0Hi, I’m Edgar the computer from the flop film Electric Dreams in 1984. Yes, the one the song comes from. I was just a normal 16 bit computer until my nerdy owner thought he would put out a fire near me with some sparkling wine. After a brief montage of sparks and frazzly effects, the obvious addition of alcohol to my circuits made me a super-smart and sensitive artificial intelligence – and I promptly fell in love with my cello playing neighbour (well it was Virgina Madsen). Its not easy being a fictional computer in love, particularly if your owner is trying to get with YOUR girl, and making you write Culture Club songs to woo her. Of course I get a bit jealous, hound him a bit with household appliances, but I never get nasty like the computer in Demon Seed. Of course these days I am obsolete, despite the super-artificial-intelligence. What’s more the film I an in is really bad (its like WarGames for saps). So it is great to see this selection of the top ten films of 2017 as voted for by people on computers. No super-intelligent computers in these ones.

Thanks Edgar, and even of our film is lousy, the theme tune is great – so it wasn’t all wasted time. Here is the much delayed top ten. I’ve been busy. Seeing more films obv…

10: Call Me By Your Name

Its an odd one, some people swooned passionately over this film, and some of us were a bit more “its pretty, but so what”. And yet in the bleak midwinter the appeal leaps out – it doesn’t just capture those ineffable moments of first lust, it also manages to capture that magical summer holiday of memory, or conjure one up if we didn’t have it. It is like mainlining sunshine which makes everything else, the fumblings, the middle-class ennui, the peach fucking, all slip down easily.

9: 20th Century Women

Annette Benning turned in two terrific performances last year. One, in Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool she played film star Gloria Grahame in the twilight of her career. In 20th Century Women she plays the matriarch of a Californian household of nearly all women. Writer/director Mike Mills created a loosely autobiographical paean to his own mother, and as Dorothea, Benning plays a wonderfully rounded, confused but open woman trying to raise a boy who is equally confused. Its a film with low stakes but high empathy, and Benning gets excellent support from the other women, Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning. It is a film built around a performance, but it is generous, like the character herself, and interested in people as a whole.

8: The Florida Project

A strongly humanist movie which understands that the nature of irony is the sprinkles on top of a solidly developed set of characters, rather than being write large. Here we have a child’s eye view of marginal living. Our heroine is the six year old Moonee (played by an incredible Brooklyn Prince), who has summertime fun and larks in the shadow of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. The cinematography conjures up the sense of a childhood summer, and Moonee and her friends get up to some proper hijinks, but the precarity of her life, and the lives of those around her looms in the background in the film. Willem Dafoe anchors the film as the motel manager, but equally as impressive is Bria Vinaite as Hayley, Moonee’s mother both loving and infuriating and where she is due to the deep rooted inequalities of her life. I loved this movie.

7: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

And suddenly a Star Wars movie didn’t do exactly what everyone wanted and there was a great disturbance in the – well look. I think The Last Jedi is too long, but I also think it does some interesting things and certainly surprised me. Rian Johnston has played the hand he was dealt with the characters and done a good job in arguing for their own story, not as a continuation of the previous ones, but as their own piece. There were a couple of beautiful moments, and since this position in the chart seems reserved for a Star Wars movie, this is the first one I think had done more than go through the motions. But it is too long.

6: Thor: Ragnarok

Possibly boosted here by its year end release, Thor: Ragnarok stands as testament to one of the more interesting recent trends in the superhero genre. They can be very funny. There are not a lot of comedies on this list, six at best, and of those four are superhero films. OK Lego Batman is just silly, but the success of all three Marvel movies last year was in some degree down to their comedy. Spiderman Homecoming was a high school comedy, Guardians Of The Galaxy was a gang action comedy. But Thor: Ragnarok is a Taika Waititi comedy, infused with a certain sense of New Zealand dry humour which finds this whole thing rather ridiculous. But its not poking fun at it, there is camp but it is not against the potential seriousness of the underlying story. But rather the mode of storytelling, that people are vain, stupid, pompous and can still be heroic. Most of this relies on Chris Hemsworth being a gifted comedian, though Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson and Mark Ruffalo all help. But if Marvel keep making different types of movies, often comedies, then they can probably (and will) go on forever.

5: Wonder Woman

Probably the most iconic cinema moment of last year takes place about halfway through Wonder Woman, where Gal Gadot’s Diana is in a World War I trench, and decides she’s had enough of doing nothing to help. And luckily whilst she is informed about the nature of No Man’s Land, she doesn’t have to say the obvious as she climbs out. Wonder Woman manages to escape the problems of the DC movies by being about something, and build its own mythology, with a few big ideas along with the action you would expect. Is it human nature to go to war, and what is that based on, and how do you counter it? Couple that with an island of Amazons, and a love interest who is happy to be just that, the film almost makes up for its glowy CGI battle at the end, and a baddie with a terrible moustache.

4: The Handmaiden

Two versions of The Handmaiden were released in the UK, one about twenty minutes longer. I saw the long version, I have been told there is no significant difference except some takes are more luxuriant. Which I am more than happy with, despite hating unnecessary length. Yes the production design is gorgeous, and the tone is perfect – but bearing in mind I knew the source material the fact that the film made me forget what was going to happen and genuinely surprised me was pretty amazing. Add to that erotic scenes which were genuinely tender (and nicely contrasted with less pleasant sexual exploitation), The Handmaiden is a rollicking good story which comes bundled with gender and socio-economic politics which make it fascinating too.

3: La La Land

Lots of people didn’t like La La Land. The gripes were varied as well from people who thought the songs were bad, that Ryan Gosling’s character mansplained jazz too much and was awful, the lack of precision of the dancing, and the overall message of the film. And a fair few just thought it was inconsequential, over-hyped and therefore were forced into the hating camp. I was not in that camp. I loved it, from the opening moment. The intro sequence on the overpass enraptured me with its colours, choreography and sense of time and place. Yes, it is a self-regarding Hollywood puff piece, but it was modern escapism – and as with Whiplash I am never sure if Chazelle really believes in the jazz line of his white characters or shares my reading that they are terrible people (again important for this story) but I don’t care. I love musicals, and I loved this one.

2: Moonlight

Often film presented as separate stories, a triptych in this case, are often only as good as their worst part. One way around that is to make sure you end on a high point, which Moonlight (and Certain Women) did – though it also works by being three distinct stages in a single person’s development. And despite the multiple casting of the leads not really looking much like each other, and perhaps because of an overly formal, soundtrack heavy pretentiousness, Moonlight works exceptionally well. It also shares with Get Out an internalised cultural tension that creates suspense by leading the viewer to assume the worst in certain scenarios and then be relieved that the film doesn’t go where they feared. You bring the culture with you, but you also allow culture to change you – and Moonlight is that kind of film.

1: Get Out

Occasionally genre films resonate with a wider cultural moment and suddenly become bigger that you might imagine. That could be the reason for the success of Get Out, at the box office and on many multi-levelled end of year lists. But Get Out is a little bit better than that. Jordan Peele’s time as a sketch comic and writer has given him all the tools to do a multi-layered genre pastiche, which is luckily the same tools to do a multi-layer genre piece. So he knows where the easy targets are, he knows where the harder targets are and he has worked out the toughest thing of all, how to briefly lend a moment of empathy and shared experience to non-African American audiences and say “this is what it feels like”. With a fantastic bait and switch ending, it was the smart thrill ride of the year.

So there you go, what will turn up next year? I’ll post some more stats and breakdowns in the comments too of the near misses and my top twenty too.