What We Learned From Film: 2017

2017 is coming to a close, so let’s take a look back at all the movies released this year. We had terrible movies and laudable films; we also had a laudable film about a terrible movie. With a plethora of films having been watched, the writers here at Geek Motivation bring you back to the films that inspired us to become better geeks and–overall–human beings.

If you have not seen any of these movies, try to watch them now and return to this list at a later time because some responses may contain spoilers!

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver


  • “Music is one of the most inspiring arts that drives me, perhaps even greater than film. The fact that this film had music channeling through it makes me excited for adventure in life and through my own art.” -Mike Guimond
  • “[This is a] brand new movie that worked in so many ways. With reboots being all the rage nowadays, it’s great to see new movies come in and do so well.” -Akhil Modali
  • “Edgar Wright gives audiences an amazing soundtrack to go along with high action scenes, and the whole cast gives it 110%.” -Devin Roberts
  • Baby Driver taught me that music quite literally drives us to where we want to be. It is the force that sets our paths in motion, and without it, life just becomes dull and without flavor. Another great conceptual film–with an excellent cast and Kevin Spacey–from the magnificent director Edgar Wright, this deserved better praise at the box office and overall recognition than it had. Also, the portrayal of love in this film reminded me that people will go insane lengths for the people they care deeply for. (Note: On New Year’s Day of 2016 when I conceptualized a trilogy that I’ve been working on, I thought about a story involving a heroic protagonist who goes into action while listening to music. People thought this was a ridiculous idea, but one and a half years later, we were given this movie. Edgar Wright beat me to it. The lesson here is to never give up, not even on your dreams.)” -John Tangalin
  • Baby Driver furthered my already deep love for music.” -Ernesto Valenzuela

Blade Runner 2049

blade runner 2049

  • “There’s a little scene with the woman that fabricates fake memories for replicants that made the whole movie for me. She said that people think that memories are about the details, but it’s the feelings or the emotions you felt at that moment. It made me look at my past memories from a different perspective.” -Miguel Coelho
  • “[This film] taught me that there is always a greater purpose to serve than myself.” -Gabe Kaspar
  • “It teaches us what it means to be human, that our purpose isn’t determined by others, but [instead] only ourselves.” -Ernesto Valenzuela

The Boss Baby


  • “This is one of the greatest animated films since Shrek. [Boss Baby] really hits close to home, not only with family but with childlike imagination, something that still exists in me today. This film made me nostalgic for where it all began.” -Mike Guimond

Cars 3

cars 3

  • “Now I know a lot [of people] may hate on this choice but this is a personal choice. I took my kids to see [this movie] on Father’s Day; we all enjoyed it. An hour after the movie, I found out my grandpa had unexpectedly passed away. He was basically the only father figure growing up, and I felt a new connection from Cars 3 of how [Lightning] McQueen missed Doc [Hudson]’s guidance and attempts to move on.” -Devin Roberts

Pixar’s Coco


  • Coco showed me that following your passion is important no matter the costs.” -Preston Moore

The Dark Tower


  • “A film in which imagination is the force holding universes together, it made me realize how powerful imagination can be.” -Mike Guimond

James Franco’s The Disaster Artist

the disaster artist

  • “[This film] taught me that anybody can accomplish their dreams if they dedicate themselves.” -Gabe Kaspar

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk


  • “A visionary movie that gave me a new movie experience of suspense without much dialogue, as well being able to have hope when seems to be nothing left.” -Devin Roberts
  • Dunkirk is a moving story that tells its audience to never give up. Even when the enemy controls the air, land, and sea, [you must] keep fighting [and] keep pushing.” -Raymond Vinuya

Jordan Peele’s Get Out

get out

  • Get Out showed me that your skin color does not define your power or capabilities.” -Preston Moore
  • “[This film] shows that horror can come in many forms especially when in true-ish form. Breaking barriers as a director, Peele gave us a glimpse into his genius post-Key and Peele.” -Devin Roberts
  • Get Out taught me to always trust your instincts and gut feelings because nothing is truly what it seems. It also teaches that in reality, sinister monsters do not take a gruesome appearance; sometimes they hide within the crowd, and they’re likely to be the ones closest to you.” -John Tangalin

A Ghost Story


  • “[This movie] gave me a perspective on the vastness of time and the relationships I have with others, and what my impact on the world is going to be.” -Ernesto Valenzuela



  • “It was a beautiful and refreshing story about family and the meaning of childhood. The story was beautiful and heartbreaking at times, but incredibly touching.” -Cecilia Lopez Closs

James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 showed me that family can be anyone who’s had a profound influence on you.” -Preston Moore
  • “[This film] inspired me to fight to music. Seriously.” -Neil Sharma
  • “People say that ‘blood is thicker than water,’ but this may not always be the case. Vol. 2 taught me that your true family is the people who morally build you up than those who break you down. They are family despite the differences you share. We see this in the iconic poignant scene involving both Yondu and Peter Quill/ Starlord when the former says, ‘He may be your father, boy, but he ain’t your daddy.’ The second film in the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, it continues to touch our hearts through themes of both loss and joy.” -John Tangalin
  • “[This film] helped me reflect on my relationship with the father figure in my life and gave me an inspiring message on the concept of family.” -Ernesto Valenzuela

Andy Muschietti’s IT

It_09162016_Day 57_16230.dng

  • “Not only is there the obvious motivation to face my fears, but also the Losers Club reminded me that whenever you feel like the whole world is against you, rest assured that someone else feels the same way, and when you band together with those people (the ones that feel the same way), it’s like nothing in the world can stop you. There will be moments of doubt and disagreement but if your friendship is strong enough, you will come out on top.” -Miguel Coelho
  • IT showed me that no matter where you come from, or what your social status is, you are stronger than you know.” -Preston Moore
  • “Personally one of my favorite films this year, IT proved that there is still hope for book adaptations or comic book adaptations. Also proving itself to be a greater box office hit than films such as Logan or movies like Justice League or Transformers: The Last Knight, this film became more than I expected it to be. When you focus on the story rather than the epitome of hatred and fear aka Pennywise the Dancing Clown, you will come to learn that faith overcomes evil always, and this power is even greater when you are not alone. Lastly, it teaches us that childhood matters because this facilitates our growth as human beings.” -John Tangalin

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond


  • “[This documentary] taught me to always remember the parts of me that make me special.” -Gabe Kaspar

Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle


  • “It reminded me that moves don’t have to be about lighting and a good score, they should just be fun.” -Akhil Modali

Kong: Skull Island


  • “[This is] a visually stunning film that, to me, told a story of euphoric chaos and makes me eager to write a film that pops like it did.” -Mike Guimond

Lady Bird


  • “[This is] a story that resonated with me by going back to my high school days, the feeling of moving to another city, and the relationship I have with my parents. [Lady Bird] motivated me to cherish the moments I share with my friends and family. You’re only young once.” -Ernesto Valenzuela

The Lego Batman Movie


  • “Not only was it a fun and entertaining movie, but really touching. [It was nice] seeing Bruce [Wayne] finally accept help and embrace his new family after all the pain he’s been through.” -Cecilia Lopez Closs
  • Lego Batman inspires me to appreciate the adversary. [It also] helped me to not alienate others.” -Neil Sharma

James Mangold’s Logan


  • “A beautiful last chapter for Jackman’s Wolverine. It filled me with nostalgia and reminded me of why I loved Wolverine so much. Even though he has a hard exterior (quite literally), he cares and will always protect those in need.” -Cecilia Lopez Closs
  • “No matter how hard you screwed up, you can still have a second chance to make things right, to help those in need and enjoy the things that matter in life, but it’s up to you to seize it.” -Miguel Coelho
  • “‘[This film] taught me to never lose sight of what’s important in life.” -Gabe Kaspar
  • “This is a complete reverse from [what I said about] Kingsman: The Golden Circle reminding me what happens when you do a movie that is amazing with angles and score.” -Akhil Modali
  • Logan showed me that no one is too far gone that they forget how to love.” -Preston Moore
  • Logan is probably my favorite superhero film of the year. It is the culmination of what 21st Century Fox has formed with the character of Wolverine. Ever since 2001, Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of both Wolverine and Charles Xavier has been an important keystone for me to enter the comic book world, so this movie was a big deal for me. [It] was a heartbreaking and satisfying conclusion of what [the two actors] have been working on for almost a decade and a half.” -Christian Quiles
  • “Simply put, [this film shows audiences] how to go out in style and give comic book fans enjoyment of something amazing coming to an end.” -Devin Roberts
  • Logan inspired me to care more.” -Neil Sharma
  • Logan taught me that home is where the heart is, and this applies quite literally on the eponymous character’s behalf. Our Adamantium hero and Professor Xavier wanted to flee from the eyes of society by planning to escape out on the sea, but along the way, they encounter more loss than they could possibly bear. Similar to what I said about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wolverine showed us that our true family is the people that accept us and see us for who we are despite our flaws. They are the people that see all the good inside of us in spite of the darkness that inflicts us.” -John Tangalin
  • “I think this one explains itself.” -Ernesto Valenzuela
  • Logan says it all in the last scene. You do not have to be what anybody makes you out to be. You can be whoever you want. It’s you against you in this world. You just have to overcome whatever is in your way, and sometimes it’s you. Sometimes the only thing holding you down is yourself: Your regrets, your mistakes, etc. And it’s about conquering your inner demons that makes you free to be whoever or whatever you want to be.” -Raymond Vinuya

Logan Lucky


  • “[This is] an expertly crafted heist movie that shows the importance of the bonds between loved ones and dedication to family.” -Ernesto Valenzuela


Jon Watts’s Spider-Man: Homecoming


  • “Just like how Tony inspired Peter to be better than him (and how Marvel inspired Sony to make a Spider-Man film better than the ones they already [made]), this movie inspired me to be a better version of myself. It also showed me that even if you can understand a person’s motives and intentions, it doesn’t mean their means are right, [therefore] you still have to do the right thing if you are willing to, and your small actions can inspire people to look for a better way.” -Miguel Coelho
  • “As the best Spider-Man film since Tobey’s run as Parker, this had to be the most exciting superhero film of this year and got me psyched for the future of the [Marvel Cinematic Universe].” -Mike Guimond
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming showed me that it takes time to reach your full potential, but it will be worth it.” -Preston Moore
  • Spider-Man Homecoming inspired me to be resilient. It’s a very relatable movie.” -Neil Sharma
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming inspired me to try to become the hero or leader that people would look up to. Through Peter Parker, we learn that our decisions make us who we are, no matter how difficult they may be. He also teaches us that absolute strength has to come from within. This film shows us a thing or two about responsibility and independence.” -John Tangalin
  • “As a young adult, I relate to [Peter Parker] hard. You do not always know what you are doing, but you have to make your own mistakes to learn from them. The most important lesson I learned in film this year is this: ‘If you’re nothing without the suit, you shouldn’t have it.’ That’s true about everything in life. If you are nothing without whatever it is that makes you yourself, you shouldn’t have it because material objects do not define you. Things like relationships, skills, etc. The only thing that should matter is who you are and the decisions you make. That’s what’s important in life.” -Raymond Vinuya

M. Night Shyamalan’s Split


  • “I was not motivated by it. I was just thrilled. It was just really, really good.” -Preston Moore
  • “The director’s previous films were either a hit or miss. They were either really good like Unbreakable or god-awful utter garbage such as The Last Airbender. Seeing this film motivated me to write intriguing plot twists when I write my stories.” -John Tangalin

Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi 


  • “I’m still mixed in my feelings on this movie and whether it is amazing or just decent, but there’s something interesting and inspiring with the dynamic between Rey, Kylo Ren, and Luke Skywalker: Rey was tempted to the Dark Side because of her fear, but as soon Kylo as mentioned killing people, [her] good nature came on top; Kylo feared the old ways too much because they made Luke almost kill him, and that fear completely took over him as he took charge of the First Order; Luke did something bad because of fear and thought he couldn’t come back and fix things but as soon as his friends needed help, he knew he had to do something, and he ultimately redeemed himself. Whether your fear tempts you to do bad things or makes you do bad things, you can decide if it takes complete control over you or if you do the right thing in the end.” -Miguel Coelho
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi showed me that anyone can be anything, no matter where they come from.” -Preston Moore
  • “The Greatest Teacher, Failure is.” -Ernesto Valenzuela
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi taught me that heroes come from the most unexpected places, that you do not need an awesome origin story to be the person others will look up to.” -John Tangalin
  • “It’s beautiful to think that anybody can come from anywhere and still succeed. Watching Rey’s story unfold made me feel like I can be anything because even the greatest things can come from nothing.” -Raymond Vinuya

Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok


  • “[This movie] touched me because it is my favorite Thor comic of all time, and to see it unfold on a big screen made my little geek heart happy.” -Akhil Modali
  • Thor: Ragnarok showed me that home is not a place, but a feeling that can be anywhere.” -Preston Moore

Matt Reeves’s War for the Planet of the Apes


  • “[This film showed] fantastic character drama light on action but heavy in dialogue and great emotional performances.” -Ernesto Valenzuela

Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman

wonder woman

  • “I grew up loving DC. When I was younger I wanted to be Wonder Woman or Batgirl, so finally seeing one of my favourite heroes on the big screen was one of the highlights of the year for me. Not only that, but the movie was amazing and the love story of Diana and humanity was beautiful.” -Cecilia Lopez Closs
  • “Being a gem–with an outstanding superheroine [along with] her story–out of the coal pile that is DC’s own cinematic universe, it made me hopeful for a focus on solo films when it comes to DC’s heroes rather than an expansive universe. It also gave me a lesson in constructing my stories by keeping them contained.” -Mike Guimond
  • “It helped balance the scales of superheroes moves and showed me that sometimes you don’t have to follow the crowd.” -Akhil Modali
  • Wonder Woman showed me that hope and love will always outlast hatred and negativity.” -Preston Moore
  • Wonder Woman inspired me to be resilient. I still to this day listen to the original soundtrack and pretend that I’m fighting like her.” -Neil Sharma
  • “[This film] is about always doing the right thing or being the better person. When [the titular character] said it’s not about what we deserve but what we believe, I thought that was beautiful. It’s true. Maybe people deserve less and others deserve more, but what matters is what you believe in right?” -Raymond Vinuya

Do you agree with this list? Were there films not on this list that touched, motivated, or inspired you in some way? Are you ready for next year’s movies? Let us know! We’ll see you on the other side in 2018. For more geek-related news and reviews, follow Geek Motivation on Twitter (@GeekMotivation) and Instagram (@geekmotivation).

Written by: John Tangalin