Disorderly Top 10: Our favorite films of 2017
The Disorderly crew saw a ton of movies in 2017 and it was tough to narrow it all down to a top 10. David St. Martin and Nick Rizner gave it their best shot.
David 10) Atomic Blonde
David Leitch's Atomic Blonde didn't get the acclaim it deserved. Charlize Theron leads a great little cast that includes James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones and rising star Sofia Boutella. A twisty Cold War spy drama with an excellent soundtrack, Atomic Blonde also had the single best fight scene of 2017. I'm looking forward to see what Leitch does with the sequel to Deadpool.
Nick 10) Raw
This movie really stuck with me and the soundtrack had a lot to do with that. This isn't the only time that’ll be the case on this list. The eerie stretches of silence in the film, mixed with grotesque burst of gore and truly spectacular use of color, gives Raw it’s edge. It had a lingering, almost haunting effect that made me want to watch it again and again. It’s a reimagining of a zombie/cannibal movie with much more heart than is typically scene in that genre. In a way, it’s an endearing coming-of-age story, but with tons of people-eating thrown in. I loved it. My roommate made me a beat salad that I couldn’t finish that night, but aside from that, Raw was a great watch.
9) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
A great film you'll never want to see again, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is director Yorgos Lanthimos personified. Another great cast of Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Barry Keoghan, the film centers around the unsettling relationship between a successful heart surgeon and the son of a former patient. The film spirals into a revenge thriller that will have you begging for it to be over. Farrell, himself, had trouble recommending the film to pretty much anyone. Still, it's a very unique experience you should endure at least once.
9) I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (February, 2017)
A pretty significant change of genre from Raw, this Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood lead comedy/crime story was a joy to watch. It’s honestly just a lot of fun. The jokes hit perfectly, the action and drama were well written and performed. I just liked the overall tone of this film. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge fan of the casting either. Wood has done so many cool indies since becoming an international super star with Lord of the Rings. And I was real high on Lynskey after her performance in HBO’s Togetherness (super underrated show). Direction had so much to do with the success of this film and considering it’s the directorial debut of Macon Blair, I was extremely impressed with his work.
8) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri isn't the dark comedy it was marketed to be it's so well-made it's easy to forgive. Frances McDormand's grieving mother Mildred goes to war with the local police over the total lack of justice surrounding the death of her teenage daughter. I was ready to hand the Oscar to McDormand until I saw Margot Robbie's turn in I,Tonya, but that race should be pretty tight. I'd also bet we see Sam Rockwell take home his first Academy Award for his performance of asshole local cop Jason Dixon.
8) Logan (March, 2017)
I’m not the biggest super hero guy. I’ve tried! I’ve attended several Marvel and DC showings, I’ve watched most of the Netflix series, but I just can’t get fully behind it. And even with that as a backdrop, I’ve included Logan as one of my top films of the year. It was absolutely brilliant. Hugh Jackman plays an aging Wolverine (X-Men), a seemingly immortal hero struggling with his own mortality for the first time. That’s a complicated character and Jackman walked the line perfectly. Boyd Holbrook was a compelling villain, Stephen Merchant added some much-needed humor to an otherwise dark plot, and Patrick Stewart evoked real sympathy as a withering Professor X. Dafne Keen was the real breakout star, however. At just 11 years old, she was able to hold her own with some true titans of Hollywood. Plus, the R rating on the film took the chains off the fight sequences, allowing for some truly creative choreographed violence. And let’s be honest, Wolverine would probably do some crazy things with those knuckle blades of his. This is a must-watch whether you’re a fan of X-Men or not.
James Mangold's Logan is everything I want out of a "super hero" movie. I want complicated, grimy characters tackling their demons with violence and multiple controlled substances. We find Logan as a shattered man. He has some company but he's more alone than ever. The film has scenes so brutal that even Sir Patrick Stewart can't watch them. After 17 years together you couldn't have fashioned a better sendoff for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine.
7) John Wick: Chapter 2 (January, 2017)
The premise of John Wick is simple. Whether we’re talking about the first film or the sequel, we’re basically just watching a pissed off Keanu Reeves beat the ever living shit out of like 1000 bad guys. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t make the cut for one of the best films of the year, but these aren’t normal circumstances. The action is brilliantly shot. The choreography alone would be enough to land this on a lot of top ten lists. But when you add in the color, the creativity, the attention to detail (every reload is timed perfectly based on the number of bullets each gun carries), this quickly becomes much more than some bro action film. This is a work of art. Besides, with all the heavy dramatic films on critics’ watch lists, it’s healthy to have a little fun every now and then.
6) The Shape of Water
From the visuals to the script, The Shape of Water is unmistakably Guillermo del Toro. It's an incredible combo of insane nonsense concept and crushing brick and mortar reality. If I were to believe an Amazonian fish man were to fall in love with a government worker and vice versa, it would be in Baltimore. Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins round out a great cast but it's tough to beat out peak Michael Shannon as the demented Colonel Richard Strickland.
6) A Ghost Story (July, 2017)
In reference to my blurb on Raw, this was the other movie where the soundtrack had a huge impact on me. “I Get Overwhelmed” may legitimately be my new favorite song, and it’s use in the movie was tremendously powerful. The conveyance of loneliness was most impactful in the interactions between Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, particularly in the scene where she’s listening to that song. I can’t elaborate on that without spoilers, but it’s obvious when you see it. I read a review that said something to the effect of “if you have the patience, A Ghost Story is an amazing film.” Well I second that motion. It’s a slow, often uncomfortable movie to watch (that pie scene…) but if you really let it hit you, it hits hard. Our warped perception of time and the constant battle of ‘the big picture’ vs. ‘the little things’ are on center stage in this film. And I’m not sure I’ve looked at life the same way since. Thanks a lot, Will Oldham.
5) Spider-Man: Homecoming
OK, so if you're not going to give me Logan, give me Spider-Man: Homecoming. I'm tired of watching Spider-Men in their 20's being portrayed by actors in their 30's. Tom Holland is the one, true Spidey. He's the perfect blend of dorkish yet likable vulnerability. We stick with him foiling bank robberies just as much as when he's striking out in the high school cafeteria. We're also treated to an all-time Spider-Man villain played to perfection by Michael Keaton.
5) Dunkirk (July, 2017)
The slow pace of Dunkirk really brings out the horrifying effects of war. With so many war films featuring intense battle scenes and shaky-camera heroics, this film took a different approach, focusing on the anticipation and nerves of the moments in between battle. It is truly one of the most stunning visual landscapes I’ve ever seen on the big screen. It was yet another striking display of the emotional filmmaking that Christopher Nolan has become synonymous with. We got more acting brilliance from Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy - a pair that have been sneaking their way into nearly everything I love – and gut-wrenching performances from Mark Rylance and Barry Keoghan, among others. I truly don’t know how many ways I can compliment the overall look and feel of this movie. It was captivating. I’ve only seen it in theaters and I can’t say for sure how it’ll translate to home-viewing, but I’d recommend watching it on the biggest screen, with the best surround sound and clearest picture you can find.
4) I, Tonya
A credit to Craig Gillespie and Margot Robbie, you can't help but muster a sympathetic whimper for Tonya Harding. Shuffled from an abusive mother to an abusive spouse, Harding and her story of being just not quite good enough is the American fairytale we deserve. Robbie's performance was the best I saw this year and Allison Janney's portrayal of Harding's psycho mom isn't far behind.
4) Creep 2
Boy oh boy, that Mark Duplass sure is a lovable weirdo, isn’t he? Since the 1999 cult classic The Blair Witch Project broke into the main stream, we’ve been treated to many found-footage films in the horror/thriller genre. Bobcat Goldthwait’s Willow Creek or the box office hit Cloverfield stand among the top offerings. But there are a bunch out there. And yet, in 2014, the debut of Creep redefined the genre. Creep 2, which dropped as recently as October, was able to build upon the success of the first film, while truly becoming its own unique project. The idea of a serial killer going through a run-of-the-mill midlife crisis is so fitting for this franchise, it’s as if it was the only possible plot. The normality of it all is the most unsettling part. Mark Duplass delivers a dynamic performance, really carrying the suspense of the film. His finger prints are all over this thing and that’s very good news for the audience. A third Creep installment has already been confirmed and I can’t wait.
3) Baby Driver
I haven't been the biggest Edgar Wright fan but he's finally won me over. Baby Driver doesn't have a great cast in my opinion. Sure, it has some names like [gasp] Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx but not all the performances landed for me. Wright and Baby himself Ansel Elgort do most of the heavy lifting and the film is better for it. Wright perfectly blends action with a classic soundtrack, making Baby Driver one of the most entertaining watches this year.
3) Mudbound (November, 2017)
Mudbound is the first Netflix Original movie generating real Oscar buzz and the accolades are well-deserved. The narration, alone, is a sort of brilliant poetry, with quotes that should be written on the wall of a library next to the likes of Mark Twain and Henry Thoreau. “Violence is part and parcel to country life. I learned how to stitch up a bleeding wound, load and fire a shotgun. My hands did these things, but I was never easy in my mind.” The fact that this was a movie released in 2017 (based on a novel released in 2008) is astonishing. It feels like classic literature. The plot was every bit as timeless, challenging the audience to wrestle with issues of mental health, poverty and race relations in the mid-1900s American South. This was a difficult film to watch at times, but deserving of your attention. Brilliant performances all-around.
2) Blade Runner 2049
Somehow my repeat IMAX viewings still weren't enough to make a Blade Runner sequel commercially viable. Damn you people! Where were you?! We could have had a trilogy! Alright, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell. Denis Villeneuve's masterpiece [yup] wasn't too slow, Ridley Scott! It wasn't too long, either. Hell, you could have slapped a diaper on me for an epic eight-hour mindblow and get nary a complaint from me. Much like its predecessor, Blade Runner 2049 might take a decade to truly be appreciated for what it is.
2) The Disaster Artist (December, 2017)
In the span of one week, I went from only having heard of The Room in passing to being deeply immersed in the strange and fantastic world of Tommy Wiseau. And for this glorious gift, I have only James Franco to thank. The Disaster Artist, based on the Greg Sestero’s book, explored the behind-the-scenes chaos that was the making of The Room. Wildly considered one of the best ‘worst movies’ ever made, The Room has developed a massive cult following over the years, due in large part to the mystery surrounding writer, director, producer and star of the film, Tommy Wiseau. Originally conceived as a dramatic film about depression and jealousy, the sheer terribleness of this movie has left viewers rolling on the floor laughing for nearly 15 years. Careful not to make a mockery of Wiseau, Franco and company did a great job humanizing the parodic figure. It was funny, sure. But it tugged on the heart strings as well.
1) Good Time
Ben and Josh Safdie's Good Time is a panicked fever dream you can't take your eyes off of. Robert Pattinson is incredible as Connie, a petty criminal jumping from one poor choice to the next in a desperate attempt to bail his autistic brother out of Rikers after bungling a bank robbery together. Connie becomes so unlikable due his errant choices you almost can't help but hope for his capture. Shot Guerrilla style throughout New York, Good Time ticks every box from score to script to cinematography. Pattinson's was the best male performance I saw in 2017. It might not beat out Gary Oldman's Churchill in Darkest Hour, but it should.
1) Get Out
We’re here. The best film of the year. This was perhaps the only film on my list that got better upon multiple viewings, a testament to the depth of detail woven into the script and the big twist at the end. Avoiding spoilers, it was a plot-altering reveal that changes the way you view every other scene upon your first re-watch. The symbolism throughout the film was both thoughtful and subliminal. It’s profoundly meaningful once you see it, but not so in-your-face that it appears forced. In other words, Jordan Peele trusted his audience to be intelligent enough to understand what the film was about. Again, it’s very hard to discuss this one in depth without spoilers, but if you want more information, I’ll happily discuss with you on twitter. Just understand that as much as I loved the other nine movies on this list, I have not wavered on my favorite film of the year. Said it in February and still feel that way now. Now go spoil the damn thing for yourself by watching it. And please – trust me on this – watch it again when you’re done.