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– by Fox Troilo

 

2018 has come to close, and it was an excellent year for cinema. The year gave audiences laughs, tears, nostalgia, and unbridled creativity. It is with that context that we have assembled a list of the best 20 films of 2018. The entries below are in alphabetical order, using the philosophy that comparing and ranking films across genres is a foolhardy endeavor. So, behold the list! Titles with previous reviews on LRM Online are linked if you’d like to read something more in-depth about the film.

Please comment below with your thoughts, questions, and critiques!

  1. A Quiet Place: Incredibly well-constructed suspense/horror film about creatures that hunt by sound, forcing humans to operate and live in silence. Boasts a magnificent screenplay, taut performances, and a reliance tension over gore which heightens the experience.
  2. A Star is Born: Romantic drama of two singers falling in love starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. A showcase for perhaps some of the best on-screen chemistry ever, coupled with a memorable soundtrack, gorgeous cinematography and awards-worthy performances.
  3. Avengers: Infinity War: The cinematic “event” of the year did not disappoint as Marvel presents Part 1 of its 10-year culmination which finds the heroes assembling in an attempt to thwart the plan of the sadistic Thanos. Incredible action and a witty script make the 16-film payoff worth it and more.
  4. BlacKkKlansman: True story about a black cop in Colorado who helped infiltrate the local KKK branch. This dark comedy comes from directorial mastermind Spike Lee, who leverages his style to craft a narrative that is thought-provoking and entertaining.
  5. Blockers: A hilarious and message-inducing comedy about a group of smart, well-informed teenagers who make smart decisions about sex, while their paranoid parents try to interfere. The juxtaposition of roles between adults and children is a refreshing take on a typical trope and the incredibly sharp script make this perhaps the funniest film of 2018.
  6. Can You Ever Forgive Me?: True story about Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy in a super dramatic role) who forged and sold letters from deceased playwrights. While focusing on mostly unlikeable characters, the underlying intrigue about who Israel was at this point in her life, coupled with the insight how she perpetrated her crimes is incredibly fascinating.
  7. Free Solo: Documentary that chronicles the adventures of Alex Honnold, a man who makes his living climbing incredibly difficult rockfaces without the assistance of ropes. A truly gripping human interest story that combines fascinating insight into the sport of rock climbing with incredible cinematography. This is the type of documentary that people will be discussing for years to come and is not be missed.
  8. Green Book: True story of a black pianist touring the deep south in the mid-1960s with his unrefined white driver. This is perhaps the feel-good movie of the year that simply has everything going for it including heartfelt characters, messages, and enough comedy to keep the proceedings light.
  9. Halloween: Horror sequels rarely work, but this true continuation smartly ignores the myriad of films between now and the 1978 original and focuses on the aspect that made the first movie a classic—a creepy and intimidating Michael Myers killer, music and cinematography to set mood (over gore), and a great performance from Jamie Lee Curtis.
  10. Mary Queen of Scots: Mary Stuart’s attempt to overthrow Elizabeth I. Stunning cinematography is at play here, along the portrayal of two highly empowered women attempting to strategize around the other. Offers insight into some very unique events that forever changed the course of history.
  11. Mission: Impossible – Fallout: Astoundingly well put together with perhaps the best stunt sequences and choreography ever put on-screen. True entertainment from the first frame to the last, with great characters executing high-octane sequences with fun banter in between.
  12. Roma: Perhaps the most artistically beautiful film of 2018, this is a semi-autobiographical tale from director Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) who presents life in Mexico through the eyes of a housemaid dealing with various personal struggles. The cinematography is astounding, and while the subject matter might be heavy, the visuals make the film a visceral experience.
  13. RBG: Documentary about the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Very well constructed history of RBG’s personal and professional life that offers introspection into one of the smartest and influential legal minds of our time.
  14. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Stunning and refreshing animated family film that provides a unique take on the Spider-Man character(s). Filled with wit, meticulously drawn action sequences, the film is a delight for all ages, and is a contender not for just the best Spider-Man film ever, but best superhero film to date. Yes, it’s that good.
  15. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: From the eclectic minds of the Coen Brothers (True Grit, Fargo) comes a six-part anthology of stories set in the Old West, each with their own unique style and quirky characters. The yarns themselves might be a little unusual and off-putting for some, but for those who enjoy the Coen Brothers’ brand of dark comedy, this is a delight.
  16. The Favourite: Eccentric comedy/drama period piece about two women competing for Queen Anne’s attention in 18th century England. While unabashed a little weird and strange, hosts some of the best acting and funniest moments of 2018 from the film’s three leading ladies.
  17. The Hate U Give: Fictional, but raw and realistic look at teenage race relations and identity in the modern era. Very powerful. Underappreciated drama that feels almost a little too real, but in a way that will hopefully educate and motivate.
  18. The Old Man and the Gun: Swan song of Redford Redford in a true story about an elderly, charismatic bank robber. This simply a great charming film you can watch with nearly anyone on a cozy night to reveal Redford’s great acting abilities.
  19. Venom: A story of a man merged with goo. While critically drummed, Venom features some of the best…no, I’m just kidding. This was an amusing experiment which has now spawned horrible, horrible consequences. I have only myself to blame.
  20. Vice: An inside look at the life of Dick Cheney. From the director of The Big Short, this is yet another quirky way of taking a complicated topic/person and finding an entertaining and palatable way to present the historical material.
  21. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?: Documentary about Fred Rogers. Fascinating and honest insight into a man who saw the world in his own unique loving way and contributed to the education of children with immeasurable impact.

That’s the list! Give your feedback below!

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Fox serves as an entertainment journalist in the Washington, D.C. When not covering cinematic news for LRM, he critiques films as a member of the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Fox also has a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Strategy from Indiana University Bloomington.