The Rest of the Best 

Some final thoughts on the top films of 2017

Clockwise L-R:  Call Me By Your Name, Blade Runner 2049, Logan, Dunkirk, Victoria and Abdul, The Florida Project: Movies well worth your time and money.

Courtesy Studios

Clockwise L-R: Call Me By Your Name, Blade Runner 2049, Logan, Dunkirk, Victoria and Abdul, The Florida Project: Movies well worth your time and money.

There are still some presents under the tree for the people who brought us the best movie moments of 2017. We already unwrapped our "Movie Madness" bracket, stacking the sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four films of the year—but before the bells ring in 2018, let's take a moment to recall more of the best performances, scenes, music and technical wizardry of the year gone by.

This Blade Was Sharper Than Ever

On first viewing, I wasn't over the moon for Blade Runner 2049. In retrospect, though, I think Harrison Ford's return to the role of Rick Deckard was his best performance in decades.

Kudos should also go to cinematographer Roger Deakins, who has been nominated for an Oscar a stunning 13 times without a win. It's a streak ready to be broken. Set designer Dennis Gassner deserves a nod, as well, for creating a stunning backdrop, by making a futuristic crumbling Las Vegas look like ancient Roman ruins.

It's also worth noting that Blade Runner 2049 is still screening at few discount cinemas around the Treasure Valley, so if you haven't seen it, don't miss this chance to see Oscar-caliber cinematography on the big screen.

The Perfect Anti-Hero Superhero Movie

After too many tiresome X-Men reboots, this year we were treated to Logan, a thrilling action-adventure and sayonara to the two best characters of the franchise. Perhaps the most refreshing surprise was that Logan ultimately condemned the very violence the Marvel brand has exploited for so long. Logan will be the last time we see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, and they couldn't have found a better way to go out in a blaze of glory.

All Hail Queen Judi

On Dec. 9, Dame Judi Dench celebrated her 83rd birthday, but shows no signs she plans to retire or relinquish her crown as the most reliable British box-office star. Though Dench appeared in the all-star remake of Murder on the Orient Express this year, her real triumph was her turn as Queen Victoria in Victoria and Abdul, which debuted in October. Critics dismissed the film as an art-house trifle and just another historical costume drama, but I loved it. Apparently, audiences did, too: The film raked in more than $64 million internationally and earned Dench a Best Actress nomination from both the Golden Globe sand Screen Actors Guild.

The Most Memorable 10 Minutes of the Year

Call Me By Your Name was one of my favorite films of 2017, and landed a place in the final four of our year-end Movie Madness bracket. Though it won't open in Boise until Jan. 19, 2018, Call Me By Your Name is an absolute must-see film. I need to warn you, though, about the final 10 minutes...

A father (Michael Stuhlbarg) speaks to his son (Timothee Chalamet) in the wake of the son's first gay relationship. The father, respectfully accepting his son's love for another man, delivers a monologue unlike any I've ever seen in film. I saw the film more than once, and that speech brought me to tears each time. It will leave you speechless, and those final 10 minutes will go a long way toward making Call Me By Your Name a major contender for the Best Picture Oscar. Prepare to be wowed.

How Did They Do That?

I've been anxious to talk to anyone who has seen The Florida Project, one of my favorite films of 2017. It ends with a provocative scene, which was shot inside the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, something the theme park strictly forbids. The question is: How did The Florida Project get away with it? Director Sean Baker gave me the answer following the Toronto premiere in last September. I can't divulge it here, but seek me out if you want the scoop. More importantly, the final scene triggers a few other questions: Is the Disney World moment a dream sequence? Was it a real finale for the heroine of the film, played brilliantly by 7-year-old Brooklynn Prince? Feel free to fill me in on your Florida Project theories. As for those of you who haven't yet seen this beautiful film, go see it, then let's talk.

Running Up the Score

Composer Hans Zimmer has an Oscar (The Lion King), a Golden Globe (Gladiator) and multiple Grammy awards (Crimson Tide and The Dark Knight). But he really outdid himself this year with his original score for Dunkirk, which blankets the film with start-to-finish intensity. Zimmer employed what is known as the "Shepard tone," an auditory trick that gives listeners the illusion pitch is continually rising when the music hasn't escalated at all. Zimmer used the tick-tick-tick of a pocket watch as inspiration for his sweeping score, and the end result contributed as much to the excitement of Dunkirk as any of the on-screen action. Dunkirk is bound to bring home a truckload of Oscars, and with luck, one will make its way onto Zimmer's mantle.

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