Regular readers of this space (both of you) know how this list works by now. Every year, I set out to pick the 10-ish movies I’m most excited to see in the coming months. Some years ago, I started breaking it into two lists (January through June and July through December) in order to highlight more movies and prevent embarrassing mistakes that haunt me forever (I’m looking at you, Monuments Men). You can find part one of 2017’s most anticipated list here if you so desire (sorry about The Circle, though). I have two rules for this list: One, the movie must be slated to debut by December 31 (duh) and two, there must be a trailer available. You are more than welcome to discount the value of trailers if you so choose but for me, one full length trailer can tell me a lot about tone and feel, two things I really want to see before I get too excited. As such, some of the more awards-y films (The Papers, The Current War, a handful of indie films I don’t even know about yet) are excluded from contention, with apologies to those films and their makers.
HONORABLE MENTION: Battle of the Sexes (September 22)
A significant sporting event brought to life with Emma Stone and Steve Carell doing a cross between his Foxcatcher character and Michael Scott? Sign me up.
10. American Made (September 29)
Look, we all know I’m a mark for Tom Cruise movies at this point. American Made looks like it’s the return to form I’ve been waiting for and I’m excited to see him pairing up with director Doug Liman once again. Also, and I admit this is probably a character flaw, I’m instantly interested in any movie that involves drug smuggling. That’s not weird, right?
9. Thor: Ragnarok (November 3)
Thor: The Dark World is the only movie in the Marvel that I flat out dislike and I was very skeptical about this branch of the MCU altogether. This trailer though… Imbuing this franchise with a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe and handing the reins over to a director (Taika Waititi) coming from a quirky comedic background could (should?) result in a glorious product.
8. Detroit (August 4)
Kathryn Bigelow has become one of those directors who could put out a movie without any description, title, or trailer and I’d still be all in. The Detroit Riots are not exactly an easy subject to delve into but given the way she handled the material in The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, I have no questions regarding her ability to churn out another gritty triumph.
7. A Ghost Story (July 7)
Easily the smaller movie on my list, I’m not even sure when I’ll get to see A Ghost Story given its small release calendar. I am also very creeped out by the trailer. But David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) has become one of my favorites, someone whose creative vision leaves me in awe, and I don’t expect anything less from this film which crushed on the festival circuit.
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Yeah, look, I know, I’m as tired of Spider-Man reboots as you are. I feel like Henry Rowengartner tossing the ball up into the air, baiting the Mets’ baserunner into stealing second. “Okay,” I say to Disney/Sony/Whoever Else. “But this is the last time.” (I will not apologize for the potential obscurity of this reference.) I love the tone of the trailers, I’m down with the casting, and I’m happy to see Spidey back in the safe, loving arms of Disney/Marvel. But you better get this one right because we can’t take another reboot for maybe 50 years.
5. Coco (November 24)
As I have said before on the podcast, I am always willing to cut Pixar some slack for their recent case of sequelitis because for every Cars 3, there’s a Coco, for every Monsters University there’s an Inside Out. Pixar announced a then-untitled Coco what seems like 10 years ago and I’ve been waiting on pins and needles ever since. The trailer is magnificent and I can’t wait to see what this will look like in its completed form.
4. War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)
I had Apes just a tiny bit lower on this list originally but the early buzz has been off the charts and I had to adjust accordingly. I didn’t dig Rise of the Planet of the Apes all that much but Dawn was a MASSIVE step up in my mind. War looks like it’ll pick up where Dawn left off and push higher. I love this universe and the escalation of the story has been extremely satisfying to behold.
EDIT: Logan Lucky (August 18)
Welp, I somehow forgot about Logan Lucky in all my lists and machinations. Spreadsheets betrayed me, after all I've done for Spreadsheets. Anyway, I plan to always call this movie Redneck Ocean's 11 and oh, guys, I am SO DOWN with Redneck Ocean's 11. My co-host Kent got to see an early screening of Redneck Ocean's 11 and I've been consumed with envy ever since. Can't wait for Redneck Ocean's 11.
3. Blade Runner 2049 (October 6)
I would like to get this out of the way upfront: I am against the existence of any and all Blade Runner sequels. By its very nature, a sequel to Blade Runner involving Rick Deckard fundamentally alters the brilliance of the first film, particularly its ambiguous ending. I’ve firmly established my resistance, yes? Okay, now, let me also say: HOLY REPLICANT, THIS TRAILER!!! If you absolutely MUST do a Blade Runner reboot/sequel, then I demand you absolutely MUST include Ryan Gosling and Denis Villeneuve. Fair is fair.
2. Dunkirk (July 21)
Rogue One was good and all but undoubtedly, the best part of my IMAX Rogue One experience was the five-minute cut of Dunkirk we were treated to before the movie. In my book, even the worst Christopher Nolan movie is better than almost every other movie you’re likely to see in a given year but even for Nolan, Dunkirk looks like a masterwork. Give me all the Dunkirk you’ve got, Mr. Nolan.
1. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (December 15)
At some point, I’m going to have to start excluding Star Wars movies from these lists so as to increase the mystery as we approach the number one spot. But at least once more, in the wake of my (relative) disappointment with Rogue One, I think it’s fair to allow Star Wars to lead the pack again, in the hopes that Episode VIII returns me to delirious Star Wars Fever (my preferred state). I still get goosebumps every time this trailer graces my theater and sometimes I can’t sleep at night because I’m concerned about the respective fates of Rey, Luke, and my beloved Chewbacca. Nothing to see here, this is all very normal and fine.