Best Movies of 2017 – So Far

Javier and Ricardo Darin in TRUMAN

Javier Cámara and Ricardo Darin in TRUMAN

Every year, I keep a running list of the best movies I’ve seen this year.  I usually end up with a Top Ten and another 5-15 mentions. Here’s last year’s list.

To get on my year-end list, a movie has to be one that thrills me while I’m watching it and one that I’m still thinking about a couple of days later.

I’m looking forward to many upcoming films that are candidates for this list, including Darkest Hour, Novitiate, The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, Thelma, Phantom Thread, The Post and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.  The list so far:

Truman: how people say goodbye.  This emotionally powerful Spanish dramedy had a brief US theatrical run.  It’s now streaming on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

The Big Sick: the best American movie of the year so far and the best romantic comedy in years. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love.

Wind River:  another masterpiece from Taylor Sheridan.  Smart, layered and intelligent, Wind River is another success from one of America’s fastest-rising filmmakers. Wind River can be streamed from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

Dunkirk: personal, spectacular and thrilling: White knuckle intensity in this filmmaking marvel. It can be streamed from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri:  a powerful combination of raw emotion and dark hilarity.. Woody Harrelson, in his greatest performance, leads a superb cast through heartbreak and grim belly laughs.

The Founder: money grubbing visionary.  Michael Keaton stars in this biopic of fast food magnate Ray Kroc.  You can watch it on DVD from Netflix and Redbox or stream it from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

Lady Bird: an entirely fresh high school coming of age story. Saoirse Ronan stars in Greta Gerwig’s brilliant debut as a writer-director.

Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer: big deals are not for little men. This superb character study is probably Richard Gere’s best career performance. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer is available on DVD from Netflix and to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

The Sense of an Ending: you can’t revisit the past and guarantee closure. This British indie drama is a showcase for its star, Jim Broadbent. It’s available to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

Richard Gere in NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER

Richard Gere in NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER

I try not to tease you with movies that you can’t find, but I need to acknowledge two sure-fire crowd-pleasers from this year’s Cinequest: Quality Problems and For Grace. Both films are emotionally authentic, intelligent and funny, but neither has distribution so far. I will feature them if and when they become available on video.

And here’s a special mention.  It’s not on my list, but The Lost City of Z deserves credit for reviving the genre of the historical adventure epic, with all the spectacle of a swashbuckler, while braiding in modern sensitivities and a psychological portrait.  The Lost City of Z is available on DVD from Netflix and Redbox and to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

Brooke Purdy in QUALITY PROBLEMS

Brooke Purdy in QUALITY PROBLEMS