2017’s Best and Worst in Film

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Not having to watch hundreds of Christmas films for book-writing purposes freed up 2017 for quite a few more new releases than I’d managed last year. Equally, I spent a chunk of the year in North America which meant, on occasions, ridiculously cheap tickets. Exhibit A: $1.08 a pop, including tax:

In reviewing my 2016 list, I was only enthusiastic about the first nine titles. This year – perhaps because of the quantity consumed or maybe just some better offerings – while I only loved the first eight, the first 38 titles are genuinely enjoyable films that I would happily recommend.

Titles 39 through to 94 are a mix of fine / forgettable / forgotten fare. The earliest titles are decent – some even good – but the further you travel down the list and the more likely you are to resent paying $1.08.

95 onward and things get dire: these are the films I hated in varying degrees of burning fury. I walked out on American Made, Ghost in the Shell, The Handmaiden and Song to Song and I fell asleep in Despicable Me 3, The LEGO Batman Film and The Boss Baby, the latter three reminding me that I generally regret paying for animation. (The Breadwinner an obvious exception). Each title listed after 95 I should have made an early exit, taken a nap or histrionically demanded a refund, but I persevered against my better judgment. I caution you against making the same mistake.

A note on methodology: I listed and ranked as I watched – inserting titles before or after the ones I’d already seen. Before finalising my list, I tested a re-ranking by alphabetising the titles and then ranking them according to memory. The best and worst rankings stayed the same, it was only the swathe in the middle that ended up slightly rejigged: a great film is a great film, a bad one rarely gets any better with age and, alas, most stuff we see will blend and blur.

Enjoy and Happy 2018!

  1. The Shape of Water
  2. Maudie
  3. Hidden Figures
  4. Elle
  5. The Disaster Artist
  6. The Other Side of Hope
  7. A Sense of an Ending
  8. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
  9. Downsizing
  10. 20th Century Women
  11. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  12. Una
  13. Catfight
  14. Youth in Oregon
  15. Molly’s Game
  16. Wakefield
  17. The Child in Time
  18. Get Out
  19. The Big Sick
  20. Lady Bird
  21. The Dinner
  22. Beatriz at Dinner
  23. Thelma
  24. Their Finest
  25. A Monster Calls
  26. The Breadwinner
  27. Lion
  28. Fences
  29. Patriot’s Day
  30. The Man Who Invented Christmas
  31. Table 19
  32. The Shack
  33. Collateral Beauty
  34. Kiki, Love to Love
  35. Only the Brave
  36. The Last Word
  37. Gifted
  38. Wind River
  39. The Florida Project
  40. Atomic Blonde
  41. Same Kind of Different as Me
  42. I am Not Your Negro
  43. The Foreigner
  44. Wonder
  45. The Greatest Showman
  46. Paterson
  47. Julieta
  48. The Edge of Seventeen
  49. The Zookeeper’s Wife
  50. Band Aid
  51. All Nighter
  52. That’s Not Me
  53. Marshall
  54. Toni Erdmann
  55. Moonlight
  56. Bad Genius
  57. Everything, Everything
  58. Battle of the Sexes
  59. All the Money in the World
  60. My Friend Dahmer
  61. Flatliners
  62. Marjorie Prime
  63. The Beguiled
  64. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
  65. My Cousin Rachel
  66. Miss Sloane
  67. Tulip Fever
  68. John Wick: Chapter 2
  69. The Circle
  70. Last Flag Flying
  71. The Mountain Between Us
  72. The Lovers
  73. The Teacher
  74. The Snowman
  75. Hampstead
  76. Victoria & Abdul
  77. Between Us
  78. Your Name
  79. The Case for Christ
  80. Manchester By The Sea
  81. Novitiate
  82. Loving Vincent
  83. The Devotion of Suspect X
  84. I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore
  85. Jackie
  86. Paris Can Wait
  87. Personal Shopper
  88. Berlin Syndrome
  89. The Comedian
  90. Rough Night
  91. We Don’t Belong Here
  92. Kepler’s Dream
  93. The Book of Love
  94. A United Kingdom
  95. Murder on the Orient Express
  96. Trespass Against Us
  97. The House
  98. Why Him?
  99. Pitch Perfect 3
  100. Roman J. Israel, Esq
  101. Daddy’s Home 2
  102. Wonder Wheel
  103. Snatched
  104. Wilson
  105. Before I Fall
  106. La La Land
  107. Baby Driver
  108. Kidnap
  109. Blind
  110. Lemon
  111. The Handmaiden
  112. Ghost in the Shell
  113. Despicable Me 3
  114. Split
  115. The LEGO Batman Film
  116. Just Getting Started
  117. Song to Song
  118. Better Watch Out
  119. Passengers
  120. American Made
  121. The Boss Baby
  122. The Hatton Garden Job
  123. Once Upon a Time in Venice