Oh, this was hard to do. Making a list is never easy but in a year with so many good movies, choosing just a select few to make my favourite films list was something out of this world. This list is a mix of indie film with some blockbuster and represents what made me feel so much while I watched them.
This list will be listed in alphabetical order because there was no way I would be able to rank them in order has my top movies always change. There will be an honourable mention list at the end of films I loved but didn’t make it on this list.
Battle of the Sexes
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
While the movie seems to be about the match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs but it’s really more about the struggle of these two players. Riggs with his gambling addiction and failing marriage while King about her accepting her homosexuality and not wanting that to ruin her career. It’s an exciting movie and some things works and others don’t, but this might also be Emma Stone’s best performance in her career.
Battle of the Sexes takes time to get to its titular match, but that does help create a sense that we know the characters a lot more than we would have had the movie been only about the game and not how they actually got there. The game is even more of a second thought but once you see King win you can’t help but feel proud because you know how much she struggled to get there.
Stone and Carell give excellent performance, and they both shine in their roles and play well off each other. It’s an entertaining movie that shows a story we don’t ear enough about.
Call Me By Your Name
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Call Me By Your Name is a beautiful love story and coming of age story, but it’s also so much more. From the opening image to end image, Call Me By Your Name gives you a feel of what the movie will be. The setting is probably the most essential thing in this film because it creates the feeling and the emotions that the characters will be going through. This movie wouldn’t work as well as it been set somewhere else.
From beginning to the end you are engrossed in the story of these two men falling in love and never do you doubt it. You can sense the struggle of the two trying to contain their emotions, and at the end, you feel their heartbreak. What kept with me wasn’t necessarily during the movie but more after. The ending image stayed with me for the rest of the day, the love that Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet characters share makes it that you wish for that kind of love somehow.
This is a movie that doesn’t hit you right away, it builds up, and my love for it build over time as I thought more and more about it.
Directed by Lee Unkrich
On the first watch, Coco wasn’t going to make this list. Then I sat down to watch it once again but this time with my mother. There was something beautiful about watching this movie with my 54 years old mother who was crying because of how connected she felt to it.
I never thought that a movie about a little Mexican boy trying to reconnect his passion with his family would make her feel so much and yet after the film, she was in pieces and told me all about her family. And that is my biggest take away from Coco. It’s about family and being able to connect who you are and who you’re family wants you to be. Looking at it now, I don’t know why I didn’t like Coco as much on the first viewing. I should have honestly.
But by the second time, I couldn’t take my eyes away. The beautiful animation is secondary in my opinion, the story is what makes this movie so good. This little boy trying to do his family proud while also trying to be himself. Isn’t that what everyone wishes they could do? Coco is a beautiful piece of art that deserves all the love it’s getting, and it will always be something special in my heart.
Directed by Jordan Peele
Let me preface this by saying, I do not watch horror movies. Hate them with all my being even because I don’t like being scared and so I avoid them like the plagued.
And yet, I saw myself go to a full theatre by myself and sat down to watch a horror film. And it was amazing. Yes, I did get scared from time to time, but mostly, I was watching one of the best movies in recent years. Get Out was a timely piece that was perfectly created and used it’s setting and situations that the characters are thrown into to show the reality of how for centuries black culture has been appropriated.
Get Out is one of those movies that stay with you once you are done watching it. From beginning to end, it captivates you and even when you get out of the film you can’t escape it because the reality of it, this movie is made to make you reflect on yourself and your actions. And that is one of the main reason why it is so good.
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee
Girls Trip is funny and witty, Tiffany Haddish steals every scene she is in, but this movie works so well because the whole cast is stellar. There is barely a moment to breathe before the next laugh comes and not only that but the story is also pretty good. It’s fun to see this kind of movie with four women, and for women of colour, at the centre of it.
Girls Trip makes you laugh from beginning to end, but the most important thing this movie tells you is to take care of your friends, that longtime friends are the most essential thing in your life. It’s a movie that under the laugh tells you something that stays with you. It’s fantastic to see friends on the screen that even with all their problems and differences still can be best friends by the end and support each other through everything.
I think that Girls Trip is one of the best comedy in recent years and to see it have so much success makes me very happy because it deserves it so much.
Directed by Craig Gillespie
I was too young when the incident between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan happened for me to remember and so I went to watch I, Tonya only knowing what my mother and aunts had told me about what had happened. What I didn’t expect was to watch a dark comedy about something so horrible and yet here I was not only enjoying it but feeling bad about someone who I had been led to believe was the bad guy.
I wouldn’t say I, Tonya redeems Tonya Harding because after all we still don’t know what really happened that day but it does an excellent job in telling us to look at the bigger picture. This movie works well because of the stellar job that Margot Robbie did in the titular role. From the second she is on screen, she commands attention, but we wouldn’t expect less from her. Allison Janney is fantastic as Harding’s mother, LaVona and she steals all the scenes she is in.
I, Tonya is an excellent showcase to Robbie’s talent and cements her as one of the most promising young actresses in Hollywood right now. It is also one of those movies that make you think about why Tonya Harding was like she was because of not only how she was raised but also how she was treated by the public. It is a good piece about how we treat celebrities and how comfortable we are to turn on them, and I think that is one of the crucial lessons of this movie.
Directed by Greta Gerwig
I can say without a doubt that Lady Bird was my favourite movie of the year. While I wouldn’t be able to rank the others, no matter what other movies would come on this list, Lady Bird would have finished first.
Never in my life I’ve I watched a movie and fell so connected to it. Films have impacted me before, but never on the level, this one did. I couldn’t find words for a few days after I saw it to describe my feelings about it. What Lady Bird did for me was show the relationship I had with my mom when I was a teenager. We loved each other, but we also hated each other. Moments like Danny breaking down after admitting to himself fully that he is gay or Christine calling her mom at the end of the movie struck me that I could barely breathe because I remember those moments so vividly.
From beginning to end, Lady Bird was perfect. I have seen it three times now, and I have yet to find something I do not like about it. Everything for me was there, and I could not have asked for a better movie then what Greta Gerwig delivered with her first outing as a director.
Directed by James Mangold
Oh, Wolverine. He had never been my favourite X-Men, while I admire the amount of work Hugh Jackman put into the role, I never like how he was always at the centre of every X-Men story even tho in the comics he never was. But man did Logan change all of that for me.
From beginning to end, this R-rated action superhero movie was stellar. While Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman were in splendid form in this film, it is evident to me that the real star (and future of the X-Men franchise) was Daphne Keen as Laura aka X-23. Decided to go with a variation of the Old Man Logan comic was the best idea for this and setting up Logan in a timeline we weren’t familiar with was also good because the story was really about Logan and his daughter and not him and the other X-Men.
Logan is a beautiful movie about a man opening his heart again. It tells a story that we aren’t used to in these type of film and it works so well. What makes Logan so good is not only the cast but also the story that shows a world that we haven’t seen in this universe yet. A world that we can just imagine is brutal and violent, a lot like Logan himself and that’s why seeing a dying Logan in this world is so hard but also so satisfying for an ending in this trilogy and for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
Directed by Aaron Sorkin
I knew nothing about Molly Bloom when I went to see Molly’s Game, but I knew deep down I was going to love this movie because Aaron Sorkin is one of my favourites screenwriter and I was excited to see this film. Not only did the story looked interesting but with a cast that includes Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, I was even more excited for it.
The story of Molly Bloom is one of surviving and one that not many know. Yes, this movie is very Aaron Sorkin, and if you do not like his style, then this movie isn’t for you. But you can’t take away the power that is Chastain as an actress. She owns every scene she is in, and every time she shares the screen with Elba, it’s seeing two masters of their craft at work. Is Molly’s Game perfect, no it isn’t, but it is entertaining and makes up for its flaws by the sheer perfectness of the acting.
It’s a fast-paced movie but Molly’s story is also a fast pace one, and that’s why it works so well. And Sorkin’s directing matches his writing style which makes for an entertaining movie.
Directed by Dean Israelite
You might be thinking, how the hell did Power Rangers make it on to this list. Let me explain, Power Rangers is a better movie then you think. It is one of the best coming-of-age stories that we’ve had in a long time when it comes to action movies. While I do agree that the first three-quarter of the film and the last quarter seem to be very disconnected, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s one hell of a good movie.
Power Rangers takes itself seriously. But it also doesn’t really. While the kids are all vastly different from what the 90’s television series most fan grew up in, it is also silly, mostly thanks to a fantastic Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa. But maybe what makes Power Rangers so good it’s that it is able to explore it’s character so much before they even wear their suit that when they do we love them and want them to win more than anything.
Power Rangers did things that no other superhero movies have done. They have one of the most diverse cast out there, they have an autistic character who isn’t defined by this and an LGBTQ+ character that is question herself and opens up about it. It’s incredible that a movie aimed towards young people was able to do all that and yet while many want a sequel it is still unclear if one will be done, even if it does deserve one because of how good this movie was when in reality it could have been awful.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Directed by Rian Johnson
Star Wars: The Last Jedi might be the most divisive movie of the year, but that doesn’t change the fact that I loved it. What makes The Last Jedi so good is that it decides to change things up. It becomes its own thing, and yes some people don’t like that, but it does make it that it is exciting and shows a promising future for the franchise now that it decides to move away from the original trilogy.
What makes The Last Jedi a different movie it’s that you can see that it was made by a director/writer and not a bunch of executive who just wanted to make the same film over and over again. Rian Johnson’s vision of the future of the franchise is fresh and makes it interesting. The cast is at the top of their games, but the movie showcases Adam Driver’s abilities to the forefront and makes him one of the most promising actors in the franchise.
While the movie isn’t to everyone’s liking, you can’t deny the fact that it is entertaining. The jokes are funny, the creatures are cute, the action sequences are beautiful, it’s a movie that will stay with me for a long time.
The Big Sick
Directed Michael Showalter
The Big Sick wasn’t a movie I expected to love. I never saw Kumail Nanjiani in anything before, and so watching him was a pleasant surprise. This love story is sad, and yet we laugh so much that we sometimes feel bad about it. He has a chemistry that is out of this world with Zoe Kazan, and I can’t even start to describe how good it was to see Holly Hunter and Ray Romano in this movie playing overprotective parents. It was a pleasant surprise of a movie.
Kazan might have the most difficult role of the two because Nanjiani is basically playing himself while she has to play his wife. It’s a touching tribute to a couple that based on what we’ve seen in this movie and showcases an angle we haven’t seen in romantic comedy yet, and it is refreshing. It’s funny that one of the most entertaining movies of the year is a movie about death really, but it’s so much more. It’s about love and how it prevails over everything else in the end.
The Incredible Jessica James
Directed by James C. Strouse
The Incredible Jessica James might be a movie that went under your radar. A Netflix Original starring former The Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams in the titular role, this movie showcase the different emotions one might go through during a break-up, but it does it in a way that we laugh with her instead of feeling bad about the fact that she is heartbroken.
It is nice to see Williams showcase her acting when we haven’t really seen her do it yet. She shines through the movie and elevates it a lot. She makes the script work a lot better than it would have had it been any other actress. She and Chris O’Dowd have great chemistry and in the little scenes that she and Lakeith Stanfield share showcase some of the best actings from Williams. The movie makes you laugh and cry even at times, but it also makes you reflect on your own relationships and how you deal with your own failures.
The Incredible Jessica James is a good movie, a movie that deserves a lot more attention than it got and you should definitely give it a try.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Directed by Martin McDonagh
There are only two things I didn’t like about Three Billboards, the rape joke, and the open ending. But otherwise, Three Billboards is a story about grief and how one deals with it. At times, it’s absurd and yet you can’t help but laugh at the characters and the situations they are put in. France McDormand is stellar in a role that is not very likable and yet we connect with her a lot more than any other characters. Sam Rockwell as the unlikable cop who in the end ends up being more of a hero then we ever thought is so powerful and show a side of him that we haven’t seen in a lot of things.
Three Billboards is a powerful movie, a movie that makes you think about how you would react if you were in this situation. It has twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and I’m usually very good at seeing them, that makes it that the movie keeps its momentum throughout and that is maybe why the ending isn’t that satisfying for me because it lets you decide what you think happens in a way.
Directed by Patty Jenkins
The first comic book I’ve ever read when I was young was Wonder Woman. Growing up she was a role model for me, and I had been waiting forever for her to come on the big screen. To say that I was happy with the result would be an understatement. What Patty Jenkins did with this movie is remarkable. It was one of the most talked about movie of the year and let’s hope it changed the game for not only female-led action movies but also female-directed movies.
Who didn’t get chills when Diana went in the trenches and showed everyone who she was, who didn’t smile ear to ear when we saw all the Amazon fighting and training, who didn’t shed a tear at the end when Steve decided to sacrifice himself so that he could save everyone? This movie had so many moments that made this movie amazing. Yes, the third act final battle had the problem most comic book movies have, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was one of the best comic book movies ever.
Wonder Woman might have been the breath of fresh air DC needed, but it was also the movie every girl and woman needed.
Here’s a list of ten honourable mentions I wish I could write about.
Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Mudbound, Thor Ragnarok, Unicorn Store, Wonder, Logan Lucky, Jumanji and War for the Planet of the Apes.