In 2018 I saw 60 different feature-length films in cinemas, and in this article I shall be telling you what made some of them special.
Please bear in mind that, while this is all a matter of opinion, I'm dealing with a lot of films, spread out over an entire year. So even if you disagree with my thoughts, remember that I've had at least one sleep since my viewings and I don't have a great memory.
To tell you the truth, Blade Runner 2049 was in the Top 10 Worst almost the entire time I was writing this, and was only taken out of the final draft when I realised I saw it the previous year.
All that being said, I might feel completely differently about any of these movies tomorrow! Here we go.
As with any vote, especially one this close, there have to be a few honourable mentions. I've decided to package these as quirky, arbitrary awards to give me an excuse to talk about certain films that didn't warrant a full review or a place in either Top 10.
The Almost Had It Award (Spoilers for all films mentioned)
This is the award for the film that was going great, could even have been considered for the top 10 Best, were it not for something idiotic at the end. There were many contenders, the main ones being: A Simple Favour, because of its intriguing mystery that should have been cut short two or three twists early; and Hotel Transylvania 3, which was a fine threequel to a series I have always had a soft spot for because they're fun and made by the creator of Samurai Jack, sadly soiled by the final battle being dubstep vs classics.
Ultimately, it had to be The Predator though, as it took the sharpest drop in the shortest time. The death of the final predator was a little underwhelming but it was the reveal of what was in the ominous pod all this time that really sunk this film.
Anything else would have been better: a Predator-killing virus, a big bomb, Arnie, and Alien. But Ideally, I wanted to see Adrien Brody from the last film climb out with the secrets to save the Earth.
A Simple Favour
Hotel Transylvania 3
The Take It or Leave It Award
The award for the most aggressively average movie of the year. It’s so bland, it doesn’t even deserve a creative description: it’s Ready Player One. Yeah, it had Easter eggs galore, but it’s pretty barren besides that, and what’s worse is that I had read the book and it was pretty good!
Ant-Man and The Wasp
Ready Player One
The Nicholas Cage Award
Nicholas Cage graced me with his presence in two of the films I saw last year, and while Spider-Verse was by far the best overall movie of the two, Mom and Dad was the one that showcased peak Nicholas Cage. I’m not sure what the internet’s fascination is with Cage; he just seems like Jim Carrey under mild sedation, but I thought I would indulge this section of internet culture with this award.
Mom and Dad
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Top 10 Worst Worst Movies of 2018
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
I found this film nearly impossible to follow, and I guess JK Rowling knew that could happen, so she conveniently put in a scene before the final battle in which everyone stood around in a room and explained their backstories. Unsurprisingly, this film is written too much like a book, and not enough like a film.
9. Holmes and Watson
For as aggressively unfunny and painful to watch as this is, I enjoyed that the creators were fully aware they were shitting all over the Guy Richie Sherlock Holmes films, and just the characters in general. All the British supporting actors would have made better Holmes and Watsons than Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, but they don’t care.
8. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
I’m putting this movie's many flaws down to its direction and writing because I’ve seen quite a few members of the cast give better performances. It’s a shame because it was an interesting world, with arguably better magic than Doctor Strange. A perfect example of how this film seemed promising but just didn’t come together was finale. I won't spoilt it, but I will say that it seemed like an idea that should be funny, but was just distressing.
As much as I like Idris Elba’s acting, I really didn’t take to his directorial debut Yardie. The story was just odd and convoluted, and not in an enjoyable or satisfying way. Also, it loses points for whatever the hell Stephen Graham’s accent was supposed to be.
6. The Meg
For a film so poorly made, I’ve shown a lot of mercy to The Meg. I think most people who saw it would have had it in their top 5 worst films of the year and regretted paying money to see it. Me personally, I didn’t pay anything to see it, and think it’s blatant B-Movie-ness has a certain charm to it. If nothing else, I just enjoy the way Jason Statham says “Megalodon”.
5. Sorry to Bother You
This was the only film this year that I walked out of. I felt like the makers of this film wanted to communicate several complex messages about relevant issues in society (racism, white privilege, corporate greed, etc.), but they did so in such a weak way. The Lego Movie did the ‘all consuming corporate entity’ better than this did.
4. Night School
This film’s ending would have made it a good contender for the ‘Almost Had It’ Award, if it had started out as good. But as it stands, it was only okay. Night School suffers from the same problem as many Amy Schumer movies: the overuse of a comedian turned actor. I understand that this film probably wouldn't have been made without Kevin Hart's star power but that would have been for the best.
3. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
Okay, so technically I saw this on Netflix and not in a cinema, but it came out this year, and was so bad that it needed to be featured on this list. I can’t understand how this happened; this must have still been in the early stages when Jon Favreau’s Jungle Book was released, and yet they still went ahead with it. I’m aware some people complained about the photo-realistic animals, and this tried to differentiate itself by downplaying the realism and instead opting for more cartoonish, expressive creatures but, in the end, everything looked like that rhino from Black Panther: smudged and unfinished.
2. Slaughterhouse Rulez
Slaughterhouse Rulez was an immense disappointment. Maybe that’s my fault, because I expected it to be like Hot Fuzz or Paul for the admittedly simple reason of staring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Perhaps it was similar to the duo’s previous hits, with its madcap story and cavalcade of classically trained British actors, but the main distinction was that it isn’t very funny. I supposed I wouldn’t have liked Shaun of the Dead if I didn’t laugh.
1. The HappyTime Murders
Terrible. Just terrible. This, to me, felt like a film that tried to cash in on the goodwill for the now-rejuvenated Muppets franchise, and the fact Jim Henson's actual son was involved in this is so bizarre. It seemed to go for a Who Framed Roger Rabbit? feel, which is a bold move to begin with considering that shouldn't work as a concept, let alone in practice. The film did manage something unique though: it somehow made scenes that were funny in the trailer painfully unfunny in the actual movie. Giving set up and context to the two parts I laughed at in the trailers made me want to recant those laughs.
Top 10 Best Movies of 2018
10. The Grinch
I will always love The Grinch in all of its green and hairy forms but this was a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile modernisation. Cumberbatch is a great Grinch, and has really stepped up his American accent since Doctor Strange.
9. American Animals
The true crime film that was criminally underrated. The actors were so well cast to play these people, and I know this because the actual perpetrators of the heist were in this film. This was the lowest grossing movie I watched this year, and I implore you all to give it a watch.
8. The Spy Who Dumped Me
I feel like I expressed my thoughts quite well in my review here on the site, but to summarise: this film had some of the best action of any comedy movie, and was still hilarious. Just read the review, then watch this film.
7. Deadpool 2
Deadpool 2 did the something pretty impressive: it improved upon the first Deadpool. I really had my doubts when it was announced director Tim Miller had left the project over creative differences, but sure enough Deadpool 2 was even funnier, and more comic book-y than the first. It's definitely going to be an uphill battle for Deadpool 3!
6. Incredibles 2
Another great superhero sequel! (I’m kind of obsessed, in case you hadn’t guessed). I think everyone expected them to go the easy route, and make The Underminer the main villain, after they’d set him up at the end of the first film, but that’s not the Pixar way. The new, original story complements the original, instead of milking it dry for content. So many great fight scenes and powers on display. It barely even bothered me that some of the new heroes look like Fortnite characters.
5. I, Tonya
I was blown away by Margot Robbie’s dedication to this role. Everyone is great in this, but she really excels. I was also fascinated by the documentary-style clips that were cut in between, because it was still the actor, performing in those scenes, but it just added this unique method of storytelling.
4. Ralph Breaks the Internet
For a film that is all about internet culture and memes, this is surprisingly good. It really shouldn’t work, and for some people it doesn’t, but for me this all coalesced into one spectacular film. Make sure to read my full review here.
The truest testament to how good this film is was that I saw it all the way back in January and it was still an instant Top 5 Film when I came to make this list. People rag on it by saying the premise is “What if Mexican people had feelings?” but I really love this movie. It made me feel emotions, and at the end of the day that is why we make art.
2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
I can’t overstate just how close this is to being first place. I more or less consider it joint first with the last in my list. It was just so unexpected. I can’t say I was thrilled by the idea of Sony giving Spider-Man another go, after they managed to kill two versions of this character in less than two decades but Spider-Verse was brilliant in every way, and hopefully will help legitimise Animated Superhero films in the future.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
Of course it’s Avengers, there was no way it wasn’t going to be. The culmination of ten long years of Marvel films, the impact that they had on me as a creative, and a person in general. Six years of hype and build up for this film after the reveal of Thanos in Avengers Assemble… The fact this is even watchable after all that is mind blowing, the fact it features the biggest cast of superheroes ever put to screen, most of which with their own unique franchise and fans to appease and it pulls it off is astonishing. The fact that after the thousands of videos I’ve pored over, analysing every scrap of content in this continuity for clues and Easter eggs, this film still made me audibly gasp in the cinema is nothing short of Incredible. For all those reasons and more, Avengers: Infinity War is my favourite film of 2018, and maybe of all time.
Written by Kyle J.