'Get Out' tops Best Movies of 2017 so far poll (according to 100+ critics)


Over the last week or so I've been collecting lists from my colleagues and industry people to find a consensus as to what have been the best films of 2017 so far according to critics. 108 critics sent me their lists. To say this was a success would be an understatement. AwardsDaily has my edited version, many paragraphs were edited down, but here's the full draft I had and I extended the list to more films:

There was a time when film critics used to be a very unpredictable lot.

In conducting a poll of over 100 newspaper, magazine, and online film critics, Jordan Peele's horror satire "Get Out" was the clear winner, edging out Michael Showalter's romcom "The Big Sick," Edgar Wright's car chase thriller "Baby Driver," and James Mangold's existential superhero flick "Logan" as the consensus choice for "best" film of 2017 so far.

Named on 100 of the 111 "best of" lists, "Get Out" easily topped our poll, in which critics submitted their lists to me via email, Facebook, and Twitter, ranking their list either randomly, in alphabetical order, or in descending order. As with any such polling endeavors, there were plenty of heated opinions. Despite the sheer quantity of films released so far in the year -- estimated at more than 350 -- a core group of 10-15 films recurred on list after list. There was more agreement than disparity, especially when it came to Jordan Peele's movie. The widespread assessment was also that it's been a better than average movie year thus far, despite the reputation that most studios tend to release their weaker films in the first half of the year.

It seems like populism has in fact reigned supreme thus far in multiplexes for the nation's film journalists. Studio efforts such as "Logan," "Get Out," "Wonder Woman," "John Wick Chapter Two," "The Lego Batman Movie," and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2" clearly struck a chord with the journalists polled, whereas only two of the top 20 films were in a foreign language: Julie Ducourneau's cannibal coming-of-age drama "Raw" (French) and Cristi Mungiu's "Graduation" (Romanian).

As usual, festival-going critics were adamant about mentioning some of the soon-to-be critically acclaimed movies of the fall that have already been screened at festivals, such as Cannes and Sundance. The most often mentioned were Luca Guadagnino's "Call Me by Your Name," Sean Baker's "The Florida Project," The Safdie Brothers' "Good Time," Dee Rees' "Mudbound," and Kogonada's "Columbus."

Most were unseen by the vast majority of the critics polled, but the overall support by the dozen or so festival-goers who did mention these titles suggests that they will most likely appear on hundreds of critics' "best-of" lists by year's end. King among them was Guadagnino's coming of age masterpiece, which premiered at this past January's Sundance film festival, and which topped all 6 critics lists in which it was mentioned. “The Florida Project,” a Cannes entry, was the other highly mentioned fest title and which had CineVue’s John Bleasdale stating “I suspect this will be the year that Sean Baker breaks into the mainstream.”

The vagaries of distribution also meant that many critics didn't get to see some of the smaller-scaled indie films that were just released, especially David Lowery's "A Ghost Story," which still managed to make more than 1/4 of the lists submitted, despite having only been released in limited distribution last Friday in L.A. and New York.

Complicating things even more for some was the continuous blur of cinema and television. Critically acclaimed shows such as "Fargo," "Big Little Lies," and "Better Call Saul" were mentioned.

However, no show was cited as often and with as much fervent passion as David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" reboot. The fact that only 8 of the 18 episodes have aired didn’t deter more than 8 critics from naming it as their number one “movie” of 2017.

"Dog Eat Dog" screenwriter and director of the upcoming "Regarding the Case of Joan of Arc," Matthew Wilder, stated "Certainly the movie event thus far this year is "Twin Peaks: The Return," a masterpiece for sure in its first eight episodes and a hilarious bitch slap to both cinema and this “daring” age of television, which suddenly learned how very daring it wasn’t." DigBoston's Jake Mulligan had praise as well: "I've got no way to sum it up in a sentence. It's just sublime, and inspired, and surprising, and it's the strongest use of moving pictures I've seen all year." CinemaViewFinder's Tony Dayoub also didn't shy away, saying the first eight episodes are "better movie than anything I've seen so far in theaters." The Village Voice’s Luke Thompson added to the praises by saying “Yes, I'm gonna be "that guy" on Twin Peaks, as I suspect others might be. Like when LAFCA gave Best Picture to Brazil in order to help it actually get released, my vote for Twin Peaks is an express desire to see it all on the big screen as Lynch would prefer, but could not get the funding for. It is undoubtedly the richest, most rewarding cinematic experience of the year even on a "mere" huge-screen TV set.” And Finally, filmmaker Jonathan Caouette stated, "Lynch referred to it as an 18-hour movie. So far, I am transfixed by the first eight episodes."

If there was a film that defied the odds and surprised in the final tally it was Nacho Vigalondo’s hard-to-define sci-fi film “Colossal,” starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. Even though the film has garnered a respectable 80% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 70 score on Metacritic, one didn’t expect it to figure so highly on such a poll, and yet, Vigalondo’s brilliant film managed to finish in the Top 5 and edge out Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman,” which ended up nabbing sixth place.

In all, nearly 150 films were named. Of course, the bandwagon-like appeal and lack of disparity didn't stop some critics. Now and then a critic really stuck his or her neck out, flaunting a 10 Best label on an out-of-left-field movie choice that was the whipping boy for most critics. "The Zookeeper's Wife" (named as one of the year's best by freelancer Tomris Laffy and Awards Daily’s own Jazz Tangcay); "Gifted" (Pete Hammond, Deadline); “Beauty and the Beast” (Carrie Rickey, The Philadelphia Inquirer); “Catfight” (Amy Nicholson, MTV), “Maudie” (Anne Thompson, IndieWire) and, yes, even “Transformers: The Last Knight,” which Luke Thompson suggests is shot “with the gaze of a 14-year-old and the logic of a 5-year-old,” adding that “Michael Bay directs like a kid creating an epic with toys on his bedroom floor. And since this is a movie based on toys, it's a perfect fit.”

Although Terrence Malick's "Song to Song" was included in more than a half dozen "Worst of" lists, it did have its champions and ended up garnering just as many “best of” inclusions. The Wrap's Steve Pond stated "I kinda hated the last few Malicks, but he got me back with "Song to Song" and with the longer Cate Blanchett-narrated version of [the upcoming] "Voyage of Time" as well". The Film Stage's Jordan Raup also had eloquent words about Malick's film, saying "I absolutely adored it, I thought it was so beautiful."

Consensus Top 10


1. "Get Out" (Jordan Peele, U.S.) (103 lists)
2. "The Big Sick" (Michael Showalter, U.S.) (60)
3. "Logan" (James Mangold, U.S.) (58)
4. "Baby Driver" (Edgar Wright, U.S.) (57)
5. The Lost City of Z" (James Gray, U.S.) (48)
6. "Colossal" (Nacho Vigalondo, U.S.) (47)
7. "Wonder Woman" (Patty Jenkins, U.S.) (47)
8. "The Beguiled" (Sofia Coppola, U.S.) (38)
9. "Personal Shopper" (Olivier Assayas, France) (37)
10. "Raw" (Julie Ducourneau, France) (35)
11. "Okja" (Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea/U.S.) (37)
12. "A Ghost Story" (David Lowery, U.S.) (28)
13. "John Wick: Chapter Two" (Chad Stahelski, U.S.) (26)
14. “A Quiet Passion” (Terrence Davies, U.K.) (22)
15. “It Comes at Night” (Trey Edward Schultz, U.S.) (16)
16. “The Lego Batman Movie” (Chris McKay, U.S.) (15)
17. “Graduation” (Cristi Mungiu, Romania) (15)
18. “Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore” (Macon Blair, U.S.) (14)
19. "Split" (M. Night Shyamalan, U.S.) (14)
20. "After the Storm" (Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan) (15)
21. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (James Gun, U.S.) (13)
22. “Norman” (Joseph Cedar, U.S.) (13)
23. "T2: Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, U.K.) (11)
24. "Your Name" (Makoto Shinkai, Japan) (13)
25. "Their Finest" (Lone Scherfig, U.K.) (9)
26. "Dawson: Frozen City" (Bill Morrison, Canada) (7)


THE 100+ CRITICS POLLED

Tim Grierson, Screen International; Ed Gonzalez, Slant; Pete Hammond, Deadline; April
Wolfe, L.A. Weekly; Scott Marks, San Diego Reader; Susan Granger, SSN Syndicate, Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly; Eliza Berman, Time; Tomris Laffy, Freelance Writer; Gene Seymour, Newsday; Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune; Allyson Johnson, The Young Folks; Drew Taylor, Movie Fone; Allison Shoemaker, Consequence of Sound; The Daily Times; Reuters; Nick Schager, Esquire; Carrie Rickey, The Philadlphia Inquirer; Erik Anderson, Awards Watch; Matt Patches, Thrillist; Kevin Laforest, Extra Beurre; Scott Mendelson, Forbes; Dana Buffa, KSDK St. Louis; Rahul Punja, Blasting News; Alissa Wilkinson, Vox; Ann Hornaday, Washington Post; Kyle Turner, Mass Appeal; Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert; David Ansen, Newsweek; Joe Stemme, Mark Johnson, Awards Circuit; Jasmine Elia, Awards Daily; Claudia Puig, LAFCA; Ethan Anderton, Slash Film; Nick Clement, Variety; Ben Pearson, Slash Film; Jack Girous, Slash Film; Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair; Amy Nicholson, MTV; Oliver Jones, Observer; Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews; Anne Thompson, IndieWire; Kye Buchanan, Vulture; Yahoo Movies; Matt Donato, We Got This Covered; Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice; Joey Magidson, Awards Circuit; Julie Kosin, Harpers Bazaar; Christopher Bumbray, Joblo; ScreenCrush; Andrew Shearer, Online Athens; Marlowe Stern, The Daily Beast; Jonathan Caouette, Filmmaker; Edgar Wright, Filmmaker; Ben Croll, The Wrap; Pop Crush; Nathaniel Rogers, The Film Experience; Kent Turner, Film Forward; What Culture; Steve Pond, The Wrap; Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times; Peter Debruge, Variety; Jordan Raup, The Film Stage; KGMI; Hunter Heilman, Niner Times; Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere; Peter Travers, Rolling Stone; Kenji Fujishima, Paste; Larry Bartleet, NME; Matt Prigge, Metro US; Matt Hoffman, The Film School Rejects; Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Central; Edward Douglas, The Weekend Warrior; Brian Truitt, USA Today; Jake Mulligan, DigBoston; Rafer Guzman, Newsday; Alex Bieze, Asbury Park Press; Matthew Jacobs, The Huffington Post; Adam Clayton, Awards Circuit; Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times; Complex; Consequence of Sound; David Edelstein, Vulture; Angie Han, Mashable; Paste; Jason Guerrasio, Business Insider; Erik Childress, The Playlist; David Ehrenstein, L.A Weekly; Josh Brunsting, Criterion; Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter; Edwin Arnaudin, Citizen-Times; Steve Erickson, Village Voice; Joana Langfield, The Movie Minute; Graham Fuller, Culture Trip; Chuck Wilson, Village Voice; Dan Sallitt, Filmmaker; Hans Morgenstern, Indie Ethos; Robert Abele, The Wrap; Luke Y. Thompson, Nerdist; Nicolas Bell, IONCINEMA; Jacob Hall, Slash Film; Jared Mobarak, Freelancer; Robert Koehler, Film Comment; Jason Shawhan, Freelancer; Michael Atkinson, Village Voice; Todd Gilchrist, Freelancer; MaryAnn Johahnson, The Flick Philosopher; Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine; Roger Moore, Movie Nation; Juan Barquin, Miami New Times; Saul Austerlitz, Five-Thirty-Eight; Robin Write, WriteOutOfLA; David Sims, Andy Hoglund, Freelance Writer; Diana Drumm
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