The year of 2018 has come to a close and over the past 365 days, I’ve seen roughly 175 new films that were released. I had a ton of fun watching each and every single one of them, even if I came out sour towards a film. There were a ton of great films this year that ranged from big action blockbusters, emotional indie dramas, scary-as-hell films that still haunt me, and some laugh out loud movies that always put me in the right mood. I’d chalk 2018 as a winner in the movie business, because there are some films that came out that I will truly cherish for a long time to come.
I always look forward to this time of year, as it allows me to go through all of the films I watched from January 1st and recall all the fond memories I had of watch everything with friends and colleagues and the reactions we all shared and the vast amount of conversations that followed about it all. Below are the film that truly resonated with me for one reason or another and I want to share these films with you and hope that you will have a good time with them. They are in no particular order.
It’s once in a blue moon when a horror film has such a profound effect on you that you can’t sleep right for weeks after watching it. Hereditary did that to me. Still to this day, I sleep with night lights and the doors closed, because this movie freaked me out so much. Not only is it scary, but every camera movement, piece of action and character interaction is meant, earned, and means something. It’s a slow burn horror movie that constantly surprises with each viewing, not to mention still shocks me each time I watch. Toni Collette is so damn good in this movie too. Hereditary is a modern day horror masterpiece and one fine film in general.
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
When the Coen Bros. say they are a making a movie, you damn well better pay attention and see the film. This is the first movie for the brothers that was available on Netflix right away, but definitely deserved to be seen on the big screen for the phenomenal cinematography of the Wild West from Bruno Delbonnel. This amazing western anthology movie of six separate stories tickled me all the way through each story and had the perfect amount of Coen-isms to make me smile. With part of their ‘O Brother Where Art Thou‘ wit and a little bit of ‘Three Amigos!‘ thrown in, this sometimes brutal yet darkly funny film hits all of the right notes. A dynamite cast and a segment solely with Tom Waits make this film pure enjoyment.
BEN IS BACK
I didn’t quite expect to like Ben is Back, but I was completely wrong here. This film was made by the guy who wrote ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape‘ and goes down a very dark path and has Julia Roberts like you’ve never seen her before. She is so damn good in this role. For those of you who have dealt with a friend or family member who has a severe drug or alcohol addiction, I imagine this will hit close to home, but what Ben is Back does so well is take you on this super suspenseful tale where you have no idea what is waiting around the other corner when a teenage son unexpectedly returns home to his family for Christmas. This film is now a favorite of all time.
So the guy who did Anchorman made a movie about Dick Cheney, where Christian Bale plays the former vice-president along with Sam Rockwell as former President George W. Bush. It’s so damn funny with a ton of breaking the fourth wall moments and black humor to last a life time. Bale completely transformed into Cheney both physically and mentally for this role and it pays off on screen. The film itself is whirlwind of Cheney’s insane life and how he was the silent strategist that made this country worse off than what it was for his own personal gain. It sounds heavy, but how the film plays out, you can’t help but laugh your ass off at it on how those two running mates became the most powerful men in the world.
Spike Lee outdoes himself again with this darkly comedic film set in the 1970s about a black police detective and his white partner (Adam Driver) who go undercover and infiltrate the klu klux klan. With a killer soundtrack, a fantastic true story, witty dialogue and perfect performances – Blackkklansman is one hell of a magnificent movie. During the end credits though, Spike Lee kicks us in the gut hard with real footage of present day racial violence which left me stunned, quiet and sad for nation. Still, it gave me hope that we will be past this very soon. This is one amazing film that will entertain and stick with you for years to come.
SUPER TROOPERS 2
Some 17 years later, we finally got a long overdue sequel to one of the funniest movies with the funniest comedy troupes out there with a new addition to the Super Troopers franchise. You know, it’s supremely difficult to make a comedic sequel to something that was already iconic and hilarious on its own, but to do it almost two decades later with the same cast and crew is damn near impossible. Broken Lizard did it though and did it well. For a silly, funny-as-hell sequel, Super Troopers 2 succeeds across the finish line with its hands held high in the air. I can’t remember a movie all year where I laughed this hard and this often. I love Super Troopers 2.
HOLD THE DARK
From the guys who made ‘Blue Ruin‘ and ‘Green Room‘ comes their third film ‘Hold The Dark‘, which again is a Netflix exclusive and is poetic, ultra violent, and one hell of a story. I didn’t know what quite to. expect here, but this is a story about a fucked up family, their neighbors, and odd and sadistic ways. It’s part psychological horror, part slasher, and part family drama all rolled into one. There are some truly harrowing and memorable scenes in Hold The Dark with a fantastic performance from Jeffrey Wright. Filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier hasn’t made a bad movie yet and keeps me wanting more from him.
I distant sequel from the 1980’s Arnold Schwarzenegger and made by Shane Black and Fred Dekker (Monster Squad), The Predator added a ton to the whole monster universe that we hadn’t known before. This movie received and still receives a ton of flack, but I disagree. There are great characters, excellent bloody violence, and some awesome mythology and story arcs involving the Predator species. There are so many excellent jokes and action sequences here that I just had a ball through the whole movie. Sure there are some silly things that don’t make sense, but I do believe there were some behind the scenes issues here where a ton of footage was cut out. Still, The Predator was fantastic and worthy to be in the franchise.
AVENGERS INFINITY WAR
The culmination of ten years of Marvel Superhero movies brings us to Avengers Infinity War, which brings us every single Marvel Superhero together to fight the one enemy since the first Avengers movie – Thanos. With a movie of this scope and so many characters, it would be easy to fall into a jumbled pit of chaos. It didn’t though and we got one of the best blockbuster movies in history. It’s an emotional journey, filled with character, tender moments, high-paced action, and even some funny dialogue. This is one of the greats for sure.
A QUIET PLACE
Jim from ‘The Office‘ directs, writes, and stars in one of 2018’s best films called A Quiet Place with his real life wife Emily Blunt. This film is scary as hell and had me in such suspense that I still break a sweat with each viewing. The film has an excellent gimmick going for it, which is you have to be silent in order to avoid the killer monsters on the loose. This might seem a bit easy, but when you have a family of kids and are about to give birth any day, the noises can be off the chain. This film portrays family issues, survival, and love in the most subtle yet best ways and showcases the immense talent of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt.
Nicolas Cage makes around 157 movies a year, where at least one of those is completely noteworthy and belongs in the awards category. In 2018, that movie is Mandy, which might be Nic Cage’s best film in the last few years. This movie is completely batshit insane, but is also endearing and about true love in the craziest way possible. Basically, Nic Cage seeks revenge on the sadistic cult and biker gang that brutally killed his wife, complete with chainsaws, crossbows, and a magnificent axe. With all of this amazingness, we get first a subdued Nic Cage, but by the end, he lets it all loose and we get the explosive Nic Cage we deserve and have grown to love. The visuals, camerawork, and performance from Nic Cage is all pitch perfect. Mandy is an instant cult classic and a wonderful film.
Thank you for reading and please see and enjoy these movies.
Written by: Bryan Kluger