Top 10 Films of 2018 + Honorable Mentions

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and may 2019 bring you much joy, success and wonderful moments!

Well, it’s time for the obligatory Top 10 Films of 2018. Since there are still plenty of 2018 movies I have not seen yet, I should preface this post with the fact that I haven’t seen Roma, Cold War (seeing it tomorrow!), First Reformed, BlacKKKlansman, They Shall Not Grow Old, etc. which could easily alter my current Top 10. It goes without saying of course, that it’s my list, and there’s no formula as to how I pick them, it’s all based on instinct. Films are so personal that there’s no top 10 list is ever the same from person to person, so naturally there is no right or wrong list.

Well without further ado, here we go… 

Top 10 Films of 2018

(In alphabetical order)

1. A Star Is Born (review)

This film swept me off my feet. Yes it’s the fourth adaptation but it’s actually the first one I’ve ever seen (yes, really!) and so it felt fresh to me. I was floored by the performances of Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga and their palpable chemistry together. It was an emotional love story that stuck with me long after the end credits, and that’s a testament to Cooper’s excellent directing (his debut no less) as well as the wonderful original songs that add so much to the movie. As I set to make my own romantic drama of my own, I so admire to see such an emotionally-rich love story portrayed on screen.

2. Black Panther (review)

Wakanda Forever! What a phenomenal movie that happens to be a superhero film… in fact, Black Panther transcend the comic-book action movie genre and no surprise that it’s become the first of its kind to generate Oscar buzz! Chadwick Boseman led the excellent ensemble cast in a glorious journey of a man-who-would-be-king and faces an enemy worthy that matched his strength. Love all the strong, bad-ass women in this movie and appreciate that Ryan Coogler gives them a chance to shine. It’s a movie I could watch over and over, and always find something new thing to marvel at.

3. Green Book (review)

I didn’t realize this movie has proven to be quite divisive. I actually overheard a critic during a screening of another film talking about this movie in such a negative way, saying that the movie told a fascinating black man but focuses on the white guy instead. I actually didn’t see that way and actually think the movie offers a balanced view of how the two lives of Dr. Don Shirley and his chosen driver Tony Lip intersect and changed both of their lives forever. I love Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen’s performances, perhaps one of my favorite cinematic pairing ever. I think it’s interesting that one’s upbringing might view this film differently. As a woman of color and a US immigrant, I see this as a beautiful story of friendship set during the dark times in American South ripe with racial discrimination.

4. Leave No Trace (review)

I am so glad I was able to see this movie during MSPIFF before it was released publicly… AND got to chat with its writer/director Debra Granik. It’s a beautiful, restrained and graceful film about a father & daughter going ‘off the grid’ that makes you contemplate about how we approach life and our social culture. I love the quiet intensity of its leads Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin McKenzie. I was in awe by the gorgeous, ethereal setting of the Oregon forest as the leads set off on a harrowing journey. It also boasts an ending that packs an emotional wallop without much words spoken.

5. Mission Impossible: Fallout (review)

It’s rare that a huge studio franchise actually gets better and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Tom Cruise never seems to age and despite his broken ankle (which you can actually witness in the movie itself!), he still delivers one of the most fun action movie that thrills from start to finish. Heck, he even hired Superman himself Henry Cavill who’s ironically much better here as a villain than as a Kryptonian hero. Glad that Rebecca Ferguson is back here reprising her role, and we’ve got yet another compelling female character thanks to Vanessa Kirby. I sure hope Cruise and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie continue to work together as it proves to be a fruitful collaboration.

6. Paddington 2 (review)

I just adore this English bear, voiced so perfectly by Ben Whishaw, and his adopted family. I love how unabashedly sweet, wholesome and charming this movie is, boasted by a delightful cast including a hilariously-smarmy Hugh Grant as a washed out actor. Brendan Gleeson also provides such fun comic relief as the cleverly-named ‘Knuckles’ McGinty (classic!) I didn’t grow up with the children stories by Michael Bond, but I can’t get enough of Paddington’s adventure and its heartwarming message… ‘if we’re kind and polite the world will be right.’

7. The Rider

It’s another film I saw during MSPIFF on the big screen. It’s a sophomore feature by writer/director Chloé Zhao, starring newcomer Brady Jandreau in his breakout role. It’s an understated yet powerful character study of a man in the aftermath of a tragic riding accident. I deeply feel for his character (also named Brady) as he contemplates his life after he loses the one thing that gives him a sense of purpose. It’s an astute and exquisite piece of work from the Chinese filmmaker and not surprisingly, Marvel honcho Kevin Feige has hired her to do a movie based on the Eternals comics. I sure hope she gets to make more films in Hollywood.

8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

If there’s one movie I didn’t think I’d watch, let alone end up on my Best list, it’d be this one. I honestly didn’t know much about this movie at all, it’s my hubby who was excited about it when the trailer was first released. I saw it on a morning advanced screening in a packed theater and was absolutely enthralled by its stunning animation and the story of Miles Morales and his fellow super-heroes/heroines. Apparently SONY has moved to patent its inventive animation technology that honors its comic book origin with thought balloon, written sound effects, etc. The voice cast is great, heck it’s even got Nic Cage as the Spider-man Noir. This movie is so full of energy, hilarious and heartwarming moments, all which made it one of the most gratifying superhero movies even in a year crowded with movies in that genre.

9. Widows

I mentioned in my Golden Globes post that the lack of love for this movie and its leading lady Viola Davis an egregious snub. Yes it’s marketed as a heist thriller and it certainly has all the workings of the genre but oh, it’s SO much more! Just because the film has a more commercial appeal than Steve McQueen‘s previous work doesn’t mean it’s less substantial. Right from the titillating opening sequence–Davis making out with Liam Neeson in bed–the taut script (co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn) interweaves intrigue, action and social commentary in a slow-burn but captivating manner. I’ve always admired Davis as an actress but here she easily steals the screen even amongst a stellar, award-winning cast.

10. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (review)

I didn’t grow up watching Mr. Rogers so I’m only vaguely familiar with the subject of this documentary. But after seeing this film, I totally understand why he’s such a beloved figure to both kids and adults alike. I’m truly inspired by Fred Rogers, the person behind the tv persona in the iconic cardigan. It proves that kindness and compassion never goes out of style and will never fail to inspire. I’m glad filmmaker Morgan Neville finally introduced ‘America’s favorite neighbor’ to new audiences, especially in a time where there’s so much division and negativity all around us.

15 Honorable Mentions

(in alphabetical order)

Some of the movies here I like very, very much and I have actually enjoyed more than the ones on my main top 10. Some I appreciate but I don’t really feel like watching it again.

  1. Annihilation (review)
  2. Ant-Man and The Wasp
  3. Avengers Infinity War – Part I (review)
  4. Can You Ever Forgive Me
  5. Crazy Rich Asians (review)
  6. Death of Stalin
  7. The Favourite
  8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
  9. If Beale Street Could Talk
  10. Mamma Mia Here We Go Again
  11. Mary Queen of Scots
  12. Mary Poppins Returns
  13. Mowgli
  14. Ralph Breaks The Internet (review)
  15. Vice

WORST FILMS (I saw in 2018):

  • A Wrinkle In Time (review)
    Beautiful visuals and the lead young actress is great, but ultimately the movie is a huge letdown.
  • Gringo
    Though I like seeing David Oyelowo in a comedy, the story is so vapid. What a waste of a strong cast!
  • The Little Mermaid (Netflix)
    The story intrigued me but the production looks cheap and the acting is simply atrocious! The lead actor (who was decent in the Narnia movie) looked bored the entire time.

Dodged the bullet: 

Fifty Shades Freed, Venom, Life Itself, Robin Hood, anything with Gerard Butler in it released in the past 2 years.

Best Series I saw in 2018:

  • Altered Carbon
    (check out my in-depth commentary of the show)
  • The Crown Season 1
  • Bodyguard
  • Daredevil Season 3
    (check out my top 10 reasons why I LOVE it)
  • The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (season 1)

Top 5 New-To-Me Movies I saw in 2018:

  • Brief Encounter
  • The Big Sick
  • Crazy Stupid Love
  • Risen
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas

Well, what do you think of my Top 10 list? Any of your favorites on the list?

36 thoughts on “Top 10 Films of 2018 + Honorable Mentions

  1. Sadly, I’ve only seen 2 of your top 10, so I look forward to watching the rest. One of those I need to see is the Mr. Rogers doc. I did grow up watching up so I’m intrigued to learn more about him.

    On a side note, I totally get skipping anything Gerard Butler stars in, but I thought Den of Thieves was surprisingly good.

    1. Hi Dell! Which two did you see? Black Panther is one of them I take it? Oh if you grew up w/ Mr. Rogers you should see the ‘Neighbor’ documentary!

      I might give Den of Thieves a try, though it’s 140 minutes for a heist flick?? Hmmm…

      1. I have Den of Thieves on Bluray if you want to burrow it Ruth. It’s basically a rip-off of Michael Mann’s HEAT, minus the quality actors like Pacino and Di Nero and talented direction of Mann. With that said, I was entertained for the most part but yeah it’s way too long for a B-grade action picture that tried to be something it can’t be. Lol!

        1. Ahah thanks for the offer Ted but I’m ok never seeing that movie. Heh I might as well rewatch HEAT again. There is no way Gerry and his team of B & C list actors can top that Michael Mann movie with THAT cast.

  2. Great list of films Ruth. Kicking myself that I have not seen Paddington 2 and Leave No Trace yet. I hope to fix that soon. Yeah I too am upset that Widows didn’t get the respect it deserved.

    1. Hey Vern! Paddington 2 is such a delight, hope you give it a watch one of these days. Leave No Trace is really good, too, and Debra Granik actually came to MN a couple of times this year. It’s baffling why Widows didn’t get the recognition it deserved!

  3. Had I gone to see Paddington 2 in a theater, it would have been near the top of my own list. A Star is Born also made my list as did Green Book. I don’t have any Gerald Butler films on my list either, although Hunter Killer was very entertaining. Happy New Year Ruth.

    1. Hi Richard! Glad you love A Star Is Born and Green Book too. I still can’t believe how many movies Gerard Butler churned out this year, not sure I’m up to see Hunter Killer.

      Happy New Year, Richard!

    1. Hi Allie! I absolutely adore Paddington 2, even better than the first actually. I love seeing Top 10 lists as they become a place for movie recommendations 🙂 Which of the ones haven’t you seen yet?

      1. That’s what Mark Kermode has been calling him for years though he really calls him SHUT-UP BUTTWAD! It’s because all he does is scream, scowl, and be smug.

  4. From your list, I only saw M:I-Fallout, Widows and Black Panther (somehow I thought it’s from 2017, felt it came out a long time ago, ha ha). Fallout and Widows are probably my most favorites of the year. I haven’t seen many films that I can make my own top 10 list though. I really liked Roma, but didn’t think it’s any special like most critics did. It’s definitely a personal film of Cauron but somehow it caught on with many other people.

    1. Yeah I really love Fallout and Widows and can easily watch those two again. Black Panther was released in February but you’re right, it seems like it has been out longer than that.

      I’ll check out ROMA just to see what the fuss is about. I’m afraid it’ll be like Phantom Thread last year where EVERY CRITIC just adores it but it was just ok to me.

  5. What a great list! Sooo glad to see M:I – Fallout and Leave No Trace. Both are movies I’ll be championing for a long time. And Paddington 2…watched it again a couple nights ago. Talk about an absolute delight! It’s almost like a warm and fuzzy Wes Anderson movie! I just love it.

    As for worst – I’ve seen “Wrinkle” appear on several lists. I am sooooo glad I skipped it!!!

    1. Oh! And the Mr. Rogers doc is another one really close to me. I took my whole family to a screening during our summer vacation. It was so cool to introduce him to them!

      1. Hey Keith! Glad we have a few in common and yes Paddington 2 is just so adorable, and I love Hugh Grant playing a washed-out actor, so hilarious!

        I actually saw the Mr Rogers doc on the plane and was so moved by it. That’s cool that you took your whole family to see it!

  6. A well-thought out list as always Ruth. I am interested in seeing Widows, maybe I will go tomorrow afternoon while I’m still on holidays. We only have one crossover between our lists, and that’s Spiderman. Granted I haven’t even seen most of yours.

    1. Thanks Ian! Did you end up seeing WIDOWS? I hope you did, it’s such a terrific movie and a phenomenal ensemble cast. Glad you saw Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse, such a pleasant surprise for me as it wasn’t even on my radar.

  7. Interesting list Ruth. Paddington 2 continues to impress doesn’t it? Great to see Leave No Trace make the cut. Wonderful movie. I’m currently working through some movies to see how they land in my top ten, so it’ll be a few weeks before I’m finished.

    1. Hi there Mark! Always glad to see you visit, sorry I’ve been pretty inactive on blogging lately. I was so moved by Leave No Trace, and thrilled I got to meet Debra Granik who was visiting the local film fest. I’d love to see your Top 10 once you have that done. Thanks!

      1. I haven’t been very active myself. Trying to force my way back in though.
        Wow! You met Debra Granik? That must have been special. Such an observant director who doesn’t make enough films.

  8. Your top 5 and my top 5 will be very, very similar. A Star is Born was (by far) the best I saw in 2018. Did you see Eighth Grade? I saw that was missing from your list entirely, and I loved it 🙂

    1. Hi Courtney! I LOVE A Star is Born, it’s my fave romance I saw in 2018. I haven’t seen Eight Grade yet, it wasn’t really on my radar until it was nominated for Golden Globe.

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