“Should I do another BEST OF/WORST OF list, even though I’m supposed to be reviewtired?“, I ask the voices in my head. They answer, “What would Steven Seagal do?” and immediately I know what path I must take…I have to find a body double, get someone to dub over me, forge friendships with horrible Politicians and intrude into someone else’s BEST OF/WORST OF list, while getting both all of the attention and all of the criticism. But then the medication kicks in and I realize I should not be taking the advice of the voices in my head…
I should be taking the advice of the voices in your head!
I am at an immediate disadvantage for my list, as I just don’t watch as many movies as I used too. Critical darlings such as “Searching” and “Bumblebee” are in my ‘to-do’ list, but they’re also in the ‘to-do-whenever-the-f@ck-I-feel-like-it‘ list and who knows when I’ll get to that. The good news is that I’ve endured very few terrible 2018 releases. In fact, my WORST OF list is going to be short and easy because it’s “Winchester” and “Insidious: The Last Key“. I’d say the former deserves more respect, as I do feel like the cast and crew were trying to make a good movie that just wasn’t coming together. But it also threatened to put me asleep, while “Insidious: The Last Key” was only mildly dull in all of its ‘safe, cash-grab, going through the motions’ glory. Those were the theatrical duds, but “Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell” was my greatest nemesis of 2018, even if it was only made for the small screen. I’ve been fond of its franchise, warts and all, yet all it took to instill doubt in my heart was one really shitty sequel.
There were plenty of good experiences within 2018 though. While they did not make my BEST OF list, I really enjoyed “Aqua Man“, “Upgrade“, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse“, “Sorry to Bother You” and “The Avengers: Infinity War“. They would count as my runner-ups and it is amusing that the man who penned the crappy “Insidious” sequel on my informal WORST OF listing was also the man who directed “Upgrade“, which almost made the list. As always, I must remind you that the following list is meant to be viewed as my opinions and are not meant to be interpreted as an actual reflection of the films quality…even though my opinions are awesome and should be interpreted as actual reflections of the films quality…In the past, I tried to find the right balance of ‘BEST OF’ and ‘PERSONAL FAVORITE’, but now? I don’t give a shit.
10) BLACK PANTHER
I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe and “Black Panther” takes arms alongside the other MCU elites thanks to its stellar storyline, compelling characters and distinct art design. It might also have the coolest soundtrack to be found within the entire franchise.
“Annihilation” can be described as slow, moody, terrifying, beautiful, boring, intelligent or incomprehensible, but the more I dwell on it…the more I want to snuggle with its thought provoking ambitions, its strange atmosphere and its ability to make gorgeous visuals so creepy. This isn’t for everyone, but it ended up being for me.
8) HALLOWEEN (2018)
Even though this has some narrative flaws, “Halloween (2018)” was a special experience because it was able to recapture the spooky magic of “Halloween (1978)“…something that none of the other sequels, remakes or even imitations- good or bad- have ever been able to accomplish. Considering how much I revere the original classic, this was a wonderful feeling.
7) THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND
Even though I love Carnosaurs and Zombified Sushi, I do try to broaden my horizons by watching a variety of movies from many different genres and time periods. Orson Welles was definitely a master of his craft and “The Other Side of the Wind” is yet another example of his brilliance, but I have to admit that as fascinating as this artsy tale of Hollywood decadence is…the behind-the-scenes story is probably what lead to me becoming obsessed over this. After Welles passed away, “The Other Side of the Wind” was left unfinished and unreleased during the 1970’s…until netflix decided to rescue the picture for a 2018 release…If that doesn’t make you respect netflix and its potential, nothing will.
6) THE ENDLESS
I turned on this movie knowing very little about it, but “The Endless” begins as a ‘two brothers encounter a cult from their past, who start displaying shady and weird behavior” kind of story…and morphs into something else entirely. The movie is anchored down by some good drama surrounding the brothers, but then “The Endless” enhances that with some creepy occurrences and a mystery that gets progressively stranger in every scene. I loved “The Endless” because I never entirely new what to expect from it.
5) CREED II
“Creed II” is too formulaic to be considered great, right? RIGHT! Except it scored this place on the list because like “Creed” and the original “Rocky“, it played my emotions like a piano. I spent my viewing experience shadow boxing in excitement, cheering, sniffling and bawling my eyes out. The majority of movies I watch- good or bad- stimulate the critical part of my brain, as I decipher what I liked or disliked about it…But they rarely make me feel the way that “Creed II” does. In many ways, it’s probably the weakest entry on this list, but it was the only one that truly made me…feel…
4) THE DEATH OF STALIN
“The Death of Stalin” sounds like it should be an offensive, tasteless, misguided failure, as it’s striving to be a historical drama…and a dark comedy…and it’s brilliant for it. Somehow, the movie always manages to be unexpectedly hilarious and nerve wracking, alternating between the two opposing emotions so seamlessly that you can’t always tell when the shift in tone even happened. The cast is just so…so…PERFECT. They can be terrifying one moment and funny the next…and then sometimes they will be both at once. The dialogue is snappy and the characterizations are distinct even though there are a lot of important players here. I also learned a lot too.
3) MISSION IMPOSSIBLE- FALLOUT
I’ve enjoyed the entirety of this franchise, but only as a glorified montage of incredible action set pieces. “Rogue Nation” is superior though because not only does it contain its own incredible action set pieces, the story benefits from a feeling of impending doom. From the opening action scene, there is a faint trace of suspense that seemingly grows every minute. By the finale, I was so engrossed that I had no idea how “Rogue Nation” was going to end. Could our heroes fail? Would some- if not all- of them perish? “Rogue Nation” is thrilling, white knuckled, entertainment…and the franchise is still managing to top itself with insane stuntwork and special effects!
“Hereditary” made me uncomfortable, nervous and even a little shaken…and that’s even before you get to the really scary stuff. Most of then screen-time plays out like a family drama, where most of the suspense is built from the feeling that they might snap and try to kill each-other or worse…say something really mean to one another…The slow pacing heightens the creepiness, until suddenly the movie becomes the most terrifying experience of 2018…”Hereditary” isn’t just the best horror movie of 2018, it’s also going to go down as a genuine classic.
1) THE NIGHT COMES FOR US
And I came for them too…I’ve been a big fan of the Indonesian martial arts scene…primarily because I’ve become such a big fan of Iko Uwais, who more-or-less IS the Indonesian martial arts scene…but “The Night Comes For Us” has formally curb stomped all of the competition. I thought little could surpass “The Raid“, but then “The Raid 2” elbowed me in the face while surpassing it…and “The Night Comes For Us” might dwarf even that in terms of sheer bone crunching awesomeness. The fight scenes are just as grisly as they are stylish…actually, I take that back…They are much grislier than they are stylish, even though they’re incredibly f@cking stylish. This is the type of movie where it’s so violent that when the characters start fighting in a meat cooler and everyone is armed with cleavers, you know that it’s about to get gruesome..what you don’t know is that you’re still waddling in the shallow part of the violence pool…The narrative starts a little slowly, but once the mayhem begins, you are almost begging for it to stop and give you a breather. I said “almost”, as “The Night Comes for Us” is f@cking awesome and I don’t think I would change a damn thing about it. “The Raid 2” is probably the superior movie from a storytelling perspective, but “The Night Comes For Us” might be among the most impressive examples of the genre from the perspective of choreography, stuntwork and violence.