I did this list last year and may make it an annual tradition. It’s essentially a random and arbitrary list. These aren’t “the best” movies that are 10+ years old—just the ones I happened to watch this past year. My intent was to create a unique “best movies of year” list, though also, it can sometimes take ten years to accurately judge a film in a historical context. I’ve already seen most of the consensus top films from history, so this list consists of deeper cuts that I never saw or mainstream classics that I re-watched this past year.
1. Blade Runner 
I wrote about Blade Runner extensively here before 2049 came out, which, if I was doing a list of movies released in 2017, would definitely make my top ten—most likely #1. The belated sequel was a worthy successor to the original, hitting many of the same themes but in new and interesting ways.
2. Unforgiven 
I love westerns, and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven is possibly the best of the best. It’s a revisionist western that suggests the famous outlaws and gunslingers immortalized in books and movies were probably not so glamorous in real life.
3. Superbad 
Superbad was one of my favorite comedies of all time when I first saw it in the theater, and ten years later, it still holds up. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera’s characters remind me of myself and my friends from high school.
4. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence 
I saw Steven Spielberg‘s A.I. when it originally came out and liked parts of the movie, but didn’t love it as a whole, particularly the ending. Rewatching A.I. in 2017, I realize I was too young then to fully understand the brilliant mind-blowing concepts enough to appreciate the film. Since then I’ve become somewhat obsessed with artificial intelligence, so I understand the science and ideas in the movie much better. I completely misinterpreted the ending the first time around. [SPOILER ALERT] I thought those were aliens at the end, but they are actually future versions of A.I. from earth—or future versions of humans who have merged with A.I., which very well may be our species’ destiny.
5. Contact 
Contact, based on the 1985 novel by Carl Sagan, is another film, that like A.I., I saw years ago when I was too young to fully understand or appreciate it. Like 2016’s Arrival, this is a realistic portrayal of what first contact with an alien species could be like. We need more sci-fi movies of this type, with accurate science and positive visions of the future.
6. Lars and the Real Girl 
7. Death Proof 
I’ve been a long-time fan of Quentin Tarantino, and I’ve seen Planet Terror, but had somehow never seen the other half of the “Grindhouse” double feature. Death Proof is certainly not Tarantino’s best movie, but his worst is still better than most other filmmakers’ best.
8. Delicatessen 
Delicatessen is a French dark comedy about… well, if you haven’t seen it, the less you know, the better. So I won’t say anything more to spoil it.
9. Innerspace 
Innerspace is about Dennis Quaid being miniaturized (like the 2017 Matt Damon film Downsizing) and going inside Martin Short’s body. As opposed to A.I. and Contact, the science in this movie is absolutely ridiculous, but it was still fun in a campy 1980s kind of way.
10. The Ring 
I was not a big horror fan until a few years ago, so I missed The Ring when it originally came out. It was a pop-cultural phenomenon at the time, so I knew the general concept and had seen parodies of it, but I’d never actually seen the film in full until 2017. My favorite kinds of horror movies are those that double as mysteries, which The Ring does nicely.
I had trouble filling the list this year as I spent most of my time watching new movies and TV shows. But in 2018, I will make an effort to watch more of the classics. I’m trying to see all of the IMDb Top-250, which is a fairly good compilation of the best movies of all time, though it’s a bit skewed toward newer movies. The list changes over time, but as of now, I’ve seen 187 of the 250. In 2018, I’ll also try to re-watch more of my all-time favorites. Watching a film I know is a 10/10 for the fourth time is probably a better idea than watching a movie I know will be a 7/10 at best for the first time. The truly great films are worth revisiting because they’re so rich with detail that you pick up on new things each time.
More “best of year” lists: