My Best of Best of 2017 Lists

Posted on December 19, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Copyright Fox Searchlight 2017
I often say, to use the words of Jan Struther on another subject, that rankings are “indefensible but irresistible.” (Struther is on my own list of favorite writers, or, I should say since she is very British, favourite.) I don’t spend much time on my own end of the year best/worst lists, but I really enjoy reading other people’s. As usual, this year’s top ten movies of 2017 lists have a lot of overlap (“3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri,” “Lady Bird,” “Mudbound,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Big Sick,” “Get Out,” and “The Florida Project” showed up on most lists) and a few titles that turned up on some best lists AND some worst lists, primarily “mother!,” “Killing of a Sacred Deer,” and “Phantom Thread.” (All were on my worst list.)

One I look forward to every year is the list from The Atlantic’s Chris Orr. He always had great descriptions of the films he loved, but what puts him at the top of my best list of bests list is his shrewd and very funny list of other bests and worsts, for example:

The Aaron Taylor-Johnson Award for Repeated Failure to Become an Actual Movie Star: Charlie Hunnam (The Lost City of Z; King Arthur: Legend of the Sword)

The Sienna Miller Award for Perpetual Widowhood: Sienna Miller (The Lost City of Z)

The “Tony Soprano in Holsten’s Ice Cream Parlor” Award for Most Ominous Door Chime: mother!

Funniest Stone-Man: Thor: Ragnarok
Sexiest Fish-Man: The Shape of Water

Trends of the year I noted: poison mushrooms (two movies), retreat framed as victory (at least five movies), different characters’ points of view (at least two movies)

Other top ten lists worth reviewing: David Edelstein, Dana Stevens, and the list of the year’s best performances from my friends at

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