The Best and Worst Films of 2017

2017 may have been one of the worst years in recent decades for box office earnings, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few gems along the way. Reflecting on the movies we’ve seen this year, a few of us in GUG’s movie department have decided to share our top 10 picks, along with 5 films that would be best to avoid!

In our lists, we include films that may have started screening in 2016, but were still enjoying their time in cinemas the following year. Similarly, movies that are released right at the tail end of 2017 won’t get their time to shine until next year, as we haven’t had the chance to see them yet! If there are some gems that fall into this awkward time period and you’d like to bring our attention to them, then be sure to let us know in the comments!

But before we look at the shining stars of 2017, let’s shoot past those black holes. Below are our top 5 worst films for this year.

Brace yourself for some bad films…

THE TOP 5 WORST FILMS OF 2017

5

Tyler Hummel

The Dark Tower: Boiling down a large, complex book into a feature film script is difficult. The Dark Tower reminds us of this fact. Few films, however, have taken the full breadth and depth of a writer’s greatest literary creation and boiled every ounce of depth and meaning out of it quite the way The Dark Tower has.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barne

Roman J Israel, ESQ: While Denzel Washington manages to save this aimless mishap from being a total disaster, I cannot really consider that worth the price of admission. I’ve seen Dan Gilroy do great work with Nightcrawler, so this was a very peculiar disappointment in my eyes.

Juliana Purnell

Geostorm: I was hoping for some stupid fun, but alas, all I got was stupid. I love a good disaster flick, and San Andreas is a guilty pleasure of mine, but this film was so cliché that it was simply boring.

See GUG’s review here!

4

Tyler Hummel

The Mummy: Franchise management is one of the worse sins of modern Hollywood. It’s tragically destroyed potentially great franchises like The Amazing Spiderman and the DC Extended Universe. Universal tried to make a monster movie universe based on their properties from the 1930s and 40s and failed so severely that they quit after the first film.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

The Shape of Water: You know how certain gamers will praise virtually anything with the Nintendo label on it no matter how off-putting and offensive it is on net balance? Film geeks are no better in that they will praise what is essentially an indie bestiality erotica movie so long as Guillermo del Toro is at the helm; regardless of the fact that it is one of his least compelling and imaginative works to date.

See GUG’s review here!

Juliana Purnell

The Emoji Movie: I thought this movie might offer some tongue-in-cheek scathing criticism about society’s over-reliance on technology for communication. Sadly, it never went there. Yep, it really did revolve around a boy’s first world problem!

See GUG’s review here!

3

Tyler Hummel

Live by Night: The director of Argo and Gone Baby Gone should not have been able to make a film this bad. Whatever bug is going around the Warner Bros. offices that caused Batman vs. Superman seems to be affecting Ben Affleck’s brain.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

The Dark Tower: Imagine a badly written knock-off of a Dr. Seuss book masquerading as the next great American novel. The Dark Tower would only be maybe half as good as that.

Juliana Purnell

Spookers: A New Zealand documentary I saw at the Sydney Film Festival that followed the lives of scare actors working at the titular Spookers Haunted House. Sounds cool, except the film never answered the question as to what it was like to work in such a place, and instead focused too much on sob stories, losing whatever appeal it had in the first place.

The Dark Tower didn’t fare well on both Tyler’s and Tyrone’s lists, taking up the 5th and 3rd spot respectively. Were you a fan?

2

Tyler Hummel

The LEGO Ninjago Movie: The studio behind The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie had the opportunity to keep their bizarre excellence streak going. They blew it on this one-off kids movie that nobody should bother to see.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

Suburbicon: Can someone politely but firmly tell George Clooney to stop doing this to us and to himself? The last thing I needed this year was another major disappointment from some of the biggest names during the Oscar season…

See GUG’s review here!

Juliana Purnell

Transformers: The Last Knight: If you’ve ever wanted 100% action, this is it! Unfortunately, 100% action means that there are no shots that are longer than three seconds, the pace never slows (even in scenes where it’s just a regular conversation), and it features so many explosions that you’ve actually seen it all within the first act. It’s not a film. It’s an endurance test.

See GUG’s review here!

1

Tyler Hummel

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: There was a time when this franchise was cutting edge. Few franchises have aged so poorly than the Pirates of the Caribbean. They’ve long since abdicated having any place to take this franchise.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

The Emoji Movie:

Me: Siri, I understand you managed to get around to actually seeing The Emoji Movie. Were you satisfied?

Siri: Don’t you talk to me…

Juliana Purnell

The Snowman: The director admitted that they ran out of time and couldn’t film 15% of the script, so essentially it’s an unfinished product. Considering it’s a crime thriller where every piece of information is necessary, you don’t need to be a detective to realize that something’s gone horribly wrong here.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone and Juliana both agree that The Emoji Movie was awful. Did you dare to see it?

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s finally see what we thought was worth watching in 2017. Grab a pen and paper, and be sure to add these to your list of films to see!

THE TOP 10 BEST FILMS OF 2017

10

Tyler Hummel

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: It’s kind of weird that the film I most enjoyed this year is so low on the list. It just goes to show how excellent 2017 have been for films (thus why I heartbreakingly had to cut Disaster Artist off the list…). James Gunn’s colorful space opera returns as the strongest outing for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film in years.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

Spider-Man: Homecoming: Is it the BEST Spider-Man film? No, that crown belongs firmly on the head of Spider-Man 2; but for a new generation of Spider-fans, this will do wonderfully.

See GUG’s review here!

Juliana Purnell

A Silent Voice: This film has made a significant impact on my life, literally inspiring me to take up lessons in sign language. Tackling the difficult and messy issues in life, it unflinchingly explores an ex-bully’s regrets, the depression he faces when he confronts past comrades, and the redemption he seeks but feels he doesn’t deserve. A Silent Voice is a rare film that will motivate you to overcome your own communicational barriers and find self-acceptance.

See GUG’s review here!

9

Tyler Hummel

Baby Driver: Edgar Wright movies are a rare privilege. As sad as it was that we lost out on Ant-Man to corporate groupthink, Wright finally got to direct his auteur crime thriller. At once a stellar homage to Walter Hill’s masterpieces of suspense like The Driver and Streets of Fire and an outlandish musical, Baby Driver is something old rebuilt into something new.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

Wonder Woman: What a shame it is that it took us this long to give a feature film treatment to the third or fourth most iconic face in comic book lore. What a joy it is that it’s this good.

See GUG’s review here!

Juliana Purnell

Thor: Ragnarok: Wildly enjoyable throughout. What more can you really ask for from a film in this genre?

See GUG’s review here!

8

Tyler Hummel

War for the Planet of the Apes: Matt Reeves has single-handedly reinvented the Planet of the Apes franchise from an offbeat Twilight Zone offshoot into one of the most high minded and cerebral series to come out of modern Hollywood. War elevates the already excellent pedigree of his 2014 outing to an entirely new degree.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

Baby Driver: No one knows how to have fun with a camera like Edgar Wright, and Baby Driver is one of the most fun bouts yet. Add in a killer soundtrack arrangement thought only to be found in works by the likes of Martin Scorsese or Quintin Tarantino, and you have a high-speed crime film virtually guaranteed to please.

Juliana Purnell

Lion: Considering this film is rather segmented in its presentation, I’m surprised it lasted in my top 10 throughout the year. But that just demonstrates the strength of its emotional message about the issue of adoption, family, and the insatiable need to belong.

Baby Driver was a favorite of Tyler’s and Tyrone’s.

7

Tyler Hummel

The Shape of Water: Few directors could make a movie as out-there as “girl falls in love with the Creature from the Black Lagoon” and make something that doesn’t feel entirely exploitative. Guillermo Del Toro can. This lovingly conceived and executed love story bathes in some of the most beautiful storytelling and visual filmmaking we’ve seen this year.

Tyrone Barnes

Sleight: It has been suggested that if superheroes want to earn their keep in the mainstream film industry, then the movie studios need to start coming up with their own superhero characters. There have been many attempts at this throughout the last few decades, but with an engaging cast of likeable main and side characters, compelling and palpably threatening villains, a rich setting, and a prodigious portrayal of weaponized engineering, Sleight is possibly the best achievement in this regard since The Incredibles, even though it’s not really presented as a superhero film at all.

Juliana Purnell

Dunkirk: Bold in its direction, Nolan took a risk with the narrative structure of this famous war story, and it paid off! It’s not a film I can watch every day, but its relentlessly haunting presence that replicates the horror of war is one that has impacted the cinematic art form as a whole.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyler loved this film. Tyrone hated it. Where do you sit when it comes to The Shape of Water?

6

Tyler Hummel

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The latest Disney Star Wars film is largely considered disappointing by its plethora of Rotten Tomatoes critics. That’s the point of the film. Our heroes will disappoint us and fail. This is the entire point of Darth Vader’s story in the original trilogy too. Rian Johnson brilliantly cuts to the core of the franchise in a way that stares at the heart of the greatest franchise in movie history and says, “Even Star Wars needs to change.” That takes bravery.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

War For the Planet of the Apes: It seems that filmmakers just can’t get away from biblical allegories in recent years, and the stellar unofficial Planet of the Apes prequel trilogy is no exception. From Moses to Joshua to Solomon to even Christ himself, the biblically-charged imagery and role-playing abound as a universally compelling narrative plays out and finds welcome closure in War For the Planet of the Apes.

Juliana Purnell

Silence: A powerful film that perfectly captures the divinely lead struggles of the Christian faith whilst simultaneously challenging it. Incredibly thought-provoking, director Martin Scorsese managed to send the audience down the same existential pathway as his suffering characters. The result is an exhausting but hard-hitting, rewarding film that’ll impact your outlook on the nature of belief.

See GUG’s review here!

5

Tyler Hummel

Lady Bird: Saoirse Ronan has been one of my favorite actresses since Brooklyn. In her second masterpiece performance, she turns heel from the gentle, kindhearted immigrant woman seeking a new life into a restless, narcissistic rebellious teenage girl. Lady Bird is an excellent exploration of millennial angst and intergenerational conflict and a fantastic first outing from a new director.

Tyrone Barnes

It: It is widely agreed upon by Stephen King fans that the best film adaptations of his work are the ones not of the horror genre (Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery, etc.). With 2017’s It (and possibly with the help of the booming success of Netflix’s Stranger Things), that rule now has an incredibly satisfying exception.

See GUG’s review here!

Juliana Purnell

La La Land: It’s poor as a musical, but it’s the amazing final act that pulls everything together. A beautiful story that explores the influential relationships that we have in our lives and their bittersweet resolution; a type of bond that’s ironically rarely seen in Hollywood films, despite the fact that the city’s artists thrive on them.

See GUG’s review here!

4

Tyler Hummel

Blade Runner 2049: What does it take to make a sequel to one of the greatest science-fiction films ever? That’s a question few directors ever dare to answer. Denis Villeneuve certainly has some ideas, however. His ambitious, gorgeous sequel approaches the same huge questions the first film dared to ask and comes close to creating something as excellent.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: “Out with the old, in with the new” seems like easily the most divisive and cynical approach to a new generation of Star Wars movies one could muster. While it is certainly divisive, a cynical attitude about “The Old” is nowhere to be found in Rian Johnson’s thrilling turn with the galaxy from far, far away; one that is so full of monumentally consequential events and developments, it almost feels like an entire trilogy onto itself.

Juliana Purnell

Logan: With the rating lifted, finally we get to see this character unleashed. What we get is a brutishly gnarly film that beautifully acts as a lovely swan song to both the Wolverine and Hugh Jackman’s role. It’s a rare sight to behold in amongst Hollywood’s moneymaking machine.

See GUG’s review here!

Blade Runner 2049 is a successful sequel.

3

Tyler Hummel

Get Out: Who would’ve guessed the guy in Keanu could make a masterpiece of suspense to rival the best of George Romero and The Twilight Zone? Get Out is an astounding film from a first time director that promises a great deal to come.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

Coco: I came here to laugh, not to feel. But then I remembered these are the same people who made us cry over clownfish and robots, so even with a comical slapstick-laden story with funny looking skeletons, everyone’s going home brokenhearted.

See GUG’s review here!

Juliana Purnell

A Ghost Story: From the pie scene onwards, you’re either going to love or hate this poignant yet cheeky explorative piece of cinema. Simple, yet profound, with little dialogue it manages to dig deep into the big questions of life concerning our legacy across the vastness of time.

See GUG’s review here!

2

Tyler Hummel

John Wick: Chapter 2: John Wick had every right to be disposable mid-tier modern action film loosely on par with Liam Neeson’s output of largely middling action films. Instead of merely doing the minimum they’ve managed to put out slick, near perfect versions of exactly what they want to be. Chapter 2 even goes so far as to offer some surprising depth and tragedy to a character that is defined by destruction. The more he destroys; the more he is forced to destroy. He is a walking cycle of violence that will inevitably bring his own spiritual destruction.

See GUG’s review here!

Tyrone Barnes

Logan: As much as I enjoy them on a base level, one of the biggest gripes I have with superhero films recently is that almost none of them are ever allowed to have a conclusive ending since each one is functionally just a feature-length trailer for the next one. Logan managed to break that mold quietly and brilliantly by giving us a wrenching tale about things definitively coming to an end; something we may not see again for a VERY long time.

Juliana Purnell

Brigsby Bear: Mark Hamill’s other film this year, Brigsby Bear delightfully hit the right tone to produce a story that’s both shoulder-shakingly hilarious and wonderfully sweet. This one is a love letter to all the geeks out there who have opened their hearts to other people’s works and adored them as if they were their own.

See GUG’s review here!

Whether it was Star Wars: The Last Jedi or Brigsby Bear, Mark Hamill’s body of work this year did well on our lists.

1

Tyler Hummel

Logan: 2017 was a strong year for superhero movies with excellent surprises like Wonder Woman and The LEGO Batman Movie. Its biggest, most tragic chapter was the final cinematic appearance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Logan feels like seeing a superhero movie equivalent of Potterville from It’s A Wonderful Life. Here is a world where the bad guys have won so thoroughly that they are beyond reproach. Even in a world where all the heroes have died and dispersed there is still hope to keep fighting.

Tyrone Barnes

mother!: Speaking of biblical allegories, this is the most viscerally nerve-racking one to date in my experience. For a clinical introvert like myself, the very idea of my home being regularly invaded and desecrated by a ceaseless mob of destructive invaders that I’m expected to welcome as guests is terrifying enough, and that’s not even touching upon the theological challenges this experience presents. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had such high regard for such a loathsome film…

See GUG’s review here!

Juliana Purnell

Blade Runner 2049: If you have the patience for its runtime, this magnificent sequel not only carries the tone and artistry of the original but also doubles down on the themes. Achingly perfect with its symbolism, and complete with not one but two plot twists, this mentally stimulating and gut-punching film is at genius levels with its execution. It’s a soul-crushing experience for wannabe filmmakers because deep down inside you know you’ll never produce a work that’s as good as this.

Well, at least we all agreed that Logan was amazing! It ranked 4th on Juliana’s list, 2nd for Tyrone, and was the best film of the year for Tyler. Where does it sit on your list?

Do you agree with our lists? Which films do you believe should have made the cut? Were there any films this year that you regretted watching? Let us know in the comments!

Juliana Purnell

After obtaining a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Juliana Purnell has enjoyed a successful acting career, working within theme parks, businesses, and on film sets. She has also taken on crew roles, both in film and theatrical productions. When Juliana isn't working, she enjoys watching movies of all genres at the cinema, writing, and playing with Samson, her pomeranian.

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