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Dave's Top 10 Movies from 2017


The Guys from {FILM} is a discussion on movies and films from all eras and genres

Dave's Top 10 Movies from 2017

David R. Smith

Part of my goal every year is to try and make sure I watch at least 12 movies so I can have a comprehensive list of my top-10 movies, so as to avoid the fiasco I had 2 years ago when I was only able to do a top 5.

You guys. This year I saw 13 movies that came out in 2017. I know that's not many, but keeping in mind I also had to plough through a ton of movies from the '40s in order to be prepared for that podcast, I feel like 13 movies was a success! Netflix coming out with their own movies also really helps, as I only saw 6 of the 13 in theatres...

Anyway, here we are with my Guys From Top 10 Movies from 2017. Also, there's a podcast if you want to hear me talk about instead of reading the following. Also also, Shaun did his top-10 movies from 2017 so you can read that here. Or go to the podcast and hear that too. 

Honorable Mentions:

David Brent: Life on the Road 
Did you like the original British Office? Were you one of those who felt like maybe it ended too soon and that you would like to have seen more? Well you're in luck because Netflix has just the solution. A full length movie of Ricky Gervais being awkward. Admittedly, I'm not the world's largest Ricky Gervais fan. I unfollowed him on Twitter because I found him to be rather insufferable. But you can dislike a person and still find them entertaining. (I feel the same way about Leonardo DiCaprio.) I love The Office - both versions. And while Michael Scott can be generally awkward, he doesn't hold a candle to David Brent. And therein is the beauty of this movie. You get an hour and a half of Rickey Gervais being as awkward as can be. It's fun, painful and - if you're a fan of the office, I can't stress that part enough - definitely worth a watch.

Ugghhhhh. Even watching the trailer made me cringe. I had to put this movie on here because it was one of the 13 that I've seen but also because it is such a polarizing movie. I am generally a fan of the Aronofsky movies I've seen. Until this one. I really, really didn't like it. Neither did other people who saw it in the theatre because some of them walked out. When I saw the trailer for it, I was pumped! I thought it was going to be a creepy Aronofksy take on a horror movie. Instead it was just a pretentious romp through the bible. Did not care for this movie, but some of the shots were cool. So.... 

Also, Honest Trailers does a great job of this one. 

The Top 10 ___________________________________________________________

10) Gerald's Game

It is no secret that I like Stephen King. At least, if you know me at all. I have devoured many of his books (some, I've read more than once...) and appreciate many of the movies based on his books. I have never read Gerald's Game, so I went into this one blind. But as it said Stephen King, I felt like I had to watch it. 

It was only okay. I didn't hate the movie by any means, but I also didn't love it. 

The basic gist of the movie is that Jessie and Gerald go to her family lake house (as was pointed out to me by Shaun in the podcast...) to have a weekend away together. After Gerald has handcuffed Jessie to the seemingly indestructible posts of the 4 post bed, he dies of a heart attack. (I'm not spoiling anything. That happens literally 15 minutes into the movie.) The rest of the movie is Jessie trying to figure out how she's going to free herself, considering by the time anybody else gets to the lake, she'll be long dead.

The concept of the movie is very intriguing. One of those, "how would you cope?" sort of scenarios. So while terrifying to consider, the execution of the movie is only okay. And the ending really sucks. Seems like kind of a cop-out to me. 

9) 1922

Now this movie has some tooth to it. Another Netflix original (this makes 3 of 4 thus far.) But this one is very good. 

Set in 1922 (who'd have thought??) this film is about a farmer and his family. His wife is a city girl with money and she's whiling away her time on the farm. The farm is not doing too well and she basically tells her husband they have to move back to the city for a better life. Well the husband refuses and, with the help of his son (who doesn't want to move because he's in love with the neighbour's daughter,) the husband kills the wife. (I'm not spoiling anything; this happens 25 minutes into the movie.) 

The real intensity comes in the aftermath of the murder. The men trying to cover it up and pretend like the wife just disappeared is one thing, but the shady stuff that happens to the farm afterward will make a person believe in curses. This movie is very well performed, very well shot and just very good all-around. 

8) Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond 

Apparently 2017 was the year of documentaries for me. Of the 13 films from this year I saw, 3 of them were documentaries. Because they were on topics that piqued my interest. And this was one of them.

The final Netflix original on my list, this documentary essentially follows Jim Carrey as he shed his skin and became Andy Kaufman for the duration of filming for Man On The Moon. Now: Jim Carrey absolutely nailed the role. And his commitment to the part was second to none. He truly did become Andy Kaufman. But that might not necessarily be the best thing. He ended up being very difficult to work with and people seemed to struggle with it. And that is all shown in the footage that they didn't release until now. 

As Jim Carrey says in the trailer, "Universal didn't want the footage we took behind the scenes to surface so that people wouldn't think I was an asshole." And that's legitimate. At the time, Jim Carrey was one of the biggest draws in the world. If footage of him playing Andy the whole time and being super confusing and difficult to work with appeared, he would lose that draw he had. 

But now that he's kind of gotten past his time as the biggest draw in Hollywood, that footage can appear without harming him.

Now. All of this being said; it's a really, really cool film. And it didn't make me think Jim Carrey was an asshole, just eccentric. And also, there were parts of the documentary that choked me up. Because I'm a sucker like that.

7) Beauty and the Beast

14 months ago, Shaun and I recorded a podcast where we reacted to the trailer of Beauty and the Beast (and, as it turns out, the trailer for my next movie too. That was a complete coincidence.) We both decided that it looked very good and were both excited to see it. Mostly because it harkened us back to the original animated movie that came out in 1991 because some of the things done in the 2017 version were almost shot for shot duplicates of the animated. 

This was the first movie I saw in the theatre in 2017 and I was enchanted. Beginning to end, it was a very well done movie. 

Emma Watson was a perfect choice for Belle, and Luke Evans was terrific as Gaston (and, well, we just need to give a shoutout to Josh Gad, as he is great in everything.) But beyond the performances, the animation of the castle "residents" was extremely well done. As we get more and more removed from the advent of CG, the ability to make things look realistic is more impressive. And the way they made these characters literally come to life was tremendous. 

This is a very good movie to watch either as a 34 year-old, or as a 5 year-old. I know this because I watched it with my niece on Christmas Day. 

6) T2: Trainspotting

So yeah. Apparently that podcast covered T2 Trainspotting as well. Who knew?

I absolutely love the original Trainspotting. It's one of those movies that comes on late at night because it's not suitable for primetime. When it does come on, that inevitably means I'm going to be awake way too late because I can't not watch it.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out they were making a sequel to this movie. And while it didn't disappoint, I wouldn't say that I loved this movie. Don't get me wrong: I definitely enjoyed it, but it just didn't have the same feel as the original. Now, granted it's hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice, and generally sequels are not as solid as the originals, but I had such high hopes for this movie. 

I really liked seeing the characters come back 20 years later and seeing where they were in their lives. And, like in the first movie, there was a fun scheme that they had going (as Sick Boy is never one to work hard...) so that was cool. But what I felt was missing in this one was the heart. There was nothing in this movie that gutted you quite like some of the moments in the original. So yes, I enjoyed it, but it just wasn't the same...

5) Guardians of the Galaxy II

Now this is a sequel that I can get behind! This was so, so fun. Now again, I didn't care for it as much as I did the original. However, the difference is that this one still had a lot of the charm that the original did, and made me more captivated. 

Also, Dave Bautista was really in his element as Drax. I maintain that the reason Parks and Recreation was so successful as a TV show was because they discovered what they had in Nick Offerman and Chris Pratt. I think the same can be said about the Guardians. While the franchise would still have been successful, there's something about Dave Bautista that adds a bit more levity, which is needed in this one. Because the tensions can run a bit high in this movie, it's nice to have a character that doesn't get in the mix, and just has terrific one liners through the movie. 

This movie was also cool because Yondu, who was essentially the villain in the first Guardians, gets a bit of redemption in this one and becomes significantly more likeable. 

In all, I was very pleased to have this movie on my list. It was extraordinarily fun and makes me excited for more. (Though it's been brought to my attention that I need to play some serious catchup to be prepared for Infinity War...)

4) Let's Play Two

Baseball and Pearl Jam. Is this movie custom made for me??

Another documentary, this film has footage of Pearl Jam playing 2 nights at Wrigley Field, mere months before the Cubs won their first World Series in a century. 

As Eddie Vedder has been a life-long fan of the Cubbies, it made sense to do a documentary that showed what it meant to him to both play in the hallowed grounds that are Wrigley, as well as seeing his beloved team win. (He was sitting in the box alongside Theo Epstein when it happened. You could say he's rather well connected....)

What was really fun about this movie was being able to see live songs played through their entirety at Wrigley Field. As I was watching the film in a generally empty theatre, I had no reservations about singing along with the songs. It made me feel as though I was at a live show and was rocking out with all my friends. Sadly, I was not and the movie made me want another Canadian PJ tour so badly it almost made me sad. So thanks Pearl Jam. Thanks a ton. 

3) IT

At the beginning of the calendar year, when Shaun and I did our 2017 movie preview, there was a very strong possibility that this movie could end up as my #1 of the year. Now, it obviously didn't but coming in at number 3 is still pretty impressive. 

I absolutely loved this movie. As I mentioned above in the Gerald's Game writeup, I love me some Stephen King, and in particular this book. This is one of the Stephen King books that I've read twice; which is no small task. Coming in at 1090 pages, it takes some doing. But it's worth it. Because it's great. 

And now so is the movie. 

I enjoyed the miniseries well enough, but it wasn't as impactful as the book is. It just didn't grab me. 

This movie, however. Boy did I love this movie. I was on the edge of my seat for a good proportion of it and there were even a few times when I audibly yelled a bit in the theatre. It got me really good.

What I most appreciated from this version was that even though Tim Curry's Pennywise was a role that is unequivocal, Bill Skarsgard did a terrific job of not only straying from anything Curry did, but also making it his own. The clown was pretty goofy and had interesting delivery, but could be terrifying as hell when he needed to be. Skarsgard will forever be compared to his predecessor, but I think he did a masterful job making the character his own. 

I am really happy they did a remake of this movie and I greatly look forward to the second part.

2) Long Time Running

So anybody who knows me well is familiar with my love of music. And my two go-to bands are Pearl Jam and the Tragically Hip. As it turns out, they both released documentaries fairly close to each other this past year. As such, I saw them within a week of each other. 

Now, Let's Play Two was great because it was a fun revisit of the Cubs winning the World Series and Pearl Jam playing Wrigley. This documentary was less fun. It was still very exciting to watch and I really enjoyed it (obviously, as it was my #2 movie of the year) but it was less happy. 

In early 2016, Gord Downie discovered he had terminal brain cancer. That news sent a shockwave through Canada, as he was seemingly everybody's buddy. He was this staple that we felt would always be around. Instead, as The Hip planned one more tour, people clamoured to get tickets because this was the last time they would be touring. Those who had never seen the band bought tickets because they felt they had to see them at least once. And those who saw them every time they came through town bought tickets to say goodbye to their pal. I was in the latter. 

Long Time Running chronicles the announcement of the brain cancer through to the end of the tour. It's very well done, the interviews are great and it had people leaving wiping their eyes. This movie gutted me. It's currently on my PVR and I haven't had the courage to watch it again. I feel like when I do, it's going to be a waterfall of tears.

1) Dunkirk

It's pretty remarkable how many trailer reacts we did and how many of those movies actually made their way into my top-10. This movie is one of them. We did that trailer react 11 months before the movie came out. I had to wait nearly a year to see it. But it was worth it. 

This film was everything I've come to expect from Christopher Nolan. It was simple yet complex. It was engaging yet horrifying. And what's best is that it made you feel like you were there. 

In the podcast version of this, I tell Shaun that there were points that were so loud, that I nearly took exception to the volume. But then I realized that it was intentional. If you're trying to make a movie about the Second World War and you want people to be uncomfortable, why not add to that discomfort by making things so loud, it's almost like you were there. I won't get into the part I'm referring to, because I don't want to spoil anything. But it involves an abandoned boat. 

The performances in this movie are terrific. Everybody does a remarkable job. But again, that's something I've come to expect from a brilliant director like Chris Nolan. While I loved both Long Time Running, and IT, nothing affected me as much as this movie did. 

There you have it, my friends. The 10 (plus change) movies that I liked most from the last year. Now, full disclosure, I watched Kong Skull Island the evening Shaun and I recorded the podcast, and it 100% would have made my list. Probably would have come in at number 6, bumping everything else up a spot. But I didn't see it early enough to record the podcast, so I can't change that now. But know that it's amazing (as Shaun will agree with) and it would have been on my list. 

There are other movies that I have yet to see that would likely be on this list, but as I have yet to see them, I can't really rank them, can I? Maybe next year I'll have seen more. Baby steps. 

-D (@davidronn)

photo credit: Profound Whatever Action via photopin (license)