Movie Final - My Favorite Movies of 2018
2018 was remarkable in terms of cinematic milestones. Some of my favorite movies of the decade will have been released this year. This is the hardest list yet that I have had to put together.
Quick Note: Due to my location and/or financial situation, I haven't been able to watch every movie released this year that I wanted to, so there will be gaps in this list. Some of these films were limited runs that don't play around here, and others I just simply couldn't afford to drive to or go see at the time.
Honorable Mention 1 - Sorry To Bother You
When I saw the preview for this movie, I thought it looked great. But the previews do not at all sell what this movie actually is. Sorry To Bother You is a weird and wonderful take on the human condition, what human time is worth, and what greed can do. The metaphors jump out at you, and if you ever wanted to see what Jordan Peele's Get Out would look like if it was mixed with Kevin Smith's Tusk, then this is the movie for you. The cast is great, the message is clear, and it is definitely one of the most memorable movies of the year.
Honorable Mention 2 - Incredibles 2
Pixar is fully in the sequel game now, and that was a bad thing outside of Toy Story. But Incredibles 2 delivers as well as it could. It is falls into the sequel trope of being very identical to the first one, but a lot of fun is to be had. The film still manages to build on the first one, and expand the world of The Incredibles as we know it. If Disney and Pixar wanted to have an "Incredible Cinematic Universe" with spinoffs of other minor characters, they certainly could. One sequence in particular - Jack Jack versus a raccoon - is a moment that is one of Pixar's best ever. You can see the love and affection that Brad Bird and Co. have for these characters, and it shows throughout the film.
You can read my full review of Incredibles 2 right here.
Honorable Mention 3 - Crazy Rich Asians
I wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did. What people are doing with the "romantic comedy" genre is pretty extraordinary. Done are the days of selling a ticket by having Matthew McConaughey take his shirt off. Audiences demand a smarter brand of movie. Crazy Rich Asians gives that to them. What's great is how the thought of a rich family is portrayed. Usually, it is shown that the money is a good thing. This subverts that expectation. Not only are the characters rich, but the story is too. It was not cookie cutter in the slightest, and that is what makes it so great. The film does a great job displaying a lot of the Asian talent that Hollywood doesn't use enough. If you are looking for something fun, yet heartfelt, look no further that Crazy Rich Asians.
Honorable Mention 4 - Paddington 2
It is a shame that this movie didn't do better. It is absolutely delightful from start to finish. It is rare when a sequel stands up to the first one. In fact, Paddington 2 might even be better than the first one. It is a kids movie that doesn't talk down to kids, yet is beneficial for adults to watch too. The movie is absolutely star-studded, and it feels like everyone is having a blast being there. If you haven't seen these movies, I highly recommend it. It will warm your heart.
Honorable Mention 5 - Roma
Whether it is a school full of wizards, a space walk gone wrong, or a war torn Mexico in the 1970's, Alfonso Cuaron knows how to pump emotion and feeling into every frame of a movie. Roma is his latest, and it is no different. The movie is in black and white, and entirely in Spanish. That will turn some people off of it, but it shouldn't. It is difficult not to cry at this movie. It is absolutely heartbreaking. The culmination of events that leads to a breakdown on the beach, is some of Cuaron's best work. Netflix is more miss than hit with their films, but Roma knocks it right out of the park.
10. Game Night
It is rare nowadays to find a comedy that will even register on my radar let alone be so good that it is worthy of a top ten list. But Game Night is absolutely hilarious. It has relevant comedy, and is outrageous enough to be remembered. The script is predictable in some areas, but surprising in others. Rachel McAdams and Jesse Plemons give career-highlight performances. Game Night is a truly funny comedy, with an all-star cast and a ton of extremely awkward and hilarious moments. More comedies need to be this good.
9. Black Panther
It is a testament to 2018 that I briefly forgot that Black Panther was out this year. It is the superhero movie done right. The visuals of Wakanda, the message of privilege and how to help those without it, resonate with everyone. The cultural impact it is still having to this day is truly remarkable. It has all the importance of a culturally relevant movie, with all of the fun of a Marvel Cinematic Universe entry. Forget the superhero genre for a second this is just a good movie. Period.
You can read my full review of Black Panther right here.
8. Love, Simon
If you told me that a romantic comedy about a kid coming out of the closet would be on my top 10 list, I would have laughed. But Love, Simon is a romantic comedy done correctly. It has all of the heart and emotion needed, but is also legitimately sweet and funny. The movie is structured in a way that keeps you guessing until the very end, but the payoff is satisfying. I watched this on a small tablet on an airplane - less than ideal circumstances. But I was drawn into the wonderful story right away. This, like Paddington 2 will warm your heart. Love, Simon should be the standard to which all other romantic comedies should be held to.
7. Christopher Robin
What if you made Hook but with Winnie The Pooh characters instead of Peter Pan ones? Then you would get Christopher Robin; a wonderful look at the dangers of overworking, and losing your inner child. The movie sets up a world with a grown-up, overworked (and not very good) father in Christopher Robin. When Pooh re-enters his life, he shows Christopher Robin how to enjoy his family and his life again. It uses the same blueprints as Hook, but has it's own distinct style and feel. If you were a Winnie The Pooh fan, this will be an IV straight into your heart and your emotions.
You can read my full review of Christopher Robin right here.
I felt anxious watching the previews for this, and that feeling never left. However, that was exactly the point. This Spike Lee Joint was based on a true story of a black police officer infiltrating the KKK. The cast Lee put together, specifically John David Washington and Adam Driver, were so electric on screen that any scenes without either of them lacked something. The movie was brutal, and uncomfortable, but wholly necessary. The brilliance of it was the way Lee decided to end it. With him relating it to current events, it drives the point of the film home way more than if it was kept a period piece. Everyone should see this. They should show it in schools. It isn't appropriate for children, but then again, neither is life. The conversations that this film spawns are important ones to have. Hate will never win, and there is no better way to show that then BlackKklansman.
You can read my full review of BlackKklansman right here.
5. Avengers: Infinity War
While this only landed as number 5 on my list, it is without a doubt the most impressive feat of 2018. For Marvel and the Russos to pull this off is nothing short of a miracle. This was the culmination of 10 years worth of movies! Every character in here could anchor their own movie, yet they all worked well together. Each main character got their moments, yet the film never felt lost or disjointed. Infinity War was more than a movie - it was an event. It works because they make the villain the main character. This is Thanos's movie. Everyone else is there because they are reacting to it. In a vacuum, I'm not sure how people would have reacted to this. But having all of the various MCU movies do the dirty work for them before this, makes the path clear for them to be able to go for broke. They did, and it paid off big time. Infinity War was one of the most technically difficult movies of 2018. It also has one of the most shocking endings of a movie in 2018. Both of those reasons are why it was one of the most successful movies of the year, and the decade.
You can read my full review of Avengers: Infinity War right here.
4. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Tom Cruise is the last great "movie star". Everyone else blurs the line between film and television. No one has had the longevity and box office draw that he has had. This is the 6th Mission: Impossible movie since 1996. It is also one of the best ones. The action is relentless. The story is smart. In 2018, it gives you things you've never seen before. It is intense from the first frame until the credits role. There are things in this movie you've never seen before, and in today's world, that is saying something! Fallout is a magnificent feat of cinema, and deserves to be recognized on every list made. Long live the box office King!
You can read my full review of Mission: Impossible - Fallout right here.
3. Bad Times At The El Royale
Sometimes, you walk out of a movie and know you've seen something special. Bad Times At The El Royale was that this year. The movie is like if Quentin Tarantino directed Clue. Each character has secrets. The journey you take to uncover those secrets is a thrilling ride. Every turn keeps you guessing. Every character has something to add that makes the story better and better. It's gorgeously shot, impeccably directed, and flawlessly acted. It is truly a feat to behold. Original cinema is rare in 2018. Bad Times At The El Royale proves why it is still so important. If you see one live action, scripted film this year, make it this one.
You can read my full review of Bad Times At The El Royale right here.
2. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
I would have bet good money that Avengers: Infinity War would have been my favorite superhero movie of the year. I would have lost that bet. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is superior. Stronger story, better visuals, better music. This movie truly lives up to the definition of "masterpiece". This is a movie that needs to be seen on the largest screen possible. People need to stop being "animationist". Just because it isn't live action doesn't mean it isn't any good. This is some of the best animation ever. It seamlessly blends traditional animation with CGI, anime, cell-shading and a few other styles together. It is a spectacle to behold. The story is rich and emotional, and when the credits roll, you won't want to get up because you'll crave more. I wish we had more films like this.
You can read my full review of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse right here.
1. Won't You Be My Neighbor
As soon as I saw this, I knew there was nothing that would beat it. A documentary that chronicles the legend that is Mr. Rogers? How can it not be my favorite film of the year? Mr. Rogers is a national treasure. His approach to life is something that is sorely missed nowadays. We need him more than ever. Won't You Be My Neighbor does its due diligence. It gets to the man behind the make believe. You keep waiting to hear the scandal. Infidelity, sexual deviance, blackmail, murder, whatever. But it never comes. Mr. Rogers was the human that all humans should aspire to be. The film does an incredible job capturing that. You will finish watching it and reflect on your own life. It will make you want to be better. Regardless of how kind you already are, it will make you want to be kinder. It was an honor to watch this movie. It was an honor to experience the phenomenon of Mr. Rogers first hand. It was a privilege to be his neighbor. Watch this movie. You won't just be entertained, but you will strive to be better, and we could all use that.
2018 Films I have seen: