ComingSoon.net’s Top 10 Movies of 2018 Lists!
The writers and staff at ComingSoon.net are proud to present our lists of the Top 10 Movies of 2018! You’ll find ranked lists below from Managing Editor Spencer Perry, Associate Editor Max Evry, and reviewers Alan Cerny, Kalyn Corrigan, Joshua Starnes and Scott Chitwood. As always we encourage our readers to debate the rankings (or post lists of their own) in the comments! Check out all six lists below!
1. Hereditary – Ari Aster’s family horror film burrowed into my brain seven months ago and has never left. It occupies a corner of my thoughts that whisper in the dark and make me check the ceiling before I sleep. A true nightmare.
2. Assassination Nation – Flat out bonkers and dripping with intrigue. Far and away the coolest movie of the year in terms of style. Don’t be surprised when director Sam Levinson is being targeted for major blockbusters.
3. Mission: Impossible – Fallout – The sixth film in the series only allows you to catch your breath for the first 15 minutes and after that you’re on your own. Aces all around.
4. The Favourite – Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest absurdity blends his trademark dead-pan humor with beautiful scenery and costumes. Plus it features the best silly dance sequence since Top Secret!
5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The most impressive animated movie of the year might even be the best of the decade. Not only does the film succeed in creating astonishing visuals but by tapping into the parts of superhero lore that live-action films will almost never explore.
6. Avengers: Infinity War – The movie that on paper should not have worked is proof positive of how no one can out-do Marvel Studios at their own game.
7. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Though not the Coen’s best western, the anthology features every possible reason to love the filmmakers as they draw from every corner of their filmography. Absurdist cartoon inspired comedy, bleak melancholy, and dark humor are mixed well.
8. Eighth Grade – Bo Burnam’s debut film is a perfect example of why the medium is so powerful, creating a piece so drenched in empathy that literally anyone can watch it and see themselves in the lead’s shoes.
9. BlackKklansman – Spike Lee channeled the rage of a nation into a film that has as many belly laughs as it does touching moments and biting satire.
10. Halloween – David Gordon Green took the formula of The Last Jedi and hotwired it with the DNA of the entire Halloween franchise. By flipping the script on iconic moments and subverting expectations at nearly every corner he crafted the best sequel in the series.
1. Annihilation – Taking its cues from H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space,” this thoughtful sci-fi horror masterpiece is full of as many moments of beauty as it has indelible images of pure terror.
2. BlacKkKlansman – One of Spike Lee’s best, this true story of a black officer infiltrating the KKK in the 70’s proved frightfully relevant.
3. Mandy – Panos Cosmatos follows up on the promise of Beyond the Black Rainbow with this surreal, operatic revenge flick that proves Nicolas Cage is far from done creating truly memorable performances.
4. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – A return-to-form for The Coen Brothers, this western anthology is a funny, bloody and ultimately transcendent meditation on death.
5. Boiled Angels: The Mike Diana Story – Genre filmmaker Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker) delivered this fascinating documentary exploring the harrowing ordeal of comic book creator Diana, the first person in the US to be convicted for artistic obscenity.
6. The Other Side of the Wind – The final film of Orson Welles was worth the wait, proving to be a self-reflective meta-narrative about the filmmaker himself as well as a wild exercise in pushing film’s creative boundaries.
7. Hold the Dark – A rare lead performance from Jeffrey Wright anchors this violent saga set among the bleak frontiers of Alaska. Another win for Green Room director Jeremy Saulnier.
8. Game Night – Aided by a sharp script from Mark Perez, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein created a high-concept comedy that was both stylish and hilarious.
9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – No superhero movie has embraced its comic book roots with more success than this endlessly imaginative animated film, which deserves Oscar love.
10. The Quest of Alain Ducasse – This look inside the working life of a culinary genius is a smorgasbord for foodies and an insightful examination into one man’s devotion to good cuisine.
1. Bodied – Joseph Kahn’s film about battle rap turns out to be THE movie of 2018. It’s about the things we think and do not say, how we navigate this complicated world through our interactions on social media, and how we relate to each other through all the noise. It’s such a good movie that I saw it last year and it’s still the best film of this year. It’s tremendous.
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Best superhero movie of 2018? Yep. Best animated film of 2018? You bet. For everyone who has ever loved the character of Spider-Man, this is your Citizen Kane. If you don’t get goosebumps when Mile Morales accepts the mantle of hero, set to the pounding music of “What’s Up Danger,” well, check your pulse.
3. Hearts Beat Loud – The A Star is Born that should have been, full of great music and powerful performances by Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons. It’s sweet, winning, and richly emotional.
4. Destroyer – Nicole Kidman can stand next to Gene Hackman and Al Pacino in one of the best cop performances ever. But Karyn Kusama also crafts a moral tale of corruption and redemption in the back streets of Los Angeles.
5. Mission: Impossible – Fallout – The best action film of the year, and Cruise’s best work as Ethan Hunt, finally giving us a character we can care about. Christopher McQuarrie proves himself a fantastic action director. Best action film since Fury Road? Could be.
6. Black Panther – Marvel had a great year this year, as they do most recent years, but Black Panther is something else entirely. Ryan Coogler has built a modern fantasy film that feels as real as the Lord of the Rings films or Star Wars. And Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger is a villain for the ages for one reason – he’s right.
7. Sorry to Bother You – We could talk about Boots Riley’s examination of race, class, and labor unions all day, and those would be great conversations to have right now. But can I just groove on how delightfully WEIRD the movie is? There was nothing like it this year.
8. Eighth Grade – Elsie Fisher gives a stunning performance that may be the bravest acting work I’ve seen this year. Bo Burnham’s exploration of adolescence is a rare, honest look without nostalgia, glamour, or any punches pulled. But there is great beauty in its brutal truth.
9. Upgrade – Damn right. Leigh Whannell may have made this year’s RoboCop – a science fiction action extravaganza that will be talked about with joy for years to come. I wish I’d seen it in a theater. Great sequences, but more importantly it’s really smart.
10. Anna and the Apocalypse – A zombie Christmas high school musical? Yeah, baby. It also has great songs, a fun premise, and winning performances. I think this one will be in the holiday rotation for many years to come.
Suspiria – When the remake for Suspiria was first announced a few years back, I was personally offended. How dare they try to recreate something that was so obviously perfect? But if anyone were going to pull it off, it had to be Luca Guadagnino. He conjures up a real sense of witchcraft through the sorcery of dance, and the result is so much more than a movie. It’s a religious experience.
Hereditary – I still can’t believe this is Ari Aster’s first film. Without revealing too much for those who haven’t seen it yet, Hereditary is a story about a family mourning a grandmother’s death, and the strange and macabre things that begin to happen to them in their grief. It’s gut wrenching, mind boggling and ultimately extremely disturbing. It’s also one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen. This is thanks in large part to Toni Collette, who gives arguably the best performance of her very impressive career. Anyone who has lost someone dear to them can relate to this family in peril, but Aster pushes the envelope even further than the traditional odd behavior. This is a physical film. It will reach out and shake you to your core.
Widows – Finally, Viola Davis has a role that is worthy of her talent. The woman who is always a joy to watch in films like Fences and Doubt finally has the starring role that she has more than earned, and she knocks it out of the park. Steve McQueen turns the Michael Mann-esque heist movie formula on its head by flipping gender roles, and executes it so flawlessly it makes you wonder why nobody else bothered to do it years ago. Davis, Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki — these women are perfect as the motely crew brought together by the swift hand of death. Steve McQueen pulls off what Gary Ross tries to do at half the budget.
First Reformed – Paul Schrader writes and directs one of his best movies in years using his go-to formula: a troubled man writing notes in a journal as he attempts to deal with the world around him. The only difference is, this time the world isn’t overflowing with trash as much as it is on fire. In a strange mix of science and religion, Schrader, by way of star Ethan Hawke, asks the question – will God forgive us for ruining his planet? As undeniable climate change causes the globe to grow hotter every year, are we betraying God’s love by destroying his gift to us? This movie is a lot of things – a look at a man struggling with his morality, an examination of faith and the church, a hard look in the mirror at ourselves and the way we treat our home – but even if you don’t tap into the many layered messages, it’s still enjoyable as a simple narrative about a priest falling in love. Ethan Hawke truly is one of our greatest living actors.
If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins is a gift to movie-goers. Every feature he creates acts less like a movie and more like a journey that the audience sits in on. This director has a way of making us feel like we’re there, a fly on the wall to a narrative played out in real time. Jenkins creates beautiful, vivid worlds that, no matter what their context, do what they’re supposed to do – captivate. Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne) and Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt (Stephan James)’s love feels real, almost corporeal. Brian Tyree Henry steals the nod for best scene, though.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – The Coen Brothers will always land for me. From No Country For Old Men to True Grit to The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, their brand of harsh country living and unforgiving old west guff will always hold a special place in my heart. How could I not adore six separate stories in their hardened yet tongue-in-cheek cinematic world? My personal favorite segment is “The Gal Who Got Rattled,” but I would argue there’s not a bad one in the bunch.
You Were Never Really Here – Lynne Ramsay harkens into Paul Schrader territory with a scaled-back take on violence that works surprisingly well. Joaquin Phoenix gives his best performance in years as Joe in a Taxi Driver-esque tale about a man who tries to save a little girl from herself, and the older men who prey on her.
Madeline’s Madeline – An immersive theater experience caught through the brilliant eyes of director Josephine Decker. A powerhouse performance from first timer Helena Howard. This one is not to be missed.
Roma – This is why fans go to the movies. Alfonso Cuaron, the man who brought us Gravity, is back with what might actually be his masterpiece. A little story about a girl that grows into a chaotic, destructive but beautiful look at life and family in time of crisis. A breathtaking portrayal of the banding together of several units that’s necessary in order to overcome obstacles, to keep trudging on through life’s cruel dilemmas, seen through the depictions of comely pockets tucked away in the corners of Mexico City in the 1970s.
Annihilation – This movie is basically Alex Garland’s Stalker, with a hard lean into sci-fi territory and I am here for it.
1. A Bread Factory – Patrick Wang’s acerbic, cynical, sarcastic, heartwarming, uplifting, optimistic character study of small town America is the kind of film that never gets made. It has no sturm, it has no drang, just wonderfully human, complex characters doing the best the can with what they’ve got amid a dizzying mix of genres and tones. Following the plight of a local arts community fighting to keep its municipal funding, it frequently seems like a Waiting For Guffman style comedy before abruptly transforming to a stark family drama, and then transforming again and again and again. None of which comes easily – told in two 2-hour films either of which can be viewed independently but together become more than the sum of its parts, A Bread Factory requires some commitment and endurance from its audience. But it pays off in droves, not leas with Tyne Daly’s career best performance (and best lead actress performance of 2018). Within its small microcosm lie multitudes.
2. Shoplifters – The fact that a film is difficult-to-impossible to sum up in a quick sentence doesn’t mean it’s good. Ambitious, sure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all the parts come together. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s look at lower class life in Japan, though it starts out easily enough (a family a shoplifters steals a little girl), becomes more and more complicated the longer you look at it – like an Escher drawing. Heavily reminiscent of Nagisa Oshima’s Boy, Shoplifters starts with the facts of living poor and then disappears down ever deeper rabbit holes of humanity – the good and the bad. The Palme d‘or recipient isn’t always the best of the year – sometimes it’s just what appealed most to the jury for that year – but the ones that are tend to be the films that really last and Shoplifters will be one of those. A seminal work from a seminal director.
3. Mirai – For at least the last 15 years every new animation company started in Japan has been called the next Studio Ghibli. Inevitably that turns out not to be true (not necessarily in a bad way) but if any studio can make such a claim it would be new upstart Studio Chizu. Their first group of films have shown the delicate touch of relatable characters and conflicts with wild fantasy and Mirai might be the best of the bunch. Mamoru Hosoda’s meditation on youth, family and generational responsibility is so light and effervescent it seems like a stiff breeze might blow it away – but that never happens. Ostensibly following the travails of a young boy dealing with the disruption of his childhood by the arrival of his baby sister Mirai, it’s ambition quickly grows when an adult Mirai from the future shows up to help young Kun make the best of living with his family (and learn to appreciate it). Despite its high concept it’s not flashy – that’s a good thing. The magic isn’t in the time travel or the dog who becomes a man, it’s in meeting a grandfather Kun had never known, or persistence in learning to ride a bike. It’s in everyday life.
4. The Favourite – The spiritual successor to Peter Greenway, The Favourite confirms Yorgos Lanthimos as the most important new director of the last ten years, just as capable at imposing his unique voice on someone else’s script as his own. And what a script! Timely, insightful, endlessly acerbic – it would be incredibly upsetting if it weren’t so funny. Diving headfirst into the decadence of the court of Queen Anne, The Favourite goes round and round investigating who has power in the world and why. Is it the Queen who theoretically runs England or her Parliament which makes the rules? Is is the Queen’s courtier’s who mislead and play her? Or the men in their lives who treat the world and the people in it as possessions to be used. Its powerful stuff brought into sharp relief by dialogue simultaneously mannered and hilariously crude, and a cast perfectly willing to get down in the muck (figuratively and literally). They say great roles breed great performances – triple leads Olivia Coleman, Rachel Wiesz and Emma Stone may never have had such great roles before.
5. If Beale Street Could Talk – If A Bread Factory toyed with mixing genres and tones, Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s most difficult novel makes a full-on profession of it. One moment it’s a classic kitchen-sink stage drama, the next it’s a heart-on-the-sleeve romance, then a focused legal procedural. Oh, and for extra kicks it bounces back and forth in time, simultaneously tracking the beginning of young Tish and Fonny’s relationship with its possible ending when Fonny is arrested for rape. And yet not only are we never lost, we’re always perfectly in Jenkins’ in control even as he sets himself aside to pass Baldwin’s specific voice to us. Filled to the brim with emotion, yet never discordant or manipulative, Beale Street finds Jenkins’ taking a might swing for the fences and connecting hard. If nothing else, watching it for a career best performance from Regina King.
6. A Star is Born – In hindsight Bradley Cooper’s remake of a remake of a remake featuring Lady Gaga’s big screen debut doesn’t seem as risky as it was. It’s got astounding visuals, fantastic songs from a major pop star and story which has already been proven to work several times before. It can’t miss. The makers of the Barbara Streisand version probably thought the same thing. The most amazing thing about A Star is Born isn’t how ungodly entertaining it is, how good Lady Gaga is in her first big acting role, or how easily Cooper takes to the director’s chair. It’s that with all of the well-known elements within it, it still manages to create its own identity and never feels like a copy. How many remakes can say that?
7. Paddington 2 – If it’s hard to put together a remake of a classic that stands not just on its own but head and shoulders above everything else, imagine how hard it is to with a sequel to a children’s film about a talking bear that doesn’t want to be anything other than fun. And yet Paul King’s sequel to his 2014 film manages exactly that. On the one hand it’s about nothing more than a bear who believes ‘just be kind and everything will be fine’ and wants nothing more than to get a present for his visiting aunt. On the other hand shut up. If Paddington 2 does nothing else it makes you realize you don’t really need anything else. Except perhaps for Mirai there was simply nothing as effortlessly charming as Paddington 2 in 2018. Or even for the last 10 years.
8. Sorry to Bother You – There is some crazy shit in this movie. Nothing else can, or maybe should, be said. Actually, that’s not fair; Boots Riley’s directorial debut takes acute, entertaining, hilarious aim class and racial power dynamics. And he tells a good story doing it. Both are difficult to do alone, almost impossible to do together. And you will never even notice because Lakeith Stanfield has a magic voice that can convince anyone to do anything, Tessa Thompson gets fruit thrown at her while quoting dialog from The Last Dragon and Armie Hammer has created an army of mutant horse men. Sorry to Bother You is a topical issues film which is simultaneously impossible to pigeon hole; try to remember the last time that happened. A movie doesn’t need that kind of insanity to be great, it could be a hinderance as much as a help, but when a director pulls it off some sort of recognition is in order. Remember what I said a few paragraphs up about Yorgos Lanthimos’ importance? 10 years from now we could easily be saying the same about Riley.
9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – The last few years it’s been popular to call any Coen Bros. film which wasn’t hopelessly inured in nihilistic tragedy of existence a return to form. It’s not generally not been true, but that shouldn’t reduce the scope of what they’ve achieved with their 17th feature film. It used to be that explaining what a Coen Bros. film was meant giving a survey of their career as films like Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski can’t quite be covered by the same brush. Now you just need to screen The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. From heart-warming optimistic human connection to the darkest depravaties of human nature with a sense of humor as bleak as winter strom and silly as a Saturday morning cartoon, not to mention one dynamite musical number, Buster Scruggs is everything they’ve attempted at one time or another in one neat package. Yes, there are better specific versions of each of these vignettes in their oeuvre, but none which sum the width and breadth of their particular vision so completely.
10. The Hate U Give – The adaptation of Angie Thomas’ debut novel dives headlong into some of the most divisive and painful elements of modern American society yet leaves the bitterness at home. Amandla Stenberg gives a career defining performance (hopefully the first of many) as the survivor of a police shooting struggling to make sense of the sudden loss in her life and decide once and for all what her place in the world would be. Trying to describe it quickly sounds like the after school special version of some very sensitive subject matter. Watching it is a painful, wonderful, eye-opening experience everyone should take on at least once.
1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
3. A Quiet Place
4. Avengers: Infinity War
5. Bohemian Rhapsody
6. Ready Player One
7. Black Panther
8. Ant-Man and the Wasp
9. First Man
10. Incredibles 2
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)