Mike’s Favorite Movie Trailers of 2017

I have an ambivalence toward movie trailers. I don’t think they’re particularly any good anymore. But then again — have they ever been good? It’s not like they’re the movie poster, where you can make a great one. Generally, trailers are there to sell you on a film and nothing more. They’re not really their own art form.

So many trailers nowadays typically spoil the entire plot for you ahead of time, which makes them hard to take on their own. And also ruins some of the movie for you ahead of time. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be artfully done. So what I do, at the end of the year, after I’ve seen all the movies, is go back and watch the trailers and see which ones were actually quite good. Some of them I see throughout the year, and I do tend to remember the good ones, but by and large I watch everything I can afterwards to see what actually sold a movie well.

So here are my picks of my favorite movie trailers of 2017:

25. The Boss Baby

Cookies are for closers. What else can I say? This trailer is legitimately cute. I’m not ashamed to admit that this trailer convinced me this would actually be a good movie. And now — Academy Award nominee The Boss Baby.

24. Darkest Hour

It’s just a well put together trailer. It hits all the beats, it makes you want to see the movie. It does everything it’s supposed to do. And it teaches you that you cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth.

23. The Greatest Showman

I love me a good musical trailer. From the opening typewriter noises creating a rhythm, to the overarching use of the film’s big song — I just like it.

22. Loving Vincent

It just looks gorgeous. I can’t say the trailer specifically made me want to see the movie more than I already did, but just seeing two-and-a-half minutes of those hand-painted frames — I’d rather watch this than most trailers out there.

21. Free Fire

It’s fun as shit. Shows you the kind of stakes you’re dealing with — people in a warehouse shooting guns at one another, taking bullets in the leg and getting pissed off for being shot. This was definitely one of those trailers from early in the year that I saw and went, “Oh shit yeah, I’ll see that.”

20. Logan Lucky

I still don’t know how this didn’t do better business. This trailer is fun as hell and makes you want to see the movie. Gives you a perfect idea of the tone. This is what a movie trailer should be. Also, bonus points for “Introducing Daniel Craig.” That’s a nice tough.

19. The Little Hours

It’s nuns cursing. What more do you need to want to see a movie? Plus, the rap song over the period setting — great touch. At the very least, seeing this makes you go, “What the fuck is that?” Which is exactly what it wants you to think.

18. Detroit

This is an exceptionally well-cut trailer. I like that it starts small, with the interrogation scene, that you think is gonna go one way and then goes completely sideways. And then once it starts editing all the clips of the riots and everything together, it really builds to something truly gripping. Not to mention the obvious parallels to 2017.

17. It

This trailer made me want to see the movie. I couldn’t give a shoemaker’s fuck about this movie until I saw the trailer. It made it look — competent. It built up the creepiness really well, and really didn’t show you all that much of the movie. The projector scene was also creepy as hell. Honestly one of the best cut trailers of the year, and something that made us all go, “Oh wow, this is gonna be good.”

16. Dave Made a Maze

Few trailers bring out my childhood sense of wonder and adventure. This was one of those trailers. The sheer excitement I got from seeing a box maze come to life cannot be measured. The inventiveness is apparent, and it’s one of those trailers that is either gonna completely sell you on the movie or will be a complete blank for you. I’m betting on the former.

15. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

What a perfect trailer. This captures Yorgos Lanthimos’ essence. It’s just unsettling. And I love it. The best part is that it tells you nothing about the movie. Not that it can. And it makes it all the better after you see the movie and then go back knowing what all the images are.

14. Atomic Blonde

This is a trailer that knows its audience. It knows what it’s selling and it’s doing just that. The neon glow of the 80s, Charlize Theron scantily clad for half the trailer and beating the shit out of dudes for the other half. You want a perfect picture of what you’re getting (albeit a bit too much of a picture, to the point of potentially ruining certain scenes for you), this trailer will give that to you. This is certainly one of the few trailers that made me legitimately excited for the movie. I also love a trailer well cut to well known music. Speaking of which…

13. Baby Driver

I tried not to include this on my list, because I feel like this will be on all the slideshow/clickbait lists. But honestly, after watching it about a half-dozen times… it’s just well edited. It gives you a great idea of what the movie’s gonna be about and perfectly times the action to music, just the way the film does. Sure, it basically spells out the entire plot of the film, but that’s almost something that can’t be avoided nowadays. I do take some solace in the fact that this isn’t in my top ten, like I’m sure it is for so many people, but I did like this trailer.

12. All the Money in the World

I specifically picked the Kevin Spacey one because it’s such a well edited trailer. The use of the Zombies song is really well done. And it crescendos to that Spacey moment at the end, which at this point is so overdone and almost unwatchable. But the rest of it is really well put together, and sells you on this story in a great way. Also, it’s got that old American Gangster trick of building a song and then cutting it out for the climactic shot of the trailer before bringing it back for the title card at the end. Love it when they do that.

11. Thor: Ragnarok

This is another one of those trailers that’s been overhyped, but man, is it well done. It starts off with what most trailers would consider the money shot, of the hammer being destroyed, which is a nice touch. And then the use of the Zeppelin song, which, as we all know, is based on Norse mythology, and is surprising it took them this long to use. And then we get the big punchline at the end, with Hulk, which, I’ll admit — it’s funny. It made me laugh. It was overdone, sure. I saw it about two dozen more times than I needed to, but I’m basing this on the first time. And this was a well cut trailer that made me go, “Oh wow, this movie might actually be good.” Since the other two — not as much. It definitely sold me on this one.

10. Lady Bird

This trailer made me realize there might be something special here. It perfectly encapsulates the charm of the movie, that intangible that everyone has sparked to. Sure, it’s a very indie trailer and is cut as such, but I liked it. Just watching this trailer makes me think, “Man, I love this movie.”

9. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The biggest surprise of the year for me. I had no reason to think this movie would be as good as it was. And it started with this trailer. I saw this and it completely reversed my opinion on the movie. It looks fun. It looks like a fun movie that you’d want to go see. And the best part — the movie’s got so much more up its sleeve than that.

8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I’m always gonna enjoy a Star Wars trailer. What made this one really good was the use of the music. The strings at the beginning that are reminiscent of The Imperial March, building to that full orchestra, John Williams sound? That’s really what I love about this. At this point, I can care less about the actual content of the trailer. It’s Star Wars, I know what I’m getting. But that music, though.

7. The Florida Project

This so perfectly captures everything about the film, down to the simplest beauty of its images. It’s childhood. Childhood in a trailer. Nothing more to say. It’s great.

6. Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan always cuts a good trailer. The teaser for this was good, but I prefer the long version. It lets the music do more work. And the use of the ticking clock and the heartbeats — it’s extremely well cut, all the way down to the little things. But as I said — Christopher Nolan always cuts a good trailer. I’d be surprised if he didn’t end up in the top ten for each of his movies. This is definitely an example of a director who is very hands on in his work, down to the littlest of details.

5. The Disaster Artist

Forget the whole trailer, this tells you everything you need to know about the movie. Sure, it’s a scene from the movie, but that’s what the movie’s about! You’re either gonna immediately get what this is or you won’t. And what’s better, even if you don’t know what this is, you’re gonna think it’s weird and wonder what it is, but still find it funny. That’s the movie in a nutshell and the sign of a good trailer.

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’ve seen this trailer like two dozen times. It’s just so good. This is one where you need to see the red band. It doesn’t work without the authentic McDonagh dialogue at work. “Hey fuckhead!” “What?” Don’t say ‘what’, Dixon, when she comes in here, calling you a fuckhead!” And then the great musical cut in the middle when “Walk Away, Renée” comes on. And the cut out of the music, just to bring it back. I love that. And the moment at the end when she’s cursing at the reporter — it’s perfectly cut. Easy top five.

3. I, Tonya

Everyone loves this trailer. It’s amazing. It’s funny, it gives you a perfect example of the film and its tone — it’s just incredibly well-cut all around. The music choices, the whole deal. And yet another example of how the right use of swearing in a trailer can make it infinitely better. There was no way this wasn’t going top three for me. It’s just so well done.

2. Patti Cake$

How this trailer didn’t propel this movie to at least $50 million at the box office I’ll never know. The mixing of this trailer is amazing. How does this not make you wanna see the movie? I saw this trailer by accident, in front of something else. And then by the time I got to the 90 second mark, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to see this in a theater the minute I could. That money shot of the album cover with Nana in the ski mask is just incredible. One of the best trailers I’ve seen in a while.

1. Logan

What is it about these Wolverine films that all the marketing has been amazing? Seeing this trailer for the first time gave me chills. It made me realize that instead of just a good movie we were in for a great movie. The use of Johnny Cash is spot on, and it hint at the grounded drama and emotion rather than the explosions and the universe. I will admit that the Johnny Cash does carry a lot of the weight, but I’m gonna be honest — it’s about what trailers affect you the most and make you feel most positively toward their film. And I will say that no trailer affected me more than this one did this year.

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