Like usual, there's honorable mentions, my top 10 and my special awards at the end.
There's one tie in this top 10. Now some of you may complain and say, "There shouldn't be 11 movies in a top 10! You don't know what the fuck you're doing", to that I say, "It's my top 10, I'll do what I want, dickwad. Also in that tie, one "movie" isn't technically considered a movie. But, it's 72 mins long, it still does work as a movie if you watch it on its own, so fuck it. This "movie" was better than 90% of other actual movies out there.
I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore, Creep 2, The Square, Wonder Woman, Wind River, Shimmer Lake, John Wick: Chapter 2, Kong: Skull Island, Heel Kick,
10. The Devil's Candy ****1/2
Talk about a ballsy, batshit insane mainstream action movie. This movie goes down some dark fucking places you don't expect from a popcorn action flick, but I have a fucked up sense of humour, so I fucking loved it. The wood chipper scene in FARGO is almost tame in comparison to the first scene where we meet Julianne Moore who has one of those ground beef grinders as her disposal. She has so much fun playing the most twisted villain of any movie this year. For a spy movie, I found the plot actually quite refreshing and creative. You have to love a scene where a spy calls his girlfriend to tell her that he must cheat on her and have sex with this hot girl to save the world, but he doesn't have time to explain.
When it comes to spy franchises, fuck Bond. Fuck Bourne. I want more Kingsman as long as Matthew Vaughan stays on as director. Matthew Vaughan really has to be put up there as one of the best action movie directors of our time. Stardust, Kick-Ass and Kingsman 1 and 2? Name an action movie director with a better resume than that. Okay, maybe you can name a few, but not that many!
8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ****1/2
What a surprise to see a movie with such a morbidly dark sense of humour, and such politically incorrect language to win the people's choice award at TIFF.
This is the best dark comedy of the year. You have to hand it to Martin McDonagh; when it comes to making a tragedy out of a storyline of a grieving, angry mother, who can never again live a normal life after her daughter was raped and murdered and the killer was never caught, you don't read that storyline and say, "I see this being the funniest movie of the year"; yet I struggle to think of any other movie that had me howling with laughter more than this one. Frances Mcdormand puts on the most memorable performance of the year; hilarious without ever trying to get laughs. She's simply that way because of horrible life circumstances that made her that person.
With all that being said, the movie still pulls off the very difficult job of balancing such opposing tones of comedy with such a tragic storyline. These are very well developed characters and it's a joy to see them grow and develop. There are no true good guys and bad guys. No one is completely good, nor is anyone completely evil. They're driven by anger, by the circumstances that life gave them that put them in that place. This could have been a typical murder mystery, but McDonagh opted for something more mature and thoughtful. I think I still prefer McDonagh's IN BRUGES, it was funnier, but I don't know. This one had more depth to it.
Best Trailer of the year:
7. Okja ****1/2
When it comes to movies about a friendship between a child and a giant creature that the bastard adults want to take away from the child, I'm hard pressed to think of a weirder, more outlandish, darkly funny, gorgeous looking, and awesome movie than OKJA, and what a follow up this is to SNOWPIERCER; any movie to come from Bong Joon Ho truly is an event movie.
This movie is kind of like CHARLOTTE'S WEB on steroids, crystal meth, and weed combined (replace the cute little pig with a super pig). I can't recommend it enough. Like I mentioned, the cinematography is stunning, it's darkly funny, it has its social commentary, and my god are some of the action scenes absolutely thrilling and so well captured. Best CGI creature of the year goes to Okja, the unforgettable super pig.
6. Columbus ****1/2
What a charming movie; the ultimate friendship movie of 2017. I loved this movie in the same ways that I loved Lost in Translation, except this one was better.
This movie absolutely should win for best cinematography. It has the most stunning shot compositions of any movie this year which is fitting for a movie about architecture. Speaking of archiecture, this movie is very likely to permanently turn you into an architecture nerd and make you far more observant of just about any building you see from the outside and inside.
But besides all that, it's just a beautiful low key movie about two strangers who meet under undesirable circumstances. They're both going through rough times in their lives and the friendship that happens at just the right time to help them both move on and become better human beings.
5. Colossal ****1/2
4. TIE: Blade Runner 2049 and Black Mirror Episode - USS CALLISTER
Blade Runner 2049 ****1/2:
I have no clue how a movie like this got a massive $150 million budget. When the studio read the script, someone must have said, "Mainstream audiences are going to hate this!" Someone had to know this movie was going to lose money. But, I'm grateful at the studio's lack of business sense, because we truly got a movie that's the best of both worlds: An arthouse script with a mainstream budget. Let's get one thing straight, this movie wouldn't have been nearly as good with the budget of Deus Ex Machina, Primer, or The Fountain. It's $150 million was truly put to amazing use, and just an absolutely jaw droppingly stunning, beautiful movie to look from the breathtaking sets to the best visual effects of any movie this year.
Listen, I understand how huge the original Blade Runner was back in the day, how influential it was, bla bla bla. But, watching these back to back now, no fucking contest, 2049 is such an inspired sequel and far superior to the original. Ryan Gosling makes for a better protagonist, where every single discovery he makes and every twist he encounters, you feel his confusion, but most importantly his pain. I love the story, I love how unpredictable it is, and when I thought I knew where it was going, it surprised me by delivering something far smarter. This is kind of like an AI existentialism movie. At what point do we value an AI's rights as much as ours? If they are built by us, but are conscious beings with actual emotions, are not as human as we are?
It's intriguing, it's beautiful, its set pieces are amazing. I heard a lot of people complain about the close to 3 hour runtime. Despite how long it is, I didn't feel bored for a single minute and I wouldn't lose any of that movie.
Black Mirror - USS Callister ****1/2
Yes, this is a Black Mirror episode. Technically speaking this is show, not a movie, but damnit it's 72 minutes long which is a movie length, and really does stand on its own as a self contained movie. Viewers can watch this as its own story having no knowledge of Black Mirror or having seen any other episode. Therefore, I'm counting it.
In a year that gave us some very entertaining space operas like The Last Jedi and Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, leave it to Black Mirror to deliver a space opera/sci-fi that may not have the budgets of those movies, but boy did it deliver something 10X more intense, with one of the most interesting ideas for a villain, and bit of an existential mindfuck too, when you really put deep thought into the characters' journey.
I love how it starts coming off as a spoof of a really cheesy Star Trek wannabe. Then, we see reality and find out that this cheesy space opera is a virtual reality game, and that the main character escapes here to escape the harsh reality of life. Then the story gets a whole fucking lot darker, and it almost feels like Charlie Kaufman was asked to write a Star Trek type script and was given 100% creative freedom and we got this dark, intense, creative and original as fuck, thought provoking mindfuck. It's every bit as edge of your seat entertaining as it is thought provoking. I don't know why I'm not giving this 5 stars. Maybe one of the solutions at the end is not 100% believable. I don't know. I can't get myself to rank this higher than Blade Runner, even though down the road, I may hold this in higher regard. But, this is easily my favorite Black mirror episode, and I'll take this any day over any space opera out there.
3. Imax - Dream Big: Engineering Our World *****
This also tugs at the heart strings, as it tells very human stories as well about ambitious engineers, of varying ages and varying dreams. The most touching stories were the bridge building in Cairo and the highschool robotics team competing against the top colleges. I took my dad to see it and he observed that every single story in this documentary really could have been their own full length documentary movies. Agreed, but all the stories are equally fascinating.
DREAM BIG should be required viewing for science classes in elementary school, highschool, hell, show the movie to first year engineering students in college. This is a movie that will fire people up about science and we need young minds to feel inspired to change the world, because there's going to be a shitload more problems in the future; but first they have to dare to dream big. Yeah I know, that was cheesy, fuck off.
2. Coco *****
Of all movies, none transcended my expectations like this one. I thought Pixar's best days were in the past. I am so happy to be wrong. I think I'll rank this as the 3rd best Pixar movie behind Nemo and Incredibles.
40 minutes in, I felt like I was watching yet another Pixar B movie; a kid ends up in the land of the dead and can talk to and see dead people; we've seen this done better in ParaNorman. Then the movie introduces a new plot point that is a complete game changer. All of a sudden it goes from an adventure movie to something really profound. Then at some point I'm like, "Ha, I saw that coming. So predictable" and shortly after my smart ass thought, the movie hit me a new plot twist that was completely unpredictable and shut down my smug mind.
And then the final unpredictable thing happened...as the credits rolled, I sat there and I cried through the entire end credits. Don't get me wrong, I heard a lot of crying in the theatre, but I don't think anyone was hit as hard as I was. I did not expect most powerful fucking drama of the year from fucking COCO. Don't get me wrong, it's a fun adventure movie, but it ends up being so much deeper than what you would expect from it; a meditation of life and death and the legacies we leave behind long after we're gone. Toy Story 3 has one of the most tear jerking endings, and the opening of UP is also loved, but COCO has its one key dramatic moment at the end that might be Pixar's best. If you claim that one scene didn't bring you to tears, you're full of shit!!
1. The Big Sick *****
I knew when I saw this movie it was going to be my #1 pick, though Coco did give me 2nd thoughts briefly. Is not "just another Judd Apatow" movie. Yes, it was produced by him and it may share a similar raunchy sense of humour, and it's another movie with stand up comedians, but this is the first Apatow movie that deserves a best picture Oscar. Interestingly, I didn't even know it was based on a true story when I went in, but what a story. Often painful experiences make for the best art, and comedy is our medicine to get through the worst shit in life.
How fucked must it be to break up with a girl, then find out soon after that she's in the hospital in a medically induced coma. And it's beautiful how it's the time he spends with her parents, as they share each other's pain and anxiety where a true friendship forms, and he realizes how dumb he was to let her go. As good as the movie is as a romance and as electric as the chemistry is between Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, the true heart of the movie is the friendship he forms with her parents while she's in a coma, played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter who both deserve supporting Oscars. Their characters are given plenty of depth, with their fair share of flaws and marital problems.
Big Sick is just so good at making you feel empathy for the situation. Every piece of bad news the hospital gave, I felt as devastated as the characters on screen, and when Holly Hunter's character contemplates moving her to another hospital, it's powerful stuff when Kumail screams at the father for being weak and not standing up to his wife. As bad as her decision seems, it's love, and sometimes we just never know what's the right thing to do.
Then you also have Kumail Nanjiani's family, their constant attempts to set him up with a Pakistani girl, and all the lies he tells his parents to keep them happy. I've always been fascinated by stories about culture clashes between generations, the traditional parents vs. the Westernized kids and trying to find a middle ground. But, his parents are very set in their ways, and just yet another obstacle this romance must break through.
The Big Sick just works on every level. I laughed a lot, I cried a lot, and I just fell in love with all the characters; I think it's the finest ensemble cast, and hell, they even got Bo Burnham in there. I would call it the best romance since Before Midnight, but it's also so much more than just a romance.
Other Various awards from I:
Best Social Commentary on Humanity:
Kudos for taking Unsuspecting people's money and shocking the living shit out of them:
Mother! (Seriously, kudos to Paramount for releasing THAT nationwide in over 3000 theatres. I don't blame the mainstream audience for detesting the movie. I'm glad Paramount did it though. Take the mainstream crowd out of their comfort zone every once in a while. I wish I could have been in a theatre to hear the gasping, unsuspecting crowd having no clue a Jennifer Lawrence movie would be this fucked up)