These movies are gooood

CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

This ranking was originally posted on News Cult in December 2017.

There are several women-centric films on my 2017 best-of list, with multiple ladies and women appearing right there in the titles. As this has been the year of #MeToo, is this female presence a trend, or just a coincidence? My gut says the latter, as any year’s cinema is deep, wide, and collaborative, and therefore resulting from a multitude of sources. But fresh storytelling resonates with me (and with most critics, I believe), so it makes sense that those who have been previously silenced are highlighted among the best when they are finally able to tell their stories.

Great movies that didn’t quite make my list include Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049, Detroit, The Florida Project, Get Out, Happy Death Day, Logan, Logan Lucky, Okja, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Victoria & Abdul, and War for the Planet of the Apes.

10. The Disaster Artist
James Franco finds his perfect passion project in revealing and gussying up the making of the best worst movie of all time. The ethos of the confused but accidentally brilliant The Room and its fandom are inherently infused in this mix of the conventional and the once-in-a-lifetime.

9. Brigsby Bear
Kyle Mooney escapes from a kidnapping, but he cannot escape from his love of a very specific, and very personal, TV show. Brigsby Bear is a paean to the act of creation and sharing your art with the ones you care about. No matter what your origin story, as long as you bring love, it is worth sharing.

8. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
I am among the segment that unabashedly loved Luc Besson’s latest vision when it first arrived, but even I may have underestimated it. In essence, I cannot understand why all films do not have the same degree of go-for-broke, universe-spanning buoyancy.

7. mother!
The metaphor is obvious here: it’s Darren Aronofsky’s retelling of the Bible, with some environmentalist messaging mixed in for good measure. mother! is stunning in its baldness, brazenness, and explosion of any sense of decorum.

6. Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot gives a titanic movie star performance in Patty Jenkins’ astute and affecting telling of Diana Prince’s first journey to the world of man. Simply put, this is a superhero/person you want as your protector and friend.

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
A fable of unforgiving proportions. A grieving mother puts up a series of signs calling out the police department for failing to find her daughter’s killer and rapist. The battle lines are drawn, and it appears easy to separate the good guys from the bad guys, but the story goes deeper. Martin McDonagh dramatizes his hope that even the worst perpetrators among us can become their best selves.

4. I, Tonya
Tonya Harding is not the villain she was made out to be, or so she would have us believe. I choose to believe she’s trustworthy, but don’t we need a compelling narrative? Turns out her story is fascinating enough no matter what role she’s cast in.

3. Lady Bird
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson is a unique individual making her way through a Catholic high school in Sacramento. And that’s really all you need, especially when you have a director like Greta Gerwig who brings easy familiarity to the material and an actress like Saoirse Ronan who knows how to embody it.

2. Lady Macbeth
As Catherine, a woman in a deeply patriarchal society who flips the script on her loveless marriage, Florence Pugh gives us a feminist hero for the ages … until she reveals her scariest layers and presents an urgent cautionary tale about the corruption of power.

1. The Big Sick
The Big Sick is enthralling because it offers up previously unexplored perspectives in a number of ways. It is a romantic comedy from the point of view of a Pakistani-American immigrant, with a Muslim/Christian culture clash, and in which one half of the central couple spends the majority of the film in a coma. That cultural uniqueness is never the point, but it adds a lot of texture that makes its hilarity and aching emotion as all-encompassing as possible. If cinema is meant to manipulate you with feelings that make you a happier and better person, then The Big Sick has fulfilled that promise.