The Best Film Scenes of 2017
We’ve yet to reveal our list of the best and worst films of 2017, but while you wait with baited breath, it’s time to announce our favourite scenes from films this year. Some of these are emotional, some are visceral, some are just kinda goofy.
SPOILERS ABOUND for every film featured. Proceed with extreme caution!
1. DAVID TEACHES WALTER HOW TO PLAY THE FLUTE (ALIEN: COVENANT)
Director: Ridley Scott Performer: Michael Fassbender
As Fassbender teaches his clone to play the flute, and the underlying homoeroticism of their relationship rises to the fore, Scott creates a disturbing, darkly comic sequence on a par with the best of his original Blade Runner.
See also: David and Walter’s first kiss
2. PROFESSOR’S PERLMAN’S SPEECH (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME)
Director: Luca Guadagnino Performers: Michael Stuhlbarg, Timothée Chalamet
When you’re young and filled with anxiety about your place in the world, all you need is for Michael Stuhlbarg to tell you everything is going to be okay. Between James Ivory’s soaring script and Stuhlbarg’s pure, warm delivery, his reassurance to son Elio (Chalamet) is the life-affirming highlight of Guadagnino’s incredible film.
See also: The final shot of Elio staring at the fireplace
3. BOBBY DEALS WITH THE PAEDOPHILE (THE FLORIDA PROJECT)
Director: Sean Baker Performers: Willem Dafoe, Carl Bradfield
Dafoe’s motel owner Bobby is one of the heroes of 2017, which is vividly apparent when he guides an obvious paedophile (Bradfield) away from the gathered children, promising him a soda, and then punches him in the gut.
See also: The final minute of the film, as the two girls escape to Disney World for the first time.
4. THE TARKOVSKY FIGHT (ATOMIC BLONDE)
Director: David Leitch Performers: Charlize Theron, assorted goons
How do you make your fight scene stand out? Stage it in front of a big screen projecting Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Colourful and cineliterate, the most atmospheric moment in the year’s best action movie.
See also: The single-take stairwell fight and subsequent car chase.
5. GENIUS GIRL (THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES)
Director: Noah Baumbach Performers: Adam Sandler, Grace Van Patten
This tender, apparently improvised performance is the charming highlight of Baumbach’s film. Sentimental fther/daughter relationships are one of my strongest emotional triggers, and with Sandler in the mix… oh the feels!
6. CASEY’S DANCE (COLUMBUS)
Director: Kogonada Performer: Haley Lu Richardson
Often, a scene of a young woman dancing in a film can be insufferably narcissistic (see: Greta Gerwig in everything), but there’s a pure physical freedom to Richardson’s performance in Columbus that allows for a totally natural bit of throwdown in the glare of her car’s headlights.
7. DIXON’S FIT (THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI)
Director: Martin McDonagh Performers: Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry-Jones
Sam Rockwell’s Officer Dixon is a nasty idiot, but he really grabs our attention when he loses his shit, storms into the Ebbing Advertising Company and tosses Red (Caleb Landry-Jones) out the window. It’s shot in one take, and it’s visceral.
See also: Dixon briefly dancing to ABBA’s “Chiquita” — Rockwell needs to dance in every film he makes.
8. THE THREE-WAY (BLADE RUNNER 2049)
Director: Denis Villeneuve Performers: Ryan Gosling, Mackenzie Davis, Ana de Armas
You’ve never seen a sex scene like this before (well, maybe you have, but I haven’t). Officer K (Gosling)’s A.I. girlfriend hires a real-life prostitute and syncs up her movements to the woman, as we watch K having sex with a projection layered upon a physical woman. It’s really, really strange, but remarkably executed.
See also: The K/Deckard ballroom fight, w/Elvis hologram!
9. FIGHT THEM ON THE BEACHES (DUNKIRK)
Director: Christopher Nolan Performers: Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Tom Hardy
Dunkirk builds and builds and peaks in the final few minutes, as our protagonist young soldiers rest on a train and Harry Styles reads Churchill’s iconic speech, while we watch Tom Hardy’s jet burn and realise that — for so many — the triumph of this story’s conclusion was just the beginning of the horrific war.
See also: “So be bloody careful with him!”
10. GEORGE BEST (T2 TRAINSPOTTING)
Director: Danny Boyle Performers: Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Anjela Nedyalkova
T2 Trainspotting is very flat until the double-down thrill of Renton and Sick Boy’s loyalist robbery and this four-minute blast of pure Danny Boylr invention, briefly capturing the energy that makes the original so special, but T2 broadly lacked.
See also: The loyalist robbery and the “And then all the Catholics died!” song.
11. BABY FLYER (THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS)
Director: F. Gary Gray Performers: Jason Statham, Luke Evans, a baby
Yes, two 2017 favourites involving Babys (The Boss and Driver) are absent from this Best Scenes list, but there was another fabulous infant on screen this Spring: the son of Vin Diesel’s Dom, who’s rescued from the clutches of evil Charlize Theron by terrorist-turned-colleague Deckard Shaw (Jason Shatham). It’s the best of several totally bonkers set-pieces in the most enjoyable Fast film to date.
12. MEETING LIZ’S DAD (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING)
Director: Jon Watts Performers: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton
Probably the best twist ever in a Marvel movie: Peter Parker goes to pick up his Prom date and is shocked when her dad opens the door: it’s The Vulture, the film’s villain! The twist is playing on racial expectations — the girl is half-black, we don’t expect her dad to be Michael Keaton — and leads to a very amusing scene of awkward banter in the car.
13. NO MANS’ LAND (WONDER WOMAN)
Director: Patty Jenkins Performers: Gal Gadot
For some people, this scene represents the entire history of women’s liberation condensed into four minutes. It’s definitely not that great, or that important, but it’s a really rousing bit of action that uses the pre-established Wonder Woman theme brilliantly.
THE PIE (A GHOST STORY)
I really didn’t enjoy A Ghost Story, which would’ve been a cool 10-minute short but as a feature completely lost my attention, and this extended shot of Rooney Mara aggressively stuffing herself with pie before vomiting was probably the least enjoyable few minutes of my 2017.
PENETRATION (KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE)
Kingsman: The Golden Circle was pretty bad in general, but Matthew Vaughn’s puerile journey inside a woman’s vagina was the lewdest, most pointlessly sexist bit of filmmaking I witnessed this year. Really, really stupid.
So those are our picks! What were your favourite and least favourite scenes this year? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for our Best Films of 2017, coming soon (soon = after Star Wars)!