Disorderly Top 10: Our favorite films of 2018
We watch a lot of movies. That said, we don’t see them all. Here now are our own top 10 favorite films of 2018.
10) Bohemian Rhapsody - Nick
I’ve gotten in multiple arguments about how good this movie is. Multiple. For whatever reason, Rotten Tomatoes gave it 62% and I fear that people have dismissed it for that very reason. Well that’s a mistake because Bohemian Rhapsody is an outstanding movie and an easy choice for my 2018 Top Ten list. Rami Malek is Freddy Mercury. I know it’s cliché to say that an actor transformed into his role, but there’s really no other way to word it in this case. Also, as an aside to all the critics saying that they brushed over Freddy’s gay lifestyle, I strongly disagree. For all the true Queen fans in the building, you already know that Freddy never wanted his love life to be in the spotlight. He wanted people to pay attention to his music and the biopic perfectly captured that sentiment. Watch this movie guys…
10. First Reformed - Dave
God. Death. Church. Pollution. Whiskey. Pepto-Bismol. Just when you thought he was done, Paul Schrader brings the bleak in new and exciting ways. Best known as a frequent collaborator of Martin Scorsese going back to Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, Schrader's First Reformed stars Ethan Hawke as a dying reverend brought to the brink. The ending is shocking, bordering on upsetting. Enjoy!
9) Love, Simon - Nick
This was recommended by a friend at the last minute and I couldn’t be happier about it. Love, Simon was equal parts charming, pointed and emotional. I laughed and I cried. The performance by Nick Simon was brilliantly layered and multi-dimensional. It took me about an hour and a half before I realized the role wasn’t played by Baby Driver’s Ansel Elgort but that’s on me. Dealing with such a familiar territory for audiences – we all went to high school – and creating an environment that feels authentic and believable is among the tallest hurdles for a movie director to leap over. More on that front later in the list, but for now… let’s just appreciate how complete of a movie Love, Simon was.
9. A Prayer Before Dawn - Dave
If you thought American prison was rough, ho boy, you aint never been to Thailand. Based on the brutal autobiography of Billy Moore, A Prayer Before Dawn, plunges you into Thailand's most notorious prison as our hero, a British street-fighting heroin addict, learns to navigate less than ideal living arrangements. At times you honestly forget you're watching a film and not the most horrifying documentary you've ever seen.
8) Hereditary - Nick
I’ve always been under the impression that scary movies are held to a lower standard. If you can play some suspenseful music, cut it at the last second and then make a ‘big bang’ noise, you’ll scare most of the audience. And that jump-scare cop-out has resulted in a lot of terribly acted, poorly written movie to achieve financial success. Well I truly envy those people. I can’t do it. I’m not particularly scared by these kind of moments so I horror movie that lacks a compelling plot is essentially just boring to me. Luckily, Hereditary was anything but. The jump-scares were scary as hell. That’s true. But there was a longer-lasting fear came from the hand-me-down punishments for our parents’ mistakes. Good luck sleeping after you watch this one.
8. Mission: Impossible – Fallout - Dave
We truly don't appreciate Tom Cruise enough. The man is a goddamn marvel. He's 56, halfway to being a billionaire and spends his time and money devising new ways to nearly kill himself for our entertainment. The Mission Impossible franchise simply can't sustain itself in biennial form. It needs years to breath and for Tom to heal. Fallout is the perfect realization of one man's glorious vision. As for the next installment, I'm sure talks with SpaceX are ongoing.
7) First Reformed - Nick
I’ve always been a huge Ethan Hawk fan, and this is exactly why. He takes bold chances and does truly thought-provoking projects that may seem like an odd choice to most actors. I mean on paper… a priest questioning his faith thanks to his chance meeting with an extreme environmentalist? That’s a script that doesn’t seem to fit into the cookie cutter genres that audiences are used to. And yet, Hawk was able to turn it into an extremely compelling film. I was hooked from the beginning and never wavered. Also, worth mentioning the outstanding supporting performances by Amanda Seyfried and Philip Ettinger.
7. Mandy - Dave
Fever dream. Acid trip. Nothing quite does Panos Cosmatos' Mandy justice. I could tell you all about Nicolas Cage setting out on an axe-murdering rampage of revenge but for me it's all about the cenobite biker drug lords and failed-musician cult leader. If you can hang tough through the first act, you'll enjoy equal parts high art and horrorscape.
6) Mandy - Nick
This was my sleeper pick of the list. Nicholas Cage continues to be the most unsolvable puzzle in all of Hollywood. Is he a good actor?! The best answer I could come up with is ‘sometimes.’ But he certainly shines in the more unhinged roles and we certainly have that in Mandy. A sort of homage to the old 80s slasher films, Mandy was gritty, gory and… fun? I mean we’re talking chainsaw vs. chainsaw battles people. Think John Wick but with an 80s metal spin to it. I loved this movie.
6. A Quiet Place - Dave
If you can move past the goofiness of the premise, A Quiet Place gives you that rare chance to enjoy nearly having a heart attack. If you were lucky enough to see the film in a theatre packed with other victims, you know what I mean. John Krasinski impressed as the dad trying to hold it all together, but his direction is rightly gaining him the most praise. Emily Blunt is her standard of excellence. Details for the sequel are spotty but I'm happy to trust in Krasinski.
5) Blackklansman - Nick
When Spike Lee is on his game, he’s one of the best directors we’ve got. Period. And 2018’s Blackkklansman was one of his best yet. To make a movie about white supremacism and the KKK, while keeping it both funny and smart… well needless to say that’s a difficult task. And yet the final product seemed so effortless. It had a Tarantino feel to it, but not quite as big of a departure of reality. John David Washington and Adam Driver were outstanding and I particularly enjoyed Topher Grace’s portrayal of David Duke. Also a rare appearance by one of the Buscemi brothers? That’s always fun.
5. First Man - Dave
My list isn't lacking in horror gems, but damn, First Man might be the scariest film in my top 10. Damien Chazel and Ryan Gosling certainly didn't get the love they had hoped for, but Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke and the rest of the cast should be commended. Critics didn't enjoy Gosling's stoic, apparently spot-on take of THE first man Neil Armstrong, but can you blame a guy for going method? I guess so.
4) Eighth Grade - Nick
Bo Burnham is my age and that stresses me out. Feels like he’s been a bit more productive in his 28 years on this planet. But that’s neither here nor there. If you don’t fall in love with Elsie Fisher – the actress who plays the lead character, Kayla – then you don’t have a heart. Watching her harrowing journey through adolescence, you just wanted to reach out and help here somehow. And it all felt so believable. Like this is what those years are like in the social media age. The image of her face lit up in a blacked-out bedroom by the glow of her twitter feed… well that created a sadness that really stuck with me. Also, that camp fire scene… no spoilers but wow.
4. Hereditary - Dave
In what feels like a throwback to 80's horror classics, Ari Aster's near-perfect debut was the signature horror film of 2018. Made by a 30-year-old for $10 million, Hereditary checked every psychological terror box without getting out of hand. Toni Collette absolutely steals the show, but the real surprise was from the young rising stars Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolff. Even if you didn't dig the final act's big reveal, you have to admit it was fun getting there.
3) Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse - Nick
I’m on record as not being a big Marvel guy. Or any super hero movie for that matter. You’ll notice Black Panther and Infinity War are absent from my top ten. I don’t hate the genre, but I certainly don’t enjoy it enough to crack into my year-end list. That just goes to show you how amazing (get it) the newest Spider-Man offering really was. The jokes were plentiful and legitimately funny. The animation gave everything a finely polished, yet almost unfinished look to it all. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend making the trip to the theaters before you miss out. Brilliant.
3. The House that Jack Built - Dave
The self indulgence of Lars Von Trier meets a serial killer? That's a venn diagram that won't be everyone's cup of tea. The House that Jack Built is as close as Von Trier might ever get to balancing his style and his choice of subject matter. I'm sure you've heard about the Cannes walk-outs and the rustled jimmies, but the film features one of the top performances of 2018 from Matt Dillon. He, of course, won't be recognized for the work, but it's a shame none the less. Of everything on this list, The House that Jack Built might need the most examination from future generations. Give it a shot.
2) You Were Never Really Here - Nick
I mean let’s face it, Joaquin Phoenix is the man. My hope is that putting this in the two spot shows people how much I loved this movie. But I also want to be careful not to give too much away. You Were Never Really Here is best consumed blind. Watch it carefully, without much context. And then watch it again. I’m not afraid to admit that I did a little theory reading between watches and that really helped me pick up on things that I would’ve otherwise missed. I’ll just leave you with that.
2. The Favourite - Dave
The Killing of a Sacred Deer wasn't for everybody. Colin Farrell even admitted that filming the grim drama drove him into depression. When I heard Yorgos Lanthimos' follow up would be a period piece I had some concerns. While clearly a Lanthimos film, The Favourite isn't bogged down with his trademark awkward tension. Olivia Colman and a hilarious Nicholas Hoult outshine leads Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. No small task.
1. Leave No Trace - Nick
Leave No Trace simply did more with less; that’s the best way to put it. You aren’t told what the characters are feeling, but rather shown. Watching Ben Foster look around a boisterous church, you can feel his discomfort. Watching Thomasin McKenzie experience socialization for the first time, you could feel her nerves. It was a heart-wrenching film but somehow optimistic at the same time. Because at the center of it all, there was the strong bond of love. No matter how unorthodox everything else was. My best film of 2018: Leave No Trace.
1. You Were Never Really Here - Dave
If you ever imagined hit-manning to be a glamorous line of work, Joaquin Phoenix is here to scare you straight. Brought to us by the criminally underrated Lynne Ramsey (We Need To Talk About Kevin) You Were Never Really Here is a grounded, brutal examination of the criminal underbelly we don't often see from Hollywood. I'm always up for some stylized violence from a Nicolas Winding Refn à la Drive, but Ramsey leaves us enough room to navigate what's going on off-camera.