The Great Wall

The MEL Movie Awards for 2017

A salute to the films you missed — and a little snark for the ones you really wished you had.

With mere days remaining in 2017, every critic and publication in the world is busy posting their picks for the Top 10 movies of the year. Yup, best-of lists and award shows that rival college bowl games (at least in terms of sheer volume) are littering the landscape like snow in a winter wonderland. To get into the spirit of the season ourselves, we’ve decided to do our own end-of-the-year wrap-up, with a couple of key differences: 1) We’re highlighting some of the really great movies and performances that continue to be overlooked; and 2) we’ve sprinkled in a lot of goofy shit that made us laugh.

And the winners are…

The Other Great 2017 Movie About Rich White People Being the Worst

Get Out has ended up on a ton of best-of-the-year lists for its funny, scary portrayal of one unlucky black man (Daniel Kaluuya) trapped in the boonies with his seemingly woke white girlfriend’s malevolent family. But don’t forget Beatriz at Dinner, a funny, sad drama starring Salma Hayek as Beatriz, a working-class L.A. massage therapist who’s stranded at the home of one of her rich white clients — just as they’re about to have a fancy dinner party. The movie’s body count isn’t quite as high as Get Out’s, but this comedy of manners is a fine companion piece that also examines how casual racism and white privilege are suffocating society. Get Out is frightening, but Beatriz at Dinner is squirm-inducing.

Things We Never Want to See in a Movie Ever Again, Ranked

1. Emojis (The Emoji Movie)
2. Transformers (Transformers: The Last Knight)
3. Minions (Despicable Me 3)
4. Characters Portrayed by Johnny Depp (Murder on the Orient Express and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)

The Other Great Gay Love Story of 2017

The poignant Call Me by Your Name stars Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer as young men falling for one another in scenic Northern Italy over one magical summer. But this year featured another terrific love story set in a similarly picturesque locale. The romantic drama God’s Own Country tells the story of Johnny (Josh O’Connor), an unhappy young man working on a scenic, dead-end Yorkshire farm with his dad and grandma. Johnny longs to escape, but his life changes when he encounters Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), a Romanian migrant worker who’s going to lend a hand at the farm. Like Call Me by Your Name, God’s Own Country is a film about finding love in the most unexpected way — and trying to hold onto it when outside forces make that impossible.

Best 2017 Movies About a Girls Trip

1. Girls Trip
2. Rough Night

The Other Great 2017 Movie About a Smart Young Woman’s Coming-of-Age

Writer-director Greta Gerwig’s semi-autobiographical Lady Bird is a serious Oscar contender, telling the story of a restless teenager named Christine (Saoirse Ronan) who doesn’t get along with her mother and tries to figure out her place in the world. A less-publicized but equally affecting coming-of-age story appeared in the form of Columbus, which follows Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), who’s less acerbic than Christine but also at a crossroads. Putting her life on hold so she can keep an eye on her drug-addict mother, Casey befriends Jin (John Cho), who’s come to town because his estranged father is near death. Both movies are about wanting to escape your dreary hometown, but it’s interesting how the characters navigate that problem in different ways — Christine wants to flee her mother, while Casey feels chained down by hers.

2017 Movies With an Exclamation Mark in the Title, Ranked

1. Mother!
2. Leap!
3. Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

Best Actor (That Nobody’s Talking About)

Lots of this year’s strong performances have been nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards, Gotham Awards, Golden Globes and critics’ prizes. But one that has received scant love is James McAvoy in Split, a bravura, proudly hammy turn in which he plays a killer with 23 distinct personalities. M. Night Shyamalan’s comeback film finds McAvoy as Kevin, a man who traps three young women in his home, constantly visiting them in the guise of his other personalities. McAvoy, who plays Charles Xavier in the X-Men prequels, devilishly cycles through these oddball characters, including a creepy voyeur, a coy little boy and an elegant older woman. It’s the kind of performance in a low-budget horror movie that rarely gets awards, but McAvoy is completely hilarious and brilliant in it. Plus, the more we see these disturbingly different individuals, the more we get a sense of what a troubled, truly frightening character Kevin really is. You laugh at the audacity, but you recoil at the menacing horror underneath it.

The Most ‘Wait, That Movie Came Out This Year?!’ Films of 2017

This year was endless. These were films we swear got released in 2017, even though you’re convinced they came out way longer ago. (Also, we promise none of these titles are made up.)

All Eyez on Me
Before I Fall
The Bye Bye Man
CHiPs
The Circle
Colossal
A Cure for Wellness
The Founder
Gold
Life
Logan
Logan Lucky
Power Rangers
Rings
Rock Dog
Sleepless
T2: Trainspotting
The Zookeeper’s Wife

The Other Great 2017 Movie About a Dad Ruining His Kid Because of His Stupid Insecurities

Ben Stiller gave one of his best performances in Brad’s Status, an indie gem about an unhappy middle-aged man taking his brilliant son on a tour of prestigious East Coast colleges. The Romanian twist on this premise was the terrific Graduation, which was about Romeo (Adrian Titieni), a father living vicariously through the success of his talented teenage daughter Eliza (Maria Drăguș). But where Brad’s insecurities about being a failure are mostly a nuisance to his son, Romeo’s desire for Eliza to have a better life cause him to get involved in an illegal test-tampering scheme so that she can land a prized college scholarship — a scheme his daughter isn’t even aware he’s undertaking on her behalf. Graduation is about how fatherly love can start to feel like a straitjacket as Romeo tries to dictate his daughter’s life because he assumes he knows what’s best for her. This slow-burn moral drama is a nightmare of dadsplaining proportions.

Worst 2017 Movie Titles That Featured a Colon

1. The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
3. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
4. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
5. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

The Other Great 2017 Movie About the Battle of Dunkirk

Lots of people saw Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, but it wasn’t the only film out this year about that pivotal World War II battle. And, no, I’m not referring to Darkest Hour, the pretty mediocre Gary-Oldman-as-Winston-Churchill drama. Instead, seek out the very endearing Their Finest, which recounts the British government’s efforts to inspire its countrymen by producing pro-England war movies. In the fine tradition of State and Main and Day for Night, Their Finest is a movie about making a movie, complete with arrogant actors (Bill Nighy) and a resourceful young screenwriter (Gemma Arterton) who starts to have feelings for her fellow scribe (Sam Claflin). The movie within a movie concerns the heroic rescue of British troops at Dunkirk — and while Their Finest doesn’t have the action and thrills of Nolan’s film, there’s plenty of laughs and romance to compensate.

Huge Would-Be Blockbusters That Ended Up Making Less Money Than the Sleeper Hit Wonder

Nobody expected the Julia Roberts-Owen Wilson tearjerker to be a box-office smash, but it was, grossing more than $100 million. Meanwhile, these seemingly sure-fire event movies bombed…

Alien: Covenant
Baywatch
Blade Runner 2049
The Mummy

Best Actor We Used to Really Like Who Had a Terrible 2017

Matt Damon. Sure, he’s won an Oscar and is an A-list star. But in 2017, he was part of three commercial and/or critical disappointments. First, there was The Great Wall, in which he played a dopey Westerner helping to defend China against scary monsters. Mostly, the film proved Damon should never, ever rock a ponytail. Then, he was the star of Suburbicon, director George Clooney’s strained social commentary that hastily vanished from theaters. And he’s currently the lead in Downsizing, an ambitious but flawed Alexander Payne sci-fi comedy. Most notably, however, he got ensnared in the Harvey Weinstein scandal because of his association with the producer thanks to Good Will Hunting. It wasn’t a good look for an actor who kept putting his foot in his mouth whenever he offered his uninformed takes on sexual harassment. (Even his fellow Good Will Hunting stars started distancing themselves.) The year ended with heartache of a much more personal nature: His dad died December 14 after a long battle with cancer. Damon probably can’t wait for the calendar to turn to 2018.

We’re right there with you, man.