2017’s Best and Worst in Film

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

  1. Maudie

  1. Hidden Figures

  1. Elle

  1. The Disaster Artist

  1. The Other Side of Hope

  1. A Sense of an Ending

  1. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

  1. Downsizing

  1. 20th Century Women

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

  1. Una

  1. Catfight

  1. Youth in Oregon

  1. Molly’s Game

  1. Wakefield

  1. The Child in Time

  1. Get Out

  1. The Big Sick

  1. Lady Bird

  1. The Dinner

  1. Beatriz at Dinner

  1. Thelma

  1. Their Finest

  1. A Monster Calls

  1. The Breadwinner

  1. Lion

  1. Fences

  1. Patriot’s Day

  1. The Man Who Invented Christmas

  1. Table 19

  1. The Shack

  1. Collateral Beauty

  1. Kiki, Love to Love

  1. Only the Brave

  1. The Last Word

  1. Gifted

  1. Wind River

  1. The Florida Project

  1. Atomic Blonde

  1. Same Kind of Different as Me

  1. I am Not Your Negro

  1. The Foreigner

  1. Wonder

  1. The Greatest Showman

  1. Paterson

  1. Julieta

  1. The Edge of Seventeen

  1. The Zookeeper’s Wife

  1. Band Aid

  1. All Nighter

  1. That’s Not Me

  1. Marshall

  1. Toni Erdmann

  1. Moonlight

  1. Bad Genius

  1. Everything, Everything

  1. Battle of the Sexes

  1. All the Money in the World

  1. My Friend Dahmer

  1. Flatliners

  1. Marjorie Prime

  1. The Beguiled

  1. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

  1. My Cousin Rachel

  1. Miss Sloane

  1. Tulip Fever

  1. John Wick: Chapter 2

  1. The Circle

  1. Last Flag Flying

  1. The Mountain Between Us

  1. The Lovers

  1. The Teacher

  1. The Snowman

  1. Hampstead

  1. Victoria & Abdul

  1. Between Us

  1. Your Name

  1. The Case for Christ

  1. Manchester By The Sea

  1. Novitiate

  1. Loving Vincent

  1. The Devotion of Suspect X

  1. I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore

  1. Jackie

  1. Paris Can Wait

  1. Personal Shopper

  1. Berlin Syndrome

  1. The Comedian

  1. Rough Night

  1. We Don’t Belong Here

  1. Kepler’s Dream

  1. The Book of Love

  1. A United Kingdom

  1. Murder on the Orient Express

  1. Trespass Against Us

  1. The House

  1. Why Him?

  1. Pitch Perfect 3

  1. Roman J. Israel, Esq

  1. Daddy’s Home 2

  1. Wonder Wheel

  1. Snatched

  1. Wilson

  1. Before I Fall

  1. La La Land

  1. Baby Driver

  1. Kidnap

  1. Blind

  1. Lemon

  1. The Handmaiden

  1. Ghost in the Shell

  1. Despicable Me 3

  1. Split

  1. The LEGO Batman Film

  1. Just Getting Started

  1. Song to Song

  1. Better Watch Out

  1. Passengers

  1. American Made

  1. The Boss Baby

  1. The Hatton Garden Job

  1. Once Upon a Time in Venice