The only good thing about 2017 was the movies

These are the best flicks of 2017, according to us.

Illustration Sharon Gong
December 21, 2017
The only good thing about 2017 was the movies Get Out: Universal Pictures; Lady Bird: A24; Call Me By Your Name: Sony Pictures Classics, Girls Trip: Universal


Good Time

Good Time fucking rules. The Safdie Brothers’s latest is a take on film’s One Crazy Night trope and boy oh boy is this night crazy. Robert Pattinson has never been better than as Connie, a wild-eyed criminal who needs $10K before the night ends to bail his brother out from Rikers. Watching this movie feels like that moment when the roller coaster does its first drop, except it’s 101 minutes long and you’re biting your nails the whole time. Oneohtrix Point Never’s killer score keeps you on your toes. Sean Price Williams’s cinematography makes you think Huh, I didn’t know a movie could look like that. And star-making turns from Buddy Duress and Taliah Webster will give you hope that maybe there is fresh new talent that wasn’t harvested from a commune of former Vine stars. — Olivia Craighead


Get Out

It took me weeks to process what I had experienced while watching Jordan Peele’s thrilling debut film, Get Out. Each emotion I felt while watching — fear, anger, even joy — had to be dissected, because the film takes us, black people in particular, on a psychological rollercoaster. Get Out is metaphorical in how it presents society’s current relationship with race, but also, um... is it? — Juliana Pache


All This Panic

I am often weary of coming-of-age stories about young girls. I always wonder if the rites of passage will be honored and unpacked in a thoughtful, nuanced way. The captivating documentary All This Panic succeeds in this. The lives of precocious Brooklyn teenage girls spill out onto the screen while they grapple with feeling so many things for the first time. Watching them shuffle through post-high school plans, sexual identity, and added responsibilities, I thought about how those years of my life were loaded with self-realization, and what seemed like countless bewildering obstacles. This film gives the girls the space to be unsure, make questionable decisions, and, ultimately, bounce back from it all. — Lakin Starling


Call Me By Your Name

The best moment in Call Me By Your Name comes near the very end, when Michael Stuhlbarg as the sympathetic Italian-Jewish professor, Mr. Perlman, brings the house down with an intimate monologue. He's lecturing his newly heartbroken son Elio about the cruel ways of the world and manages to explain the transformative power of feeling grief at full velocity. "In your place," he says, “if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it." It's an absurdly important life lesson, one I wish I learned as a younger queer person. Watching an understanding father tell his son those words on screen yanked a bucket of tears out of my eyes at a speed I just wasn't ready for. It's a moment — and a reminder — that I won't forget for a very long time. — Myles Tanzer


Girls Trip

I am bad at keeping up with films, so I depend on my coworkers for recommendations, and play catchup at least six months after the fact. Which means I'd heard about all the scandalous scenes in Girls Trip before I saw it, but that didn't matter. The magic of the 2017 breakout lies in its warts-and-all depiction of maturing friendship, and in Tiffany Haddish's every last word. Give her all the awards. — Ruth Saxelby


Columbus

After watching Columbus, I didn’t believe it was director Kogonada’s first movie. I didn’t believe the magnetic Haley Lu Richardson, who stole scenes in Split and The Edge of Seventeen, had never had a big starring role before. I didn’t believe John Cho wasn’t the world’s most famous actor. I didn’t believe a movie that’s mostly about modern architecture in a small Indiana city could make my heart ache. But it was, she hadn’t, he isn’t, and it did. It really, really did. — Patrick D. McDermott


It

Nostalgia is almost always masturbatory and most reboots are an easy way for movie studios to make a ton of money by cashing in on your childhood memories. That being said, wasn’t It good? I loved those kids, I thought that clown was scary, I liked that meme about what you would go down into the sewer for. It is the highest grossing R-rated horror movie of all time, and with good reason. A major studio horror movie managed to actually be scary while hitting its emotional beats? Jason Blum is shaking. — Olivia Craighead


Lady Bird

There are a million tiny relatable moments that make Lady Bird one of the best films of the year: mother-daughter tension in the car; yearning to exist in a different era; realizing the rich, popular girl isn’t actually that cool. But the one that struck me most deeply had to do with sex, and how it felt figuring out what that special tingly ache really meant. At a house show, Lady Bird’s eyes get stuck on the baby-faced, shaggy-haired bassist. “Lady Bird spends an extra-long time looking at this Kyle Scheible,” Greta Gerwig’s screenplay reads. “She feels DEEPLY ATTRACTED to him. She looks at Danny, she loves him, yes, but there is something else going on with Kyle Scheible. She’s not sure, maybe it’s the pot. Maybe not.” Something about that unceremonious lusty moment pinpoints just how it felt to be a teen girl coming into her sexuality: confusing, but ultimately liberating. A depiction that true is so rare, I nearly wept. — Leah Mandel


BPM (Beats Per Minute)

This year’s Cannes Grand Prix winner centers on the early-’90s fight for rights and healthcare for the HIV-positive LGBTQ community, though it’s so much more than a history lesson. As well as air-punch moments of activists flinging fake blood at pharmaceutical offices, director Robin Campillo has an artsy, sometimes-surreal eye, and the enthralling film moves to focus on the tender, complicated relationship that blooms between two young men at the center of Paris’s ACT UP movement. (It also contains the most real-feeling — and hottest — sex scene I’ve seen all year.) BPM is a film about raising your voice and being heard. But it also gives depth and nuance to the lived experiences of the community behind the movement, showing that while political protest enabled the LGBTQ community to survive the plague, love got us through too. — Owen Myers


Okja

If you'd told me that a friendship adventure film starring a CGI super-pig would wind up being one of the most moving things I'd see this year, I probably would have said... Hmmm, yeah, sounds about right. But somehow Okja was more than the sum of its parts: simultaneously sentimental, funny, and incisive, it stares contemporary human cruelty right in the eye and asks if it has to be this way. The answer, I think, is that it doesn't. Everyone deserves an Okja in their life, and every Okja deserves to be loved and fought for as hard as this one. Okjaaaaaaaaaa. — Rawiya Kameir


Personal Shopper

Kristen Stewart's character in this hyper-stylish ghost story is one of the most unique I've encountered in a movie this year. She's a guarded yet vulnerable lone wolf who just so happens to be a medium (who looks incredible in couture), and she gives the captivatingly understated performance of her career. In particular, there's a pretty substantial sequence in the middle of the movie where she's just texting, and yet I was supernaturally gripped by it. I'm still not totally sure that I understood everything that went down in this film, but I know I was thinking about it for a long time afterwards. — Aimee Cliff


The Florida Project

Ten minutes or so before The Florida Project ended, I silently congratulated myself for making it through without crying. The film, about the long-term residents of a cheap motel just outside Disneyworld, depicts the magic and misery of a particular kind of American life with beautiful cinematography and authentic performances. It’s the type of movie that makes you feel fragile by simply reminding you you’re alive; I was actually quite proud of myself for holding it all together. But then came those final moments, when, spoiler alert, the Department of Child Services arrives to take six-year-old Moonee away from her outburst-prone single mom. Moonee, usually fearless, starts crying. And I did too. — Patrick D. McDermott

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The only good thing about 2017 was the movies