It’s that time.
2018 may have been a slightly down year for film on the whole, especially showcased by the abysmal Best Picture nominees, but there were still plenty of movies worthy of this list.
A reminder that this is my personal list, and that it is not strictly based on the scores that I gave through the year. Opinions change, and some movies grow on me, so here it is, my 10 favorite movies of 2018. But first the honorable mentions:
“Isle of Dogs”
“You Were Never Really Here”
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
10.) “Black Panther”
Starting off the list is the Marvel origin story that blew me away early on in 2018. Ryan Coogler took the superhero genre by storm with this one, using gorgeous cinematography and a new flair to create an MCU movie that stands alone with its format and execution. Pair that with tremendous performances from the whole cast, especially Michael B. Jordan, and “Black Panther” delivered on every front.
9.) “A Star Is Born”
Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is a triumph, and the best thing he has done in his career. His performance is great, yes, but it’s truly his eye for immaculate shots and stunning emotion that makes this movie standout. Pair that with a performance for the ages from Lady Gaga and the clear original song of the year in “Shallow,” and you have one hell of a movie.
8.) “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
The surprise of the year comes in the form of this animated masterpiece, as “Into the Spider-Verse” is everything it was supposed to be and much, much more. The humor hits hard, the story hits even harder and the animation is some of the best I’ve ever seen. All I wanted was a fun movie, and what I got was quite possibly the greatest Spider-Man movie ever made.
7.) “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
I don’t know how they do it, but the “Mission: Impossible” franchise just keeps getting better. “Fallout” is Tom Cruise’s finest hour, it’s Christopher McQuarrie’s finest hour, and it’s one of the best action movies in recent memory. McQuarrie fuses amazing sequences of action with a story that simply works, and I can’t wait to see the somehow-better seventh one in a few years.
6.) “Paddington 2”
Everyone can think I’m kidding, but I 100 percent I am not. “Paddington 2” is one of the best kid movies this decade, and it just works so well at bringing a smile to my face, and consistently surprising me from start to finish. I laughed, I cried and I just hope we get a third. There’s a reason this is the highest rated movie in Rotten Tomatoes’ history: because “Paddington 2” is just that good.
5.) “The Favourite”
Yorgos Lanthimos is one of the most exciting directors working today, and “The Favourite” is his best work yet. Brilliantly combining the talents of Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, Lanthimos brings his usual dry comedy and unique style, but in a way that is somehow his most accessible film to date. The trio of leads are all tremendous, and work brilliantly off each other, the score and cinematography are superb, and if any of the nominees are gonna take it, I’ll be rooting for “The Favourite” to take home Best Picture come Oscars time.
Ari Aster, thank you. Thank you for making one of the greatest horror movies of the modern era with “Hereditary.” This movie works first as a drama, then with the complete feel of uneasiness for the entirety of the second half I think the final revelation is brilliant, I think the major plot twist in the first half is brilliant, and I think this is the type of movie that serves as a benchmark for the horror genre moving forward.
My first 10 of the year was quite a surprise, and one that I wish found itself more recognition. But I will take the initiative, because “Thoroughbreds” is one outstanding film. I love the premise and how first-time director Cory Finley deals with it. I love the pair of lead performances, as well as the one from the late Anton Yelchin. This is just one of those movies I would not change a single frame of, and the way it mixes multiple genres without a hitch is spectacular.
2.) “Avengers: Infinity War”
The best superhero movie of the year and one of the best of all-time, “Avengers: Infinity War” managed to surpass even the loftiest of expectations. There are seemingly dozens of storylines, and each of them feel warranted. Thanos, after about a decade of waiting, was better than I could have ever imagined, and is steered perfectly by Josh Brolin’s performances. All of the comedy is executed exactly how the MCU has done it, and the drama and intensity gets kicked up times 1,000 by the end. This is a true cinematic blockbuster, and does everything right leading into “Endgame.”
1.) “Eighth Grade”
No. 1 wasn’t really a tough decision this year, much like “Dunkirk” was for me in 2017. “Eighth Grade” is the perfect film for 2018, and is the movie I will think of when looking back at the year. On a list with four (!!!) directorial debuts in the top 10, Bo Burnham’s is the most impressive, because he somehow manages to perfectly encapsulate what it is to be 13 years old. Elsie Fisher had the best performance of the year, Burnham wrote the best script of the year and “Eighth Grade” was the movie that made me feel more than any other movie in 2018, or longer. Emotion isn’t everything, but just like how it was when you’re in eighth grade, emotions can be your life, and that’s what Burnham understood so well, and how he made what is clearly the best movie from the past year.