The Best Films of 2017
Michael Ward on Monday, January 01
"My take on it, like a filmmaker or actor, is if you have much more colors within your creation, eventually people will appreciate what you're doing, and the other stuff is secondary, like critiques or even awards or anything else, as long as people enjoy it." - Tommy Wiseau
I opted to include a quote from the creator of the "Citizen Kane" of bad movies, The Room, because Tommy Wiseau, whose incredible 2003 film is the source material for one of 2017's Best Films, is a filmmaker getting a chance at the fame and stardom he so unabashedly hoped to achieve, living vicariously through James Franco and The Disaster Artist. I found the quote some time ago, and as I reflected on the more than 160 films I watched in 2017, I kept thinking about one portion of his statement above:
"Eventually people will appreciate what you are doing..."
In the list below, the 10 films selected as my choices for the Best Films of 2017 all come from individuals who have worked hard to receive the appreciation 2017 afforded them.
I think of the brilliant writer/director who showed everyone he was so much more than just the name that followed the "&" of a popular comedy duo. And smile wide thinking of the groundbreaking storyteller, back on top of his game, who staged one of the most ambitious war films of recent memory from the ground, the air, and the sea.
I think of the acclaimed actress who may have cracked the code on the uniqueness of mother/daughter and familial relationships in her authentic directorial debut. I think of a young man, fearless and breathless, pursuing his first love and catching himself by surprise in the process. An aging superhero faces mortality, as does a wise leader of an army, preparing for final battle.
Then my mind turns to the indelible moments these films created.
The tightening of a ponytail. The bowl of cereal. The silent gasp of a woman seeing a stranger at her fiancé’s grave. The disorienting fog of war. A character, having reached the point of no return, stating "I did not start this war. But I will finish it."
The writer/director, turned actor, who took dozens of takes to get his own lines right. The breakup. The wakeup. The running away to the happiest place on Earth. The inability to find a set of car keys. The Communion wafers. The kiss in the bathroom stall. The Psychedelic Furs. The phone call. The way a family will do anything to keep a loved one's memory alive. And so many more...
We go to the movies to feel something, to slip into another person's world for a couple of hours. Whether you agree or not with the list below, no one can truly say that these films don't whisk us away into worlds we have not explored in quite these same ways. I learned so much from all of these stories and am left with the unshakable belief that this was a fantastic year at the movies.
I did not come to make this list lightly and many films, including some brilliant documentaries, fought for a space here. But, I can rest comfortably, with these 10 (even if I mentally switch them around countless times in the years to come.)
Note: Hover over the image to learn more information about the film being featured.