The highs introduced us to the Amazons and handsome new replicants. The lows took our money and ran. This year, the cineplex served up sweet surprises, like this summer's coma comedy The Big Sick, but it was also filled with bummers like Baywatch (apologies to Zac Efron's abs). Here are our picks for the best and worst in 2017 movies.
The year of the warrior women in Hollywood
They came, they slayed and they hit "mute" on those who barked in their way.
Fierce women who refused to be cowed under pressure have won the year, both onscreen and off.
Director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot lassoed Wonder Woman away from the male gaze to make the most successful DC Comics movie ever.
Then came Frances McDormand, boiling with rage. On a hunt to find her daughter’s killer in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, she is disregarded by male authority figures who shrug, saying that’s just the way it is.
She spit in the face of that argument.
The year closes with Meryl Streep playing Katharine Graham in The Post,representing a generation of women shut out of the boardroom. Graham bullishly published the Pentagon Papers, culminating in a landmark Supreme Court decision on the First Amendment. All while wearing pearls.
The scripted stories were matched in real life by Rose McGowan, who refused to be silenced when speaking out against alleged Hollywood predators including Harvey Weinstein. It’s a message she's been transmitting for years; 2017 is the year everyone started listening.
She was followed into the trenches by a long list of women — famous and not — who began to tell their stories. Angie Everhart, Ashley Judd and Lupita Nyong’o were among the 83 who shared their Weinstein horror stories. Olivia Munn was one of several who revealed harrowing experiences with Brett Ratner.
There were, and are, so many more.
Here’s to the year of the warrior woman. May it give way to a safer tomorrow. — Andrea Mandell
Best sequel: ‘Blade Runner 2049’
Sequels continued to bedevil Hollywood in 2017 as audiences snubbed follow-ups Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Fifty Shades Darker and Alien: Covenant (to name a few).
Director Denis Villeneuve brought an entirely fresh take in his sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 Blade Runner, with Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard returning and Ryan Gosling representing a new generation of replicant humans. The ambitious result was screen magic, asking big questions worthy of its classic predecessor, even if the ambitious $150 million effort struggled to find an audience. — Bryan Alexander
Biggest bomb: 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets'
There were plenty of movies that fell flat in 2017: King Arthur: Legend of the Stone, Monster Trucks, the movie version of TV's CHIPS. But writer/director Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was an epic space crash, taking in just $40 million domestically against an estimated $177 million production budget. — B.A.
Most pleasantly horrifying: 'It'
The adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, flopped in the summer. Director Andy Muschietti's terrifying clown Pennywise brought majestic redemption to King's novel It, which put fear on top of September's box office. — B.A.
Biggest disappointment: 'Justice League'
Even with the power of Wonder Woman in its sails, Warner Bros.' DC franchise continued to find ways to stumble. November's grand assembly of heroes — Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot) and Superman (Henry Cavill) — mustered poor reviews and an unheroic $93 million opening weekend, proving the superhero assembly isn't in the same league as rival Marvel's Avengers. — B.A.
Funniest new face: Tiffany Haddish
Haddish's outlandish breakout performance as Dina in the rowdy comedy hit Girls Trip was a breath of fresh air in a stale summer. Beyond belly-laughs, the 38-year-old comedian's performance even earned critical kudos and a New York Film Critics Circle Award for best supporting actress. — B.A.
Quickest disappearance: ‘I Love You, Daddy’
I Love You, Daddy, written and directed by Louis C.K., was controversial when it premiered in September at Toronto International Film Festival with its story of a teenage girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) courted by a much-older famous man (John Malkovich).
After allegations of sexual harassment hit C.K. in November, the film was abruptly pulled by distributor The Orchard, just a week before it was to debut in theaters. — B.A.
Most inspiring blockbuster: ‘Wonder Woman’
In a year marked by turmoil from a sexual harassment scandal that exploded in Hollywood before consuming the world, there was a beacon of light: Wonder Woman.
It took 76 years for the Amazon warrior to take her rightful big-screen place with the perfectly cast Gal Gadot. Fans flocked to the woman-led superhero adventure, 2017's second-biggest box-office hit (with $413 million, after Beauty and the Beast). Critics adored Patty Jenkins' vision, making it the rare superhero film with a female director and award season aspirations. — B.A.
Here to stay: Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele jumped from starring in 2016's forgotten cat comedy Keanu to gunning for awards glory in his directorial debut, Get Out.
Peele wrote, produced and directed the timely thriller on a minuscule budget ($4.5 million), making $254 million worldwide. Months after the movie's February release, critics are still raving, with Get Out and its director being the rare winter release (and horror film) in awards contention. — B.A.