Best in Film 2018

Over the course of 2018, a plethora of groundbreaking, original, and entertaining films were released and some of them go down as some of the most influential or memorable in recent years.  With the amount of people involved in these movies, it is only right to honor the movies and performers responsible for these great movie moments.  Starting off this list will be the top 10 movies of the year.

Honorable Mention:

Upgrade, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born

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All of these movies were fantastic in their own right and just missed the cusp of making the list.  Anyone watching these movies should be able to feel the impact of these movies after a single watch and I highly recommend all of them.

  1. Boy Erased

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A soul-crushing story, a borderline elite cast ensemble, and one of the best and most meaningful original songs of the year, Boy Erased pulls no punches when depicting the interrelationship between family, love, religion, and sexuality.  Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman in particular deserve all the praise they have gotten and I look forward to seeing what impact a film like this has on viewers in the future.

  1. A Private War

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Another film that graphically depicts the grim reality that others face, A Private War gives Rosamund Pike the opportunity to showcase her skills in her best role since Gone Girl.  This film is not for the faint of heart and will showcase how fortunate we are not to live in a war zone, but those who venture into this movie will be emotionally impacted in a way that very few movies can do.

  1. Paddington 2

Paddington

Finally something a little lighter.  Paddington 2 is one of the most joy-inspiring and entertaining films of the year.  The humor is timeless and anyone who just wants to sit down and enjoy a fun, harmless movie to take their mind off of things for a while will have very few better to pick from than this movie.

  1. Mission Impossible: Fallout

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When the sixth installment of a film series is the best one ever made, you know you have something really special on your hands.  With stunts that feel as impossible as the plot and some of the best action sequences of the decade, Mission Impossible: Fallout shows us that any franchise can turn out near-perfection when time, care, and effort are put into it.

  1. Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse

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Probably the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the year, Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse may not just be one of the best superhero movies of all time, but maybe one of the best animated movies also.  The unique artistry and stacked voice cast help propel this movie from just a Marvel placeholder to one of the best projects they have ever released.

  1. A Quiet Place

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I love it when a horror movie comes out and shows us that we do not need jump scares to try to scare the audience, and A Quiet Place is up there as one of the most original horror movies of the decade.  A beautiful score and sound editing in a movie that has almost no dialogue help this film take a relatively simple concept and push it up into being one of the best films of the year.

  1. The Hate U Give

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If The Hate U Give gets remembered for anything, at the very least it will be known for Amandla Stenberg’s coming out party.  Especially for young adult movies, very few go to the emotional depth that this one does and displays racism from this perspective and I believe has the ability to shape the generation coming up right now.

  1. Eighth Grade

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Who knew Bo Burnham had so much in common with teenage girls.  Eighth Grade not only gives out the breakout performance of Elsie Fisher, but tells a deeply emotional and raw story masked behind a shield of humor that reflects how many people felt at that time in their lives in a way that makes you appreciate the lack of technology that existed back then.

  1. Green Book

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Green Book is a polarizing film to say the least as is any film that centers its central theme on racism.  If you look past that though, you will see a wonderfully funny film featuring two of the best performances of the year from Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali that depicts how a true friendship can be formed regardless of background you come from.

  1. Roma

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A movie-maker’s movie and love letter to the city and country that raised director Alfonso Cuaron, very few movies with the love, attention, and care of Roma.  From the editing, cinematography, score, gripping yet raw story and a unique and genuine performance by Yalitza Aparicio make this movie undoubtedly the best of the year and a borderline must-watch for all movie fans.

Best Actors of the Year

This will be a list not of individual performances, but the choice to be involved in multiple projects that I enjoyed this year and the scale at which these people were involved in.  While some of the performances in this list are some of the best of the year, this is more a celebration of multiple works than one spectacular performance in each film.

  1. Brendan Gleeson- Paddington 2 and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

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Going from a lovable criminal in Paddington 2 to a stagecoach rider in the final story of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, needless to say Gleeson has had a busy year.  Integral to both plots but especially his involvement in Paddington 2 helped make that movie as enjoyable as it was and without Gleeson’s special touch neither of these movies would have been as good as they were.

  1. Russell Hornsby- The Hate U Give and Creed II

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While Hornsby has a relatively small role in Creed II, his performance in The Hate U Give shows us that he can give an absolutely jaw-dropping performance in a supporting role.  I really wish that performance was getting more awards attention, because without Hornsby in that film, I have a hard time believing that Amandla Stenberg’s performance would have been as great as it was without Hornsby there to give her more emotions to work with.

  1. Alec Baldwin- BlacKkKlansman and Mission Impossible: Fallout

Roundabout Theater Company's 2011 Spring Gala Honoring Alec Baldwin

Who says minor roles are not worth the time.  Baldwin instantly sets the tone of BlacKkKlansman when he shows us in the opening scene that this film is not playing any games while in Mission Impossible: Fallout he does a solid job of aiding Tom Cruise from the dangers that he will inevitably face.

  1. Anthony Mackie- The Hate U Give and Avengers: Infinity War

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Probably the two most polar opposite roles of the year, after playing one of the dozens of superheros defending the universe in Avengers: Infinity War, Mackie took a drastic turn in The Hate U Give as a local kingpin who controls the drugs and crime in the neighborhood.  Providing a strong secondary villain for Russell Hornsby to face, Mackie portrays a threat that is just as real as the racism the other characters face in this film.

  1. Mahershala Ali- Green Book and Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse

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Ali can do no wrong.  After giving us what could end up being the winning Supporting Actor performance in Green Book, Ali contributes his voice acting to the best animated film of the year.  Every second that Ali was on-screen this year resulted in moments that are either emotionally moving, exciting, or entertaining and he is the clear choice for the best actor of 2018.

Best Actresses of the Year

  1. Joanna Lumley- Paddington 2, Finding Your Feet

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Another example of how smaller roles can pay off in a big way.  Lumley does not have huge roles in either Paddington 2 or Finding Your Feet, but in each one her presence entertains the audience, especially in Finding Your Feet, and makes the film just a little more enjoyable.

  1. Scarlett Johansson- Isle of Dogs and Avengers: Infinity War

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Another MCU superhero who shows her range in other films, Johansson goes from fighting against Thanos and his team in Wakanda to voicing a dog in Wes Anderson’s new animated endeavour.  While her role in Isle of Dogs is minor, being the leading lady of one of the biggest movies of all time and shows her durability and commitment to the series.

  1. Imelda Staunton- Paddington 2, Finding Your Feet

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The thing that separates Staunton from Lumley even though they were in the same movies is the size of Staunton’s roles in these films.  While their roles in Paddington 2 are comparatively small, Staunton’s lead performance in Finding Your Feet helped define the movie and it would not be as enjoyable as it was.

  1. Angela Bassett- Mission Impossible: Fallout, Black Panther, Bumblebee

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The only actress on this list that appeared in three films this year, Bassett took on smaller roles but her past experiences show us that she is more than capable of handling herself.  Whether it is an ominous Decepticon in Bumblebee, Director of the CIA in Mission Impossible: Fallout, or T’Challa’s loving and caring mother in Black Panther (her strongest role of the year), Bassett shows durability and talent go a long way in this industry.

  1. Hailee Steinfeld- Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse, Bumblebee

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Probably the actress with the two largest roles in high-profile films this year, Steinfeld is the runaway choice for best actress of the year.  Lending her voice talents to Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse and then leading the charge in Bumblebee, the best Transformers movie, it was an absolute joy watching Steinfeld in movies this year and I eagerly await what she works on in the future.

So, there you have it.  These were the movies and people responsible for making 2018 such a great year for movies.  Hopefully 2019 will bring us just as many successful projects and performances as 2018 did.

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