Overlooked in 2017

It's estimated that roughly 600 movies come out each year. I see a lot of movies (over 300) each year, and even I end up missing most of them. So I'm going to give you a recap of some of the ones that I enjoyed the most that weren't big blockbusters or tentpole pictures. This is not an exhaustive list, and a handful of movies that are on this list may be ones that did well at the box office.

And now, presented in absolutely no particular order:

 
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GOOD TIME

After a heist goes awry, a bank robber spends a night trying to free his mentally ill brother from being sent to Riker's Island prison

Who will like this movie:
People who like crime thrillers; people who prefer movies that never slow down

Who will hate this movie:
People who don't like truly sleazy characters

What I liked about this movie:
Good Time reminds me a lot of 2006's Paul Walker favorite Running Scared, in that they're both action-packed crime movies with really dark characters. The movie manages to maintain a very bleak, very frantic pace while simultaneously being incredibly stylish. What more can you want from a crime movie?

 
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BRIGSBY BEAR

Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children's TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James's life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story.

Who will like this movie:
Comedy fans; people who liked Swiss Army Man

Who will hate this movie:
People who hate unusual or strange movies; people who are expecting SNL humor from Kyle Mooney

What I liked about this movie:
Like last year's Swiss Army Man, Brigsby Bear is a film about personal growth and acceptance presented in an unconventional manner. The movie is much sweeter, and has a lot more heart, than you might first expect. I think a certain type of person will connect with this movie, but it might lose some viewers who just aren't on the same wavelength.

 
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INGRID GOES WEST

An unhinged social media stalker moves to LA and insinuates herself into the life of an Instagram star.

Who will like this movie:
Aubrey Plaza fans; people who hate social media

Who will hate this movie:
People over the age of 50 who don't use the internet very much

What I liked about this movie:
Serving as both a time capsule and a social media parody, Ingrid Goes West is a very likable movie about some inherently unlikable people. The social media satire is on-point, as are some of the creepy implications that the film points out.

 
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THE DINNER

As two couples dine at an upscale restaurant, their polite discourse disguises the fact that they are struggling with weighty family issues.

Who will like this movie:
Fans of thrillers and character-driven films

Who will hate this movie:
People who get frustrated watching movies; people who can't handle slow pacing

What I liked about this movie:
Reviewers were unnecessarily harsh about this one, which I thought was an interesting character study about race, class, privilege, and family. The movie is surprisingly dark, and engaging enough to keep you guessing (assuming that you can tolerate characters who are not particularly good people). This is reminiscent of Noctournal Animals, which I recommended last year, in that I think both films will appeal to the same type of moviegoer.

 
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A GHOST STORY

A passionate young couple, unexpectedly separated by a shocking loss, discover an eternal connection and a love that is infinite.

Who will like this movie:
People who are willing to let themselves be taken on an emotional ride; people who enjoyed The Fountain

Who will hate this movie:
Cynical people; people with strong opinions about Casey Affleck

What I liked about this movie:
Released just a few months after the 'Casey Affleck might be a creep' scandal, A Ghost Story has been criminally overlooked this year. Audiences hated it for the open-ended and experimental nature of the movie, but people willing to invest emotionally will find a (no pun intended) haunting meditation on love and loss.

 

THE VOID

Cloaked, cult-like figures trap a police officer, patients and staffers inside a hospital that is a gateway to evil.

Who will like this movie:
Horror fans; people who watched horror movies in the 1980s

Who will hate this movie:
People who aren't going to be impressed by the fact that this movie arrived 40 years too late; people who demand strong logical consistency

What I liked about this movie:
Although The Void first screened in 2016, the movie didn't become really available to view publicly until 2017, so it's on this list. A throwback to creature-driven 80's horror movies, The Void is like a mash-up of The Thing and H.P. Lovecraft inside a crappy rural hospital. Deeply polarizing, the movie's definitely interesting, and the creature effects are outstanding.

 

HOUNDS OF LOVE

Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple. As she observes the dynamic between her captors she quickly realises she must drive a wedge between them if she is to survive.

Who will like this movie:
Genuinely, I don't think anyone will LIKE this movie, but it's still a great movie

Who will hate this movie:
99% of people reading this

What I liked about this movie:
This movie is so bleak, so unrelentingly effective at doing what it sets out to do, that I have a hard time identifying anyone I would explicitly recommending it to. The film is an incredibly dark and disturbing crime drama meditating on male violence and dominance, and will absolutely disturb a huge percentage of viewers, despite that it's an incredibly well made, acted, and filmed movie.

 
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A DARK SONG

A determined young woman and a damaged occultist risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want.

Who will like this movie:
Fans of drama and horror; people looking for originality in their independent movies

Who will hate this movie:
Viewers with little patience or short attention spans

What I liked about this movie:
A Dark Song is a horror movie that's not really a horror movie. Placing so much of the tension of the movie on the shoulders of its characters, A Dark Song is the kind of ambiguous and tense movie that shouldn't work on paper, but does work in execution. One particular bit in the middle of the movie might bother some viewers, but those who tough it out will probably enjoy the resolution of the film. I don't want to spoil too much about this movie, but I thought it was great.

 
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LADY BIRD

In the early 2000s, an artistically-inclined seventeen year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California.

Who will like this movie:
People who thought 2007's Juno was a great idea conceptually but didn't like the execution

Who will hate this movie:
People who had a healthy relationship with their parents growing up

What I liked about this movie:
Maybe the best coming-of-age movie in the last two decades, Lady Bird is about a daughter and mother who are just similar enough that they will never, ever get along. A love letter to the city of Sacramento and an incredibly melancholic reflection on the nature of growing up, Lady Bird deserves to have been seen more widely than it was. Very funny, very heartfelt, and very memorable.

 
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LOGAN LUCKY

Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.

Who will like this movie:
People who go to the movies to have a good time; crime comedy fans

Who will hate this movie:
Folks unwilling to poke gentle fun at middle America's culture and values

What I liked about this movie:
One of my favorite movies of 2017, Logan Lucky is a spiritual cousin to another of my favorites of the year, Baby Driver. Both concern criminals attempting to break even through automotive-based heists, but where Baby Driver is purely about style and substance, Logan Lucky is about easy laughs and having a good time. I cannot think of a demographic that wouldn't find something to enjoy in this movie.