2017 in Review: The best, worst and weirdest movie moments

Our writers round up the high and low points from a remarkable year at the movies.

Little White Lies

We’ve already revealed our top 30 films of the year and our contributors’ personal top 10 lists, but before we look ahead to 2018 we asked our regular contributors to reflect on the high and low points from 2017. Is there something you think deserves a mention? Let us know @LWLies

Stand out scene

Michael Stuhlbarg’s speech to Timothee Chalamet at the end of Call Me by Your Name. I wept like a small child. Hannah Woodhead

When Ryan Gosling seduced Rooney Mara by passing her an ear-but at a boring LA pool party in Song to Song. Or maybe the sushi-making scene in The Other Side of Hope. Willem Dafoe talking to flamingos in The Florida Project. The zip-line in Girls Trip. David Jenkins

The opening scene of Rat Film. Simran Hans

Armie Hammer dancing in CMBYN. Elena Lazic

The dance sequence in CMBYN. Manuela Lazic

Michael Stuhlbarg’s breathtaking speech in the closing moments of Call Me by Your Name. James Luxford

The crucifix sequence in the sea in Scorsese’s Silence; Armie Hammer’s dancing in CMBYN; Rooney Mara’s heartbreaking pie-eating scene in A Ghost Story. Christina Newland

In A Quiet Passion, Terence Davis ages Emily Dickinson and her family in front of the viewers eyes. It’s masterfully done and one of the most profound reminders of how quickly time passes by I’ve ever seen. Katherine McLaughlin

Tom Hardy in cruise control at the end of Dunkirk. Adam Woodward

Unsung hero

Whoever in the marketing department at Working Title came up with the ‘Mister Police’ concept for The Snowman‘s ad campaign. HW

Armie Hammer – despite apparently not deserving a career, he was great in Free Fire and Call Me by Your Name. Or Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip – she could be our Carole Lombard. DJ

Buddy Duress. SH

Person to Person. ML

Sally Hawkins. Absolutely incredible in Maudie and The Shape of Water, and great fun in Paddington 2. She deserves a lot more adulation. JL

Lynn Novick and Ken Burns, for their incredibly comprehensive PBS series The Vietnam War. CN

Jovanka Vokovich for her passionate part in making the first horror anthology written and directed solely by women. The film is dedicated to Antonia Bird who sadly passed away in 2013. KM

Dafne Keen for stealing the show from Hugh Jackman in Logan. AW

Most mind-expanding moment

The entire duration of A Ghost Story. HW

In the film Kuso, directed by Flying Lotus, there was a scene where George Clinton conducts a psychoanalysis session with a giant protruding anal growth that can talk. That was pretty mind expanding. DJ

The sunken place in Get Out. SH

Naomi Watts and in The Book of Henry. EL

Wonder Woman crossing No Man’s Land. ML

“The Sunken Place” in Get Out. JL

I don’t know about mind-expanding, but one of the most awe-inspiring has to be the air-raid sequence on the beach in Dunkirk. CN

Watching Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous’ intense prison group therapy documentary, The Work. KM

Daniel Day-Lewis’ swansong. He’s always been astoundingly good, but his performance in Phantom Thread is something else. AW

Best haircut

James Franco in The Disaster Artist. HW

Henry Cavill in Justice League. DJ

R-Patz DIY bleach job in Good Time. SH

Oscar Isaac’s greying hair during the promotional tour for The Last Jedi. EL

Rebecca Hall in Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. ML

Robert Pattinson in Good Time – never has a hair cut more accurately reflected a character’s predicament. JL

It’s gotta be Robert Pattinson’s peroxide blond dye job in Good Time.  CN

Every which way Tessa Thompson wears her hair in Thor: Ragnarok but especially her mighty top knot. KM

Laura Dern’s meringue whip purple rinse in The Last Jedi. AW

Most baffling career choice

Everyone who agreed to be a part of Father Figures, but especially Glenn Close. HW

Bryan Cranston as Zordon in the new Power Rangers movie. His face is digitised – enough so you can see it’s him, but not enough to obscure him from any potential embarrassment. DJ

Sofia Coppola remaking The Beguiled but without the fun bits. ML

Tom Cruise starting and ending the Dark Universe in The Mummy. JL

Baffling but also brave and brilliant: Alexander Skarsgaard playing a violent, reprehensible abuser in Big Little Lies. He’s carving a niche for himself by undermining his leading man qualities and playing bad, sleazy dudes. It’s great. CN

Colin Trevorrow being allowed to make The Book of Henry. KM

Brie Larson following up her Oscar win with Kong: Skull Island.

Most worrying trend

The casting of James Corden in every animated film going. He must be stopped. HW

Blockbuster films being launched as franchises rather than having to earn that privilege. (cf The Mummy.) DJ

The think piece-ification of film criticism. SH

Disney buying out every studio in existence. EL

Pasty-faced leading men, as in Baby Driver and the upcoming Ready Player One. ML

The declining importance of the director in big budget cinema. JL

Widespread sexual assault in the film industry, I’d say. CN

Excellent films purchased directly from festivals and their presence hardly promoted by the streaming platforms who bought them. It would be great to see more fanfare around their release. KM

Credible young directors making the sudden jump from indie darling to studio stooge. AW

Best use of music

Joaquin Phoenix singing ‘I’ve Been To Paradise’ in You Were Never Really Here. HW

John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky. DJ

The brilliantly literal use of Aretha Franklin’s ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ in A Fantastic Woman. SH

Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ in Happy End. EL

The Greatest Showman. ML

The briefing scene in Baby Driver, set to Dave Drubeck’s ‘Unsquare Dance’. JL

I really liked the use of ‘Celebration’ on the opening credits of The Florida Project. CN

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet dancing to ‘Love My Way’ in Call Me by Your Name. KM

See above. AW

The film poster you’d have framed above your mantlepiece

The Killing of a Sacred Deer. HW

James Jean’s The Shape of Water poster. DJ

On the Beach at Night Alone. SH

Wonder Woman. ML

The red retro teaser poster for The Last Jedi. There’s nothing like the old Drew Struzan Star Wars posters but this one comes close. JL

Dawson City: Frozen Time. CN

A Quiet Passion. KM

Good Time. AW

Most anticipated of 2018

Isle of Dogs! HW

Maybe Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk or Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, but probably Claire Denis’ sci-fi movie High Life. DJ

High Life. SH

Black Panther. EL

Phantom Thread. ML

Isle of Dogs. For me Wes Anderson has rarely put a foot wrong, and who doesn’t want to see a dog with the voice of Bill Murray?? JL

Phantom Thread! CN

Destroyer by Karyn Kusama. KM

Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum. AW

In 2018 I’d like to see…

Hollywood learn several lessons from the garbage fire that was 2017. And more Michael Stuhlbarg, please. HW

VOD channels working out a way to put the great movies they buy on a bigger pedestal. Will the new Scorsese film get lost in an algorithm? DJ

Good movies. SH

More films directed by women! ML

Films that takes risks, even if they don’t work out, and more LGBTQIA story lines that don’t feel like box ticking. JL

More film criticism that embraces the vast grey areas of artwork: fewer woke trend think pieces and more nuance. CN

Women who have made impressive debuts given as many big opportunities in the film industry as men. KM

More great movies! AW

Published 28 Dec 2017

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Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

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