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The 10 Best Comfort Movies of 2017

By Pajiba Staff | Film | December 29, 2017 |

By Pajiba Staff | Film | December 29, 2017 |

Publisher’s Note: Personally, this is my favorite year-end list. Though the title of this annual post has changed throughout the years, the spirit of it remains the same: These are not necessarily the best movies, but the movies we’re most likely to return to over and over. They’re the most rewatchable movies of the year. Our couch-and-pajamas films, the movies we’ll watch on rainy days, or the movies we’re most likely to introduce to dates (of the movies on our Best of 2017 list, I’d add Thor: Ragnarok and The Big Sick to this list. Here they are in no particular order:

Logan Lucky — Steven Soderbergh puts off retirement once more with his Southern-fried “Ocean’s 7/11”, Logan Lucky. Named for the unfortunate clan at its core, this whip-smart and deeply country crime caper stars Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Riley Keough as three siblings who decide to rob a massive North Carolina arena during a major NASCAR race. Sure, by day Jimmy (Tatum) is a bum-legged construction worker, Clyde (Driver) is a one-armed bartender, and Mellie (Keough) is a smirking hairdresser. But by night, they’re building cardboard models of the super secure speedway, planning escape routes, and master-minding a complicated plan that loops in the incarcerated explosions expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig with a delightfully Southern twang) and his two trotter-bobbing brothers. Lithe, lively and ludicrous, Logan Lucky is a joyful celebration of Southern culture that folds in complicated family ties, kiddie tractor races, snitty church ladies, child beauty pageants, and a generous helping of down-home whimsy. — Kristy Puchko


xXx: Return of Xander Cage — Maybe it’s just where I am in the world right now. Maybe it’s because it feels like there’s darkness all around. But I’ll be goddamned if I didn’t have a great time watching xXX: Return of Xander Cage, and it’s not entirely due to the camping flask of Johnny Walker that I snuck into the theater with me. No, the acting is not particularly good — hell, 75 percent of the leads have barely any acting experience. But they make up for it with enthusiasm and a fairly clever sense of humor (with Ruby Rose being the standout and Donnie Yen coming in a close second in the “we’re just here to have a good time” competition). For once, Diesel isn’t just doing his serious rasping about serious issues bit, but instead is smiling, joking around, and genuinely seems to be enjoying himself. Add to this the rather remarkable diversity of the cast (which is a fun and refreshing addition that feels comfortably organic) and what you’ve basically got is a low-rent Fast and the Furious sequel, but with better jokes. It’s hard not to draw parallels to Diesel’s more successful franchise, since they’ve clearly followed its blueprint closely — so closely that if not for Diesel’s presence it would feel like outright plagiarism. Which means that if you’ve enjoyed that goofy-ass franchise, you’re likely going to enjoy this. It’s dumped off a lot of the serious tone that was prevalent in the first film and opted for a more lighthearted one, and it makes it better. Is this a good movie? Fuck no. It’s terrible. But … is this a fun movie? Yeah. Yeah it is. — TK

Wonder Woman — Maybe Wonder Woman is a bit on the generic side. But you know what? I don’t give a good God damn. Because director Patty Jenkins isn’t trying to make a movie that will upset the superhero mold. She’s making the movie that should have been decades ago, before origin story fatigue set in and studios started taking the “but what if grimdark?” approach to superhero staples like Batman and Superman. (For the record, Wonder Woman has its dark moments—hi, it’s set during World War I—but it’s much lighter in tone than BvS.) If anyone deserves an epic, big-budget “This is how this awesome person got awesome. BASK IN IT.” spectacle, it’s Diana Prince. And Jenkins treats her with the goddamn respect she goddamn deserves. It’s earnest. It’s powerful. It’s Wonder Woman. Hear her roar. — Rebecca Pahle

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — Goddamn, it is fucking fun. Vol. 2 brings the whole damn band back together — Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his Ravagers, and Gamora’s psychotic sister Nebula (Karen Gillian). There’s a host of other recognizable faces, some of them surprises, some not, but all of them contributing in some fashion to making another hilarious, fantastical, breathless adventure tale of intergalactic derring-do. Gunn is in prime form, easily guiding the audience through a story that’s equal parts action and comedy, and both parts are absolutely sublime. Baby Groot will be the highlight of the comedic aspect, with a couple of scenes literally making me laugh until I was having trouble breathing. Vol. 2 is funny as hell, playing off the idea of a group of madcap renegades perfectly. If the Fast and Furious franchise has you at times rolling your eyes at their slavering devotion to the concept of family, Guardians of the Galaxy is the salve for your cynical soul. It’s an homage to familial love, but it does so with all of the bitterness and bickering and rowdy, unruly weirdness that comes with a real family. The Guardians are relentless in their ability to make one another uncomfortable or angry, and it ties itself together flawlessly with those relationships. These people love each other, even if they don’t always like each other, and they will literally travel to the end of the universe to help one another… but don’t think they won’t give each other shit for it. — TK

Gifted — As Captain America, Chris Evans is perfection. With his macho-build and All-American good looks, he fills out that super suit divinely and with gusto. Whether he’s wielding his shield or facing down a rising fascist (online or onscreen), Evans faces down bullies with openness and earnestness, wholly and wholesomely defining what we think of as “hero.” That’s a powerful persona hard to shake. So it’s up to this affable actor to remind us of his ability to transform for his craft. And in Gifted, an acerbic yet uplifting family drama, he reminds us how great a performer he is, even out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe pomp and spectacle. This fantastic family drama is so alive with humor, spiked with human hurt, and glowing with charm that it’s impossible to fault it for the occasional overzealousness. It’s essentially Good Will Hunting meets Kramer Vs. Kramer, but with plenty of quirk in the mix to make Gifted feel refreshing instead of rehashing. — Kristy Puchko

Spider-Man: Homecoming — There’s been a great deal of negativity towards yet another iteration of Spider-Man. But don’t think of it in that sense. Even if you’ve got Marvel malaise, and you’re tired of their constantly churning out movies, Spider-Man: Homecoming is worth your time. Watts and company have crafted an engaging, funny, heartfelt story that is the perfect reflection of its title. It feels like a return to a home you didn’t realize you missed, and it’s just so comfortable. Yes, there is a great deal of whiz-bang special effects and high flying action, and it’s all very well done (and finally, we have a third act that isn’t a complete stumble). But it’s a warm, charming film, with both a Peter Parker and a Spider-Man that we’ve been missing all these years. — TK

Baby Driver — It’s an impressive, eye-popping, heart-pounding, incredibly fluid series of zigs, zags, spins, fishtails, and U-turns. Ansel Elgort controls his car like Channing Tatum controls his body in Step Up. It’s practically sexual, and you can actually see the movements: It’s not obscured by quick cuts and fancy editing: It’s like a motherfucking car ballet set to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. It’s Wow multiplied by Holy Shit. I can’t stress enough just how wildly fun Baby Driver is. It’s the most crowd-pleasing movie of 2017, a soaring, zig-zagging, viscerally exciting, crackling crime caper with a lot of soul, an impeccable soundtrack, and personality that goes on for days. — Dustin Rowles


John Wick Chapter 2John Wick Chapter 2 does what so many sequels do — it takes the foundation built in its original and makes it bigger and louder and crazier. And at times, that seems a little overwhelming — the body count in this entry is staggering and the pace is almost hard to keep up with. But it’s done with such damn panache that after the first 15 minutes or so, you just strap in and enjoy the blood-soaked ride. It’s a hurricane of escapist violence, two hours of virtually nonstop gun battles and fistfights, all impeccably orchestrated by veteran fight choreographer Jonathan Eusebio. The brutality and slaughter are poetry in motion, an organic, naturalistic dance that takes advantage of every element of the surrounding environments in addition to the whirlwind of kicks, punches, and firearms. It’s another enjoyably psychotic romp. The action is insane, the gallows humor darkly effective, the performances enjoyable. There’s much to love with John Wick Chapter 2 and its bloodbath of chaos. — TK


LEGO Batman — Spun off from the wildly popular “LEGO Movie,” “The LEGO Batman Movie” has Will Arnett bringing his gravelly voice back to the minifig superhero who relishes moody theme songs and doesn’t do relationships. The plot is simple, but smartly allows plenty of opportunities for the filmmakers to play with their already-beloved heroes. The LEGO Batman Movie is packed tight with a dizzying array of humor, from slapstick to one-liners and from biting banter to some brilliantly timed lingering lunacy. All in all, The LEGO Batman Movie is a total blast. Packed with color, character, wit and energy, it’s not afraid to get silly, but smart enough to layer in meta humor that’s sure to reward rewatching. — Kristy Puchko via CBR

Girls Trip — There’s not anything particularly original or novel about Girls Trip — it’s about four long-time friends from college who now have disparate lives, who get together for a weekend of debauchery in New Orleans — but there’s so much chemistry between the cast and so much enthusiasm in their approach to the material that they manage to sell a lot of jokes that wouldn’t otherwise work in a typical gross-out comedy. There are a few moments, in fact, that elicit uncontrollable laughter that have nothing to do with the script and everything to do with the performances of these four women who manage to sell nearly every single joke. Girls Trip is wild, and wildly fun, and while all the character tropes are familiar, Hall, Pinkett-Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish manage through chemistry and will to make them feel new and fresh and in the end, still sell a heart-warming and crowd-pleasing finale that makes it the funniest, raunchiest comedy I’ve seen in a very long time. — Dustin Rowles

The Greatest Showman — There’s an amazing movie here that made me cry at least four times in 90 minutes about inclusion, about learning to celebrate our differences, about telling the bigots and small-minded pricks to go fuck themselves, and about rising above their pettiness and being unabashedly themselves. There’s a number in the middle of the movie featuring the Golden Globe nominated song “This Is Me,” as performed by Keala Settle (who plays the Bearded Lady), that may have been my favorite sequence of the year. I wanted to give it a standing ovation, but my heart had burst out of my chest and I didn’t want to accidentally step on it while jumping to my feet. I loved it so fucking much. I wanted to live in that movie about these people who had risen from the dust and found their place in the world, and it was such an unbelievably, profoundly powerful moment that I was able to forget briefly about P.T. Barnum and his bullshit. — Dustin Rowles