Looking back at the films of 2018 with my personal ten favorites.
Trying to complete at list of my favorite films of 2018 was difficult. That being said, my list is not what I feel is best, but were my favorites for various reasons. You can check out part one which covered my favorites 18-11 at the previous post, but for now here is the list of my ten favorite films of 2018.
#10: Eighth Grade
Bo Burnham’s directorial debut was an enlightening look at the awkwardness of being an eighth grader and trying to find your place in the world. Too old to think of yourself as a kid, but not old enough to be able to handle more adult situations, this is something that everyone can relate to. Up-and-comer Elsie Fisher is our guide and star of the film as Kayla, with her acting skills on point to where you’re not sure what the actual awkwardness ends and acting begins. This may be R-rated (because of some sexual situations), but this should be a must watch for families with preteens and young teenagers alike.
#9: Mission Impossible Fallout
It takes a special kind of film where the sixth installment of the series ends up being the best yet, but Tom Cruise delivers a gem with Mission Impossible Fallout. Taking off directly after the events of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the addition of Henry Cavill to the cast took this film from action-packed to ass-kicking fun with the push of Superman’s fists in the air (which is one of the movie gifs of the year). A lengthy film that never feels its 147-minute runtime, it starts at an eight and just elevates from there. For God’s sake, Tom Cruise broke is ankle during filming and that shot stayed in the film.
There are films that you watch where an event occurs where you as the audience have to make a choice as to either take the leap and go with it or not, rendering your personal enjoyment a moot point. Revenge starring Matilda Lutz is a prime example of such a film, and it’s a raw, unapologetic, action-packed bloodbath. The way Jennifer (Lutz) picks off her attackers one-by-one is elevated to a final act that has so much carnage that Quentin Tarantino would find it a bit egregious. I am excited to see where director Coralie Fargeat goes from here.
#7: Paddington 2
On the opposite end of the spectrum from many films on this list is the most delightful experience I had watching a film all year with Paddington 2. Hugh Grant shines as the villainous Phoenix Buchanan, a jack-of-all-trades washed-up actor who frames Paddington for armed robbery. Paul King, who directed and co-wrote both Paddington films, shows again that he can make a balanced family film that everyone can enjoy. In an era where kids films still rely of fart jokes and void of any real storyline, Paddington 2 is the shining light that more people should see.
Director Spike Lee roared back with a vengeance with his best work in over a decade with BlackKklansman, the real-life story of rookie Colorado Springs police office Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) who wants to make a name for himself. How does he do it? By infiltrating the KKK by proxy with the assistance of partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), who poses as Stallworth during face-to-face conversations with Klan members, going as deep as meeting David Duke (Topher Grace). The screenplay is biting and balanced between humor and dramatic moments, with an epilogue that resonates to events that are happening present day.
A black-and-white film with possibly the most stunning cinematography of the year, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma is a look into the soul of the director, who based this on the lives of the women growing up around him as a child. This is a slow-build movie that you have to keep your eyes on throughout. First-time actress Yalitza Aparicio gives Cuaron’s screenplay life, with so much happening in the third act that you will remember particular events for weeks if not months afterwards. This is worthy of multiple viewings, and hopefully there is a theater near you that is still showing this on the big screen.
#4: A Quiet Place
While not a first-time director, John Krasinski elevated his game with the horror-thriller A Quiet Place, a film he also co-wrote and starred along side his wife Emily Blunt. In the not to distant future, an alien race has infiltrated the country, hunting by using their super-sense of hearing. Make too much noise, and more than likely you will die. You can tell in writing the script and how they performed that both Krasinski and Blunt pulled from the real-life drive to protect their family. The ninety-minute runtime flies by with action and thrills, with young actress Millicent Simmons being the standout performer as the family daughter Regan.
This was a film that took me two viewings to fully understand everything that was packed into the A24 breakout horror film Hereditary, and any time someone asks if they should see it, I alway tell them to do what I did. There is so much going on with this film that it is the definition of blink and you’ll miss it. The set design and cinematography is nearly flawless, and Toni Colette gives one of the performances of the year that, unfortunately, will not garner her the Academy Award nomination she so richly deserves. She lays everything out on the table, with the family dinner scene being one of my favorite scenes all year. You may want to keep the lights on for this one, and if you have Amazon Prime you can watch it right now. So stop reading this, watch Hereditary if you haven’t done so already, and come back.
#2: A Star is Born
Yes, this is the fourth time that A Star is Born has been made into a motion picture, and if you have seen any of the previous versions, you will know the story beats. Going into it, I did not see any of the earlier versions, so I found myself fully enveloped in the story of a falling star (Bradley Cooper) who takes on a young protege (Lady Gaga), and she becomes the breakout star. They fall in love, she becomes more of a success, and he has to deal with the fact that he is not the artist he once was. This is a film that is garnering a lot of awards buzz, and rightfully so, with it having the potential of being nominated for upwards of seven to ten Oscars. You will probably enjoy this a lot more if you have never seen any of the previous versions, but I would highly suggest making the effort to watch the Judy Garland 1954 version, even with its near three-hour runtime. This would have been my #1 favorite film of the year, had it not been for…
#1: The Favourite
Director Yorgos Lanthimos has never been one to shy away from making films he wants to make. Whether it be Dogtooth, The Lobster, or The Killing of a Sacred Deer, he always finds a way to have people talking about his work, good, bad, or otherwise. While The Favourite may be his most mainstream film to date, it’s his most complete film. The three lead females Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, Rachel Weisz as her confidant Lady Marlborough, and Emma Stone as the cousin-turned-infiltrator Abigail all giving magnificent performances. The screenplay, while not written by Lanthimos, still feels like it has his touch by being vicious, absurd, and nearly perfect. These three women are the story, with how they are all playing one another in order to have the power they want, in whatever form that may be being the focal point. The men in the film are all pawns, and rightfully so. The Favourite, with its specular performances, amazing set and costume design, and outside-the-box cinematography, is easily my favo(u)rite film of 2018.
There are a few films that I did not get to in 2018 that I plan on seeing this year that could have the potential of making this list. Those would include They Shall Not Grow Old, Cold War, and Stan and Ollie.
Well that’s my list. What are your favorite films from 2018? Are there some things I did not mention that would be a personal favorite of yours? Give me a follow at http://instagram.com/moviebirb.
Also, I am always looking for feedback, so leave a comment below, and as always, be civil.