Movies of the Year: 2018 Edition

In 2018 I saw more movies in theaters that in any other year in my life. And even so, there are a ton of big movies that I missed. I originally postponed making this thread so that I would have the chance to watch more 2018 movies and have a more complete sense of the year. But then life ended up being busy and I didn't actually get the chance to catch up on my backlog. At this point we are so far into 2019 that I am just going to post my 2018 list now before it becomes even less timely.

I saw a total of 42 movies last year that released in 2018 (in the US at least). I ranked them all on Leterboxd and wrote something up for almost all of them too, so if there is a 2018 movie you liked that is not on this list, feel free to check out the complete list to see my thoughts on the movie: https://letterboxd.com/darthorange/list/2018-movies/

10. The Vanishing of Sidney Hall

A movie that does nothing new or even particularly surprising, but is executed very well. The film following the titular Sydney Hall at three distinct points in his life, and just sort of meanders around while teasing some mystery. The three plots all ramp up simultaneously and build to three endings that answer pretty much every question raised. Despite the slow start, the narrative gimmick holds up and kept me engaged throughout. I usually don't read reviews until after watching a movie and I was surprised to see just how much this one was hated by critics. I enjoyed it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Also, Kyle Chandler does an absolutely spot on Columbo impersonation, if they ever end up rebooting that series they need to get him for that role. Trailer can be found here.

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9. Operation Finale

Some absolutely incredible performances by Oscar Issac and Ben Kingsley. Like, best of performances of the year incredible. The first half of the film a heist movie that doesn't quite embrace those elements as much as I would have liked but the second half is an incredibly slow character piece between Issac and Kingsley that lesser actors would have struggled to make as engaging as those two do. Trailer can be found here.

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8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

I am a sucker for anthologies and westerns, and The Coen's did a fantastic job with the six stories in this collection. There was not a single short I did not enjoy, and each is well acted and has the Coen's trademark dark comedy. The stories are all told from the perspective of white people so I understand why the depiction of the Native Americans is horrible, but it is disappointing that they didn't bother trying to subvert that at all, instead just settling for a portrayal that wouldn't be out of place in a John Wayne movie. Trailer can be found here.

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7. Blindspotting

It is clearly evident that the stars/writers have a background in theater and spoken word and I really love the way they incorporated that into this film. It is an incredibly entertaining and hilarious movie that manages to hit on important topics including race, gentrification, and more but it does so with zero subtlety. Given the state of the world now days, and the mindset many people have, maybe this film's level of bluntness is needed for a large section of the population. For me though, I kept expecting Keenen Wayans to appear throughout the film and shout "message!" Trailer can be found here.

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6. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

We finally got ourselves a Latinx superhero and they knocked it out of the park with this one. Like, superhero movies are traditionally hyped to hell and back but this one is the real deal. It has a ton of heart and a diverse cast that works because it stays focused on Miles even as they throw out multiple other heroes and villains. The visuals and art style are absolutely gorgeous. Even if you are feeling superheroed out, this one is still worth a watch. Trailer can be found here.

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5. Searching

A movie told entirely though computer and phone screens should not work this well. I don't think I have been this invested in a story in a long time. As a kid I used to love watching Scooby-Doo and trying to guess who the monster was. Watching this movie gave me that same feeling as I was trying to figure out the truth and look for clues along with Cho's character. It was an incredibly fun experience that will undoubtedly be less fun upon repeat views but I'm ok with that. John Cho delivers his best performance yet and smart use of the camera and score prevent the gimmick from feeling stale. Trailer can be found here.

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4. A Star is Born

It is totally Oscar-baity and predictable and brazenly emotionally manipulative but I still absolutely loved it because the execution is so well done. Gaga and Cooper both hold their own and it never feels like one outshines the other. The concert scenes and musical performances are all absolutely fantastic. Trailer can be found here.

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3. A Thousand Junkies

A movie about three drug addicts trying to buy drugs in Los Angeles. It is filmed as a comedy and never strays from that tone while still being incredibly tragic. The characters are hilarious, their friendship feels genuine and I was completely engrossed in their quest. It tackles serious subject matter but balances it with a great script that brings laughs without ever making light of the situation or having any over the top goofiness. Trailer can be found here.

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2. Bad Times at the El Royale

The movie is a lot slower than I expected, with things happening at casual pace until suddenly everything gets turned to 11 for a second, then it slows way back down. Movie goes from 0-100-0 a handful of times, and it kept me in a constant state of tension and suspense as I wondered when things were going to ratchet back up. The performances by everyone were great and the film was shot beautifully. Easily the most stylish movie of the year. And that soundtrack? Fire. This movie is clear proof that Cabin in the Woods was not a fluke and I can't wait to see what Drew Goddard comes out with next. Trailer can be found here.

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1. Annihilation

Horror is always going to be super subjective but damn if this isn't one of the most horrifying horror movies I have ever seen. Lovecraftian movies never get this kind of budget so to see them go all in with the visuals was a real treat. They manage to create a world that is simultaneously beautiful and horrifying. The score gave me a haunting sense of dread I have not felt since I saw Under the Skin. Trailer can be found here.

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