The Best 12 Films of 2018

With 2018 wrapping up, it’s time to reflect back on another year at the movies.

Marvel celebrated 10 years of pop culture dominance. We got another Star War. There was a movie about Aquaman, and Julie Andrews was in it.

Some movies, like Sorry to Bother You, pushed the boundaries of filmmaking and storytelling. Others were shockingly popular despite everything about them, like Venom. 

Here are the Best 12 of 2018. The order is meaningless except for #1.

It’s the top 12 because one for every month or whatever justification makes it easier for you.

Reviews for each are linked in gold.

12. Sorry to Bother You

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Boots Riley cannot be described as boring. Sorry to Bother You has a lot to say, especially about intersectionalism, but isn’t particularly interested in your safe zone. It revels in your discomfort, pushing Lakeith Stanfield, and the audience, to the limit.

11. Tully

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I’m not sure why you didn’t see Tully, but frankly, you messed up. The triumvirate of Diablo Cody, Jason Reitman, and Charlize Theron bring to life a deeply honest look at motherhood. The camera work, the direction, and the performances all work together to explore one idea: “why am I not enough?”

10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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This is a true statement in the year 2018: an animated Spider-Man movie featuring a talking pig, Nic Cage, and a fat Spider-Man is without a doubt one of the best films of the year. It is visually stunning, reinventing what animation can be. There has never been anything like it.

9. Blindspotting

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Blindspotting is made great by its love for Oakland, its timeliness, and the strength of its message. But it becomes something entirely more in its climax, with Daveed Diggs giving one of the most cathartic and powerful performances of the year.

8. Black Panther

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What else is there to even say about the third biggest movie in box office history? Black Panther is gorgeous to look at, hits hard with its themes and never stops, and gives yet another fantastic team-up from writer/director Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan.

7. A Quiet Place

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A terrifying use of the medium, A Quiet Place uses silence to convey story, emotion, and theme in perfect synchronicity. Emily Blunt is the standout here, giving a tough-as-nails career-high performance.

6. Searching

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The novel use of technology to convey story would be enough to make Searching interesting, but John Cho’s performance and the excellent editing and pacing take it to greatness.

5. Annihilation

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One of the few movies of 2018 that has never left my mind. Annihilation is Lisa Frank sci-fi nightmare and mind-ripping philosophical treatise. It cannot really be described, only witnessed.

4. Won’t You Be My Neighbor

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A beautifully honest look at the life, work, and legacy of Mr. Rogers. It is inspiring and desperately needed.

3. The Rider

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It’s hard to describe The Rider. More of an experience, writer, producer, and director Chloé Zhao has created pure cinematic poetry.  She finds beauty in the lighting, the landscape, the harshness of life of the prairie.

2. Paddington 2

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There are three great sequels: The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II, and Paddington 2. It’s not an exaggeration as much as a truthful acknowledgment; it’s a perfect film. At the least, it’s a masterclass in setup and payoff not seen in more “serious” films.

1. Eighth Grade

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Any of these films could be argued to be the best of the year. What elevates Eighth Grade is the sheer level of empathy and love that writer and director Bo Burnham shows for the lead. Elsie Fisher gives one of the best performances of the year, forcing the audience into her head, to grapple with her emotions, and remember the anxiety of being 13. This deserves at least 3 Oscar nominations – anything less is criminal.


Things I haven’t seen yet so don’t @ me about “oh these should be on here,” I’ll get around to them eventually:

  • Love, Simon
  • Hereditary
  • First Man
  • Roma
  • Mandy
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post
  • mid90s
  • The Favourite
  • Beautiful boy
  • Leave No Trace
  • First Reformed
  • Assassination Nation
  • Boy Erased
  • The Hate U Give
  • Mary, Queen of Scots
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Bumblebee
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • On the Basis of Sex
  • Shoplifters
  • Support the Girls

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Originally from the bear-infested schools of Wyoming, but now lives in Chicago. More importantly, he achieved minor Twitter fame once and hasn’t stopped bringing it up since. He has a healthy obsession with Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Bulbasaur. Please validate him by following him on Twitter, @ericsmorals

2 thoughts on “The Best 12 Films of 2018

  1. You mentioned many of the same films that made my Top 20 as well. Turned out to be a pretty strong year for movies. It was pretty tough leaving so many off.

    Like

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