6: Disaster Artist
Almost two years ago I went to a midnight screening of “The Room” with no knowledge of what it was and no clue as to why people were buying a ton of plastic spoons before we got to the theater. I could tell from the start that the film was terrible, but the packed audience in the theater made me realize how much of a cult following it had, and I respected it for that in a weird way. Jumping ahead to 2017, I think James Franco’s parody film “Disaster Artist” actually pays its respects to Tommy Wiseau (writer and director of “The Room”) while still making fun of him a little bit. The movie is decent, it gets a good laugh, and if you’re part of the cult following, then you’ll have a hard time telling Franco apart from Wiseau. Overall, I loved the message about never giving up on your dream and making it happen even when people tell you that you won’t be great. It is worth seeing for this reason because Wiseau proves that hard work pays off.
5: Murder on the Orient Express
I love a good murder mystery and this one did not disappoint! Following the perspective of a top notch detective who is just looking to go on vacation, we spend the majority of the film on board the train watching him interrogate every passenger with every possible clue he can drum up in such tight living quarters. The ensemble cast does a great job playing their respective personalities and bouncing energy off of each other. While I would say the end is fairly bittersweet, it is unexpected and quite satisfying. This is a fun movie to watch overall!
4: The Big Sick
I am a sucker for romantic comedies and I’m not ashamed to say it. Unlike most romcoms, though, “The Big Sick” actually shows the lovers apart for most of the movie, and I think that’s what makes it so great. Actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani teamed up with his wife, producer and writer Emily Gordon, to write the script for this film based on their real-life courtship, and you can tell how personal and realistic it actually is. When Gordon’s character in the movie falls ill and is put into a medically induced coma, Nanjiani is forced to spend time with her parents for the first time ever. The only two complaints about the film are 1. I don’t feel like the female love interest is very likeable a lot of the time and 2. Once she’s in the coma, it’s hard to get a sense of the relationship that she had with Nanjiani’s character to begin with. Aside from this, the film is sweet and funny and I love seeing a man acting as the lead in a romcom. I definitely recommend this film!
3: Get Out
What makes “Get Out” so special is how unique it is and how much it changed the game for independent movies. I am honestly so proud of Jordan Peele for making this movie, which sounds like a silly thing to say, but he was working on this project for years and I think it surpassed any hopes that he had for it. Ranked as one of the highest grossing indie films, “Get Out” is a thriller that falls more in line with “The Shinning” for me in terms of the scariness factor. It has a few jumps scares, but they are purposeful and not overused at all. The underlying story and message are so rich that the movie succeeds in making you feel as traumatized as the main character without having to rely on CGI, poltergeists, or the normal stuff that you’d find in a horror film. The only reason I put “Get Out” at #3 and not #1 for 2017 is simply because I felt like I knew what was coming in the end, but that does not detract from the fantastic plot that plays out for the rest of the film.
2: Blade Runner 2049
For being a sequel, “Blade Runner 2049” was fantastic and played off of the original story nicely. What I love most about this movie is the world that is created. It’s so strange and almost post apocalyptic, but the filmmakers don’t waste time trying to justify or explain the rules of this futuristic society. Aside from gorgeous cinematography and fantastic set design, “Blade Runner 2049” works because it has a great story that doesn’t feel like it is wasting time while it builds up to surprising story arc towards the middle/end. Additionally, there are not a lot of fighting or action scenes in the film, which I really appreciated because I don’t see a lot of need for the main character to constantly fight with his enemies. All in all, it’s a great film!
1: Baby Driver
Hands down this was my favorite movie from 2017. If you are a fan of witty visual comedy and snappy jump cuts, then this is the film for you. Written and directed by Edgar Wright (“Scott Pilgrim”, “Hot Fuzz”), this film is unlike any other action movie I have ever seen because it doesn’t focus on the heists or the crimes, it focuses on the carefully choreographed and expertly soundtracked getaways. Additionally, the film has a lot of heart because it is so character driven. We are almost in the mind of the main character, following him as he drives to repay his debt to a criminal that he stole money from a few years prior.
As someone who loves Wright’s other films, it was no surprise that “Baby Driver” impressed me so much. I am a sucker for directors that can show their individual style through their editing, set design, and cinematography. His snappy, fast-moving scenes work well for this genre while still fitting in with the main character’s narrator and his ultimate objective. What else can I say other than go see this movie!