Maybe I’m misremembering, or maybe it’s just the times, but 2017 felt like the biggest testament to the power of seeing a movie in an actual theater in a good long while. As the marketplace evolves, as streaming services become bigger and bolder in their content offerings, and as Prestige TV seems destined to churn out more great shows than can possibly be watched, there’s still nothing like seeing a truly great movie on a big screen in a room full of strangers.
But it takes a great movie to make that experience worthwhile, and 2017 delivered in a variety of ways. Something like Thor: Ragnarok took the popcorn movie to new heights with a truly surprising, hilarious, and thrilling sci-fi adventure. Split, a January horror movie, took the box office by storm and elicited gasps from the audience with its final scene. The Big Sick brought a diverse group of people together in unison to watch a delightful and unique romantic comedy with a someone other than a white dude as the romantic lead. And Logan subverted what a superhero movie could be by basically turning Wolverine’s swan song into a well-crafted, violent, and very depressing Western.
So if there’s a throughline to my Top 10 list this year, it’s that a lot of these movies benefited from the theatrical experience in a big way, and serve as proof positive that, in some cases, you simply cannot beat seeing a movie in a big theater. So behold, my Top 10 films of 2017, most of which I hope you ventured out and saw on a big, big screen.