2018 felt like a banner year, but then again they always do. To put into perspective, last year we had “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” “Lady Bird” and “Get Out” (among many others) - which begged the question: how higher could Hollywood take us?
Turns out, the sky was the limit.
From highlighting our awkward teenage transition to high school, one superhero making a cultural statement, and Tom Cruise continuing to defy gravity - 2018 started with a bang (see Natalie Portman in “Annihilation”) and ended with a roar (see Adam McKay's 'Vice'). That being said, there are many terrific films that were released this year - “Mary Poppins Returns,” “A Quiet Place,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “BlacKkKlansman” that didn’t make the cut (justifying how exceptional the year was). It wasn’t easy, 170 movies later and this is what I’ve compiled: here are my selections for the best films of 2018.
10. Sorry To Bother You
Rapper turned filmmaker Boots Riley without question delivered the most bonkers flick in 2018. A racially charged satire that emphasized what it’s like to stay woke in the current political climate. Lakeith Stanfield made waves as a telemarketer climbing the ranks whilst using his “white voice” dubbed in via a hilarious David Cross voiceover. Sure it’s weird, but unforgettable.
9. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Melissa McCarthy tried to make audiences laugh with “Life of the Party” and “The Happytime Murders” but it was her dramatic turn in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” that stood the tallest. "Forgive Me?" tackles the true story of author Lee Israel who falls out of step with current society, and how she turned her writing into deception. Featuring Richard E Grant in an Oscar worthy performance as her partner in crime, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” exemplifies wonderful human emotion and connection.
8. Black Panther
Can you name a superhero film that packed as much cultural significance in its initial run other than “Black Panther?” While other superhero films (like “The Dark Knight”) have been worthy of Oscar consideration, “Panther” could win. Ryan Coogler's trek into the beloved Marvel character only needed to be half as good as it was, but we got something better. No question Chadwick Boseman’s turned in a charismatic portrayal of the titular Wakanda hero, however it was Michael B Jordan as antagonist Erik Killmonger that stole the entire show.
7. The Guilty
This swedish import went back to the basics: it stuck a man in front of a computer screen answering 911 phone calls. While that premise sounds simple, “The Guilty” is far from it. A twisty, intense, and revealing thriller that holds you and never lets go.
6. The Favourite
Easily Yorgos Lanthimos most approachable film to date (remember the absurd “The Lobster?”) - “The Favourite” is a rowdy and hilarious dive into 18th century England. Olivia Colman slays as the frail Queen Anne who currently occupies the throne with the aid of her close friend Lady Sara (Rachel Weisz never funnier). All their normal routines become upended when new servent Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives and vies for the Queen’s attention. And the results from this lightning in a bottle comedic trio gives “The Favourite” a much needed edge of flair. Don’t miss it.
5. Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Tom Cruise is a god among men, and his continued presence in this series is everything our world and country need. That is all.
4. American Animals
Another true story cracks the top five, this one starring Evan Peters (among others) in a flick about four college-aged bros attempting to steal priceless artifacts from a university in Kentucky. The heist sequence is a rush, and director Bart Layton blends dramatization with the intricacies of real-life in a way that feels unique and satisfying.
3. First Man
Damien Chazelle is no joke, the Academy Award winning director decided to fly out of this world with his Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man.” Headlined by Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy and featuring an electric score by the irreplaceable Justin Hurwitz, “First Man” takes the viewer on one helluva journey through the trials and tribulations of the Apollo missions and the eventual landing on the moon. While that may have been one small step for man - for Chazelle it was a giant leap in filmmaking.
Adam McKay proves his chops again post “The Big Short” with his biographical (and humours) look on former VP Dick Cheney and his rise as one of the most influential political figures in history. Christian Bale leads an ensemble cast that includes Amy Adams and Steve Carell as respective politicians in their own rights, “Vice” could face backlash for its glib take on Cheney as a whole, but McKay waste no time pulling out the stops and going for the heavy hits and succeeds at nearly every corner.
1. Eighth Grade
The world owes a debt of gratitude to Bo Burnham, because the former comedian now-turned-writer-and-director has given us a gift. “Eighth Grade” tackles (almost too realistically) how we all felt during those awkward transition years from middle to high school. Elsie Fisher gives the best performance of the year as the young Kayla, who just wants to be cool and fit in. She also has homework, obsesses over boys, and longs for acceptance, but along the way learns a thing or two about self-love. Funny, poignant, and heartwarming “Eighth Grade” takes the cake as the best film of 2018. Gucci!
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sorry To Bother You
HONORABLE MENTIONS: The next ten best movies of 2018
Crazy Rich Asians, Hereditary, Annihilation, Free Solo, Hot Summer Nights,
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Three Identical Strangers, We The Animals
The Incredibles 2, and Borg vs. McEnroe.
THE WORST FILMS OF 2018
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
The Darkest Minds