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8 best movies of 2017 (so far)

Get Out

We’re at the halfway point of 2017, so all this week Mashable entertainment will be rolling out our 8.5 (Get it, half of ’17?) picks for the best of the year – so far! – in movies, TV, music, and more. It’s our eight best picks for you, along with a bonus choice that, while not strictly one of the greats, deserves a guilty pleasure mention. Enjoy.

1. Get Out

Get Out is Jordan Peele’s first film as a director, and it’s a doozy – a taut, terrifically entertaining thriller that doubles as one of the sharpest commentaries on race that we’ve seen onscreen in recent years. Get Out encapsulates the experience of being black in America in a way that mere words never could. In the process, it also turns Daniel Kaluuya into a bonafide star, and makes better use of Allison Williams than we ever could’ve dreamed. This one deserves "instant classic" status.

2. Logan

In theory, superhero movies can be anything. In practice, they’re mostly all the same. Logan is the rare exception that proves the rule. This is Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine, after 17 years, and filmmaker James Mangold gives him a swan song worthy of his illustrious tenure. Borrowing liberally from comic book, Western, and noir tropes, Logan journeys into the dark recesses of its hero’s soul – and comes out holding something like hope.

3. Raw

The best cannibalism coming-of-age drama you’ll see this year, and we promise we’re not just saying that because it’s the only cannibalism coming-of-age drama you’re likely to see this year. First-time feature director Julia Ducournau captures the agony and the ecstasy of being on your own for the first time: learning who you are, questioning your beliefs, coming to see your parents as people. If that also means discovering you’ve got a gnarly taste for human flesh, so be it.

4. Wonder Woman

Diana may not be the hero we deserve – because as Wonder Woman repeatedly establishes, humankind is a hot mess – but she’s definitely the hero we need right now. Gal Gadot makes an indelible impression as a superwoman so warm and so strong and so good that we can’t help be awed by her, and director Patty Jenkins finds the right balance of epic and intimate. We don’t know about you, but we definitely walked out of that one feeling ready to save the damn world.

5. Baby Driver

The "one last job" premise of Baby Driver is nothing fresh, but the way Edgar Wright brings it to life sure is. His eye for detail and impeccable sense of timing come together in a near-perfect marriage of sight and sound. Baby Driver may not be the deepest movie we’ve seen this year, but it’s definitely one of the most fun – part heist thriller, part musical, and all pure, uncut cinematic joy.

6. The Big Sick

The Big Sick is a lot of different things: a laugh-out-loud-funny comedy about the standup circuit, a touching true story of love overcoming obstacles, a smart and specific tale of immigration and cultural difference, a compelling argument that Kumail Nanjiani deserves more leading-man roles, and a reminder that Holly Hunter freakin’ rules. That it not only juggles all of these elements, but makes it look easy, is nothing short of remarkable.

7. The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola’s obsession with wispy white women trapped by circumstance reaches fever pitch in The Beguiled, though she takes her sweet time getting there. Which, of course, is by design. Coppola patiently registers every fleeting glance and half-formed gesture, every subtle spike in mood or shift in allegiance, until we find ourselves at the point of no return. Nicole Kidman has rarely been more compelling, and Colin Farrell has rarely looked more appealing.

8. Alien: Covenant

As an Alien prequel, it’s not great. But as a companion piece to Prometheus, it’s just right. Covenant leans into its predecessor’s most alienating aspects – its philosophizing, its contempt for humanity – and delivers a darkly compelling rumination on creation, destruction, the purpose of life, and the value of humankind. Plus, it’s got twice the Michael Fassbender and some really sweet xenomorph action. It’s messy and it’s weird and it doesn’t all work, but God bless Ridley Scott for dreaming big.

8.5. xXx: Return of Xander Cage

xXx: Return of Xander Cage feels like a movie made for people who think the Fast and Furious series is too grounded and intellectual. Which is to say that it is deeply, deeply stupid, and entirely unapologetic about it. But y’know? Sometimes, that’s exactly what we want. xXx is best seen on a rainy day with a six-pack in front of you and your equally drunk friends by your side.