Mike’s Top 10 Movies of 2018
We're approaching the end of the year, and as any good movie geek knows, that means it's time to start ranking the art you love and force them to compete against each other! 2018 has been a tremendous year for movies, even if you think all we get at the theaters these days are sequels, remakes, and comic book movies. That may be true, but a) a lot of those were really good this year! And b) there was so much great stuff elsewhere if you knew where to look, whether it was an obscure Netflix original or a great movie that was let down by a lack of marketing.
I've seen roughly 100 movies from this year (and there's still a few that might make the cut that I've yet to see), and it was a rough task whittling it down to just ten, but I'll do my best. But first, some honorable mentions!
Honorable Mentions: Creed II, Suspiria, Wildlife, Annihilation, A Simple Favor, The Hate U Give, Avengers: Infinity War, Bodied, Revenge, and The House That Jack Built
10. Assassination Nation - dir. Sam Levinson
A teenage girl and her group of friends have to defend themselves when their town goes insane after everyone's private information is leaked onto the internet. This movie completely bombed at the box office, and that's a shame - it feels vital and takes no prisoners. It's vulgar and violent and one of the biggest surprises of the year for me.
9. The Tale - dir. Jennifer Fox
Laura Dern stars in director Jennifer Fox's autobiographical tale of sexual assault. A powerful film anchored by Dern's performance, and necessary viewing in the #MeToo era. Available to stream right now on HBO Go and HBO Now.
8. Mission: Impossible -- Fallout - dir. Chris McQuarrie
Hollywood's most consistently dependable franchise crushed it again. Any action movie would consider itself lucky to boast just one of Fallout's incredible setpieces.
7. First Reformed - dir. Paul Schrader
Warning: do not watch First Reformed if you are terrified of climate change, because it will not ease your anxiety. Ethan Hawke is incredible as a preacher looking to make a difference but becoming disillusioned with the church that took him in. Available to stream on Amazon Prime.
6. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse - dir. Bob Perischetti/Peter Ramsey/Rodney Rothman
I've been a hardcore Spider-Man fan since I was a kid, but even if I wasn't, I feel like I'd still be blown away by Into the Spider-verse, one of the most revolutionary superhero movies I've ever seen. The animation is unlike anything ever attempted, and its blending of universes will make any comic geek giddy with delight.
5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
When the Coen brothers have a new movie out, you pay attention. Six seemingly-disconnected western short films all strung together, varying wildly in tone and pacing, ended up containing some of their best work. Also contains my favorite musical moment of the year! Available to stream on Netflix.
4. Mandy - dir. Panos Cosmatos
I'm a ride-or-die Nicolas Cage fan. I've even got a podcast to that effect. And between voice work in Spider-verse and Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, a wild turn in a wild movie called Mom and Dad, and now one of his career-best performances in Mandy, 2018 has truly been the year of the Cage comeback. You haven't experienced cinema until you've seen a Nicolas Cage chainsaw duel. Available to stream on Shudder, or on video-on-demand.
3. Eighth Grade - dir. Bo Burnham
I've been a Bo Burnham fan since I was in high school, but never did I think he had something like this in him. Eighth Grade is a hilarious and disturbingly accurate portrayal of middle school, at times playing like a horror movie. And Elsie Fisher in the lead role is terrific.
2. Blindspotting - dir. Carlos Lopez Estrada
2018 has been a significant year in film for a few reasons, but chief among them is the sudden surge in terrific, racially-charged films from directors of color like Black Panther, Blackkklansman, The Hate U Give, and Sorry to Bother You. My favorite of these was Blindspotting, co-written by Hamilton's Daveed Diggs. The story of a strained friendship in a quickly-gentrifying Oakland, Blindspotting evokes the spirit of Do The Right Thing while blazing its own trail.
1. Hereditary - dir. Ari Aster
Ari Aster's debut film is a horror movie for a generation. In the same breath as we discuss movies like Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, or Silence of the Lambs, we can absolutely bring up Hereditary. It's that good. The formal filmmaking craft on display is a sight to behold, Toni Collette's powerful and insane performance is Oscar-worthy, and experiencing this movie in a packed theater of people losing their minds was a highlight of my moviegoing year.
So that's my top ten! Remember, if your favorite didn't make the list, maybe I didn't see it! Or maybe I hate it, and you should go make your own list just to prove me wrong!