As I was putting this list together I came to a realization; I didn’t have strong enough feelings on some movies I saw this year to justify a top 10 list, so I decided to drop it down to five. That way I’m not wasting your time by praising something I only sort of enjoyed. Also, I feel so strongly about these five I HAD to write about them.
Honorable Mentions: Logan, Baby Driver, Fate of the Furious
The horror movie genre is a cruel mistress. Rarely do they live up to expectations and even when they do it is usually in the form of lesser know films. It on the other hand was phenomenon. Everyone went to see it and the film received almost universal acclaim, all of which is very deserved. While the film might not be particularly scary, it still manages to pull off the hardest trick of them all; make kid characters likable. It doesn’t work without the wonderful cast of teenagers that do battle with an ancient demon. Now all we have to do is keep our fingers crossed on Chapter 2 being just as good.
4. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is the best superhero film in YEARS. I have grown very tired of the Marvel formula and was starting to think I was done with the genre. This movie alone reminded me of why I fell in love with superheroes to begin with. It is the way they inspire us. While Marvel is killing every moment with one-liners, Wonder Woman is charging into a Nazi occupied town and liberating it all on her own. The film also never takes away from the moment. It trusts the script and the charisma of its lead character to make a scene I will always point to when asked about the best of the genre. Sure, the last third devolves into bad CGI villain territory, but I’m willing to forgive it because of everything else it does so right.
3. John Wick: Chapter 2
John Wick: Chapter 2 took the fascinating underground assassin society of the first film and expanded it across the globe. It did this while still maintaining elements of mystery which is applause worthy on its own. The large color palette helps to individualize each scene and give the locations there own flavors. Oh, and I almost forgot it is filled with some of the most well choreographed and shot action scenes you will ever see. The catacombs shootout is an all-timer and is made all the more memorable by the the build from the scenes prior. It is an action movie that delivers on all fronts and I have high hopes for the third.
2. Get Out
This is the the one movie I saw this year that I would recommend to anyone. Get Out is a masterclass in pacing from beginning to end. It builds constant tension by playing on the universal fear of meeting your significant other’s parents and pairing it with very real racial undertones. Spoiling what happens would be a disservice to everything this film tries and succeeds at doing. If you haven’t seen it you should go watch it. Seriously.
1. Blade Runner 2049
I saw this movie twice in theaters. The minute I stepped out the first time I wanted to watch it again. I thought about it all the way home. I thought about it when I woke up the next morning. I think about it constantly. This movie wants that. It is filled with quiet moments that allow you to think about the themes it is presenting. It also never tells you what the right way to interpret it is. It respects the intelligence of the viewer. The film is gorgeous top to bottom. I think about individual shots and feel emotional just based on color choice. It has one of my favorite relationships ever that I could spend hours talking about. Hell, I could talk about this movie forever. It is one of the best sci-fi films ever made and a movie that will inform my tastes for years to come.