First things first: I'm a realist.
Well, this is it – tomorrow is the last day of 2018! It’s that weird time between Christmas and New Years when everyone is just sort of floating around, unsure where they are or what day it is… or maybe that’s just me, I don’t know. This year, I don’t want to write about the top ten new movies of 2018, though maybe a lot of this list will be comprised of new movies from this year… I want to go with the top ten movies I watched for the first time in 2018. There are some that just blew me away and have been sitting on a list of “to-watch”es for literally years and I want to acknowledge them! So, here goes nothing…
10. Don’t Talk to Irene (2017)
I saw Don’t Talk to Irene at the North of Superior Film Association’s film festival this past April. I didn’t get a chance to see nearly as many films as I’d have liked to (as I work a lot and can’t necessarily dedicate an entire weekend to seeing films – unfortunately!) but I did manage to catch this one and, man, I enjoyed it. It was quirky, it was fun, and Geena Davis was Irene’s idol – what more can you ask for? While not without flaws, it is so much fun and you can’t help but fall in love with it and Irene.
9. Tully (2018)
I did not expect to enjoy Tully as much as I did. I went in blind, and so should you. Apparently it was pretty controversial amongst, I don’t know, film sticklers and mommy bloggers. I thought it was really well done and… well, I can’t say much else without giving it all away. Give it a watch if you like movies that drop little hints and then blow the doors wide open.
8. The Endless (2017)
Here’s another one I went into totally blind and kind of left with only partial vision, honestly. It was a weirdo, sci-fi, fantasy, bizarro… thing that I really liked. It’s a low-budget film and that is definitely evident, but it plays to the film’s advantage. It’s out there and it’s something totally different. More Primer than Alien, but more culty than Primer. It was a pleasant surprise that kept me on my toes constantly and I had to Google what I had watched afterwards, which I get a sick sort of high from because it’s so “out there” that my little brain can’t quite comprehend it.
7. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
Okay, now let’s jump back a decade to a film that has been on my ‘list,’ my ‘official’ list, for probably that same amount of time. A French film originally entitled Le scaphandre et le papillon, I entered into this tunnel with only the knowledge that it had something to do with a quadriplegic man. It was so aesthetically interesting and the story was revealed in such an interesting, multiphasic way that piqued my interest.
6. BlacKkKlansman (2018)
BlacKkKlansman was a disturbingly eye-opening look at black vs white race relations in the United States that applies even still today. It jumps all around the emotional spectrum – comedy, tension, ending on the unfortunately realistic note of ‘nothing has changed.’ It challenges current society, triggers feelings of anger and hopelessness, and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.
5. Loving Vincent (2017)
Loving Vincent was easily the most beautifully done film I’ve ever seen. I’ve always been a Van Gogh fan, so when I saw the teaser trailer for this one, I knew I’d see it and love it. I went in with high expectations that were not at all disappointed. It’s entirely animated using rotoscoping (think Waking Life crossed with Starry Night, which was obviously the intention). I thought the story was wonderfully written and I loved seeing familiar faces all… art-y. Would definitely recommend!
4. A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place is a film I loved so much that I paid full price for the Blu-ray for my collection. You heard that right. I paid full price. It was so well-shot, well-written, and the concept was original (yeah, yeah, Bird Box, blah blah blah, whatever – A Quiet Place was so far superior, there was no contest). It created an environment where you cared about each and every character, even though they were dumb enough to have a baby in this weird post-apocalyptic environment where you can’t make a sound… it’s fine Emily & John, I still love you, but damn… that was not an intelligent decision. This film physically pained me at the end, but I would watch it again and again and I will until the day I die because it was so good. I hope
Jim Halpert, er… John Krasinski never stops directing.
3. A Star is Born (2018)
I love this movie so much that I hate it. I don’t know that it’s the best movie on this list or that it’s not without it’s own universe of flaws, but there is something about the way it tells its story that sucks me in and I can’t stay away from that soundtrack. Bradley Cooper did an excellent job with this one and Barbra Streisand is probably rolling in her grave* with how much BETTER it is than the 1976 version. So much raw emotion, and the dog, guys, the DOG!
*Yes, I know that Barbra Streisand is still alive.
2. I, Tonya (2017)
I already reviewed this one and I do not care. I loved I, Tonya, I thought Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Tonya Harding was exceptional, I loved everything about Allison Janney, as always. This movie is a joy and a blessing.
1. Coco (2017)
Coco is the best thing Disney has done in a long time. It is enjoyable for everyone – young and old (except maybe my dog because man, he hates Dante the alebrije). I absolutely love this movie. I’ve watched it at least 5 times since I saw it for the first time this year (though, to be fair, I didn’t pay full price for it) and it only gets better the more you watch it. Pixar usually has a ‘thing’ they focus on with each movie – with Brave, it was Merida’s hair and with Coco, it was lighting. The things they did with lighting were downright amazing.
Eighth Grade (2018) – so painfully and realistically awkward, I felt guilty enjoying it.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018) – that wedding scene – incredible.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) – Rami Malek makes you fall in love with Freddie Mercury all over again.
To All the Boy I’ve Loved Before (2018) – the cutest movie I saw all year.
6 Balloons (2018) – heartwrenching.