#ConTENders for My Top Ten of 2017 (so far)

I’ve been slacking. I’ll be the first to admit it. I meant to make an individual post about each film I had thought had a chance to make my Top Ten list of 2017, and between work and other projects, I have let you, fine readers, down.

To make it up to you, here are the films that may very well make my Top Ten list this year that don’t have their own post. For the previously posted see–  Split | Get Out | Logan | Kong: Skull Island |

Wow, I didn’t post that many, did I? I hope you all didn’t think that I hadn’t seen any more great films! I will continue posting #ConTENders with the jam-packed fall and winter as scheduled. So stay tuned for that.

The Discovery (Streaming on NetflixThe Discovery

The Discovery was a film that made headlines at Sundance this year. After its initial screening, a bidding war of epic proportions took place with Netflix as the victor. The film, co-written and directed by Charlie McDowell, is a marvelous look at a world wherein science has proven that there is an afterlife. What follows is an accelerating suicide rate of people who want to fast track to eternal bliss. The only problem is that the initial discovery isn’t what it seems.


I absolutely love sci-fi premises, especially those that deal with the supernatural and alien kind (of which The Discovery is the former).

The film stars Robert Redford, Jason Segal, Rooney Mara,  Jesse Plemons, and Riley Keough.

It Comes at NightIt Comes

Initially marketed as a horror movie, It Comes as Night plays out more like a post-apocalyptic drama about the depths humans go when it comes down to sheer survival. This film follows a family who defends its home from a deadly transmittable virus that causes death within days and from those who may carry that virus.

This film will be remembered for one of the most disturbing (and beautiful) opening sequences of any movie in 2017.

So don’t go in expecting a horror film, just a rollercoaster of emotion.

Written and Directed by: Trey Edward Shults

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Christopher Abbott, and Riley Keough.

Baby Driver Baby Driver

This is 2017’s best action film. Baby Driver begins with a car chase and never lets up. Writer and Director Edgar Wright has crafted one non-stop thrill ride that continues to tweak your expectations by pushing the envelope in new and exciting directions.

Ansel Elgort finally found a role that isn’t some cheesy romantic drama and does a damn good job of aligning with the audience. The film is only as good as its soundtrack, as Wright has crafted the film specifically against the songs in the film. Baby Driver has been a passion project of his for twenty-two years and I, for one, am glad it finally came to fruition.

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Jon Bernthal, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez, and Flea.

Brisgby Bear (See my review on We Need Movies)Brigsby-Bear-poster

Don’t read up on Brigsby Bear. Any synopsis will spoil some fun surprises in the first twenty minutes of the film. Instead, if you are a fan of quirky indie comedies or coming-of-age films, then this is for you. Co-Written by and starring Kyle Mooney (of Good Neighbor and Saturday Night Live), Brigsby is about a man-child who won’t let his childhood show go and instead decides to finish its story once the show goes off the air.

It’s a wonderful look at the synthesis of the ideas from childhood into adulthood as we grow old and proves that we can retain some of our innocence and sense of adventure we once had. It’s also one of the more unique films of 2017.

Directed by: Dave McCary

Starring: Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Jane Adams, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Beck Bennett, and Claire Daines.

The Big SickThe Big Sick

To me, The Big Sick is a rare romantic comedy that melds the classic formula of the romcoms of yore and the more modern dirty approach in films like Knocked Up or The Forty-Year-Old Virgin. It makes sense then that Judd Apatow would have a hand in this film too.

The amazing true life story of co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s meet-cute, relationship, and medical drama was certainly ripe for a film adaptation, but it’s the performances of this film that truly make the film worthwhile. Kumail shines as… Kumail, an up-and-coming comedian who is “heckled” by an intelligent and adorable Emily played by Zoe Kazan.

Her parents are equally as charming (played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter), and it’s their interaction with Kumail that sells the second half of the film.

This film is for anyone who misses the quality of romantic comedies such as When Harry Met Sally or Sleepless in Seattle OR anyone who likes Judd Apatow’s other films. Hell, or both. Just watch it.

Directed by: Michael Showalter

Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, Anupam Kher, and Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Aidy Bryant, Kurt Braunohler, and Bo Burnham.

Wind River Wind River

Set in the cold, remote wilderness of Montana, Wind River is the third film by the writer (and in this case, also director) Taylor Sheridan after Sicario and Hell or High Water. 

We follow the local Fish and Wildlife hunter and trapper Cory Lambert (played by Jeremy Renner) as he uncovers a murder on the nearby Indian Reservation. An FBI agent, Jane Banner (played by Elizabeth Olson) is brought into help solve the case. What unravels next is a matter of life and death in an area where the only help they’ll find is each other.

The film also features another breakout performance from Gil Birmingham, – who was also in last year’s Hell or High Water – playing the tragically broken father of the young girl who was found dead.

Tensions mount as the duo get closer to finding her murderer and they own respective forms of catharsis.

Directed by: Taylor Sheridan

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene, Gil Birmingham, and Jon Bernthal.

It It

It is easily the scariest film of 2017 (with Annabelle: Creation a close second), and it’s mainly due to the brilliant adaptation written by a handful of people (including a first draft co-written by Cary Fukunaga of True Detective fame) and rewritten by director Andrés Muschietti.

But yet again, the performances propel the film into the next echelon as the lead children and Pennywise himself (Bill Skarsgård) sell us on the fear in the movie.

I was lucky enough to see It (and Wind River) in early test screenings earlier in the year, and they both held up extraordinarily.

It took a great first half of the 1990 miniseries and twisted it to an effective modern day horror film.

Directed by: Andrés Muschietti

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, and Jeremy Ray Taylor.

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)

Keep up to date with which films may make my Top 10 of 2017 by clicking here.

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