt the cycle of exhaustive action movies in an interesting way seems impossible. But with some help from The Beach Boys and Jon Hamm, Wright pulls it off. This movie is pure fun, and something that will stay at the front of pop culture for years to come.
9. GOOD TIME
Two heist movies? Okay, I guess.
If you’re still unsure or unaware of Robert Pattinson’s diversity and power as a performer, this is your chance to get on board. I don’t want to get into the potential social themes of this movie. Baring in mind they exist, however, know this movie is as uncomfortable to watch as it is an exciting trip through the possibility of film. If you ever wanted to examine the nuances of humanity while you’re coked the fuck out, in a sad way, Good Time is for you.
10. THE POST
To make a story so tired feel so new and exciting requires a team of cinematic veterans and their tried and true passion for storytelling. There’s something jaw-dropping about watching Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, treasures of American culture, riff at a dinner table as completely different people. The Post is an exercise in expert filmmaking, and is as much a historical drama as it is a dynamic piece of contemporary culture.
Dunkirk is more experience than narrative, and something Nolan forces you to appreciate. It feels like his capstone, combining the best elements of his unique style through an anarchic story. In all its mazes of characters and time, the movie zooms through Dunkirk, and in a way World War II, within the fastest two hours of your life. Also, Harry Styles!
HONORABLE MENTION: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Beauty and The Beast is not an objectively good movie. The special effects are as clunky and distracting as Emma Watson’s vocal performance. If you showed it to an alien who did not know what Disney princesses are, it would say, “this is fine.” I, however, thought it was great, given my nostalgic Gaston Empathy (new term alert?) and personal attachment to the idea of a flying, French feather duster. It’s a beautiful blockbuster, and just harmless family fun!