10. Sorry to Bother You
When I saw Sorry to Bother You over the summer I figured it was a shoo-in for the year’s top 10, and yet, it just barely squeaks in at the bottom of the list (just ahead of The Favourite if you’re keeping score). It was just such a unique, original, and weird as fuck movie. You don’t have to watch as many movies in a year as I do for most films to be predictable as hell, so when Sorry to Bother You pulls the most crazy original plot twist in the history of plot twists, you have to respect the project.
9. Paddington 2
The original Paddington was a film I saw in theaters almost by accident, but it was one of the happiest accidents in recent memory. Truly a joy of a film from start to finish. Paddington 2 somehow does the impossible, it improves on the original in every conceivable way and makes a movie that isn’t just funny and heartwarming, but truly special.
8. A Quiet Place
In an era where so many movies are sequels to stories based on comic books, there was possibly no film braver in 2018 than A Quiet Place. An original concept with a wild conceit meant there would be next to no dialogue for the entire run of the film. If this gamble didn’t pay off, the movie could have failed completely.
7. If Beale Street Could Talk
The follow-up to Best Picture Winner Moonlight by director Barry Jenkins was always going to be a movie that people had their eye on. Whether or not If Beale Street Could Talk wins as many awards as Jenkins’ previous effort still remains to be seen, but there’s little question that he has crafted another beautiful movie that is having a big affect on audiences.
The best thing I can say about Alex Garland’s Annihilation is that the movie came out almost a year ago and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. On the surface, it’s a cerebral science fiction movie about an alien presence arriving on Earth. The Shimmer is a beautiful place to get lost and the journey of our team of heroines is equal parts mesmerizing and terrifying.
5. Black Panther
Like most movie fans, I enjoy the hell out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. I was in awe of the epic experience that was Avengers: Infinity War as much as anybody, but when I really stop to consider the three Marvel movies that came out this year, there’s only one that really belongs on this list.
4. The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give is one of several movies that came out in 2018 that focuses on race relations in America. What makes this one standout is that it’s based on a YA novel, making the perspective and the voice very different from its contemporaries. The perspective of youth gives the movie a rawness that many other films simply don’t have. I left the theater seriously contemplating where I might have stood if a firestorm like this one came down around me. The best films don’t just ask the hard questions, they leave us trying to find the answers.
Given the divisive response to Vice among critics, this choice will clearly not sit well with everybody, but Vice was absolutely one of the most exceptional films I saw this year. Regardless of what you think of the film’s subject matter, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Christian Bale absolutely transforms himself in the title role and Amy Adams gives an Oscar-caliber performance as Cheney’s wife Lynne.
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? It’s the best superhero movie of the year. It’s the best animated movie of the year. It’s the best Spider-Man movie, probably ever. It’s a visually stunning feast for the eyes. It’s a movie that has the potential to have great power, and it is more than willing to accept responsibility.
1. Mary Poppins Returns
For those that know me, my number one movie of the year will surprise literally nobody. It’s about as “on brand” as I could be. So much so that I seriously considered flipping the top two selections if only to not be “that guy.” Mary Poppins Returns was certainly my most anticipated movie of the year going into 2018, but the thing was, while I was looking forward to it, I was also terrified of it. I couldn’t believe that a sequel to a movie like Mary Poppins could possibly be as good as it needed to be. How do you replace Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke? How do you make new music that’s as good? How do you make a worthy sequel and not a poor carbon copy? Everything was actually against this movie being any good.