We’ve already made our position known: 2017 was an awesome summer for movies. So awesome, in fact, that singling out just ten titles to honor as the season’s best proved difficult. A bunch of worthy films wound up missing the cut. (Sorry Baby Driver! Nothing personal Ingrid Goes West! You were still super funny, The Trip to Spain!)

This is a good problem to have. After 2016, when it seemed like the entire mainstream movie industry was teetering on the verge of total collapse, 2017 reminded viewers just how fun (and scary, and exciting, and profound) a trip to the multiplex can be. Rather than just list or rank a bunch of films, the staff of ScreenCrush decided to single out the ten outstanding movies in their respective genres and sub-genres.

It’s not too late to catch most of these films in theaters, either. And that’s important. If you support the good movies, they will make more of them. We don’t want to go back to scrounging for ten decent summer movies to put together a best-of list. We can’t go back.

Best Superhero Movie: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
Warner Bros.

Expectations for Wonder Woman were almost unfairly high. The first three DC Extended Universe movies were uneven at best, and after years of excuses, Wonder Woman finally gave us a female-driven superhero blockbuster. Would it live up to the hype? Would it exceed its DCEU predecessors? Yes and hell yes. Wonder Woman captured the pop-cultural conversation in a way that no superhero movie has in years. It’s easy to see why. Gal Gadot made for a fascinating protagonist, torn between her home and her sense of duty, and driven by a moral compass tested by the world beyond the island of Themyscira. Chris Pine played the perfect, drolly selfless sidekick (and, yes, an appealing piece of man-meat eye candy), and director Patty Jenkins brought a rough intensity to Diana’s action sequences. Most importantly, though, this movie needed to live up to its title. In a dark time, it needed to give people a sense of wonder. And it did. — Matt Singer

Best Comedy: Girls Trip

Film Title: Girls Trip
Michele K. Short

The R-rated female comedy has begun to feel redundant lately, but Girls Trip offers something refreshing: Four black women being unabashedly themselves. That’s a rare sight in a Hollywood movie, but Malcolm D. Lee’s latest comedy isn’t just great because it’s unusual; it also tells a story about sisterhood that’s uproariously funny and filthy. Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish play four best friends who reconnect over one intoxicated weekend. This movie has Haddish performing a sex act on a banana inside of a grapefruit, Pinkett Smith peeing on a crowd of people, and Latifah tripping on psychedelics in a club. Girls Trip is a wild good time that manages to juggle dirty jokes with a great story and message. Women can be funny and three-dimensional characters with self-worth. Who knew?! — E. Oliver Whitney

Best Romance: The Big Sick

The Big Sick

Once every few years, a truly great rom-com comes along to remind us why we fell in love with the genre in the first place. The Big Sick definitely earns its place in the pantheon of beloved favorites like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, along with contemporary highlights like Obvious Child and They Came Together (which was co-written by The Big Sick director and self-professed rom-com nerd Michael Showalter). Co-written by star Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick is based on the pair’s real-life relationship: Kumail is an aspiring comedian from a strict Pakistani family committed to arranged marriage; Emily is a smart and charming college student who is ... not Pakistani. Like the best modern rom-coms, The Big Sick both embraces and subverts romantic comedy tropes, and Gordon’s contributions to the script are both apparent and vital to the film’s humor and heart. Offering an unconventional take on a conventional formula, The Big Sick is an instant classic. — Britt Hayes

Best Horror Film: A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story

Granted, there were only maybe two traditional scares in A Ghost Story. But if you let it, no summer movie will linger with you longer than David Lowery’s A Ghost Story, which begins as a modern riff on Ghost, with a loving couple played by Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck torn apart by sudden death, and gradually transforms into something much grander, stranger, and more gut-wrenching. A Ghost Story forces you to consider your tiny place in a vast universe, a prospect that can be pretty terrifying — or uplifting, under the right circumstances. The film opens our eyes to life’s possibilities, and to the power of risk-taking cinema. Oh, and the pie scene is chilling. Just terrifying. — MS

Best Documentary: Step

Fox Searchlight

Documentaries often emphasize struggle over success, but the best thing about Amanda Lipitz’ Step is how uplifting it is. It chronicles a year in the life of Blessin, Cori, and Tayla, high school seniors and members of the Lethal Ladies step team in inner-city Baltimore. Lipitz follows the girls from school to their homes, as they balance the pressures of college applications and dance practice with the realities of economic hardships. Even when the young women of Step hit their lowest, Lipitz’s film maintains a sense of hope, never pitying or giving up on her subjects. It all comes back to the power of stepping: It’s the one thing that gives these young women control over their lives and the freedom to express themselves. Step celebrates the determination of young black women, and how the practice and discipline of dance can reap rewards far bigger than trophies. — EOW

Best Action Movie: Atomic Blonde


Let’s be transparent here: I have no earthly idea what exactly was going on in Atomic Blonde. I don’t know precisely who Charlize Theron’s Lorraine Broughton is working for, or why this all-important list she’s trying to recover is so all-important, or why she’s working with a station chief, played by James McAvoy, that everyone on all sides seems to know is a bad dude. But I do know this: The fight scenes, particularly the extended one down a Berlin apartment building stairwell, captured in a series of extensive long takes, are so good, that I didn’t care. Sometimes style is its own substance, and Atomic Blonde had style for days. It’s hard to sweat the small stuff when the big stuff feels so damn cool. — MS

Best Reboot: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming

After Sony’s previous (and largely failed) attempt at rebooting the iconic web-slinger, the notion of having to sit through yet another introduction to everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man sounded exhausting. Enter Marvel and director Jon Watts, along with a young barrel of charisma named Tom Holland. The studios’ collaborative effort far exceeded expectations and delivered on the promise of evoking the classic comedies of John Hughes by keeping Peter Parker firmly (and smartly) rooted in high school — and eschewing his tired origin story entirely. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a total delight, thanks in no small part to a diverse cast that includes established faves like Hannibal Buress and, yes, Robert Downey Jr., along with rising stars like Zendaya and Jacob Batalon, both of whom give Holland a run for his money in the charisma department. There’s also a real grounded quality to this Spider-Man that hasn’t been felt since Sam Raimi’s trilogy, which makes Holland’s interactions with Michael Keaton (giving a pitch-perfect performance as the villain) feel legitimately alarming. At a time when reboots and retreads consume so much of Hollywood’s energy, Spider-Man: Homecoming proves that sometimes it’s worth the effort. — BH

Best War Film: War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes

Sorry, Dunkirk, but the third installment in the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy is this summer’s superior war film. Christopher Nolan may have the IMAX spectacle on lock (and it’s hard to argue with those gorgeous visuals), but Matt Reeves delivered a far more meaningful and emotionally stirring epic. War for the Planet of the Apes has the poignancy Dunkirk lacks; a story of what it means to be human, conveyed beautifully through unlikely perspectives: A mute little girl and a society of stunningly mo-capped apes, led by the immensely talented Andy Serkis. (It really says something about the mo-cap involved when Serkis isn’t even the best of the bunch; that honor goes to Karin Konoval’s Maurice.) It’s difficult not to compare the Planet of the Apes sequel to Dunkirk — they’re both expertly crafted blockbusters about the realities of war, but Reeves surpasses Nolan in terms of thematic weight. Nolan’s film was swiftly criticized for diminishing the roles of women and people of color; in Reeves’ film, the absence of women (for the most part) makes a subtle point that’s every bit as crucial as its not-so-subtle racial metaphors. — BH

Best Heist Film: Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky
Bleecker Street

After three Ocean’s movies, it is not surprising that Steven Soderbergh made another great heist film. But Logan Lucky, Soderbergh’s return to feature filmmaking after a dalliance in television and the liquor business, was welcome proof that Soderbergh might be the best maker of heist films alive today. Transposing his Ocean’s blueprint to a decidedly less glamorous locale, the film follows Jimmy and Clyde Logan, a pair of bumbling North Carolina brothers (Channing Tatum and an outstanding Adam Driver), as they attempt to steal a fortune from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The film builds slowly, then accelerates through a series of NASCAR-esque high-speed turns, busting up one Southern stereotype after another along the way. You underestimate the Logans at your own peril. The same goes for Logan Lucky. — MS

Best Movie Not Playing in a Theater Near You: Okja


Okja technically had a limited theatrical run, but I bet a solid gold piglet that you watched it on Netflix. And that’s fine, although it was best experienced on a big screen. Bong Joon-ho’s political satire-meets-sci-fi buddy adventure goes on a journey from South Korea to New York City as Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), a farmer’s granddaughter, goes on a rescue mission to save her BFF super pig from slaughter. The tender moments will pry tears from even the most cynical eyes, and the action sequences bubble with energy. One chase through an underground shopping mall is one of the most exhilarating and funniest sequences I’ve seen all year, and shows off Bong’s ability to weave slapstick humor, heart, and slick choreography into one delightful mix. Okja may reach wider audiences on Netflix, but Bong’s big and bold adventure captures the magic and wonder of what going to the movies is all about. — EOW

More From Idaho’s Talk Station