Year in Review

2017 Film & TV Favorites

. 7 min read . Written by Lindsay Pugh
2017 Film & TV Favorites

To be honest, I didn't see as many new movies in 2017 as I would have liked and mainly watched what had been piling up in my backlog from years past. It also doesn't help that I still live in Ann Arbor and can't see most limited release or festival films unless I happen to be in New York for work 😫. I do receive some screeners, but not as many as I would hope. With that being said, here are my top films from a bleak ass year (numbered for clarity, but listed in no particular order).

2017 Top Ten Films:

  1. "BPM (beats per minute)" by Robin Campillo - I'm kind of astounded that this film didn't receive more attention in the US. Talkhouse's Adam Baran says, "In a year in which thousands of people all over the country have formed activist groups which put the techniques of ACT UP (and other resistance movements) to practice, there’s no better, more urgent, more vital piece of cinema than this riveting film." This film is CRUCIAL viewing for any marginalized groups or allies suffering under the Trump administration.

Beats-Per-Minute-Robin-Campillo

  1. "Lady Bird" by Greta Gerwig - I fucking loved this movie. It made me happy, sad, and nostalgic all at once. If you haven't already, read my full review here.

  2. "Get Out" by Jordan Peele - This smart, biting, satirical horror movie mash-up was desperately needed in 2017. Spoiler alert: there are no white saviors. Check out Danielle Young's review over at The Root if you want to read more. Daniel Kaluuya should absolutely receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance.

  3. "Faces Places" by Agnes Varda - AV is one of my all-time favorite directors and I still haven't written about any of her films. To be frank, having a 9-6 job and other adult responsibilities sucks dick. I wish I could relive my early twenties and do nothing but watch/make films and write all day. Where the fuck is my trust fund? I would put that shit to great use. But anyway... "Faces Places" is fun as hell and made me want to strike up more conversations with strangers. I definitely plan to write about it at some point, but in the meantime, I suggest reading this Vulture interview with Varda and JR.

Faces-Places-Agnes-Varda-JR

  1. "Mudbound" by Dee Rees - I can't say enough good things about this movie and Dee Rees. She has come a long way since "Pariah" and it makes me incredibly happy. Someone on Mubi said, "One of the rare films that declares itself as a cinematic masterpiece and then lives up to that ambition." I completely agree. Read my full review here.

  2. "Strong Island" by Yance Ford - This is another film that was shockingly under the radar this year. It's a personal documentary about Ford's brother's murder and his family's struggle with racial injustice and for me, is on par with Ava DuVernay's 13th. Like "Mudbound," "Strong Island" is currently streaming on Netflix, so check it out if you haven't already seen it.

Yance-Ford-Strong-Island

  1. "A Ghost Story" by David Lowery - A24 murdered the game in 2017. Even though I hate to support any of Casey Affleck's endeavors and am annoyed that talented directors like David Lowery still choose to work with him, I couldn't avoid this movie. As soon as I saw the trailer, I knew I had to watch it and it totally lived up to my expectations.

  2. "A Fantastic Woman" by Sebastián Lelio - I had some issues with the construction and visual metaphors of this film, but I'm including it in my list mainly because a) Daniela Vega gives my favorite performance of the year and b) the moodiness of the tone and styling felt exactly right.

A-Fantastic-Woman-Sebastian-Lelio

  1. "A Quiet Passion" by Terence Davies - I know I just said Daniela Vega gave my favorite performance of the year, but Cynthia Nixon comes damn close in this gut punch of a movie. I know some critics found it kind of boring/lagging at times, but I never did. Emily Dickinson is one of my literary heroes, so I'm probably a bit biased and willing to forgive more flaws than someone unfamiliar with her.

  2. "On the Beach at Night Alone" by Hong Sang-soo - Tbh, I don't really follow Hong Sang-soo and haven't enjoyed the small handful of his movies I've actually seen. "On the Beach at Night Alone" is the first one I watched that made me think I should probably take a closer look at his previous work. I saw this movie alone at Lincoln Center and it made me feel incredibly sad and lonely. I then stayed up until like 3 AM reading reviews because I couldn't stop thinking about it.

On-The-Beach-at-Night-Along-Hong-Sang-soo

Honorable Mentions:
"Caniba," "Call Me By Your Name," "Beach Rats," "Zama," and "Let the Sunshine In." I still haven't seen a bunch of movies: "Phantom Thread," "Foxtrot," "Wormwood," and "The Disaster Artist," to name just a few.


In 2017, I watched an embarrassing amount of television. I justify it by reminding myself that, "this is the golden age of tv," but it still makes me feel kind of pathetic and lazy. Whatever. Fuck it/YOLO, am I right?

2017 Top Ten TV Shows:

  1. "Big Little Lies" - I still think about Nicole Kidman's performance and how much I wish Madeline Mackenzie was my friend IRL. I can't wait for this show to come back and I hope Season 2 is as good as Season 1.

  2. "Insecure" - I watched Season 2 over Christmas break with my mom and we were both v into it (I'll eventually write reviews of both seasons). I still can't believe Molly would turn down SKB and his SZA tickets. What the fuck is wrong with her?

Insecure-Issa-Kelli-Molly

  1. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" - This show keeps getting better with each subsequent season and never fails to impress the hell out of me. Season 3 has been truly outstanding due to the nuanced way it's dealt with mental health issues. A new episode comes out on January 5 and I can't wait to watch it.

  2. "The Good Place" - I binged this show hard over the course of a few days and found it surprisingly insightful. Chidi is actually a very solid philosophy professor and it's fun to see complex philosophical concepts explained on a mainstream tv show in a completely accessible way. The "twist" was also handled brilliantly.

The-Good-Place

  1. "American Vandal" - Whenever I first heard about this show, I thought it sounded like a stupid waste of time. But oh, was I wrong. Who drew the dicks? Does it matter? Will we ever know? Are we okay with not knowing? It's a goddamn existential conundrum.

  2. "Twin Peaks: The Return" - Often an imperfect clusterfuck, but one that I couldn't stop watching. Laura Dern as Diane is everything I never knew I wanted. "My attitude is none of your fucking business."

Twin-Peaks-The-Return-Diane

  1. "Bojack Horseman" - Season 4 wasn't as good as Season 3, but I still think "Bojack" is one of the best depictions of depression I've ever seen on tv. There were a few standout episodes, but "Time's Arrow" was my personal favorite.

  2. "Jane the Virgin" - I like to rewatch this show when I'm depressed and need something to make me feel hopeful. I think it's actually impossible not to succumb to Gina Rodriguez's charms. P.S. Fuck Adam.

Jane-the-Virgin

  1. "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" - If you read this blog with any regularity, you know how much I love Amy Sherman-Palladino. Her quick, fast-talking asshole protagonists aren't for everyone, but they fill me with joy. Midge Maisel might be the best of the bunch. Read my Season 1 review of the show here.

  2. "Broad City" - This show is always top-notch, but Season 4 was the best yet. Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) reappared, Abbi and Ilana both directed episodes, and nearly every moment put the screws to our piece of shit "Commander in Chief."

Broad-City-Ilana-Can-t-Orgasm-in-Trump-s-America

Honorable Mentions:
"Handmaid's Tale," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "This Is Us," "Feud," "Master of None," "Stranger Things 2," and "Search Party." I'm currently watching and loving "Alias Grace" and Season 4 of "Black Mirror," but have only made it through a few episodes thus far. "The Deuce" is next on my to-watch list.