By Jack Dignan
One of the things I’ve noticed about nearly all the films on my list today is that they’ve really stuck with me. Long after the credits finished rolling, weeks if not months later, these films were still bouncing around in my head, even resonating with me on a stronger level than they did initially. Because of that, the order of these films may not perfectly reflect the rating I gave them in my review. Still, each of these films affected me deeply, and while the year may not have started on the strongest footing, it came around in the long run. And wow, what tremendous films they were!
Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed, but we’re just two days away from February, so this list is coming out a little late. As I’m Australian, we get a great deal of 2017 releases in the early months of 2018. Last year saw the exclusions of Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea, amongst others, two films that definitely would’ve made my list had I seen them earlier. I held off on this list as long as I could, knowing that I was bound to love some films I hadn’t yet seen, so while I still haven’t seen everything, I saw as much as I could.
Before we begin, I also want to point out that there’s been, like every year, so many fantastic movies that I really wanted to put on this list. They all came close, and I can’t go without mentioning them. My HONOURABLE MENTIONS are The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Paddington 2, Molly's Game, Mudbound and War for the Planet of the Apes.
Thanks for reading DCM throughout 2017 and beyond! It’s been a great year and I thank each and every one of you for your support. Now, let’s get this list started.
The Big Sick is such a wonderful, unexpected hit. It’s sweet, tender, heartfelt and relevant, able to make you laugh just as easily as it makes you cry. Kumail Nanjiani is an absolute treasure, armed with pitch-perfect comedic timing thanks to a truly spectacular Oscar nominated screenplay co-written by himself and real-life wife Emily V. Gordon. It’s the rom-com to beat in 2017. MY REVIEW.
Guillermo del Toro has always gone up and beyond to bring his love of monsters to the big screen. His latest, The Shape of Water, is one of this best, using his affection in the literal sense and creating an absolutely spellbinding display of untamed love and universal acceptance. Sally Hawkins is tremendous. Plus, del Toro finally made movie monsters sexy. This is the film we’ve all been waiting for! MY REVIEW.
Okja was my absolute favourite movie from this year’s Sydney Film Festival (mainly because I wasn’t fortunate enough to catch this list’s #9 film until later in the year), and it’s stuck with me to this very day. The story of a super pig gone wild and the little girl who tries to save her will have you laughing, crying, cheering and sitting on the edge of your seat from start to finish. And heck, if it happens to make you vegan in the process, that’s fine too. MY REVIEW.
Stephen King’s monster of a book (both thematically and in terms of page length) finally gets the film treatment it deserves. Or at least, it gets the first half of it. IT: Chapter One isn’t necessarily the scariest film of 2017, nor is it even the highest rated horror film on this list, but it’s a wonderfully entertaining 80s high school movie throwback featuring a bunch of social misfits who just so happen to be fighting a demonic killer clown. And it’s fucking awesome. MY REVIEW.
It’s no secret that I love Pixar. One might even go so far as to say I live and breathe Pixar. They’re the best; there’s no competition, and their latest, Coco, is exactly what you’d expect from the studio famous for making you cry. It’s a deep and affectionate Mexican story that deals with very important themes relating to death and the memory of our ancestors. There’s a little something for everyone, but it’s the older audiences who may end up getting the most out of this brilliant little film. MY REVIEW.
There are no definitive answers as to what really happened between Tonya Harding, her husband Jeff Gillooly and fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Google tells you one thing, reporters say another, and then each of the members involved all have a completely contradicting story. And that’s what makes I, Tonya so special. The truth doesn’t matter. I, Tonya isn’t out to set the facts straight, it’s out to tell a powerful and darkly comedic story of abuse while recounting one of sport’s most infamous moments. MY REVIEW.
“I have loved you for the last time. Is it a video? Is it a video?” Call Me By Your Name fills your heart with love and joy before completely ripping it out of your chest and tearing it into pieces before your very eyes. Timothêe Chalamet and Armie Hammer are both sensational as hidden lovers slowly starting to embrace their bisexuality in the gorgeous Italian summer, but it’s Michael Stuhlbarg who brings the whole thing home with a powerful and unforgettable speech during the finale. Also, there be peaches. Yeah… MY REVIEW.
Get Out is all sorts of brilliant. It’s genius in its execution, delivering a haunting, genre-defying movie that deals with racism in a way never before seen. It’s as terrifying as it is important, able to transcend expectations and take you down a rabbit hole that’ll leave you shaking, shocked and wanting more. Repeat viewings only further display the genius at work here, allowing you to pull back new lawyers every time. Jordan Peele, you are a madman and a genius. We love you. CHRIS CAMPO’S REVIEW.
Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of comic book hero Wolverine has been a massive part of my life. He’s been around since I was very young, and I’ve been following his adventures ever since. I still remember the first time I watched most of the X-Men movies, eagerly waiting for the next one to come out. And now, Jackman’s time is up. Logan is his swansong, a triumphant goodbye to his most beloved character, and one that tells a dark, violent and human tale of a hero at the end of his days. I couldn’t think of a better way to send this character off. MY REVIEW.
Tommy Wiseau’s ambitious masterpiece The Room pretty much changed my life. If you haven’t yet seen it, you’re only doing yourself a disservice, but even then, The Disaster Artist should still be an absolute must-see. If Birdman was Michael Keaton’s modern self-reflective masterpiece, The Disaster Artist is Franco’s, whose performance here is so, so, so very good. An Oscar snub of the highest degree. MY REVIEW.
Even months after having seen it for the first time, Baby Driver remains the single coolest movie of the year. It’s slick, stylish and choreographed to perfection, every scene timed flawlessly to the music blaring from central protagonist Baby’s headphones. Baby Driver is big, loud and exciting, featuring Edgar Wright at his most Edgar Wright. If you like film, you’re going to love Baby Driver. MY REVIEW.
A Star Wars film from Rian Johnson, the writer-director of Looper, is essentially what heaven looks like. It’s a film with a few minor quibbles throughout, most of which have been drastically exaggerated by upset and very loud “fans” on the internet, but what it does best is take these characters and challenge them in ways we haven’t seen before. It goes in a lot of unexpected directions, subverting all expectations and delivering a sequel that puts character first. It’ll challenge you as an audience member in more ways than one, while leaving you impatient for 2019’s concluding chapter. MY REVIEW.
The original Blade Runner is one of my all-time favourite films. Heck, I think it’s one of everyone’s all-time favourite films. And yet a sequel to such a perfect standalone story is an idea that nobody thought could’ve worked, but here we are with Blade Runner 2049, an immaculate, gorgeous display of master class filmmaking with just as many profound and thought provoking ideas as the original. It expands the established world while working perfectly in its own right, and repeat viewings only help me love it more. I gave this 4.5 stars originally. I have no idea what I was thinking. That was way too low. This film is a masterpiece. MY REVIEW.
Well… I guess this is a bit of a spoiler for my review later this week, but I. LOVED. LADY. BIRD. It’s a fantastically earnest, emotional and hilarious depiction of life in Sacramento, 2002, accessible for anyone who’s ever been a teenager. Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut has set a high bar for all films she has to follow this up with, matched by all-round incredible performances, most notably from the mother-daughter duo of Saorise Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. Coming of age dramadies don’t get much better than this.
And here we are at my number one film of 2017, Phantom Thread, finally releasing Australia-wide in just two days time! GO SEE IT EVERYBODY! It’s an absolutely chilling foray into unhealthy relationships that sees Paul Thomas Anderson subtly, unofficially and unexpectedly returning to the comedy genre. Every frame feels like a painting. Every performance is without flaw. Every line and character beat is perfectly calculated. I’ve seen this film twice now and I’m yet to find something I don’t like. I’m sure there’s something, no film is perfect, but I highly doubt anyone’s going to find it any time soon, especially not me. It’s too perfect. MY REVIEW.
Chris Campo's Top 15 Films of 2017:
1. Get Out
2. The Shape of Water
3. The Disaster Artist
4. Baby Driver
5. Blade Runner 2049
6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
8. I, Tonya
9. Ingrid Goes West
11. Lady Bird
12. The Big Sick
13. John Wick Chapter 2
14. Star Wars The Last Jedi
15. Lazer Team 2
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