This year I finally did something I've always wanted to do. I made a year-end top 10 list of my favorite movies. And it was excruciating. I hated leaving out several underloved gems. I just can't fit all my favorites into ten slots. Sorry, Eeeyore! So, here is my pared down list of my top 10 movies of 2018 and a couple hundred honorable mentions.
1. The Hate U Give
This is the movie that impacted me the most this year. It inspired me the most and forced me to look at my own prejudices. It is a shame that Russell Hornsby is not in the awards conversation for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor.
2. Sorry to Bother You
This is the movie that has crept into my thoughts the second most this year. Boots Riley's satire about race was one of the funniest movies of the year and also one of the darkest.
This was an early favorite and still holds a special place in my heart. This is my favorite Rachel Weisz performance of 2018. The film deals with faith, death, love, and sex in a mature way. And it doesn't martyr its LGBT characters.
4. A Quiet Place
This was the most unique experience I had in a movie theater this year. Feeling an entire audience hold their breath and try not to make a sound. The first sequence alone is perfection.
5. A Star Is Born
I'm a Lady Gaga fan and she nailed this performance. It was easy to fall in love with her as a stage shy songwriter. This is one blockbuster that lived up to the prerelease hype.
6. First Man
All of Damien Chazelle's films seem to deal with the cost of ambition. First Man's flight scenese have a "you are there" quality that's amazing.
7. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
This is my favorite animated film of the year. Phil Lord brings humor and originality to all of his projects. Yes, there was another black superhero this year. But I enjoyed Miles Morales' adventure more. Plus this movie had Peter Porker the Incredible Spider-Ham who I've waited to see on-screen since I was a kid. (No joke, I read that comic book religiously.).
8. The Wife
This was one of the most underrated dramas of the year. Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce complement each other perfectly. I saw some of my own mother in the role and in Close's acceptance speech at the Globes, a woman who could have flown further on her own wings without the constraints put on her by society.
While Sorry to Bother You is a comedy that goes down smoothly, BlacKkKlansman is a rocky road. Spike Lee takes you deep into the Klan and ends with a post script that reminds us this isn't a story that ends in the 1970s. Rather, it is ongoing and it has repercussions for us today. Despite its moments of humor and triumph, the film's ultimate message is that racism is still alive and well whether it wears a pointed hood or not.
10. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of parapalegic cartoonist John Callahan contains some of the most moving scenes of the year. I don't think I've ever seen Phoenix be quite this vulnerable. Whether he's weeping as he come to terms with the loss of his legs or offering forgiveness to others as part of a 12-step program, this is some of Phoenix's best work. Jonah Hill plays his sponsor in a performance that probably would have gotten him a Best Supporting Actor nomination if the film had garnered more attention.
Black Panther--a cultural milestone
Won't You Be My Neighbor?--the trailer always got applause
RBG--one of the best docs of the year
The Front Runner--a talented ensemble cast in a drama that raises important questions
The House with a Clock in Its Walls--One of the most fun movies of the year
Avengers: Infinity War--The Marvel Universe goes dark
Talking/speculating about Avengers 4--Was almost as much fun as watching Infinity War
Christopher Robin--Fun romp with live-action Winnie the Pooh characters
Colette--One of my favorite biopics of the year
Boy Erased--Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman give amazing performances
Bohemian Rhapsody--Pinkwashing aside, Ramy Malek becomes Freddie Mercury
Incredibles 2--Everything I love about Pixar
Mary Queen of Scots--Two of the strongest performances of the year
Leave No Trace--Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie break your heart
Ralph Breaks the Internet--A parody of the Disney princess movies
The Sisters Brothers--I have unfinished business with this movie
The Miseducation of Cameron Post--Along with Boy Erased, a powerful indictment of ex-gay ministries
If Beale Street Could Talk--A love story betrayed by reality
Mary Poppins Returns--Pure magic
First Reformed--A hard look at faith and doubt
Can You Ever Forgive Me?--A modern fable about honesty and creativity
Blaze--An elegy for two songwriters
Eighth Grade--An honest depiction of the worst year of everyone's life
A Private War
Stan & Ollie
Lean on Pete