As is per usual, I’m a little late to the party. Unfortunately, there were a few movies I was waiting out on seeing, in the hopes that they would somehow make it onto the list, but it turns out, nope! For once, everything I saw in the year of 2018 – you know, while it was occurring – will make it onto my list. So if anything, at least it’s a slight improvement over the previous years. Or maybe it’s just showing that I can actually get things done on time.
Anyway, here’s my list! Here’s to an even better year coming up!
10. Springsteen on Broadway
Wasn’t sure if I wanted to include this or not, considering that it was basically just a filmed-play, but hey, it’s my list so I’m making the rules around here, okay!?! Anyway, for Springsteen fans, this is obviously a must-see, but for the unconverted, it’s still well worth seeing if you want to find out what this Springsteen guy is all about and how he’s able to make us laugh, make us cry, make us rock out, and sometimes, make us do it all at once. Keep on goin’, Bruce! We still need you!
9. Paddington 2
Ah yes, that lovely bear. Though I was charmed by the first, nothing could have prepared me for the sheer love, heart, and joy that came with the sequel. Sure, some of my adoration had to do with this seeing this in the very first week of January (generally considered the dumping-ground for all studios) and of course, the disastrous political-climate, but honestly, it moved me. Which is weird for a talking-bear movie. Also, Hugh Grant deserves an Oscar for this. I am not kidding.
8. A Quiet Place
Have I seen it since it premiered in theaters? No, I have not. However, does that matter? In cases like these, I don’t think so. For a movie that somewhat went on the gimmick, it was still able to be shocking, intense, and smart, even for a post-apocalyptic monster movie. Also, watching it will forever go down as one of my most memorable experiences in the movie-theaters, as a packed-crowd, all of whom were seeing the movie for free, were actually as quiet as the characters on-screen, making it all the more eerie.
While I wasn’t quite as hot on co-writer/director Panos Cosmatos’ first movie (Beyond the Black Rainbow), somehow, it all came together for me here. A movie that was dark, insane, delirious, disturbing, spooky, and altogether exciting, yet still kept up with the madman that is an inspired Nic Cage, Mandy was the rip-roaring experience I needed. In fact, I think we all needed. Please stick with us Nic. Don’t go back to crummy bargain-bin flicks. Please.
6. Eighth Grade
To be fair, any of coming-of-ager is right up my alley, but for some reason, Eighth Grade felt a tad bit different. It was honest, painstakingly cringe-inducing, and most of all, heartfelt, but without ever conforming to sappiness or over-saturated wit. Which is weird considering that writer/director Bo Burnham’s stand-up has never made me laugh. Wow. Color me surprised on this one.
For those who had the common complaint that there was simply “too much” going on in Widows, well, what did ya want? So often movies of this caliber have very little actually going on beneath the surface, so whenever there is something this big, this ambitious, and this stacked from head-to-toe with talent, it’s best to just appreciate it and embrace, rather than shoo off. Especially if it’s something as entertaining, smart, and compelling as this. Shame it bombed, as seems to be the case with anything in the mainstream that tries to do a little something different for once.
4. First Reformed
No matter how many months passed since I saw it, First Reformed stayed in my mind and hardly ever left. Smart, thoughtful, yet at the same time, sad, depressing, and ultimately bleak, it’s not the kind of movie you’d expect to really bring out heartfelt emotions, but by the end, as I found myself shook and tearing-up, I wondered to myself, “Just what the hell happened?” Well, Paul Schrader happened. Again. And I guess he’s back. For good.
I’ll admit it, after my initial-viewing of Burning, I wasn’t totally on-board. In a way, I felt it was slow, meandering, and a little too satisfied with its own pace. But like other films on this list, I took some time to come around to it and appreciate it for all of it small, yet effective maneuvers in creating one of the most surprising, most suspenseful, and most timely social-thriller of the year. If you can read subtitles for two-and-a-half-hours, trust me, see it. Whenever you can.
2. A Star is Born
Yes, the one movie that pretty much everybody and their mothers went to see, also just so happened one of the best year. How? Turns out, when adapting a story for the fourth time, all you need to do is add a lot of heart, great acting, memorable tunes, and lovely characters to fall in love with all over again, to do the trick. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
1. The Favourite
Get it? It’s my fav(ou)rite of the year? Anyway, yes, it is. While watching Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest brutality-fest, there was a feeling that I haven’t had in quite some time and it only comes around whenever I watch inexplicably great movies: The feeling of giddiness. My toes begin to tap, my hands start to shake, and my jaw won’t stay shut. Call me insane, call it some form of tourettes, but whatever it is, I just couldn’t stop having a blast during the Favourite, regardless of how mean, or cruel, or despicable, or downright evil these characters got. No matter what, they always felt like human beings and considering the current political-climate, a little too real, if you ask me. But hey, where the hell would we be if it weren’t for movies reminding us that as bad as it may be now, don’t forget, it could be a whole lot worse.