by Mark Ahn
2017 was a year where I sought the rush of escapism in my hobbies. I wanted something thrilling, or inspiring, or hopeful in a time where so many things felt difficult, and I think that played out in what I ended up putting on the list; this year’s list doesn’t feel as textured as in previous years. But, that’s part of the fun in making a list in the first place.
10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
9. The Big Sick
8. Wonder Woman
7. The Shape of Water
6. Baby Driver
The World’s End. Maybe all of the talk about his Ant-Man clouded our judgment about his ability, as if we’d witnessed the first time that his golden touch had failed. Instead, he made the most Edgar Wright-est of all the Edgar Wright things, stuffing this full of frenzied action, visual gags, and youthful exuberance. But the best parts of the movie center around the slower parts with Baby and Debora; my heart soared at my favorite moment in the laundromat, headphones blaring, feet tapping, love growing.
3. Lady Bird
2. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
1. Get Out
In interviews, director Jordan Peele has referred to Eddie Murphy’s joke about white people not leaving haunted houses when the ghosts appear (he does it in 1983’s Delirious). The premise of the joke is that horror only works in the context of people who do not expect or experience horror regularly, (i.e. suburban, well-to-do people). If that context were to change, and this is part of the brilliance of Peele’s work, then how does the story change? What if horror wasn’t just a moment, but a daily, second-by-second experience that cannot be defended by my own vigilance, because I’m not one of those well-to-do people? What if I’m the one adding to someone else’s horror? I’m still wrestling with these questions, and so is my little circle, and so are a lot of other people. It’s not just my favorite or the best of this year, but arguably the most important.