The Best and Worst Films of The Summer of 2017

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Time for some hardcore subjective list-making! This summer wasn’t exactly the best summer movie season in recent years, but there were still some damn good films. From the big superhero movies to the offbeat indie darlings, and those random Oscar movies that debuted ahead of the traditional award season, moviegoers could still find something worth watching. But for every good film, there’s a movie that makes us question if Hollywood is doomed to crash into blazing hellfire before we banish it to Limbo. Now, the best and the worst of this strange 2017 summer….

Close Calls

Planet Of The Apes
Why No Cookie, Roman?

Almost made the top 10:

  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Girls Trip

Barely spared from the bottom 10

  • Batman and Harley Quinn
  • Despicable Me 3

10. ‘Gunslingers and Bombmakers’

WORST – The Dark Tower

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Oh no, oh no, oh no.

Apparently, this was based on the classic Stephen King novel, but any resemblance to the fan favorite series is hard to find, besides being called The Dark Tower. The audience for this movie about a gunslinger fighting a being “worse than the devil” seemed to be preteen boys. The movie was a mess of exposition and boring action, and a waste of good casting. This is one series we already need a reboot for. Thankfully, It gave us the Stephen King movie we deserved. (King Arthur movie 1 of 3)

BEST – Logan Lucky

LOGAN LUCKY
Bang. Joe Bang.

In 2013, Soderbergh retired from directing, tired of the movie business. Thankfully, he returned for Logan Lucky, which is almost a farce on his own heist films, the Ocean’s trilogy. Ocean’s Eleven was sleek and polished. The characters all had style and wit. The masterminds in Logan Lucky are far removed from the tailored suits and wit that Danny Ocean and his crew exhibited. Instead, we get a misfit crew of mostly idiots who are more likely to blow themselves up than steal a million dollars—or even ten dollars. But the way Soderbergh tells this story makes it not just smarter than Ocean’s Eleven, but more emotional too. In Ocean’s Eleven, we want Danny Ocean to get away with the heist because he’s cool. In Logan Lucky, we cheer for Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) because we feel for him. Also, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) is amazing.

9. ‘Bots and Blondes’

Worst – Transformers: The Last Knight

'Transformers: The Last Knight'
On set picture of Michael Bay running out of fucks.

All things considered, this was one of the better entries in the Transformers franchise. And it was still a barely developed mess with mostly boring action. The first Transformers set up most of these characters, and it was fun. But Michael Bay doesn’t seem to understand that sequels can’t just be bigger, they need to delve deeper. Everything in Transformers 2-5 feels like deleted scenes that could have been in the first movie and not miss a cue. (King Arthur movie 2 of 3)

BEST – Atomic Blonde

The only person John Wick is afraid of.

Charlize Theron is the most badass woman in Hollywood. Between this and Mad Max: Fury Road, she’s earned that title. Atomic Blonde had the action style of John Wick with the neo-Noir of The Dark Knight and the Punk Rock vibes of Trainspotting all rolled into one brilliant experience. And with the small budget and decent success, we’ll hopefully get more movies with the Blonde.

8. ‘Enemies and Egos’

WORST – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

This is what you paid for, basically.

The most disappointing aspect of this movie isn’t that it was just a generic action comedy, it’s that the marketing was brilliant and then it turned out to be a generic action comedy. How did they have Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds in an action comedy and they were both remarkably bland. Selma Hayek was the only one who seemed to care about making the movie what the marketing promised it to be, but she’s not in it enough to steal the movie and make it better.

BEST – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

I Am Merchandise Sales!

While Vol 1 surprised us with how good it was, Vol 2 is better. Vol 2 does exactly what Michael Bay couldn’t figure out how to do in four Transformers sequels—develops the characters WHILE giving us a fun show. Every character gets more depth here, and James Gunn doesn’t sacrifice poop jokes, cool music, or brilliant action to do it. It improves on the original AND has Kurt Russel as Ego. This is how you make a sequel.

7. ‘Carribeans and Comas’

WORST – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Could we just fire Johnny Depp? Please?

Why. Why do they keep trying? Why was Jack Sparrow even in this movie, or hell, the last two movies, when he’s not even the main character anymore. Seriously, watch this and On Stranger Tides—Jack Sparrow is completely inconsequential to the plot. He’s just there. And he’s not doing the movie any favors. It’s like “Oh cool, Captain Barbosa is back! Oh damn it, why is Johnny Depp here?!” Barbosa, again, is the only part of the movie worth a damn. In one moment he saves it from being in the bottom 5 of the year. But it’s a spoiler, so if you do watch it, at least you’ll have that moment.

BEST – The Big Sick

The Big Sick
Can you believe how adorable we are together?

This year’s quirky indie dramedy! It’s an incredible true story, and explores the dynamic culture differences between Pakistan and America in a way that doesn’t just educate American audiences, but makes them empathize as well. There won’t be a movie with this much heart coming out this year, and if there is, that might be too much. And Ray Romano isn’t insufferable in it! Who knew he had it in him.

6. ‘Goldie Hawns and Gold Records’

WORST – Snatched

Amy Schumer & Goldie Hawn get snatched
Over there is where your career used to be.

Poor Goldie Hawn. She was clearly having a fun time filming this, but the movie was just not that funny. Wait. Let’s back up. Joan Cusack owned this movie. A spinoff with her and Wanda Sykes would be great. But Amy Schumer just did not hold her own with Hawn, Sykes, and Cusak. Maybe a better director would have helped. The story could have worked.

BEST – Baby Driver

Baby Driver
Bellbottoms! Bellbottoms!

The opening scene of this movie alone would put Baby Driver in anyone’s Top Summer list (we’ll have to see about year). The mix of music and action is handled brilliantly, and Edgar Wright’s style is unmistakable. There might be a little style over substance, and it gets slightly formulaic towards the end, but 90% of the film is wonderfully original. And we’ll have “Bellbottoms” stuck in our heads for the rest of the year.

5. ‘Outer Space and Inner Spider’

WORST – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
How you look after 2.5 hours of being punched in the genitals

Imagine your celebrity crush said they wanted to go home with you. They give you a special look, whisper something sexy in your ear. You’re ready for the best experience of your life and eagerly get into bed with them. They lean in to kiss you and then straight up punch you in the genitals and laugh at you. That’s what watching Valerian feels like. It had all the signs of being a brilliant movie, but just punched us in the genitals instead.

BEST – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming
We totally just saved a franchise.

We finally got the Sider-Man movie we deserved. Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man, hands down. Michael Keaton delivered one of the best Marvel Villains in the entire cinematic universe. And Marvel didn’t insult us with explaining how Peter Parker became Spider-Man…again. And, much like we got better development for Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War, we got the same here. Tony is becoming a more rounded character as a supporting role in Phase 3 than the three Iron Man and two Avengers movies in Phases 1 and 2.

4. ‘Mission Failure and Mission Accomplished’

WORST – The Mummy

The Mummy
Hello, my name is useless

Imagine if the Brendan Fraser Mummy had a child with Mission Impossible 2. If you picture an abomination that needs to be killed with fire, you have essentially seen The Mummy. Universal thought this would start a new shared Universe of monsters. Russell Crowe shows up as the dumbest version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde we’ve ever seen, and it makes about as much sense as this movie existing in the first place. It’s almost like Tom Cruise so desperately wishes he was Iron Man that he took whatever shared universe was left.

BEST – Dunkirk

Dunkirk
Your face for 100 minutes

While Dunkirk might not be Christopher Nolan’s best film, his experimentation with time narratives created one of the most intense war movies since Saving Private Ryan. It’s a very British film, which for Americans means we can’t wait for subtitles. But there’s not much dialogue anyway, focusing more on the rescue than on needless speeches. We get to know each character by how they react rather than long monologues. Of all the movies on this list, this film will be studied the most.

3. ‘Immigrants and Natives’

WORST – Beatriz At Dinner

Lithgow just realized he’s in a “serious” movie.

Everyone has that friend who thinks they are much cleverer than they are, but the entire time you’re listening to them, you’re just like “sure, dude. Okay.” Beatriz At Dinner thinks it’s a smart commentary on wealthy conservatives oppressing working-class immigrants, but it’s not. It’s more like someone found an SNL skit and tried to make a serious movie out of it, and just to give it an extra Indie drama punch, gave it an ambiguous ending. But it’s not smart. There’s no nuance or subtlety, and the politics are about as complicated as a high school Freshman first learning about society.

BEST – Wind River

Taylor Sheridan Wind River
I’ll take that nomination now

The person who deserves the most credit here is Taylor Sheridan, the writer/director. Sheridan also wrote Sicario and Hell or High Water. This time he directs too, and he makes a near-perfect murder mystery. His Native American reservation drama strikes a chord with every scene. It’s a painful movie, and it’s impossible not to feel invested from the opening scene to the very end.

2. ‘Arthur and Affleck’

WORST – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King Arthur
How can I disgrace this Legend?

Dark Tower had a descendant of King Arthur. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the heroes needed to find Arthur’s sword or something? Who cares? But we also got an actual King Arthur movie…and it sucked. It sucked hard. It’s like Michael Bay directed Lord of the Rings, but since it’s worse than a Michael Bay movie on the Wost-of part of this list, maybe that’s not fair. Guy Ritchie thought he could direct King Arthur the way Matthew Vaughn directed Layer Cake. It didn’t work. At all. But it wasn’t the worst movie of the year. Not even by a longshot.

BEST – A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story
If this doesn’t win the Oscar for best costume design, the Oscars are broken.

So far, A Ghost Story is the most beautiful film of the year. It’s atmospheric, haunting, and lovely. Rooney Mara manages to make a scene where she’s eating pie feel like you’re having your heart ripped out. And Casey Affleck does his best acting under a bed sheet. It’s certainly going to be one of the best indie movies of the year. And to think, this is from the same director that brought us Pete’s Dragon. That’s range.

1. ‘Writer refuses to link these movies together’

WORST – Baywatch

The Rock Baywatch
I don’t know how to save this movie, guys

Very rarely is a movie so irredeemable that it’s hard to know where to begin to explain just how bad it is. Sure, not a single joke lands. Obviously, the plot is stupid. The acting is horrendous. Dwayne Johnson, who always looks like he’s just thrilled to be in a movie, looks like he’s getting a fistulotomy on his dick. And then there’s the weird fact that the only villains who die are the minority ones. Yeah, that’s not problematic at all, is it? And we live in a world where 21 Jump Street worked so well that they did it twice. Baywatch had no excuse to be this bad, but it was. It might be the worst film of the decade.

BEST – Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
I have come to save the DCU

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Wonder Woman finally got her big screen debut, and it was everything we could have asked for and more. Gal Gadot brought Princess Diana to life with fury and grace. Wonder Woman is a game changer for the superhero movie industry but in a way that should be an embarrassment to both Marvel and DC. It proved a female superhero could make money. Really? They were willing to take risks on Green Lantern (which bombed) and Guardians of the Galaxy (which did not bomb, but still) and an R-rated Deadpool before making a movie of one of the greatest female icons ever. And it was a damn good movie. Wonder Woman rekindled fans’ faith in the DCU. Hopefully, she will anchor many future films.


What is your favorite film from the summer of 2017? Comment below.

Roman Colombohttp://romancolombo.com
Roman Colombo has been teaching comics and movies at Philadelphia area colleges since 2010, including Temple University, Drexel University, and Rosemont College. He has several publications in journals such as The Bookends Review and monkeybicycle. He's also the author of Trading Saints for Sinners, his first published novel.

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