2017 has been an…interesting year in Hollywood. For all the high points, the last 12 months will be remembered for the low. But if we’re considering the films themselves, well it’s far more positive. As I say every year, I live in the UK, so have yet to see a lot of the Oscar hopefuls like Steven Spielberg’s THE POST, Pixar’s COCO and (particularly annoyingly for me) Guillermo del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER. This list may change, but for now here is how it stands at this moment in time, so from 10 to 6…
Best of 2017:
10. GOD’S OWN COUNTRY Romantic but with real grit, wellies planted firmly in bleak-beautiful West Yorkshire and with one of the most honest, passionate relationships on film. The performances and the assured direction make this rather special. Full review here.
9. THOR: RAGNAROK A shot of pure, unbridled joy in a dark, dismal year; Taika Waititi was born to bring his sense of mischievous reinvention to the Marvel Universe. It’s almost too funny, but is elevated by the pulp-prog production design and being just so different from the competition. Full review here.
8. JIM & ANDY: THE GREAT BEYOND Beguiling, insightful and appropriately bewildering, Jim Carrey in on his best behaviour in front of the camera discussing when he was at his least manageable while playing an anarchic comic icon. He’s not the easiest person to like as himself, even less so when he’s inhabiting a character, but it remains a fascinating and unusual study. Review in brief here.
7. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI Not your dad’s Star Wars, but an entertaining, gutsy and quite different new take on the galaxy George Lucas created 40 years ago. I really don’t care so much of Star Wars fandom feel stung by it; Lucasfilm can’t keep making the same movie for the next 20 years, and TLJ pulls the rug out and dazzles with difference. Full review here.
6. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES The most mesmerising performances of the year, lots of nice, crunchy thematic underlayering and the emotionally satisfying resolution to a three film arc over spectacle for spectacle’s sake. This has become the thinking person’s blockbuster series and it goes out on a real, and unconventional, high. Full review here.
Worst of 2017:
10. KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE The scale and noise has been ratcheted up, but the charm is all gone, the goodwill squandered, and if it wasn’t for Mark Strong’s admirable efforts there would be no one at all to root for. When the best thing in your spy movie is Elton John,you should worry. Full review here.
9. JUSTICE LEAGUE You can’t suddenly decide to add colour and jokes this far into a franchise and expect everyone to forget how misjudged and messy all the other instalments (with a notable exception) were; at this point it just looks like a criminal waste of money. I think this was meant to inspire hope and wonder, instead the story and characters frustrate and bore. Full review here.
8. THE MUMMY Another misguided effort to run before you can walk, to shoot for the “shared universe” franchise at the expense of the story being told, Tom Cruise on not-particularly-charming form does little to make this feel anything more than generic. The sad thing is I do want to see the Universal Monsters return, but not with the deadweight of the Dark Universe dragging. Review in brief here.
7. DEATH NOTE You don’t have to have seen the anime to know this doesn’t work; it’s not because it’s westernised, it’s because it’s po-faced, badly acted and chooses the least interesting ways possible to explore an original idea. Netflix keeps attracting talented filmmakers, but maybe someone needs to be on quality control. Review in brief here.
6. GIRLFRIEND’S DAY This desperately wanted to be a Coen Brothers project, but it got the tone and execution so profoundly wrong that it becomes and embarrassing chore to sit through. I suspect it wouldn’t have got a Netflix release at all if they weren’t trying to drum up support for BETTER CALL SAUL Season 3 at the time. Netflix are having a pretty terrible year as far as their original movies are concerned (thank heavens for their TV and documentaries) and this isn’t even their worst movie on this list… Review in brief here.
What were your favourite and most hated movies released in 2017? Join me next time for Part 2 of my Best and Worst of 2017. SSP