I have never had a hard time listing my favorite movies before. Maybe, it’s because we don’t have so many nostalgic/geeky films that come out in droves that gets to the point that I feel overwhelmed and constantly surprised by how much I like each and every one. How the hell am I going to pick from all of these blockbusters AND indie films?! I have been very consistent with making my top 10 list with having only 2 honorable mentions, but what the fuck, 2017? What. The. Fuck? I feel like I should get started, however, I have so many movies I still loved that are not on my “Top 10” or “Honorable Mentions” lists. They are all great and special, but they didn’t entertain me or grab me like the ones I am listing later on. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Blade of the Immortal, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Logan, Justice League, Lucky Logan, Split, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, Lego Batman, John Wick 2, and, unfortunately, Wonder Woman didn’t make it the lists… Again, I love every single one of them so much and it was hard seeing their names falling down the list as I was trying to figure out what were my favorites. I straight up don’t understand how people can say this was a bad year for film…
Spoilers are ahead! Let’s start with number 10!
Directed/Written by: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, LilRel Howery
This movie absolutely grabbed me. It was intense, horrifying, eye-opening, and yet funny. I saw this movie way late, but prevented myself from being spoiled. Tim actually spoiled it to me when we were having drinks (I actually told him to), but I was tipsy and honestly forgot WHAT he said, I just remember the fact he told me. The cast was phenomenal and had people I love seeing in movies (like Catherine Keener) doing terrible things that made me want to stop her, but Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield steal this movie. They are absolutely terrific. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you really should because I believe it’s a very important film and one that will stick to the back of your head for a very long time just like it has for me.
No Game No Life 0
Directed by: Atsuko Ishizuka
Written by: Yû Kamiya
Japanese Cast: Ai Kayano, Youshitsugu Matsuoka, Couronne Dola
NA Released: 10/5/17
If you listen to ‘ShuKai; or past episodes of ‘The Gathering,’ you would know that ‘No Game No Life’ is one of my favorite anime of all time. It’s animation is phenomenal, the world-building is astounding, and the story-telling is perfect. After having one amazing season come out and STILL not have a second season announced, we were told a prequel movie with original characters was being made. What the hell was that supposed to mean? Original characters? Prequel? No! Just make a second season, you monsters! We were invited to attend the Los Angeles Anime Film Festival where they premiered the English dubbed version to the world and the subbed to North America. I was skeptical, I stayed away from reviews online from Otaku sites, Reddit, and My Anime List because I wanted to see it scared shitless. I feel like whenever I go into movies that I am attached to the source material of, that it helps me enjoy it more, which is the ultimate goal. I never want to waste my time seeing a movie, if I am going to sit and waste an hour+ of my time to hate it, then why bother? Well, this movie not only delivered from my questionable expectations, it exceeded by just being a badass fucking film. We saw one character from the series in it, who was different and created character growth, a tease for the series, and also a strong foundation for what the magical world of games is built from. I can’t wait to watch it again. Watch the anime series!
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Written by: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Mark Ruffalo
I honestly don’t even know what to say. How can anyone not like this movie? I don’t understand. I could write my thoughts, but the movie was fast, fun, action-packed, character and world building, and just amazing. How can you go wrong with Jeff Goldblum? Especially with him as the Grandmaster. You can’t. This movie is a hilarious and action-packed ride that I can watch over and over again and still love it the same amount. It’s hands down my favorite Marvel film to date.
Kong: Skull Island
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Written by: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman
Talk about another movie that surprised the shit out of me. This film was so fresh, yet familiar. It had the “monster movie” structure with the characters and story, but how the characters handled the situations was awe-inspiring. I feel like it was the first monster movie that I have seen where the characters are not stupid as hell. They made rational decisions and weren’t too hammy. Plus, mad props to John C. Reilly for this film. With such a character that could have easily been too distracting, he really made the character tame and relatable. I was worried he was going to be purely comedy relief that “lightens up the story” because they were afraid to have a serious movie. Instead, we got a great character that had dark humor, but tragic past that was really trying to get the story from point A to B. I miss dramatic John C. Reilly. Grief, terror, confusion, and excitement filled each character in different ways to drive them to their arcs in a way that felt credible. I honestly can’t put my finger on why this movie is different and so amazing and that is absolutely driving me crazy. Plus, it has Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston who are 2 of my favorite actors currently working today. I can just say that this raises the bar so high for Pacific Rim 2. Please be good…
Blade Runner 2049
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Jared Leto
Blade Runner is easily one of the best sci-fi films ever and one of my favorites in general. I was scared going into this movie, even though Denis Villeneuve is an astounding director. Lately, every continuance of movies that had come out years before have been pretty shitty (mostly comedies) and with the complexity of Blade Runner, how could you even expect it to turn out as iconic? Well, it may not be better than the original film, but it was damn close. I loved this film from start to finish and it’s amazing visuals, details, and world-building was on par. I think what makes this movie so special is the story and delivery makes it fresh and stand alone. You can watch this movie without seeing Blade Runner and understand what is happening and how this society works without feeling overwhelmed, which is a problem a lot of these movies coming out have been doing. It’s a slow-moving, gorgeous experience that I feel is great as a continuance and standalone addition to those who love film.
The Disaster Artist
Directed by: James Franco
Written by: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie
If you didn’t know that I am a huge fan of The Room, you do now. I love it so much, which made me race towards the book that bears the same name as this film written by “Mark” himself, Greg Sestero. The book is phenomenal and I have a lot of feelings about both this film and the book as to how they are connected. The TL;DR version is this: they are companion pieces. The book focuses on the story in a different way, Greg’s way. It is a story that constantly compares himself to Joseph Gillis in Sunset Boulevard or Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley. The movie focuses on Tommy with a good sense of how The Room was made. It does have a lot of fan-service, maybe too much at the end, but it is such a delight and experience to me. I have seen The Room 10 times in theaters and so many times at home. This movie will have many viewings, as well. For more of my thoughts, check out the episode I was on with Albert and Jay on the ‘Spoiler’s Pleeze’ podcast.
Directed by: Dave McCary
Written by: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney
Starring: Kyle Mooney, Greg Kinnear, Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, Jorge Lendebord Jr., Mark Hamill
This movie is a delight and then an emotional ride. How, do you ask? I dunno. It’s innocent and yet deep at the same time. I love being vague. I saw a good amount of movies this year, but this is one that I think about the most frequent. I have a huge attachment to Winnie the Pooh. If you know me well, you know my knowledge and passion for anything that tells a tale from the 100 Acre Wood. This movie has a protagonist that reminds me of me in certain situations. Without being too depressing, I was sheltered and struggled with having friends for a good length of time. I have severe ADHD and have issues with personal space that drove people away when I was a kid. So, I had my Winnie the Pooh Adventures VHS tapes and all the characters’ plushies. That was my escape and how I felt like I fit in this world, by spending my time in the 100 Acre Wood. Obviously I have grown up, slightly, and have a grasp of reality, but sometimes those feelings of playing with stuffed animals and watching cartoons will pop up every once in a while. I have to say that Kyle Mooney is astounding and this movie is very heartwarming. It’s not a dark tale, even though the whole story is based off a very dark, demented beginning. With the fantastic supporting cast like Michaela Watkins, Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear, and, of course, Mark Hamill himself, this movie speaks to me so much and is just overall a must-see.
Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi
Directed/Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, and, my hero, Carrie Fisher
I will start off saying I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE HATE FOR THIS FILM. This movie made me cry, literally sit at the edge of my seat, surprised the shit out of me constantly, and got me so invested into Star Wars like I never did previously. I like Star Wars, hell I love it. I grew up more with Star Trek, but I still loved the series. Darth Vader, Han Solo, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and, most importantly, Princess Leia helped me see that anyone, any size or background can be a hero. Then, years later, we got Mace Windu? I mean, come on. It’s Star Wars. It’s fucking Star Wars, even if the prequels sucked. I have expressed my feelings on TFA (I hated it) and Rogue One (I liked it a lot, not loved) and this one I can talk for hours. This is absolutely, hands down, my favorite Star Wars movie. Rian Johnson has been one of my favorite directors since Brick and Looper, and this movie surpassed both of those and has ignited my love for Star Wars in a more crazy way. I talk about this movie at length, again, on the ‘Spoilers Pleeze‘ podcast. I fear what JJ will do to episode 9, but I am so excited for the next trilogy when I wasn’t before. I am tearing up just writing this. The Force was the strongest with this one. I still miss you, Carrie.
Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)
Directed by: Naoko Yamada
Written by: Reiko Yoshida
Japanese Cast: Miyu Irino, Saori Hayama, Aoi Yûki, Yuuki Kaneko, Kensho Ono
NA Released: 10/20/17
You know what? I cry. I am a crier and I don’t care who knows it. Unlike No Game No Life 0, this is an animated film that is not based off of an anime, however, it is an adaptation of a manga series. This year was a strong year for anime films being released in the NA with Kimi No Wa (Your Name), NGNL0, SAO: Ordinal Scale, Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel, Pokemon: I Choose You!, and more. That’s a pretty strong list of films based on beloved anime or manga, but A Silent Voice just kept pulling my heartstrings. I easily cried five times when I saw this in the theaters with our Shukai crew. We have an episode where we talk about this film so you can hear more about what I thought at length here. But, this movie takes you on an emotional roller coaster like no other. You constantly go back and forth with supporting the main character to hating him every 10 seconds, the story never goes where you think it will go, and the characters are so well developed. I have watched this film 3 times since theaters and I still tear up and find my jaw drop in certain scenes each time.
Before I go to #1, I want to give my honorable mentions. Technically they are my 11-15, but I won’t put them in a particular order: Baby Driver, Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle, Kimi no Wa (Your Name), The Shape of Water, and War of the Planet of the Apes. Each film is amazing and made me feel warm and fuzzy, sad, happy, excited, or exhilarated. Again, this year was pretty fucking fantastic.
The Big Sick
Directed by: Michael Showalter
Written by: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Adeel Akhtar, Zenobia Shroff
If you haven’t seen this movie, GET YOUR ASS ON AMAZON AND WATCH IT. That is, if you have Prime. Kumail Nanjiani is one of my favorite comedians and comedic actors. Hell, he and his wife had an awesome podcast on gaming called The Indoor Kids from the Nerdist network. He is one of the few that I will watch or listen to anything he is in or puts together. When I heard about this movie, especially after hearing bits and pieces of how him and Emily met through the years in interviews or podcasts, I was so excited for the film to be finished and in theaters. It went through the film festival route and kept getting raving reviews and I was getting so freaking impatient for this unannounced release date. I followed everything, except spoilers, for months. Once it hit limited theaters, I ran straight to Hollywood to see it and it was worth every expensive Arclight ticket penny. This movie is so funny, personal, and fresh. Easily my favorite romantic movie and, yes, that means I like it more than Annie Hall.
This year threw me curveballs constantly. It got me to crave and ignite my love for Star Wars, got me to like a King Kong movie since the old, old, old movies, having a Thor movie become my favorite Marvel film, gave us some of the best anime movies ever, watched a movie that made me laugh and then terrify me in a way no other thriller or horror film has ever made me felt, and knocked Annie Hall from the title “best romantic comedy.” 2017 may be one of the best year of entertainment since 2008 and I can’t wait for the epicness of next year. Bring it on, Infinity War.