2018 is most remembered for one of the worst set of Oscar choices in recent memory. Best Picture went to Green Book, which was OK but is the weakest BP since Gladiator and one of the weakest choices ever. Bohemian Rhapsody (which I did NOT like) won four Oscars, including a baffling win for Rami Malek for lip syncing and an exaggerated overbite. Those two films were the weakest of the lot and the two main winners. Neither landed in the Top 25 critically acclaimed movies of the year.
The most talked about movie was Roma. It was the first streaming movie to get Oscar love. Critically loved, audiences generally could not sit through the tedious first half for the wonderful final act. I admired it more than I liked it.
Number 2018 releases I saw: 41
Top 10 Critically Acclaimed Films
(Source : criticstop10.com – a site that take a weighted average of about 800 lists, 350 of which are considered “Top Critics”)
- First Reformed
- The Favourite
- If Beale Street Could Talk
- Eighth Grade
- Black Panther
- A Star Is Born
Winners of The Major Oscar Categories
Best Picture Green Book
Best Actor Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Best Actress Olivia Coleman, The Favourite
Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Best Supporting Actress Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Director Alfonso Cauron, Roma
Original Screenplay Nick Vallelonga & Peter Farrally, Green Book
Adapted Screenplay Spike Lee (et al), BlacKkKlansman
Best Animated Feature Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Top Grossing Movie: Black Panther (Domestic )
Avengers: Infinity War (Worldwide)
(Box Office Mojo, the source of my data here, recently changed how it ranks the #1 movie of the year. It used to be the highest grossing film released in the year. Now it’s the movie that grossed the highest within that calendar year, regardless of date of release).
Really Good Films from 2018 You May Have Missed:
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Leave No Trace
Movie from 2018 to avoid at all costs:
Venom (needed to be R – failed terribly as PG13)
Gotti (0% on Rotten Tomatoes, has to be seen to be believed)
Honorable Mention (Just off the Top 10)
Can You Ever Forgive Me, Leave No Trace, Ready Player One, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Hate U Give
Isle of Dogs – animated film by Wes Anderson. Without question one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. Not sure if I liked it or not. Watch and judge for yourself.
Here are my Top 10 films of 2018
10. Sorry to Bother You
This movie is hard to describe. On the surface, its about a young black man working his way through a call centre job by finding his “white voice”. Once he does, his career skyrockets, only to discover some alarming truths about his employer. Its part comedy, part social commentary, part horror and downright weird. LaKeith Stanfield is emerging as one of the great actors of his generation.
9. The Death of Stalin
Part farcical comedy, part history lesson. In 1953 Moscow, it’s a dark comedic retelling of the struggle for power in the Soviet Union after the death of Josef Stalin. Not for everyone, but highly recommended if you share my penchant to darker comedy and parody.
Reviled (by viewers) and revered (by critics) with equal intensity, Roma is more of a technical achievement than an exceptional piece of story telling. The last hour makes up for a meandering first one but it’s a film that required patience of its viewer. Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film.
7. Avengers: Infinity War
The best of the four movies with Avengers in the title, made great by the creation of Thanos, as good a villain as we have seen in the Sci-Fi / Space Opera / Comic Book genre. The follow up was a bit of a let down but Infinity War stands on its own as one of the best of the MCU movies.
6. A Star Is Born
Original concept was Joel Schumacher directing Will Smith and Beyonce. It went through a lot of iterations to become this movie and the end result is an excellent picture about addiction, family, relationships and music. Lady Gaga is excellent and is shows another really good supporting role from Andrew Dice Clay.
The flaw in this movie is that it came out a little too late. Christian Bale disappears into his role as Dick Cheney, the Svengali VP behind the Bush Administration. This is neither a valentine or a hate filled biopic. It’s a surprisingly balanced picture of the inner workings of the Whitehouse and one man who held immense power for decades.
4. A Quiet Place
I do not like horror movies but I loved this one. A tight, lean motion picture about surviving during a post-alien invasion. The aliens have hyper-sensitive hearing and once they hear you, you are as good as dead. Transcends its own genre.
One of the great superhero movies and proof that critical acclaim and box office success can go hand in hand. Amazing fight scenes and CGI that serve a pretty compelling story.
2. Spiderman: Into the SpiderVerse
Leading edge, genre shaping animated film. Easily the most fun I had in the theatre in 2018. Stellar voice cast and gender-switch on the legendary villain, Doc Ock. In this version of the story, young Miles becomes Spider-Man but comes in contact with 5 other similar heroes from alternate dimensions (the best of which is comedian John Mulaney’s Spider-Ham). It is truly a comic book brought to life.
The moment I saw this I knew it would by my #1 of the year. Audacious, angry and funny in only a way Spike Lee can combine. But the humour is this movie is uncomfortable and edgy. The movie starts with the title card “based on some fo’ real fo’ real shit”. John David Washington (Denzel’s son) stars as Ron Stalworth, the first black cop in Colorado Springs. He manages to infiltrate the local KKK and even converse with David Duke directly on the phone. With the help of a white colleague Flip (Adam Driver), the work together to stop the KKK from hate crimes. Its shamelessly anti-Trump, loud, violent, fun and challenging. Spike Lee’s best movie since Do The Right Thing. Also my favourite movie poster in a long while.