Even though it feels like I dealt with more issues at the theater this year than any time before (people talking, using their phones), 2018 was another great year at the movies. 2018 brought us many great movies. We experienced movies that brought current social issues from around the world to the big screen. We experienced movies that made us remember those beautiful days in the neighborhood with Mister Rogers and relive some of history’s most iconic moments, whether they took place on the moon or on stage for the whole world to see. We experienced streaming giants who made movies that are starting to get their feet wet and compete with the big studios that have been around much longer than them. We experienced movies that made us laugh, cry, connect, gasp, and, most importantly escape from reality. These experiences are a part of why we love movies so much, and that is why we should always talk about the best of the best every year. Talk about the ones that deserve the attention. Ones that you may have not heard about that absolutely deserve your time (and money). Are there movies left off this list that deserve to be seen as well? Of course! It happens every year. Making this year’s list was more difficult for me than in years past. But anywho, follow me for what I think were the best movies of 2018.
10. Thunder Road
Unpredictable, funny, and heartbreaking are just a few words that describe Jim Cummings’ off-kilter drama about a single father whose life is turned upside and who tries to keep things together while staying on the job as a cop. Featuring the year’s best opening in a movie (an all-timer if you ask me), Thunder Road is a powerful indie movie that reminds audiences just how vulnerable we are and how hopeful we can be as long as we can get through any of the lows that life throws at us. In a year full of outstanding indie movies, be sure not to overlook this one. It’s worth your time and money.
Given the current state of things around the world, the word “timely” gets thrown around so often with movies these days. However, no movie in recent memory feels as timely as Blindspotting. Touching on a number of current social issues across America, Blindspotting is a poetic-like story that not only packs a punch, but also is funny. Featuring two performances that are among some of the year’s best (Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal), you will be talking about Blindspotting long after the movie is over.
8. First Man
It’s a shame how quickly people forget about this exhilarating (and personal) biopic. In a year full of great movies, director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La Land) reminded us once again why we should never overlook anything he makes now or in the years to come.
“First Man soars thanks in part to Damien Chazelle’s personal focus on the heroism and emotions of reaching the moon from Neil Armstrong’s point of view. Its realism and emotional involvement make watching Neil Armstrong and the many people involved in successfully accomplishing the most dangerous mission in human history a fascinating journey. History has told us about the historic landing, what it meant for mankind, and what it has paved the way for in today’s society. But First Man puts the audience right in the boots of a man who was a hero long before he took that one giant leap for mankind.” Read the full review HERE.
7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
The year’s best comic book movie, animated movie, and best Spider-Man movie of all-time is quite simply a game-changer on so many fronts. Receiving more praise than just about every other movie released in 2018, the hype is warranted.
“Spider-Verse is a refreshing superhero tale we didn’t know we needed or thought was possible, but it’s one that is just as great as its new web-slinging protagonist.” Read the full review HERE.
6. A Quiet Place
Who would have thought five years ago that John Krasinski would deliver one of the best horror movies in recent memory? Everything, including the concept, story, scares/thrills, and acting is top-notch. The scene with the bathtub? The red lights? So many images from A Quiet Place have remained with me ever since I saw it last spring. The only negative thing about A Quiet Place? It’s praise and box office takings (worthy of all of it), unfortunately, brought us a sequel announcement. Here’s hoping Krasinski will make a meaningful horror sequel instead of another horror sequel cash grab.
Everything about Vice is sizzling good. Playing out like a Shakespearean satire, this look at one of the world’s most powerful (and secretive) men in history does not hold back. Christian Bale gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Dick Cheney, along with Steve Carrell as Donald Rumsfeld. And Adam McKay’s direction here is as sharp as ever. One minute you’ll be laughing; the next you might be angry at what you see play out (based on your political views) and debate whether it actually happened in real life. Either way, it’s as entertaining a movie as any you’ll see this year and one that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
4. A Star is Born
Like myself, I don’t see how anyone who walked out of A Star is Born didn’t at least listen to the soundtrack five times. But A Star is Born is more than just a movie with great music. It’s a movie that will not win you over, but one that will knock you out. What Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have done here is worth all the awards consideration. And as things stand right now, I think A Star is Born is the frontrunner at this year’s Oscars.
“A Star is Born is a classic rise-and-fall story made for a whole new generation; it’s a melodrama drowned in music and big and bold in its presentation. When you see a remake of a story that’s been told on more than a couple of occasions, you’re sure to have some reservations. You’re sure to expect the clichés and get an idea of how things play out from a mile away. While that may be the case for this version of A Star is Born, what Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga do here is flat-out remarkable; their authenticity and commitment to the two main roles sell audiences on this oft-told story, which plays out like a new rendition of a classic song cranked on a jukebox to the max.” Read the full review HERE.
3. Mission Impossible: Fallout
Relentless and heart-pounding, Mission: Impossible Fallout is the best action movie since Mad Max: Fury Road. In the sixth Ethan Hunt adventure, director Christopher McQuarrie never lets Tom Cruise take his foot off the pedal. More daring and thrilling than ever before, this new Mission Impossible pushes the limits in terms of action, and the results are nothing short of amazing. It’s also worth noting that Henry Cavill’s mustache in Fallout was worth all the hoopla over his Superman reshoots in Justice League.
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbor
The year’s most essential viewing (and year’s best documentary) left me completely floored. As we live in tumultuous times, this profoundly moving documentary shows us that even if we give off just an ounce of the best that we can be, it can go a long way in life for those around us. Thank you for bringing hope, joy, love, and kindness to the world, Mister Rogers.
The first movie I’ve called a masterpiece in at least two years, Roma is a journey that requires patience from its viewers. And if viewers are patient, they will be rewarded with an affecting movie that will stand the test of time for years to come. Dealing with themes of love, courage, hope, change, and home, Roma is a personal story that’s every bit as extraordinary as any movie from the past decade. And that scene on the beach that Netflix advertised everywhere? It’s every bit as iconic as any other shot in a movie ever made.
“Cuarón, currently one of the best filmmakers in the industry, has delivered a heartening masterpiece about how life can be both cruel and rewarding. It’s an odyssey that’s deeply moving by showing us how gentle humanity is and how loving it can be. It’s a portrait that’s both mesmerizing and simplistic in execution. It’s quite simply the year’s best movie.” Read the full review HERE.