Staff Picks: Top Ten Films of 2017

If only every member of the CineMusts crew could have appeared on our Top Ten podcast. Let’s fix that!

The biggest reason that CineMusts actually got off the ground and will continue to grow and improve is because it has amazing contributors.

These are not only the awesome co-hosts that bring their passion for film to the microphone, but also our incredible logo designer Emily Smith, brilliant theme composer Stephen Reed, and Amanda Emal, whose support and patience has impacted every part of our podcast.

Many of them have made Top Ten lists from last year, which we have compiled and posted below. Some have written briefly on what made each movie special for them, and some let the lists speak for themselves.

In addition, films from every contributor’s list were assigned points based on their ranking as well as the number of times the film appeared on multiple lists. Using this grading system, we’ve compiled the CineMusts Staff Top Ten Films of 2017, a cumulative list showing what the podcast’s favorite films of 2017 would be if we were a hive mind.

With this we say goodbye to 2017, and look forward to another year of great movies and fantastic discussions about them.

Remember to share your Top Ten Movies of 2017 in the comments below!

Amanda Emal

10 Colossal

9 Dunkirk

8 Lady Bird

7 The Post

6 Star Wars: The Last Jedi

5 Baby Driver

4 The Shape of Water

3 The Greatest Showman

2 Wonder

1 Coco

Anthony Badger

10 Power Rangers

9 Colossal

8 Dunkirk

7 Get Out

6 War for the Planet of the Apes

5 Blade Runner 2049

4 Kong: Skull Island

3 The Shape of Water

2 Okja

1 It

David Sandhu

This was a bad year for me. Two states, two jobs and three apartments made it hard for me to see movies as often as I’d like. I haven’t seen Lady Bird, The Florida Project, or various other films that sound like they should be on everyone’s Top Ten. I can’t give you what “they” would consider the best movies of the year, but I can give the top ten movies that I had a great time with that will stick with me. These movies either blew me away with their artistry, or just gave me a good time. So, setting aside my ego, here are my Top Ten Movies of 2017

10 The Greatest Showman

I know, I know, but hear me out. This movie had a weak, underdeveloped, cliché story and weak characters but DAMN! What a great musical. Unlike La La Land where the talent never reached the level of charm it tried to put out, The Greatest Showman was full of actual talent. The soundtrack is at #1 on the Billboards for a reason. The dancing and singing makes this the strongest original musical we have seen in decades. If a weak story is a hang up for you in a musical, then don’t watch musicals. Most aren’t Les Miserables or Fiddler on the Roof. Most are Little Shop of Horrors or The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where the music takes center stage with real talent.  

9 Baby Driver

Edgar Wright gave us a wonderful movie here. Action packed with heart. I won’t take the time to defend or dissect this movie except to say: see it! Exciting movies don’t have to be dumb or convoluted in order to deliver. It seems most directors have forgotten that, but not Edgar. God bless that man.

8 Colossal

The most unique Kaiju movie you’ll ever see. Funny and shocking. Anne Hathaway gives my favorite performance as a broken human, victim, and hero. In other words, she is the best Godzilla we have seen in awhile. Jason Sudeikis steps out of his comedic shell to give us a charming but terrifying performance. This movie does not go the way you think it will, which kept it very fresh.

7 War for the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis in his career defining role: Caesar. It was a bitter-sweet and fantastic end to an amazing trilogy. Builds upon the original series without tearing it down. It would be hard to argue that the entire Planet of the Apes saga isn’t one of, if not the best, sci-fi series of all time. With the revival of new Star Trek and Star Wars, Planet of the Apes stands as a clear winner.   

6 It

Holy shit, a good horror movie! A good Stephen King horror movie with 80’s nostalgia. Do I have to sell this more?

5 The Disaster Artist

Such an odd movie about an odd movie and bromance. Tommy Wiseau was on stage at the Golden Globes this year. What?! James Franco shines in an  Oscar-worthy performance as the last Hollywood Legend and tells us the fascinating story of The Room. Everything about this film is delightful. The movie itself is great, but do yourself a favor and devour as many interviews as you can. Everything about both The Room and The Disaster Artist is just delightful, giving you hours of entertainment.

4 Logan

20th Century Fox has finally figured out the potential of comic book movies: that superheroes can tell other stories in different genres. The MCU does this to an extent but still stays within the comfort of the superhero genre. Here Mangold  takes Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart and plunges them into a gritty western that delivers one of the greatest send-offs of a character we have ever seen. Seventeen years later and Hugh Jackman will always be Wolverine. To have a greater experience and appreciate the performances without the distraction of the blood, find and watch the Noir version. This black and white version gives you an entirely different film and lets other aspects of its artistry shine.

3 Get out

The minute I walked out of this film, it felt important. This was a February film I knew would have Oscar buzz. Jordan Peele blew everyone out of the water with this masterful movie that’s comedic, scary, and poignant. This is a movie made for our generation and time and feels just as fresh as it did a year ago. Jordan Peele is set to be our new Hitchcock, let’s hope he doesn’t become our next Shyamalan. Being his debut film, this makes me excited for cinema and the horror genre. I can’t wait to see where he takes us next and how he will challenge everyone.     

2 The Shape of Water

By far the most beautiful film this year, besides Loving Vincent. Guillermo del Toro delivers a passion project decades in the making. A wonderful film full of love and detail paying homage to The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Eighty years later we get to see the Gill-man triumphant! A film that subverts masculinity, monster stories, and movies in general. Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones give stunning performances, and they never say a word. Also another fantastic musical number!

1 mother!

What do you say about this movie? It is the very definition of art. This isn’t a film for everyone, but if you want to be challenged with one of the best films ever, then watch mother! This is the 2001: A Space Odyssey of our generation. No other film was as ambitious as mother! this year or any of the last few. I’ll fight anyone on this one. It is layered and gives you so many opportunities to walk away with something new. It merits multiple viewings and it can be new every time. Aronofsky and Paramount took a huge risk creating a movie that aims to challenge you and reevaluate your existence. It’s a gamble that didn’t pay off in the box office but does in the great canon of film. If you are looking for a fun, exciting movie with some interesting ideas, then watch Get Out, Lady Bird, Moonlight, anything else. If you want to see a work of art that stands its ground with Kubrick, Tarkovsky, or Bergman, then see mother!

Jonathan Smith

10 Dunkirk

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2


Blade Runner 2049


Your Name

War for the Planet of the Apes

Get Out


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Josh Bone

10 Thor: Ragnarok

Baby Driver


7 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 


War for the Planet of the Apes

Get Out

Star Wars: The Last Jedi


Blade Runner 2049

Myke Emal

10 Colossal

Star Wars: The Last Jedi


The Post

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


Lady Bird

The Shape of Water


Get Out

Ryan Victory

**I have not been able to watch Phantom Thread or The Shape of Water yet, both of which I imagine would have made my list.

Dishonorable Mention: The Circle – terrible. Bad all the way around. Zero redeemable qualities.

10 Wonder

A ‘wonder’ful family picture that may have its flaws, but your heart is so warm while watching it that they all burn up and disappear from memory. Owen Wilson set the tone for fatherhood that I will remember as I sojourn that path in the future.


A late addition to my list. Seemingly promoted as a comedy, when in reality it is a poignant film about domestic abuse and addiction. No one is off the hook and everyone, including our protagonist, has some issues to work out.

8 The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Lanthimos’ newest film is bleak yet beautiful. If you can stomach the insane imagery and plot points, it’s a fantastic look into justice and choice.

Wind River

Taylor Sheridan’s directorial debut after writing amazing films such as Sicario and Hell or High Water. A drama set in the northern tundra of America following an innocent FBI agent and a grief-ridden father. Beautifully shot and perfectly tense.

War for the Planet of the Apes

Not exactly the series-ending chapter that we thought we were going to get, but this movie impressed me in ways I didn’t even know I wanted. Serkis’ motion capture work is still on its exponential growth trajectory and does not disappoint. Monk…Apes riding horses across the country on a western-style revenge plot? I’m there and I’m all in.

Get Out

Get Out is a complete movie experience. Jordan Peele masterfully handles political commentary, horror, and comedy in one perfect package. The supporting actors fill their roles and rev up the uneasiness and dread as you watch our protagonist’s story unravel. An original story that could not have been released in a better time and space.

Darkest Hour

If you ask my friends, they will tell you how frustrated they are that I refuse to watch The Crown. I am not one for period pieces. I even struggled to sit down and watch Lincoln when that come out a few years ago despite how masterful it was. Not only does Gary Oldman carry the movie on his shoulders, but the interesting shot choices really captivated me and kept my attention throughout the entire film and even hours after.


Christopher Nolan is back and at it again. Dunkirk carries the weight of other war films such as Saving Private Ryan or Full Metal Jacket without the gore or language. Through sound design and cinematography, Nolan is able to transport you onto the beach, into the sky, and traveling across the water to bring those boys home. Quiet performances across the board convey the dread and terror of trying to get home, without any real say in the matter. When it comes to war films, I believe I am still placing the afore mentioned films above this one. However, this film approaches war not to portray the grisly visual reality, but rather focuses on conveying the feeling of the 20-year-old boys on a beach.

2 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A poignant dark comedy that juggles so many themes that your head hurts after you leave the theater. Strong performances from Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand give insight to grief, racism, and bigotry. I love it when a film provokes a conversation about more than itself – Three Billboards does that so well that you cannot have that conversation immediately after but have to wait to sort out your feelings. Probably not the feel-good movie of the year, but could easily be labeled the “think deep” movie. Not to mention Dinklage’s fist pump worthy tell-off towards the end of the film.

Lady Bird

This film is delightful, painful, truthful, and vulnerable – and I’m saying that as a 25-year-old male. Lady Bird is my number one of the year because I remember so perfectly how satisfied I was upon leaving the theater. It is an introspective film with seemingly small stakes that expand within the viewer so much larger than that. I think the real hero of the year is Greta Gerwig – her writing and direction is beautiful. In a year of robots, pirates, killer clowns, and war films – the one that contains a scene where a mother and daughter go thrift shopping transcends them all.

CineMusts Staff Top Ten Films of 2017

Runners up: Colossal, Baby Driver, Wonder, The Greatest Showman, and mother!

10 Coco and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (tie)

Lady Bird or Blade Runner 2049 (tie)

Lady Bird or Blade Runner 2049 (tie)


Star Wars: The Last Jedi


War for the Planet of the Apes


The Shape of Water

Get Out


Goodbye 2017, and thanks for everything! Join us next week when Myke and David go back to 1960 with our episode on Psycho and Peeping Tom. Have your showers and tripods ready.

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