The Best and Worst Films of 2017

2017 was such a good film year that it originally made me question my senses.  Was I becoming more lenient with age? Was my inherent cynicism dissipating by way of too many giddy nights at happy hour?   I am happy to report that this time, it wasn’t about me.

Hollywood produced its best film year in decades.  There were so many films about the human condition that I was ready to party like it was 1975.  This is not to say that the movies were on par with the best of ’75; a year giving us Barry Lyndon, Nashville, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dog Day Afternoon and Swept Away… is hard to match. But I will remember 2017 as the year adults got invited back to the movies. Old stalwarts like Paul Thomas Anderson, Todd Haynes, Kathryn Bigelow and Christopher Nolan continued to make their presences known, adding to their already extraordinary bodies of work. And great cinema was not limited to the big screen. David Lynch’s miraculous, completely uncompromising Twin Peaks: The Return was better than any theatrical release, and is only disqualified as Best Picture due to its television presentation, and 18 episode structure.  Also absent from the list is Agnieszka Holland’s spectacular Spoor, a highlight of the 55th New York Film Festival that has yet to receive its theatrical release.

Of course, the year was not without its disappointments. It should come as no surprise that Steven Spielberg supplied no edge when tackling his newspaper thriller The Post.  And The Shape of Water won’t do much for changing Guillermo Del Toro’s reputation as one who emphasizes style over substance.


Best Picture



Christopher Nolan’s war masterpiece was this year’s only good reason for paying twenty-five bucks “for the experience.” And what an experience it was.

Rounding out the ten best films of 2017 are:

  1. BPM, Robin Campillo
  2. Wonderstruck, Todd Haynes
  3. Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
  4. Detroit, Kathryn Bigelow
  5. The Florida Project, Sean Baker
  6. Get Out, Jordan Peele
  7. Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve
  8. The Square, Ruben Östlund
  9. The Lost City of Z, James Gray

Honorable Mention:

  1. Faces Places, Agnes Varda and JR
  2. The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Yorgos Lanthimos
  3. Call Me by Your Name, Luca Guadagnino
  4. Nocturama, Bertrand Bonello
  5. Lady MacBeth, William Oldroyd
  6. Beauty and the Beast, Bill Condon
  7. mother!, Darren Aronofsky
  8. Good Time, The Safdie Brothers
  9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Martin McDonagh
  10. Wind River, Taylor Sheridan
  11. Baby Driver, Edgar Wright

Special Citation

Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lynn in Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks: The Return, David Lynch

It took more than 25 years for Lynch to revisit his groundbreaking series. It was more than worth the wait. The master incorporates all of the trademark themes and never for a moment loses control of the massive 18 hour project.

Best Director

Christopher Nolan directs DUNKIRK

Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk


  • Todd Haynes, Wonderstruck
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out!
  • Robin Campillo, BPM
  • Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Best Actor

Timothee Chalamet in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name


  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out!
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, The Phantom Thread
  • Robert Pattinson, Good Time
  • James Franco, The Disaster Artist
  • Colin Farrell, Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Gary Oldman, The Darkest Hour

Best Actress

The Shape of Water

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water


  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Frances MacDormand, Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri
  • Florence Pugh, Lady MacBeth
  • Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Supporting Actor

Willem Dafoe in The Florida Project

Willen Dafoe, The Florida Project


  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri
  • Benny Safdie, Good Time
  • Barry Keoghan, Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Supporting ActressLesley Manville

Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

  • Nicole Kidman, The Beguiled
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Hong Chau, Downsizing
  • Allison Williams, Get Out
  • Elisabeth Moss, The Square


Get Out

Get Out, Jordan Peele


  • Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh
  • BPM, Robin Campillo and Philippe Mangeot
  • Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Call Me by Your Name, James Ivory


Dunkirk. Cinematography



  • Wonder Wheel
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • The Shape of Water
  • Mudbound

Art Direction

Blade Runner 2049 art direction

Blade Runner 2049

  • The Shape of Water
  • Dunkirk
  • The Darkest Hour
  • The Beauty and the Beast

Costume Design

Phantom Thread Costumes

 Phantom Thread


  • The Beauty and the Beast
  • The Beguiled
  • The Lost City of Z
  • Mudbound

The Most Overrated Film of 2017

Lady Bird

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig

Also Overrated:

  • The Big Sick
  • Wonder Woman
  • Raw
  • Logan
  • It Comes at Night
  • A Ghost Story

Biggest Disappointments

The Post

The Shape of Water

 The Post and The Shape of Water

Worst Picture


The Dark Tower, Nikolaj Arcel

Rounding out the ten worst pictures of 2017 :

  • The Snowman, Tomas Alfredson
  • Valerian, Luc Besson
  • Fifty Shades Darker, James Foley
  • Ghost in the Shell, Rupert Sanders
  • Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott
  • The Mummy, Alex Kurtzman
  • Tulip Fever, Justin Chadwick
  • Baywatch, Seth Gordon
  • Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin

Worst Actor

Dane Dehaan in VALERIAN

Dane Dehane, A Cure for Wellness, Tulip Fever and Valerian

Worst Actress

Scarlett Johanssen in GHOST IN THE SHELL

Scarlet Johansson, Ghost in the Shell

Considered: Rosamund Pike, Hostiles

Supporting Actress


Michelle Pfeifer, Murder on the Orient Express

Supporting Actor

Matthew MacCaughnney in THE DARK TOWER

Mathew McConaughey, The Dark Tower

Direction: Nikolaj Arcel, Dark Tower

Screenplay: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, and Anders Thomas Jensen, The Dark Tower


One thought on “The Best and Worst Films of 2017

  1. Wild horses wouldn’t have dragged me into the theatre to see Orient Express. The trailer was enough. Come back, Lauren Bacall.


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