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Ronin’s Top 13 Best Movies of 2017

Boy, when life rains, it pours. But even without life’s messiness, I admit to dragging my feet with this list because I knew I was going to have to make some painful cuts. Putting things in the Honorable Mentions bin honestly feels like I’m putting them on a lower level than the others, which is absolutely not true of this year; I think it should have been a Top 20 list. Still, we’ve only got so much time in the day, so let’s count down the Top 13 Best Movies of 2017 so we can end this year on a good note.

Man, I can’t wait until I have to stop saying that…

#13: The Meterowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Let it be known that in the year of our lord 2017, Adam Sandler made it to my proper year-end best list. Not Happy Madison, but still, this is something special. Don’t take it’s placement as a knock against its quality either. In a year with fewer great films, this would have ranked higher.

#12: The Big Sick

I don’t think anyone saw this coming: an authentic and original story starring a Muslim man in an interracial relationship that tackles the inevitable cultural pressures in a balanced and mature way. Forget that it did well, I’m surprised that Hollywood decided to make it at all. In a weird way, both within the story and behind the scenes, this movie makes me feel better about us as a species.

#11: It (2017)

Boy, does this one hit the terror centers of your brain. Couple that with some neat shout outs to Stephen King’s original novel and other works and you have a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The 90s miniseries with Tim Curry is a beloved (if campy) classic, so I have no doubt that this new version will stay in the public mind for a long time.

#10: Logan

While the action of this year’s other superhero movies are nothing to scoff at, I find myself appreciating the somber complexity of Logan a lot more. Apart from the complicated feelings I have of this being Hugh Jackman’s last ride as Wolverine (at this point in time, as Marvel reacquiring certain properties could change things), it also uses its filmmaking to communicate a range of moods: weariness, isolation, and the complex sense of outliving your friends, enemies, and glory days. It is to Marvel what The Dark Knight was for DC and I hope that the bar can be raised from here.

#9: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Looks like we’re not done being depressed, but this movie has sure gotten a lot more relevant since people have co-opted the eponymous billboard messages in protest of the (at the time of writing)* most recent school shooting. Outside of that, it still captures the rawness of grief so well that it’s hard not to feel for everyone in this movie. So yeah, let’s hear it for the quagmire of ebbing misery that is Ebbing, Missouri.

*It’s depressing that I have to use this to clarify which school shooting I’m talking about. Americans should not have to live like this.

#8: Baby Driver

All right, time to get back to the fun stuff. This movie reminded me of why I like Edgar Wright so much and I hope this movie’s success helps make him a household name. What else can I say but… I want to watch it again.

#7: Blade Runner 2049

Oh hey, here’s a movie I actually watched again. In theaters too! I have vague memories of thinking that Ryan Gosling was just a pretty face, but he’s turned into one of my favorite actors. Besides that, this movie faithfully recreates and updates the world of Blade Runner to make it a true spectacle. I hope this gets the sequel it promises because, while I wouldn’t want to live there, I’m eager for a return trip to this mechanical metropolis.

#6: Fish Man Sexcapades


#6: The Shape of Water

The word that jumps to mind when I think about this movie is beautiful, from its music to its scenery to its characters. Well, okay, Michael Shannon’s character and the cat-eating scene ain’t so beautiful, but still. It’s definitely one of the more unique Best Picture winners at the Oscars. And if the thought of fish man sex grosses you out… I guess don’t go sleeping with fish men then.

#5: Coco

Woo-hoo, Top 5! Only my absolute favorites of the year from here on out and this was definitely a favorite. Honestly though, this movie’s been talked about to death, so all I’ll say is, Coco, I’ll remember you for a long time.

#4: Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi


The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props, the story, the twists, the effects, the writing… was there anything I didn’t love about this?



The fanbase.

For the second year in a row, I find myself galled by (a subsection of) a fanbase. Not content to simply dislike the film, certain people decided to turn every comment section of articles on the film into a toxic cesspool, attack fans who like the film, and even go as far to start petitions online to declare the movie fan fiction. That’s not just ignorant; it’s disrespectful, both to the people who liked it and the people who put their heart and soul into something, only to have it spat on because it was different (not to mention how disrespectful it is to Carrie Fisher’s memory, since it was her last movie).

It is to them that I address this: I have never been more disgusted by the actions of a group I belonged to nor ashamed to belong to that group. The behavior I’ve seen is like a child throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get the Christmas present they wanted. Immaturity like this and the pointless Star Trek vs. Star Wars debates are the reason geek culture isn’t taken seriously in a lot of circles. It makes us all look bad and if we can’t push ourselves to be better, then maybe the geek community would be better off without you.

So does this mean I’m going to give the Star Wars fandom the “Worst Fandom” award for this year? Well, no… because for all their faults and impotent outrage, at least they didn’t lose their nuts over a dipping sauce.**

**I say this as part of the Rick and Morty fandom: we need to get our act together.

#3: Lady Bird

These next three movies were a hard fight for the top spot, but there was zero chance this wasn’t going near the top of the list. Again, there’s something so genuine about this movie that I just can’t put my finger on. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s semi-autobiographical, but I feel like I’ve seen other semi-autobiographical movies before that haven’t made me feel like this. It could be that I relate, except I know nothing about the Catholic school environment and yet that all hit home for me. Whatever it is, I can’t wait to see what Greta Gerwig does next.

#2: Get Out

Ah yes, the psychological horror film bathed in “wokeness,” as the kids put it. I was going to put Lady Bird above it, but two things happened. First, I realized that, as real as Lady Bird is, it feels a lot more of a First World problem than the issue tackled here. Second, several higher ups at the Oscars apparently turned their noses up at this and said it was “not an Oscars film,” some without even seeing it. Well, this is my way of saying, “F*** you, Oscars! You don’t own me!

And as always, before we get to our number one pick, here are some Honorable Mentions, some of which I really wanted on the list proper.

Honorable Mentions

Wonder Woman

This feels so wrong… I really wanted Wonder Woman on the main list — heck, I certainly expected it — but I was really not prepared for the influx of good movies. Originally, I was going to make it a tie between it and a bunch of other movies before I restrained myself. Ah well, I still love it.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Entries

Oh god… I bumped off the MCU movies to make room for Adam Sandler. I’m a monster. These were some of the best ones too! Well, let’s get one sentence for each of them.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Yeah, okay, I like it better than the first one.
Spider-Man Homecoming – Finally, a Spider-Man story that might actually age well!
Thor: Ragnarok – Best use of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song I’ve heard in a movie so far.

War for the Planet of the Apes

How is it that I can feel so strongly about creatures that aren’t really there? Well, my friends, that is the magic of Serkis. This was the last big cut I made and boy did it hurt. Sorry, Caesar…

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Okay, I love this movie to death, but the main reason it’s here is because of the amazing visual gags. Seriously, how can you not love them?

The Disaster Artist

Tommy Wiseau was at the Golden Globes… we live in a world gone mad.


What can I say? It’s a good piece of filmmaking.

Call Me By Your Name

Even though I wasn’t in love with this movie, I do recognize how special it is. Between it and Moonlight, I think gay romance has turned out some amazing pieces.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Easily the most fun I’ve had at the cinema in a while.

The LEGO Batman Movie

Buuuuuuut this came pretty close.

The Circle

I still don’t understand the hate for this movie. I actually liked that they didn’t provide answers to the questions they asked and let the viewers decide for themselves. Oh well, to each their own.

My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)

Hey… you know what? Screw you, this is my list and the ponies stay!

And also, before I get to number one, allow me to be a condescending jerk with a new category.

Most Improved Award

Justice League

Congratulations, DC Extended Universe. With this and Wonder Woman, you’ve now officially graduated from the kiddie pool. And hey, you managed to lose Zack Snyder, which is pretty much like successfully disposing of a tumor. Here’s hoping for better things from you in the future.

And now…

#1: The Breadwinner

Some of you may think that this is number one because I saw it so recently, but I assure you that’s not the case. The fact is that this movie hit me in a way that the last two didn’t come close to. Part of it was the gorgeous animation, but another huge part is the fact that, even though I haven’t experienced anything close to these situations, they felt so lifelike and relatable that I felt like I was in the thick of it, watching the events unfold before my very eyes. I wasn’t kidding when I said this movie transported me.

Each of the top three can connect to people on some level. Lady Bird speaks to those who have struggled with their identity in their adolescence. Get Out empathizes with people that have felt unsafe because of their race. The Breadwinner, on the other hand, not only connects with those growing up in oppressive countries, but helps outsiders appreciate the privileges they take for granted, like being legally allowed to go outside or not having to worry about accidentally tripping a land mine in their day-to-day lives. I put all of these movies on the list because they gave me something to think on, but I put The Breadwinner at the top of this list because I never want to stop thinking or talking about it. It may not be an easy movie to get through, but believe me, it is so worth it.


If there are any you think I missed or misjudged, feel free to talk about it in the comments. As always, keep it civil. Let’s hope that the years get better as we go.

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