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Top Ten Films Of 2017

December 28, 2017 1:11 p.m.


Beth Accomando, KPBS film critic

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. No year would be complete without a review of the best movies in 2017 . Awards nominations are already rolling in and some films Dunkirk, call me by your name are looking like clear contenders for an Oscar nomination. Here to discuss her picks for the 10 best films is film critic, Beth Accomando. What kind of movie year would you say 2017 has been?
>> I'm a big fan of genre cinema so I was thrilled to see some great action films this year. We had John Wick, Atomic Blonde and there were films that transcended like Logan and war from the planet of the apes and thrilled to see more women directors making more diverse films. That was exciting. We had ladybird, wonder woman and there are still some frustrations with a lot of bland unoriginal filmmaking and the smaller films having harder times to open up in San Diego.
>> When you sit down to make a list what are you looking for?
>> It is incredibly painful paring it down. There usually standouts that rise to the top and that is easy like the top three or four are an easy pick. Then there are these films that kind of punch out after that which are harder to decide between and I struggle with which ones to include and which ones up to that honorable mention list. I look for films that display either an exquisite sense of craft and find something fresh to say or that I have this really reaction to any can be something I fall in love with but it's a film that I know that I will return to repeatedly. Those are the things that I look for.
>> Talking about the selections being hard to choose, you have a tie for the 10th slot.
>> I could not break them apart. Especially because these two films were perfect companion pieces because they both address tabloid cases in ways that are fresh, funny and horrific. The films are the documentary casting JonBenet and about the Tonya Harding Olympic scandal. The casting JonBenet reimagines what the documentary four can be in a fascinating way. The director uses a casting call for actors in JonBenet's hometown of Boulder, Colorado, to reconstruct the events and perform scenes. The films is much about the case and the people auditioning. Here's a woman auditioning to play the mother Patsy.
>> I noticed you had some of the other woman who were auditioning for Patsy wearing the red top but for me, it is the pearls that make who Patsy was in every interview she always had the pros on so when I was researching her, I made sure that the pros were on and she always wore these kinds of earrings. She always wore the open collar shirt and the jacket . This is close to what she wore on Larry King.
>> I saw this documentary on Netflix and it is absolutely fascinating. It's not what you might think casting JonBenet documentary is something that's just riveting.
>> Is layered. There's so many things.'s about the case, the people, the media reaction, the obsession with these stories.
>> You have another documentary on your list Dawson city frozen time.
>> Yes, this is another film that rethinks what the documentary format can be and the filmmaker creates a genuine film because this is a film stock that he and covered in the frozen Yukon Territory and constructed a story line from it. The best way I can describe it is that it's like experiencing a fever dream.
>> In a frozen territory.
>> Yes. In your seven and 8 slots you have two different films.
>> Yes, number eight a French cannibal film called wall and it proves to be about the lengths people will go to to show their love for each other than it is about four. Number seven there is The Last Jedi.
>> The new Star Wars film has been experiencing something of a backlash.
>> Sadly, yes. There were a lot of people upset with it. Doesn't meet the expectations or they feel it's betrayed certain elements, whatever. I loved it despite whatever flaws it may have. The main thing is to me it's about characters in transition and it's about learning from failures. I love to what it added to the saga and to the mythology.
>> In your 10 best list at numbers five and six are a pair films that may challenge audience expectations. What do you have for us?
>> I have a Greek a filmmaker who specializes in uncomfortable cinema. Killing of a deer was not supernatural but entirely creepy and disquieting. Then there's the phantom thread, which is an original kind of romance about the ever shifting dynamics in a relationship and it the director getting together again. Lewis plays Reynolds a dressmaker whose life is disrupted by the strong-willed woman. Cure he responds to the asparagus she repaired.
>> As I think you know how I prefer my asparagus with oil and salt knowing this you have prepared it with butter. I can imagine in certain circumstances in order to pretend that I like it this way. Right now I'm admiring my own --
>> [ Laughter ] never has meals repeatedly meals are plates of like title in this quiet fashion.
>> Now were getting to the top slots. Would impress you most this year?
>> I loved it out for its originality and the clever use of wardrobes to make a very vivid social commentary about race in America. Then there is giving him a chance to tear up the screen. She's riveting and the film challenges as characters that are not entirely likable but who are absolutely human. Then at number 2 is Dee Rees mud down. Just to find the people in the place.
>> I think of mud. I dreamed.
>> Your number one choice?
>> This goes to The Shape of Water. This is a dark adult fairytale that binds pretty in love but without being blind to the ugliness in the world.'s also his turned to the side of a monster.
>> The Shape of Water is still playing at theaters. You can find more of her best and worst on her cinema junkie blog and podcast. Thank you so much for your list.
>> Thank you.