2018 was weird, fam.
Every time you thought things couldn’t get any worse, the universe asked you to hold its proverbial beer. But, while the world's been on fire, the film reels keep on spinning. Like last year, my Top 10 is a little less nuanced than my much-smarter-than-me colleagues, but you can read of all of theirs here. Unlike last year, my list is somehow devoid of action films? I don’t know who I am anymore either, but I can assure you that it’s still pretty clearly written by the lady who still excitedly buys tickets to Jurassic Park sequels.
Honorable Mention (TV Division): Elseworlds
No, it’s not a movie. Crisis on Earth-X wasn’t, either, but my list, my rules. Unlike last year, DCTV’s crossover didn’t make my Top 10 proper. But, that’s more due to the amount of quality movies I saw this year, and not at all because Elseworlds was in any way Crisis on Earth-X’s lesser. You might be wondering why in the hell it’s mentioned in this post if it doesn’t crack my Top 10, but the answer’s pretty simple: The DCEU still hasn’t gotten its shit together enough for me to not continue to rave about DCTV for the DC Comics fans out there who are still desperately hoping to see their heroes portrayed properly in media. Wonder Woman’s has got to be tired from holding an entire universe on her back. While you wait for her sequel to come out next year, I highly recommend you check out the crossovers their television division has churned out over the past few years. Even if the TV universe hasn’t proven to be your thing, these events always bring it with the Silver Age greatness.
10. Annihilation (w. Alex Garland, d. Same Dude)
When I first saw Annihilation back in February, I walked out of the theater madly in love. I couldn’t stop talking about it, and still fervently stand by the fact that it deserved so much more attention than it received. Now here we are at the end of the year and it’s somehow at the bottom of this list. While that still leaves it at the last of the best, this one didn’t clock higher for me solely because I’ve found a lot of the spectacle was more forgettable than anticipated. There is so much wow-factor in the movie that, months removed, it’s all just a blur of what I remembered to be incredible. Bear face. Plant ladies. Shiny goo barrier. Your response to this is undoubtedly “time for a rewatch”. You’re correct, but ya girl didn’t even see all of the things she needed to see to compile this list, so, there you have it.
9. A Simple Favor (w. Jessica Sharzer, d. Paul Feig)
Women contain multitudes, and A Simple Favor is here to remind you that those multitudes can range from craft projects to cold blooded murder. Though it’s definitely got the whole murder mystery situation going for it, the movie was done a disservice by being marketed solely as such. Kendrick and Lively have perfect chemistry, resulting in both harrowing and hilarious scenes between the two. Here’s hoping we see them team up again in the future and remember: don’t mess with a mom.
8. Blockers (w. Brian Kehoe, d. Kay Cannon)
It seems like every year a movie that I expected to roll my eyes at ends up on my Top 10. Blockers is that entry this year. There’s a surprising amount of love put into a movie that involves John Cena butt chugging beer at a Prom party. This movie will make you laugh out loud and maybe even tear up a few times. But, more important than all of that is the fact that Blockers is super sex-positive while managing to be a great story for both teens and adults. Yes, it says some bad words and shows some naughty bits. Your high school junior has seen and said worse, Gladys.
7. Anna and the Apocalypse (w. Alan McDonald, d. John McPhail)
I complained endlessly in 2017 that I couldn’t include this movie in my Top 10 because it hadn’t technically released yet. Well, guess what, nerds? This little zombie Christmas musical that could got distribution shortly thereafter and, if you’re lucky, is still playing in a theater near you. The story follows Anna (Ella Hunt), a high school senior who wants nothing more than to escape her small town and travel the world. Unfortunately for Anna, there’s no such thing as a Hollywood ending. She and her friends find that their problems can get a lot worse than the high school drama they’d imagined, and have to sing and fight their way to rescue their family and loved ones from the growing zombie horde. I know the premise sounds ridiculous. I know you might not watch musicals or, like me, might be way over zombie movies. Trust me on this: go see this movie.
6. Apostle (w. Gareth Evans, d. Same Dude)
This movie is gnarly in all of the best ways. Apostle features some Grade-A gore wrapped up in a tale of religion and the dangers of blind faith. Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) journeys to a remote island to save his kidnapped sister from a cult led by the well-meaning but monstrous Prophet Malcolm (Michael Sheen). The two men will grapple with their faith as enemies, unlikely allies, and as lost souls while Lucy Boynton’s Andrea (daughter of Malcolm, would-be love interest of Thomas) tries to get everyone around her to stop being idiots and to start practicing what they preach. This might be heresy, but I typically don’t care how folks watch movies. You want to watch movies on your phone? Cool. With that said, Apostle is the rare occasion where I lament the fact that most folks will see it at home on their TV. The movie may be gnarly, but it’s also absolutely gorgeous, and should be seen on the biggest screen possible.
5. Suspiria (w. Dario Argenteno, d. Luca Guadagnino)
It’s beautiful, it’s bloody, it’s a politically charged story focusing on witches taking back what’s theirs. Basically, it’s 100% my shit. The choreography alone is breathtaking, but wrapped up in the dance is a complicated and layered story that, admittedly, takes a couple of watches to wrap your head around. The witches are owed the guilt and shame of man, but must also evaluate their own blind faith in power rather than faith in the Mother.
4. Bad Times at the El Royale (w. Drew Goddard, d. Same Dude)
Six strangers have secrets, and those secrets could be the death of them. Unfortunately, the biggest secret of all appeared to be Bad Times at the El Royale’s release date because, uh, no one saw it? It’s a shame, because the movie was great. Every single actor in the film’s impressive cast brings their A game, but none so much as Jeff Bridges (Father Daniel Flynn) and Cynthia Erivo (Darlene Sweet). The two of them act their asses off in this movie, and no one came out to see the damn thing. Erivo has a monologue that is so good and so poignant that I still think about it months after getting the chance to see it.
3. Black Panther (w. Ryan Coogler, d. Same Dude)
Ryan Coogler and company pulled out all the stops in Black Panther. It wraps T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) story in a socially- and politically-relevant plot, and still manages to inspire and make you laugh. The MCU may struggle when it comes to their villains, but Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) was not subject to that curse. Everything Killmonger says is correct. It’s his methods that are the issue. Two cousins go to war over a country struggling with whether to save the world that would hurt them, or abandon said world the same way it has their kin. Meanwhile, Killmonger will kill us all with a simple “Hey Auntie”.
2. A Quiet Place (w. Bryan Woods, d. John Krasinski)
What a breath of fresh air A Quiet Place was. Not only did it do something original by being almost completely silent, it tells an apocalyptic story without boring you with exposition while you’re getting to know the characters. By leaving its lore up to future stories, the movie allowed us to fall in love with the Abbott family. Even their super questionable apocalypse baby! Things conclude with an out of nowhere, didn’t know you needed it until it happened kind of ending, and aren’t those the best kind?
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (w. Phil Lord, d. Bob Persichetti)
I finally saw this movie weeks after its release. Days and days of hype on Twitter. Countless recommendations followed by endless hyperbole from all corners of the internet. But then none of it was hyperbole. Into the Spider-Verse is the perfect movie. The art is mind-blowing. Not only is the color stunning, but each Spider-Person is animated based on their respective Spider-Verse and then layered together with the others and into Miles’ world. The soundtrack? Every single song is a bop. The story? They manage to keep the core of Miles’ origins intact, and do so while sharing something completely unique. The message? The message needs more than a sentence.
Into the Spider-Verse takes its time to drive home that every single person is capable of being a hero. What a point to drive home while so many out there are desperately looking for the helpers. Maybe you don’t have super powers, and maybe you don’t have loads of cool gadgets. That’s okay. Doing what’s right is what makes you a superhero, and anyone can do that. Just remember: don’t do it like me. Do it like you.