There was a time when film critics used to be a very unpredictable lot.
In an informal poll of over 100 newspaper, magazine, and online film critics and movie writers, Jordan Peele’s horror satire “Get Out” emerged as 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 as the favorite film of 2017 so far.
Named on 100 of the 111 “best of 2017” lists, “Get Out” easily topped our poll, in which critics and bloggers submitted their lists to me via email, Facebook, and Twitter, ranking their lists either randomly, in alphabetical order, or in descending order. As with any such polling endeavors, there were plenty of heated opinions. Despite the sheer number of films released so far this 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 also appears to be that it’s been a better than average movie year thus far, despite the assumption that most studios tend to release their weaker films in the first half of the year.
As expected, festival-going critics mentioned films that screened at venues like Cannes and Sundance that they predict will be among the most critically acclaimed movies of the fall. The most frequently mentioned of these 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.”
Although most those are as yet unseen by the vast majority of critics polled, the enthusiastic support by the dozen or so festival-goers who did mention these titles suggests that they will most likely appear on hundreds of critics’ year-end “best of” lists. Foremost among them was Guadagnino’s coming of age masterpiece, which premiered at Sundance in January, and which topped all 6 critics lists on which it was mentioned. “The Florida Project,” a Cannes entry, was the other prominently mentioned fest title. CineVue’s John Bleasdale told us, “I suspect this will be the year that Sean Baker breaks into the mainstream.”
One film that surprised in the final tally 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, it might not have been expected to rank so highly on a poll such as this. Yet, Vigalondo’s brilliant film managed to finish in the Top 5, edging out Patty Jenkins’ equally brilliant “Wonder Woman” by a single vote.
Consensus Top 10
1. “Get Out” (Jordan Peele, U.S.) (100 lists)
2. “The Big Sick” (Michael Showalter, U.S.) (59)
3. “Logan” (James Mangold, U.S.) (56)
4. “Baby Driver” (Edgar Wright, U.S.) (55)
5. “Colossal” (Nacho Vigalondo, U.S.) (47)
6. “The Lost City of Z” (James Gray, U.S.) (46)
7. “Wonder Woman” (Patty Jenkins, U.S.) (44)
8. “The Beguiled” (Sofia Coppola, U.S.) (37)
9. “Personal Shopper” (Olivier Assayas, France) (36)
10. “Raw” (Julie Ducourneau, France) (34)
11. “Okja” (Bong Joon-Ho, South Korea/U.S.) (34)
12. “A Ghost Story” (David Lowery, U.S.) (27)
13. “John Wick: Chapter Two” (Chad Stahelski, U.S.) (26)
14. “A Quiet Passion” (Terrence Davies, U.K.) (20)
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) (14)
18. “Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore” (Macon Blair, U.S.) (14)
19. “Split” (M. Night Shyamalan, U.S.) (14)
20. “Norman” (Joseph Cedar, U.S.) 13
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 Philadelphia 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; Jazz Tangcay, Awards Daily; Claudia Puig, LAFCA; Ethan Anderton, Slash Film; Nick Clement, Freelance Writer; 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, Harper’s 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; Clayton Davis, 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 Johanson, The Flick Filosopher; Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine; Roger Moore, Movie Nation; Juan Barquin, Miami New Times; Saul Austerlitz, Five-Thirty-Eight;