With the year coming to a close, it’s time for Lyles Movie Files to break down the Top 20 Films of 2017. There’s sure to be some suspense and surprising snubs.
It’s crazy how quickly another year has flown by. This was a tough year to narrow my Top 30 list down almost in half. I really planned to just do 15, but I really didn’t want to leave out the other five. Maybe by 2020, I’ll stick to just 20. There was a lot of quality films this year and I really To narrow it down, I just went with the films that stayed with me the most after I saw them and couldn’t get them out of my head. Are some expected films missing? Probably. Will you be shocked at the inclusion of some films that were popular to hate? Definitely.
So let’s break them down. But let’s not just make this about me. Drop a comment with your Top 20 Films of 2017 down in the comment section.
Top Video On Demand
I watched a slew of these lower-budget films this year and these four were exceptional. These were some low-key gems that sounded promising and then delivered better in a lot of cases than far more high profile blockbusters with massive budgets. These aren’t in any particular order:
Bad Match – Fatal Attraction for the internet age. This kept finding ways to surprise smartly not making its budget a factor in telling a quality story.
Circus Kane – This low-budget haunted house feature had a great premise, better than average acting and some clever camerawork. The only thing it lacked was more money. If it had a larger budget it could have made it to the overall Top 20 list.
Peelers – Zombies at a strip club. Peelers embraced its ridiculousness making for a fun low-budget zombie flick that was far more entertaining than it had any right to be.
A Patch of Fog – This was another film that kept flipping the tables on the hero and the villain making for a surprisingly great thriller. It’s well worth seeking out thanks to great performances from Stephen Graham and Conleth Hill. This would be the one film that came real close to cracking the Top 20.
And with no further ado…
Honorable Mention: The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro’s latest is bursting with imagination, creativity and charm that keeps finding new directions to take the story. Along with one of the year’s best ensembles, this is a gorgeous looking film with well-developed characters and some surprising twists. The creativity on display was impressive as well and seemingly at every turn, del Toro made the right choice to tell the story.
I’ve been waiting in vain for a great Resident Evil film featuring the characters from the game as opposed to Super Alice. This third animated film captures all the thrills, excitement and action of the popular Capcom game series. This was one of those films I fully expect to watch over and over when I need a quick action fix.
Warner Bros. Entertainment has been somewhat spotty in its adaptations of big DC comic book stories. That’s why this largely faithful take on one of the most iconic Teen Titans stories was so good. It worked within the framework of the existing Teen Titans continuity, but fully captured the spirit of the original comic arc.
I was never one of those hardcore Blade Runner devotees. I’d seen too many sci-fi films by the time I finally saw it to consider it as groundbreaking as others viewed it. I loved the sci-fi concepts that really don’t seem that far away, the plot that gave viewers just enough to stay invested, Ryan Gosling’s performance and the gorgeous cinematography. This is probably going to be the one film people watch years from now and really regret not seeing it on a massive IMAX presentation.
17. Lady Bird
Saorise Ronan delivers another incredible performance as a high school senior trying to make her mark while standing up to her overbearing mother (Laurie Metcalf) in Greta Gerwig’s sensational coming of age story that approaches the teen daughter/mother relationship in a very authentic manner.
16. Happy Death Day
As a huge fan of slasher movies, it’s been a while since one came along with a fresh premise. Groundhog’s Day meets Scream is a pretty good way to go. This was one of those films that made the most out of a clever idea, honored all the genre clichés and still found ways to work in some genuine surprises without needing to resort to too much gratuitous gore. I loved this one so much I added the film’s signature ringtone as mine for my birthday.
15. Justice League
Divisive choice alert! While this wasn’t the box office record breaker Warner Bros. was hoping, I dug the third act of the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman trilogy. The Zack Snyder/Joss Whedon hybrid did a lot to provide a compelling reason for the team to unite. Steppenwolf wasn’t the best villain, but it was a lot of fun watching Superman be Superman alongside Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman. It might be a while before we see a sequel, but for two hours, DC had most of its heavy hitters assembled. And it was glorious.
Part inspiring, part hilarious and always entertaining, James Franco’s tribute to The Room is really funny, but it surprisingly has a ton of heart with a nice message on following your dreams. This was my favorite of Franco’s performances and Seth Rogen had some terrific scenes too. Of all the films on this list this was one when it was first announced I was sure it would end up on the worst of 2017 column. I enjoyed every minute of this one.
Matt Reeves’ final installment of the Apes trilogy is a fantastic film. The middle portion slows down a bit, but from the amazing detailing on the CGI apes, the incredible performances by Andy Serkis and the thoughtful approach to an action film, it’s just a matter of preference in determining the top film of the trilogy. Either way it warrants a spot on the Top 20 Films of 2017 list.
12. Girls Trip
Tiffany Haddish steals, hijacks and locks this film in a vault with her breakout performance, but it was far from a one woman show. Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Jada Pinkett Smith all were terrific in yet another winner from Director Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man Holiday). After Girls Trip, every other 2017 comedy was vying for second place.
11. Baby Driver
Edgar Wright concocted a doozy with this electric, high-adrenaline and stylish heist film. There’s no weak link among the incredible cast (though Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx are incredible) and the action sequences were masterfully done. Wright skillfully incorporated the music in undoubtedly, 2017’s coolest film. Baby Driver had to roll to a spot on the list.