So we’re passed the 100 day mark in the year, somewhere between a quarter and a third through, so now is as good a time as any to look back on the movie year so far.
We’ve had some massive box office success in the shape of Beauty & The Beast (over $1 billion and counting) and Fast & Furious 8 (biggest opening weekend of all time), as well as some major flops like The Space Between Us ($7m on a $30m budget) and A Cure For Wellness ($25m on a $40m budget).
But numbers only account for so much, and what we’re looking for here is quality.
So with that in mind, here are our Top 5 and Bottom 5 movies of 2017 so far:
#5 Best – Split
This came as a massive surprise to just about everyone, especially since writer/director M. Night Shyamalan was on a bit of roll in terms of having the Worst Career Trajectory Ever. It turns out that all he really needed to do was have a bit of fun, and then give James McAvoy the kind of role that in every normal universe would win him an Oscar but will get very snubbed because this is “just a horror movie”. And then there’s that ending which left fans of a certain Bruce Willis movie with their jaws on the floor.
#5 Worst – The Great Wall
In a year when everyone is all too aware of white-washing, this might be the whitest washing of them all (sorry Ghost In The Shell, you don’t even win that award). Matt Damon and his time-share Irish accent are in China for reasons, when he ends up saving the country from monsters that were released by a comet… No, we didn’t dream this up, and somebody put $150 million into making this a reality. On the one hand, it is very pretty to look at. On the other hand, absolutely everything else about this movie is beyond awful.
#4 Best – Moonlight
The winner(?) of Best Picture at the Oscars is more than deserving, managing to single-handedly buck the trend set by Brokeback Mountain and #OscarsSoWhite by being a movie about a gay black man and actually getting the Oscar voters attention. The performances were beyond reproach while the writing and directing are all top-notch, with the asterisk being that while it is a very important film that everyone should see, we can’t imagine there being much of a demand to see it more than once.
#4 Worst – Underworld: Blood Wars
Somehow, inexplicably, there have been five of these, and somehow, equally inexplicably, they managed to get Kate Beckinsale back into the super-tight leather cat-suit to shoot more werewolves in the face. However, despite the epically awful script and “What is exactly is going on here?” action sequences, the film managed to make back THREE TIMES its budget at the box office. So if we get a sixth one of these, you’ve got no-one to blame but yourselves.
#3 Best – Get Out
We’re as shocked as you are – TWO scary movies in the top five of the year so far?! To be fair, the bottom five is equally scattered with “horror”, but the fact that the quality of the genre so far has resulted in this many hits is worthy of note. Plus there’s the fact that it manages to be funny and smart and scary and uses a brand new idea as a horror trope: racism. We can’t wait to see what writer/director Jordan Peele gets up to next, because for a first-timer, this is truly something special.
#3 Worst – Fist Fight
Charlie Day in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is a modern comedic genius, a total live-wire, kinetic ball of energy that could go anywhere, and often does. Pairing him up with the stone-faced Ice Cube could have worked, had they not required Day to play the pinned-down straight-man to Cube’s “hilarious” antagonist. It also doesn’t help that they didn’t give either of them any jokes, or any real direction for the entire movie. Too often we get the feeling the director just shouted “Action!” and let everyone do what they wanted and hoped it would all work out in the editing room later on. Spoiler: it didn’t.
#2 Best – La La Land
The loser(?) at the Oscars still won big time in just about every other regard, making a bucket load at the box office, making people realise that maybe they do like musicals after all, and cementing the fact that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are essentially our generation’s answer to Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. And to think the original stars were meant to be Miles Teller and Emma Watson. Now sing along with us, “City of Stars / Are you shining just for me?…”
#2 Worst – The Bye Bye Man
In what has got to be one of the worst names for a movie ever, this is a “horror” movie about a monster who kills you if you think or say his name. Mixing in bits from Final Destination, Candyman and A Nightmare On Elm Street, stealing plot points but leaving behind any idea of scares, we totally understand there are some young, impressionable actors out there who need to make a living and got their start in this abysmal film – even Leo DiCaprio starred in Critters 3. But how they managed to get normally-very-good actors like Carrie Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway involved is beyond us.
#1 Best – Logan
Finally, the X-Men movie that we’ve all been waiting for. Yes, some of the previous team-up ones having been very good, but for years fans have been dying for an adult version to their favourite hairy mutant, and following in the footsteps of Deadpool’s adult rating-but-still-box office success, Logan goes heavy on the violence, but even heavier on the heart. Seeing Wolverine and Professor X trying to survive into old age is pretty heartbreaking (yes, this film squeezed more than a few tears out of us), and just goes to show that there is still plenty of life left in the comic book movie genre, as long as the people behind them aren’t afraid of taking a few risks.
#1 Worst – Rings
And then on the other end of the risk-taking spectrum, we have this do-nothing, mean-nothing, is-nothing horror movie that manages to not only kill the franchise dead, but also somehow make the previous, better movies a little bit worse just by association. The idea of sticking the killer seven days video online and making it viral is a decent one, and there was certainly plenty of mileage to get out of the idea, which is why it is so perplexing that everyone involved in the script and direction decided to ignore all that and just make one of the worst horror movies of all time instead. And not even in a so-bad-it’s-good Trolls 2 kind of way, more of a “I’m getting annoyed I spent my hard earned money on this, why won’t it just end already??” kind of way. Plus, it cost $25 million to make, but banked $83 million at the box office. There truly is no accounting for taste.
Notable good mentions: The Handmaiden, Elle, Manchester By The Sea, Kong Skull Island, Toni Erdmann, The Lost City Of Z, Raw, John Wick Chapter 2.
Notable bad mentions: Smurfs The Lost Village, CHiPS, Fifty Shades Darker, xXx The Return Of Xander Cage.