Best of 2017

With 850 lists tallied, it’s time to close the books on 2017.  Jordan Peele’s Get Out finishes the year on top.  Here are a few interesting items regarding 2017:

  • The list count is down from last year’s 1,040 lists.  This is mostly due to indieWire not releasing individual ballots from its annual poll and my decision to be slightly more selective in the inclusion of lists.
  • Get Out topped 9.6% of the lists.  This is the lowest percentage for the top film since 2012 when Zero Dark Thirty topped 9.5% of the lists.
  • Five films topped at least 5% of the lists.  This is also the first time that five films have topped 5% of lists since 2012.
  • Get Out‘s average placement was 4.31, which is very high for a number one.  In 2016, Moonlight‘s average ranking was 3.51.
  • Twin Peaks: The Return had the highest average placement out of films that cracked the top 50, with an average placement of 2.02.  The next highest was Call Me By Your Name at 4.27
  • The Florida Project placed fourth, despite making less than $6 million at the box office.  This is the least amount for a top five film since 2014’s Under the Skin.  It is also the only film in the top 8 not to receive a Best Picture nomination.

50. Lady Macbeth (33 lists; 1 top spot)Lady Macbeth“Throughout “Lady Macbeth” we see Pugh’s eyes, full of possibility and optimism at the outset, gradually darken. Even her breathing changes. It’s a wonderful performance in a very fine film.” – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

50. The Other Side of Hope (33 lists; 1 top spot)The Other Side of HopeDespite its serious subject – the refugee crisis hitting Europe – The Other Side of Hope is also very funny, never losing sight of the droll, comic upside to life, but never making light of the tragedy, either. – Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, Village Voice

49. Colossal (33 lists; 2 top spots)Colossal“Though there’s a real monster terrorizing Seoul, a gian, hairless thing that looks like a 700-foot boiled cat, we spend Colossal with our human beast.  In her hungover eyes, we see horror and empathy: What did I destroy last night?” – Amy Nicholson, MTV

48. Spider-Man: Homecoming (36 lists)Spider Man - Homecoming“What are the odds that a film with six credited screenwriters and a director (Jon Watts) with more Onion content than anything else could recapture the youthful thrill of superhero movies in general and the youthful appeal of Spider-Man in particular?” – Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader

47. On the Beach at Night Alone (36 lists; 4 top spots)On the Beach Alone at Night“It’s a raw, open wound of a movie, in its hunkered-down way, and Hong doesn’t always seem to be wholly comfortable handling emotions that aren’t strictly mediated by social niceties” – Mike D’Angelo, AV Club

46. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (37 lists; 1 top spot)Brawl in Cell Block 99“If it’s been a while since you’ve felt the cold blast and hard crunch of midnight-movie meanness, Zahler’s shaping up to be your guy – the one selling illicit thrills out of the trunk of a well-restored, vinyl-topped LTD.” – Robert Abele, The Wrap

45. Darkest Hour (38 lists; 1 top spot)Darkest Hour“A snappy and straightforward crowd-pleaser that focuses on new Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s mighty efforts to rise to the occasion of rescuing his country from the appeasers and defeatists in Parliament and stirring the public to defiance of Hitler.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

44. Logan Lucky (44 lists)Logan Lucky“Soderbergh films the movie with swing, relishing the overlapping and intertwining strands of the complex plot, the brightly lit personalities of the characters it involves, and the magnificently conceived, essential tiny details …” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

43. Detroit (45 lists; 1 top spot)Detroit“The standoff at the Algiers Motel has entered legend (if not widely known history) as a notorious incident of interrogatory injustice. Bigelow makes it the centerpiece of Detroit and, simply put, has crafted her most harrowing piece of filmmaking.” – Josh Rothkopf, Time Out

42. John Wick: Chapter 2 (46 lists; 1 top spot)John Wick Chapter 2“Both John Wick films are sendups of the tasteless excess of B-action pics and all-out celebrations of their vulgarity. Chapter 2 is the best one could hope for in an action sequel, and it doesn’t even have the “killed the puppy” gimmick on its side.” – Lindsay Bahr, Associated Press

41. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (47 lists)The Meyerowitz Stories“Noah Baumbach makes family movies that feel lived in – the kind that banter, bristle and sometimes bleed. Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller and a never-better Adam Sandler help make this dramedy one of the unalloyed pleasures of the fall movie season.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

40. Dawson City: Frozen Time (48 lists; 3 top spots)Dawson City - Frozen Time“The thrilling documentary “Dawson City: Frozen Time” is indescribable not because it’s ambiguous (it’s totally straightforward) but because it does so many things so beautifully it is hard to know where to begin.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

39. Raw (51 lists; 1 top spot)Raw“Ducournau eschews jump scares and instead focuses on tone, never allowing the audience to fully relax by peppering even what appear to be quotidian transition scenes with little reminders of the macabre.” – Katie Rife, AV Club

38. Ex Libris: New York Public Library (51 lists; 3 top spots)Ex Libris“”Ex Libris: The New York Public Library” is more than a magisterial mash note to that distinguished establishment, it’s a heartening examination of the vastness of human knowledge and the multiple ways we the people endeavor to access it.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

37. IT (54 lists; 1 top spot)IT“The new version of King’s classic demonic clown story delivers two of the author’s signature pleasures — an emotional re-creation of those beleaguered years of childhood, when it was us-against-the-adults, and a truly visceral sense of horror.” – Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

36. Wind River (56 lists; 2 top spots)Wind River“Sheridan has professed admiration for Clint Eastwood’s towering anti-Western “Unforgiven” and dark-night-of-the-soul dramas from Michael Mann. Both are reference points for his adept mix of masculine posturing and wounded soul-searching.” – John Wenzel, Denver Post

35. The Square (56 lists; 6 top spots)The Square“It’s laugh-out-loud funny and occasionally just plain silly. But it asks a serious question that seems more urgent with every passing day: “How much inhumanity does it take before we access your humanity?”” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

34. Columbus (57 lists; 5 top spots)Columbus“Rarely will images of mighty concrete and stone dwellings set against tranquil waters or a gentle spring shower resonate so powerfully as those on display every day in the southern Indiana city of Columbus, captured so breathtakingly in the film.” – Miriam Di Nunzio, Chicago Sun-Times

33. Thor: Ragnarok (60 lists; 1 top spot)Thor Ragnarok“In its own weird little way, Thor: Ragnarok manages to poke fun at the constant churn of myth and entertainment of which the movie itself is a part. It’s a candy-colored cage of delights, but it is a cage nevertheless – and it doesn’t hide that fact.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

32. Okja (61 lists)Okja“The picture, which never stops moving, is dense with information and feeling. Barbs of satire pop up and are washed away on streams of strong emotion. It’s all marvelously preposterous and yet, at the same time, something important is at stake.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

31. Twin Peaks: The Return (61 lists; 34 top spots)Twin Peaks - The Return“Very little of this re-entry into “Twin Peaks” makes any sense. Yet it’s admirable that the drama’s creators have found a way to update the universe without relinquishing its signature atmosphere. The story still wields the power to mystify and confuse, even 26 years after the original episodes ended.” – Melanie McFarland, Salon.com

30. BPM (Beats Per Minute) (70 lists; 6 top spots)BPM“Mangeot exposes the electricity of living in that moment of time for the gay community, where amid the apathy and outright hate from the outside world, an unbreakable bond was formed – what a terrible irony that grief can be so beautiful.” – April Wolfe, Village Voice

29. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (76 lists; 2 top spots)The Killing of a Sacred Deer“An amazingly weird assemblage of notions from Greek mythology and concepts from pessimistic geniuses like Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski and Michael Haneke, the film creates something akin to a dreadful dream.” – Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

28. War for the Planet of the Apes (80 lists; 2 top spots)War for the Planet of the Apes“War for the Planet of the Apes is a formidable achievement: not just the rare last chapter in a trilogy that maintains the high quality of the first two, but a visually lush, heart-pounding summer action movie that dares to ask hard questions …” – Dana Stevens, Slate

27. Coco (83 lists, 2 top spots)Coco“The best moments in Coco are the less splendiferous, more solemn segments, especially the loving exchanges between Miguel and his great-grandmother Mama Coco, when the Pixar magic truly unfolds and our tear ducts get a good workout.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

26. Nocturama (84 lists; 11 top spots)Nocturama“You may not think that a movie that asks you to understand terrorists is for you, but if you give Bonello 130 minutes of your time, he’ll make you a believer.” – Simon Abrams, RogerEbert.com

25. A Quiet Passion (93 lists; 7 top spots)V63A0084-169 copy.jpg“Nixon delivers a masterful performance, giving us a heroine who can’t cease digging herself into ever deeper holes. She’s never out of step with the film’s graceful pace and narrative development.” – Colin Covert, Star Tribune

24. The Disaster Artist (97 lists; 1 top spot)The Disaster Artist“James Franco is firing on all his creative cylinders in this comic bonanza about Tommy Wiseau, the worst filmmaker of the 21st century. Franco hits a new career peak by making sure his film is as heartfelt as it is hilarious” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

23. Faces Places (101 lists; 6 top spots)Faces Places“This rich cross-generational exchange speaks to the persistence of French cinematic culture — Varda’s relationship with the pioneering filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is a recurring theme — while the doc itself is a delight, subtle, touching and entertaining.”- Kate Taylor, Globe & Mail

22. The Lost City of Z (102 lists; 10 top spots)The Lost City of Z“It’s Gray’s careful choices as a director that truly star here, from the classically infused score by frequent collaborator Christopher Spelman to the inspiring shots of remote Colombia captured by his frequent director of photography, Darius Khondji.” – Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

21. mother! (106 lists; 6 top spots)mother“You don’t need a notebook or a theology degree to understand, on a fundamental level, the deeper sense that this violently irrational movie is making. It comes together beautifully in your head even as everything else seems to be coming apart.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

20. Personal Shopper (107 lists; 10 top spots)Personal Shopper“The ghosts are occasionally visible and audible here, but they’re just as likely to be ethereal, and that fits in with Assayas’s storytelling, which often forces us to fill in gaps of unspoken dialogue or unexplained plot for ourselves.” – Alonso Duralde, TheWrap

19. Mudbound (118 lists; 11 top spots)Mudbound“Elevating Netflix’s theatrical game, Mudbound is a powerful and absorbing film, one that does a splendid job of preserving its literary voice while painting a densely layered portrait of two families in World War II-era Mississippi.” – Brian Lowry, CNN.com

18. I, Tonya (121 lists; 2 top spots)I, Tonya“A never-better Robbie and Janney hold up a mirror to the tabloid America most of us ignore or dismiss – and make us see ourselves reflected in it, too. I, Tonya is funny as hell, but the pain is just as real. You’ll laugh till it hurts. ” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

17. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (125 lists; 2 top spots)Star Wars The Last Jedi“You don’t see many sci-fi action extravaganzas that are about late middle-aged disappointment, about wondering what it’s all about and whether any of it was worth it. It’s this element that gives “The Last Jedi” an extra something …” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

16. The Post (134 lists; 12 top spots)The Post“The Post is an inspirational reminder of the importance of a free press while unabashedly making journalism look like the most awesome job ever – akin to what Raiders of the Lost Ark did for archaeology.” – Brian Truitt, USA Today

15. Wonder Woman (142 lists; 4 top spots)Wonder Woman“Wonder Woman falls victim to over reliance on computer graphics and it’s too long. But that’s counterbalanced by a story grounded in real emotions and characters who inhabit a three-dimensional world, albeit a comic-book-inspired, fantastical one.” – Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star Telegram

14. Logan (146 lists; 4 top spots)Logan“The superhero category has gotten more boring as it’s gotten more popular, but “Logan” suggests an escape from escapism, a restoration of the human element in blockbusters, a stripped-down return to the feel of 1970s Clint Eastwood pictures.” – Kyle Smith, New York Post

13. A Ghost Story (156 lists; 15 top spots)A Ghost Story“Beautiful and deeply affecting, A Ghost Story is easily the greatest movie ever made with an Oscar winner standing around in a white bedsheet for most of its 87-minute runtime.” – Brian Truitt, USA Today

12. Baby Driver (157 lists; 6 top spots)Baby Driver“Wright is savvy enough to realize that suspense and tension require characters that are more than human figures in a CGI playground. He does just enough with the men and women populating Baby Driver for us to get a sense of who they are.” – James Berardinelli, ReelViews

11. Good Time (185 lists; 14 top spots)Good Time.pngIf there’s a knock on Good Time, it’s that its sheer eagerness for anything unconventional comes at the cost of something deeper. But what a trip it is. Good Time flies by in a rush of neon colors and the throbbing electro score of Oneohtrix Point Never.” – Jake Coyle, Associated Press

10. The Big Sick (190 lists; 5 top spots)Film Review The Big SickInfused with honesty and authenticity, Michael Showalter’s crowd-pleaser is an instantly winning heart-stealer and a superbly well-timed story of culture clash that resolves into a lovely tale of mutual understanding and acceptance.” – Tomris Laffly, New York Magazine

9. Blade Runner 2049 (191 lists; 17 top spots)Blade Runner 2049“Blade Runner 2049 does what very few sequels can accomplish: it deepens our appreciation of its predecessor, while carving out its own niche in the spaces of our own imaginations. And the visuals it paints are in a word: breathtaking.” – Mark Daniell, Toronto Sun

8. Phantom Thread (224 lists; 29 top spots)Phantom Thread“The director’s most outwardly accessible movie in ages, “Phantom Thread” is at once an evocative period drama and a magical fable about lonely, solipsistic people finding solace in their mutual sense of alienation.” – Eric Kohn, indieWIRE

7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (227 lists; 22 top spots)Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri“But while that is a rage that’s exhilarating to witness, it’s a rage that’s not available to everyone. Just as not everyone in Ebbing can claim the protection of being considering “good,” we still don’t live in a world where everyone gets to be angry.” – Alison Willmore, BuzzFeed News

6. The Shape of Water (268 lists; 47 top spots)The Shape of Water“Del Toro is a world-class film artist and he proves it in this Cold War romance about a mute cleaning lady (Sally Hawkins, unforgettable) who falls for an amphibious creature. Don’t analyze how del Toro does it. Just dive in. There’s magic in it.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

5. Call Me By Your Name (331 lists; 46 top spots)Call Me By Your Name“The direction by Luca Guadagnino is reminiscent of Bertolucci’s sensitivity at its best, the fabulous cinematography by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom rapturously captures the rich work of art that is Italy in summer, and the actors are to die for.” – Rex Reed, New York Observer

4. The Florida Project (358 lists; 48 top spots)The Florida Project“Willem Dafoe knows from tortured roles (Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ), but this creation — a delicate blend of protector, fusspot and secret survivor — is his richest, most lovable piece of work.” – Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

3. Dunkirk (378 lists; 40 top spots)Dunkirk“The Oscar race for Best Picture is officially on. From first frame to last, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is a monumental achievement, a World War II epic of staggering visual spectacle (see it in IMAX if you can) that hits you like a shot in the heart.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

2. Lady Bird (445 lists; 52 top spots)Lady Bird“Left to her own devices, Gerwig has arrived and solidified her place as one of the most invigorating, observant and authentic voices in movies today with a director’s acumen to match.” – Lindsay Bahr, Associated Press

1. Get Out (532 lists; 82 top spots)Film Title: Get Out“A memorable horror flick if ever there was one, Get Out starts with a great title and a promising idea — a black man’s fear as he walks at night down a street in an affluent white suburb. Then it delivers on that promise with explosive brilliance.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

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