With the year winding down and the vast majority of 2018 theatrically released movies having been released it is time to count down and briefly talk about my favourite movies of 2018. This has been a really great year for movies in my opinion, this was the first year in a while that I didn’t allow what I saw or how much I like it to be dictated by the film fan community. I never realized the influence that interacting with other film fans can have on what I think I think about a movie. I’m glad this year I chose to just do my own thing seeing a movie because I wanted to see it not because I wanted to keep up with a conversation about awards films. I do enjoy the more awards oriented films but my bread and butter always has been and will be blockbusters. I think this list is reflective of that, but remember this is just my opinion and you should never feel angry or upset reading my list, if you disagree with me simply share your own list! Everyone reacts to every movie differently and that’s what makes the movie going experience so special, so without further ado lets count down my favorite movies of 2018.
Number Ten: Halloween
Prior to October 2018 I had never seen any of the Halloween franchise yet I was psyched for the new sequel. In preparation I watched the original 1978 freight show and absolutely fell in love. The unsettling tone and atmosphere immediately drew me in to what these movies had to offer and this increased my anticipation for the 2018 story. While I still think the original is better I really do love this “true” sequel. The choice to ignore all of the previous sequels and have this as the one and only follow up was a good choice. It simplified the mythology and brought this franchise back to a more grounded level. I liked seeing where the few surviving characters from the original were at in their lives and how the town of Haddonfield has evolved. One of the best things that this film does is building genuine tension around Michael’s return and Lori’s fears of having to face him again. Of course one of the most iconic aspects this franchise are the brutal and gruesome kills, which are absolutely incredible here. There was plenty to leave you unsettled and uneasy but there is still that excitement that comes from watching a movie like this. A common criticism of the film was that Lori’s extended family members were relatively weak. However, I disagree with that criticism as I found myself becoming invested in everyone’s stories fairly equally and all led to some interesting moments. At the end of the day I was more than satisfied in this entry into the franchise and am looking forward to see where things go from here.
Number Nine: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This movie holds a special place in my heart for a lot of reasons, the most obvious being that it is simply just a warm feel good movie that anyone will enjoy. The biggest and most significant reason for me is because at the start of this year I started dating my girlfriend Emily who is a third year Early Childhood Education student in university. Through being with her in this past year I have learned a lot about a child’s developments in life and been given perspective of what the childcare industry is like. So watching this movie and watching it with her was eye opening. Listening to Fred Rogers’ philosophies and how he approached entertaining children. His determination to be able to provide substance and education while entertaining is admirable and something that has certainly been lost in today’s world of children’s entertainment from the few bits of it I have seen. The hopeful and inspiring tone that this movie has is something continues to make it stick out to me as one of my favorites of 2018.
Number Eight: Bumblebee
This IS your daddy’s Transformers. Finally after over a decade of Michael Bay infested Transformers garbage we finally got a taste of what the Transformers formerly were. The heart and love poured is felt through every moment ranging from the action beats to smaller character development moments. The lead Hailee Steinfeld is extremely likable and charismatic especially compared to the other leads in this franchise. Her relationship that she builds with Bumblebee throughout the course of the story feels genuine and like a real friendship. She never feels like she’s there simply because the plot demands a human element. Equally as great as the character elements of the film is the action. You could actually see what was happening as opposed to a bunch of gray jagged metal smashing into each other. There are beautiful wide shots were everything can be seen clear and plain as day. It really great to actually see Transformers… you know… actually transform, it was especially exciting to see the triple changers in the film. All of the Transformers in the film themselves are really well done and feel like fully realized characters. The main antagonists weren’t just angry and murderous because they’re bad they have purpose and a mission that they are trying to accomplish. It was satisfying to see one of these films that actually made with the love and respect it deserves.
Number Seven: Mission Impossible Fallout
Similar to the Halloween franchise I had never seen a Mission Impossible film before this year but I didn’t have a chance to watch any of the previous entries before seeing it. Also much like my experience with Halloween I absolutely loved this. It was such a great entry into the action genre and sets a new bar for modern action filmmaking. The halo jump sequence is without a doubt one of the great scenes in any movie to be released this year. You are on the edge of your seat the entire time that scene is happening and the tension never breaks. Furthermore while the action is great it is important to mention how great the characters are and their dynamics. Even though at the time of watching Fallout for the first time it was my first time meeting any of these characters it was definitely easy to understand their relationships to one another. To me that is a huge strength of this film because it was easily accessible to those new to the franchise while not alienating older fans by wasting time reestablishing what they already knew. This movie was a great ride from start to finish and I am eagerly awaiting a follow up.
Number Six: Eighth Grade
Hats off to Bo Burnham for absolutely crushing his directorial debut and showing how well he can balance drama and humor. This movie really knocked me on my ass with how accurate and real it felt to the experience of being in middle school and perfectly capturing the anxieties and fears of being in the eighth grade. The character of Kayla is so real, you understand her, sympathize with her yet at the same time are incredibly frustrating. Not every decision she makes is the right one and watching her learn from the choices she makes is really well done. I was in the eighth grade semi-recently and a lot of what was presented here rang true to what I remember experiencing at that age. One of the best and most heart-warming aspects of the movie was her relationship with her father. Honestly after naming something that I like about this movie I could follow up with “it rings true to real life” and that is the best compliment I can give this movie as that was what it sent out to do. If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend doing so because it has something for everyone. If you’re in eighth grade then yeah see this it’ll be a perfect representation of the world you live in at middle school and for anyone with a child in middle school or the early stages of high school seeing this can give you a good perspective on what your child might be going through.
Number Five: Black Panther
It’s weird to think that this came out in 2018 seeing as that it was released so early on in the year. Despite that it has managed to keep it’s place within my top five movies of the year. Ryan Coogler does an incredible job of taking on a seemingly impossible task of once again expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The introduction to Wakanda and their traditions was breathtaking and felt like something that just naturally exists in the MCU. Not only that but the performances are all excellent and you could feel the passion behind every character. T’Challa quickly became one of my favorite heroes in this universe because of how he navigates himself through all the trials and tribulations he faces in this movie. Seeing him come into his own as the leader of Wakanda was one of the more satisfying character arcs of the year. Then on the other side of that is Michael B Jordan’s Erik Kilmonger, who has battled his own adversities and had audiences questioning whether his intentions really were right or wrong. This film did something that I absolutely adore in movies and specifically comic book movies and that is present a clash of ideologies. Black Panther is an expertly executed introduction to this new facet of the MCU and manages to keep this universe feeling fresh.
Number Four: Creed II
This movie is an event. It perfectly continues the story of Adonis Creed despite losing director Ryan Coogler to aforementioned Black Panther. Instead audiences got their first taste of what Steven Caple Jr.is capable of and that is great emotional story telling. Whether it’s the Creeds, the Balboas or the Dragos you understand and appreciate where they are coming from and why they are on the path they are. The Dragos specifically surprised me because I didn’t think I would care about them in the way that I did here. Not only that but Caple Jr. clearly understands this franchise and it’s tropes and while staying true to all of that he still manages to reinvent it and keep things fresh. The montages were thrilling and never feel like they are taking away from showing the training in a different way. Then of course there are the boxing matches and while yes they aren’t quite as good as what Coogler gave us in the first movie they still manage to feel raw. You feel every punch thrown and will flinch and groan at every hit Creed receives. These movie made me want to actually cheer and clap for Adonis. I’m glad that this franchise that started back in 1976 is still thriving so I can experience these great movies in the theatre.
Number Three: Spider-Man Into The Spiderverse
Going into this movie I expected to be blown away by the animation and visuals alone but what I did not expect was to have this become my favorite Spider-Man movie. It perfectly captures everything that I love about the character of the web head and what he represents. ANYONE can be Spider-man. This movie is filled with heart, love and respect, not just for the source material but for the audience. While this is perceived as a kids film nothing could be more wrong it is a kid friendly movie that doesn’t once try to dumb things down or talk down to the audience. It trusts that anyone will understand the themes and messages of this movie. The character of Miles Morales is immediately relatable to anyone in his or her youth or looking back on his or her youth. He’s in a spot in his life where he feels like he’s pulled between two worlds and the adventure that he goes on shows how those worlds have an equal balance of influence on his life. Then on the other side we have Peter B. Parker who is a character that most adults can likely relate to. There’s a sadness to him that is relatable and seeing him overcome all of his issues and remember what it means to be Spider-Man was really fulfilling. All of the other characters are great as well and manage to not detract from what is ultimately Miles’ story. The animation is flawless and is genuinely unlike anything I have seen before. There is a scene in the movie that is by far my favorite scene in any movie I saw this year and for those three minutes alone it makes the price of admission worth it. Please if you haven’t already do yourself a favor and see this movie as soon as you can.
Number Two: Blackkklansman
This movie is powerful and purposeful both in its message and filmmaking. Spike Lee did an amazing job of adapting these real life events and breathing an incredible sense of style into it. John David Washington is electric in this role and has such a charm and charisma to him that the performance sticks with you long after the movie is over. Washington absolutely has a big career ahead of him if this movie is any indication. Not only was he great but as was his co-star Adam Driver who gives what is probably my favourite performance of 2018 without question. The films use of humor never overshadows the dramatic elements like one may expect, if anything it enhances it. The humor makes it easier to digest these heavy plots filled with vile and disgusting mindsets of the KKK. Speaking of which Topher Grace is absolutely fantastic in this movie playing the despicable David Duke. He plays it so well and the scenes that he shares with Washington are some of my favourites in 2018, the situation that Duke is oblivious to makes for a really interesting and entertaining dynamic. Also you can’t talk about Blackkklansman and not mention the incredible music, whether it was the original score of the use of Too Late To Turn Back Now. It is some of the most memorable music in a movie this year and use of music in a movie this year. If you haven’t seen it, it is a must see for 2018 and hopefully once awards season goes into full force it’ll get the recognition it deserves.
Number One: Avengers Infinity War
Yes at the top of my list for my favourites of 2018 is entirely a personal pick the same as the rest of these but I feel the need to reiterate the obvious: These are MY personal favourite movies not necessarily the best so if you disagree that’s fine just simply share your own take on the year by commenting on this here post. For my money and for my tastes there is no question that Avengers Infinity War tops my list this year. It brings together everything that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building towards and delivers in such a satisfying package. There are four storylines going on throughout the movie that could have easily felt unbalanced and convoluted but the Russo brothers do an impossibly great job at making it all work. While not all of the big characters we’ve come to love get a lot of play here the ones that do have some of their best moments in all of the MCU. In addition to that we are introduced to Thanos in full and learn a lot about him and what drives him making for one of the best villains to ever grace the silver screen. Brolin plays the character so effectively and manages to make you feel sympathetic and understanding of why he does what he does. While ultimately he is wrong audiences can at least understand making for a more interesting series of events that happens in the film. While this movie has all the humor audiences have come to know and love about the MCU it also delivers some of the best dramatic moments in the entire franchise and of course there’s the ending. At the majority of screenings I went to for this movie the audiences were left speechless by the harrowing and game changing snap. Yes that’s what happens in the comics but in no way did I expect Marvel to actually go through with something like that. Of course it’ll be solved and mostly undone by the end of Endgame but likely not without some sort of significant sacrifice. All of these things and more are what makes this my favourite movies of the year.
Well there it is my 2018 condensed into ten movies. How was your 2018 movie going experience? What did you love what did you not like so much? I’d love to hear your thoughts whether you share them here on this post like previously suggested of by reaching out to me on twitter @nerdycasual. I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and are excited for what looks to be a promising 2019.