Over the past few weeks, the /Film team has assembled personal lists of their favorite movies of the year so far, a look at where we stand halfway through the year. But those lists were also ballots, votes for one final article – a complete list of the entire site’s favorite movies of 2017 so far.
Of those six ballots (and 60 possible slots) contributed by Peter Sciretta, Jacob Hall, Ethan Anderton, Jack Giroux, Hoai-Tran Bui, and Ben Pearson, 28 films were named. And that brings us to the grand finale: the 28 best movies /Film has seen in the first half of this year.
A few quick notes.
First, the order of the list was determined by awarding points for each movie based on its place in a personal top 10. A film in the number one slot would receive 1o points, a film in the number two slot would receive 9 points, and so on. Ties were broken by additional discussion and a second round of voting.
Second, there are some great movies on this list that only one or two members of the staff have had a chance to see. This is part of the fun of mid-year lists like this – it gives everyone a little bit of homework to do. However, we like our scoring system because it means that a movie one person loved carries more weight in the final ranking than a movie that several people only liked.
28. The Little Hours
…the real reason this movie makes the list is that it’s one of the few comedies I’ve seen recently that actually had me laughing out loud all the way through. Film is subjective, but comedies may be the most subjective genre of them all, so your mileage may vary. But I’m admittedly difficult to please when it comes to comedies, so the fact that this movie had me cracking up throughout says a lot. The writing and the performances – which range from deadpan to completely outrageous – are top notch, and though the film flails a bit near the end, it’s still well worth checking out. -Ben Pearson
27. Shimmer Lake
This is a nonlinear and nasty little thriller that’s precise and airtight. Not a second gets wasted in Oren Uziel’s first film. Each scene goes backwards into the past fast with momentum and suspense while defining every character. None of them are what they appear to be at first glance, either. Uziel and his cast make some familiar archetypes three-dimensional. The major characters have personality and their own motives, fears, and desires. Each character in Uziel’s ensemble story feels substantial enough that they could be the star of their own story. -Jack Giroux
26. Kong: Skull Island
Colorful, energetic, and filled with non-stop action and visual creativity, Kong: Skull Island is the kind of movie that makes us a believer in the Warner Bros.’ giant monster universe.
25. A Ghost Story
People are either going to love this movie or hate it, and if this movie were simply described to me by a friend or colleague, I might count myself in the latter group. But after experiencing this movie at Sundance, I found myself strangely entranced by this slow burn of a supernatural rumination on time and the legacy we leave behind. -Ethan Anderton
24. Free Free
Movie shootouts tend to be fast and elegant affairs, with one or two heroic characters blitzing their way through an army of foes and walking away mostly unscathed. What Ben Wheatley’s bleakly hilarious Free Fire suggests is that gunfights are actually wild, chaotic, sloppy, and full of people who can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Set entirely in a warehouse where an arms deal goes horribly wrong, the film is essentially a screwball comedy with firearms: a large cast of oddball characters (and a few straightforward foils for them to bounce off) yell and scream and exchange bullets for 90 minutes, sometimes swapping allegiances and always being wholly unreasonable. It’s a pitch-black hoot, a movie whose extreme violence is treated with the levity of a Three Stooges adventure. -Jacob Hall
23. The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Movies about demonic possession are a dime a dozen, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that Oz Perkins’s The Blackcoat’s Daughter was just another run-of-the-mill horror flick. But it’s not. Oh, no. Deliberately paced and vague in character and intent, this slow-burning monster of a movie slowly reveals its cards one at a time, leading to a finale that completes the puzzle and leaves your jaw hanging on the floor with its pure audaciousness. There are scarier horror movies you’ll see in 2017. Bloodier ones. Funnier ones. But few will top how The Blackcoat’s Daughter inverts its own genre, turns it inside out and creates something so majestically twisted that you can’t believe what you’re seeing. This is a horror movie that truly rewards your patience. -Jacob Hall
22. The Disaster Artist
The most surprising thing about The Disaster Artist is that it’s not a joke. When it was revealed that James Franco would direct a movie about the making of the infamously terrible cult classic The Room and also star as the enigmatic and eccentric writer/director/actor Tommy Wiseau, everyone assumed it would be an ironic experiment. A gag. A trifle. Instead, this is a movie that is as soulful as it is hilarious, a comedy about a broken (and brokenhearted?) weirdo who immerses himself in his art, tears his soul to pieces to tell his story…and reveals that he has absolutely no talent. Like Tim Burton’s 1994 masterpiece Ed Wood, The Disaster Artist is fascinated by failure and by the artists whose visions reach far beyond their grasp. Franco’s Wiseau is hilarious, but he’s also a despairing and vicious figure, a guy who earns your empathy in spite of his increasingly awful behavior and taste. He’s the tragic monster of 2017 – the man who yearns to create and simply can’t. -Jacob Hall
Marry a Studio Ghibli wilderness fantasy film with a Steven Spielberg childhood adventure movie, then inject it full of GMO steroids, and you’ve got Okja. The Bong Joon Ho-directed feature has mostly made headlines for the controversy it stirred up at the Cannes Film Festival for being a Netflix streaming-first release, but this movie is more than its troubled publicity. It’s a madcap adventure about a girl and her superpig replete with fart jokes, cartoonish characters, and condemnation of capitalist greed. The wackiness may sound off-putting for people who were expecting a similarly somber follow-up to the grim sci-fi feature that was Bong’s critically acclaimed film Snowpiercer, but I absolutely loved it. -Hoai-Tran Bui
20. A Cure For Wellness
A Cure for Wellness is a long and bold cinematic journey about a character who wants to devour somebody for his gain, like the big bad of the film, but ends up trying to save someone instead. Verbinski’s message of how we consume each other doesn’t get lost in the visual splendor. -Jack Giroux
19. Call Me By Your Name
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better coming-of-age movie in 2017 than Call Me By Your Name. That might seem bold with six months left in the year, but that’s how damn good this summer romance is […] What unfolds is a movie that is sexy, hilarious, and moving. Director Luca Guadagninodelivers a summer romance that is sultry and rich with stellar performances, including the best work Armie Hammer has ever done, and a supporting turn from Michael Stuhlbarg that comes out of nowhere to knock you on your ass. – Ethan Anderton
18. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a mixture of buddy comedy (a dark, understated humor permeates the whole movie) and detective story, and the shocking bursts of violence that are interspersed throughout have a profound impact on these characters. Every bullet fired or broken bone means something, and in direct contrast with something like John Wick: Chapter 2, we feel every shot just as much as they do. It definitely has me excited to see what [Macon] Blair does next. -Ben Pearson
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