Top 10 Movies of 2018
Passing Thoughts on My Favorite Movies From This Year
Thought #1: Thank you, Netflix!
10. Bohemian Rhapsody
Let me begin by saying this is a flawed movie. Its chief sin was giving Rami Malek precious little to work with outside of concert scenes (possibly costing him the Oscar come February). It breaks into my top ten, though, because of Malek's stellar performance and the pure energy that radiates from each concert. This was one of maybe three movies this year that left me feeling invigorated upon leaving the theater.
9. Set It Up
The resurgence of the rom com is undeniable, though few have been able to update it in a way that corroborates with the Time's Up movement. (I know, I know, movies take a long time to make and so better, female-centric movies are *probably* coming soon. Fingers crossed.) It may be small in scope, but Set It Up is funny, cute, and passes the Bechdel Test. Though I think The Big Sick (2017) is the best modern rom com, this movie sets the bar for what the unabashedly trope-y rom com should be. Plus, the pizza scene made me LOL IRL.
8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
I still haven't figured out how the Coen Brothers managed to make me enjoy a Western anthology feature, but it's 2018 and anything is possible. Three of the six short stories broke my heart, which is three more than A Star Is Born!
7. Private Life
Tamara Jenkins turned out an endearing, honest, and (frankly) educational film with Kathryn Hahn at the helm. Private Life is one of two movies this year (the other is Tully, of course) driven exclusively by women's issues. Hahn makes an impression outside of her usual character roles in one of my favorite performances of the year.
6. Eighth Grade
It took me a second watch to truly appreciate this movie. It's such a visceral film, I needed time to unpack my own anxiety before going back in for a second viewing. Eighth Grade has been hailed as the first true bildungsroman of the digital age, and it is. What I can't help but focus in on, though, is the car scene and the apologies at its close. Perhaps I'm just reliving my own nightmares, but I could feel the weight of the psychological scarring during that scene. No movie has ever felt so true to life.
Spike Lee adds the perfect amount of hilarity and context to make this film a powerful condemnation of the current rise in hate crime and hate speech while keeping it palatable to right-leaning audiences. It packs the punch that Green Book sorely lacks.
4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Anyone who leaves this out of their top ten this year deserves to be blocked. I've never been a big fan of animated entertainment, and I have long since considered PG movies to be a waste of my MoviePass 3/month viewings. But THIS. Spider-Verse is the antithesis to that train of thought.
3. The Favourite
If you hadn't caught on to the trend yet: I'm a sucker for female-driven movies. The fact that this one places the relationship between three women at the foreground and politics in the background is brilliant. Just don't ask me about the final sequence because I don't get it either.
I experienced full body chills no less than three times when I first watched this. Alfonso Cuarón, acting as his own DP (!), places the audience in the humble shoes of his childhood nanny. His respect for her is apparent in every scene, and the way he writes in the racism and classism of 1970s Mexico City is nothing short of masterful.
1. American Animals
I blame MoviePass Ventures for the lack of awareness around this film. It's entirely fresh in its mixing of genre (a documentary-infused dramedy?), entertaining the whole way through, and the message at the end [reminiscent of the final scenes in Dope (2015)] speaks to one of the root causes of our current cultural/political climate, which other films have only hinted at. This is my pick for movie to end the era of movies driven by white men.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): Thoroughbreds, The Front Runner, Mary Queen of Scots, The Death of Stalin, Colette, The Wife, RBG, Tully, Black Panther