2018 has come to a close, so it’s time to rate my favorite movies of the year. Since I saw so many films last year, I feel bad that certain films didn’t receive recognition, so instead of a top 10, I’ll be doing my top 20 movies of 2018. The following are my personal favorites and ones I highly recommend watching:
1. EIGHTH GRADE
This isn’t just 2018’s best movie but one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a story about the life of an introverted eighth grader and her struggles with making friends, her father, and her own personal demons. Out of all of 2018’s movies, this is one that I would call perfect. The acting is all phenomenal, the script is perfect, and it’s easily the most relatable movie I’ve seen. Eighth Grade is the definition of a masterpiece, and 2018’s best film.
2. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
This is a documentary about the life and legacy of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It’s not often that a documentary has left me speechless. Growing up with the show, it reminded me how important of a figure Rogers was. He cared about children and believed his teachings would be timeless and that’s this film. It’s an amazing documentary that is mandatory viewing for everyone.
This Netflix foreign drama is about the life of a stay-in housekeeper named Cleo, and the rest of the film shows her slice of life, as well as the emotions of her family and her friends. Roma is one of 2018’s most emotional films. It’s such a simple story, but it manages to make you care so much about its characters. On top of the story, the acting is flawless, the visuals are beautiful, and the writing is engaging. It’s just a beautifully made film, so check it out!
4. ISLE OF DOGS
Isle of Dogs is Wes Anderson’s second stop-motion masterpiece about a future Japanese city and an isle where dogs are quarantined due to a canine flu. I’ll just say, this is one of the best animated movies ever made. The stop motion is flawless, the visuals are beautiful, the humor—while deadpan—is still funny, and the idea is wildly original. It’s among one of Wes Anderson’s best films and is one I can easily find myself rewatching.
5. BLACK PANTHER
Don’t get me wrong, I love Infinity War, but Black Panther is by far the more superior movie in my opinion. It’s one of the most unique superhero movies ever made. From the unique story, the incredible visuals, the great performances, the fantastic motivation and arcs of the characters, and the large amount of diversity and culture, it’s a blast. To this day, Black Panther is one of Marvel’s most unique ventures and one of my favorite superhero films.
This film is perfect edge-of-your-seat entertainment. The story of a missing child told through computer screens, it’s well acted, full of twists and turns, has tons of suspense, and is edited perfectly. This is the best edited movie of the year, and is Oscar worthy. The story constantly had me guessing and has crazy twist after crazy twist. Searching is one of the most underrated movies of the year, and you have to see it to believe it. 10/10
7. SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
After giving it some thought, I’ve decided this is the best Spider-Man movie ever made, not just for it’s unbelievably creative and inventive animation, but for a story that both captures a hero’s struggles and combines so many characters in such a coherent manner. Alongside that, all the voice acting is great, and (like I said) the animation is phenomenal, the sound effects are loud and realistic, and it has a lot of heart and emotion, just for being a family movie about a web-slinging superhero. It’s definitely one of my favorite animated films of this year.
8. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — FALLOUT
This is the best of the Mission: Impossible series and one of the best action films, period. While watching Mission: Impossible — Fallout, there were those rare moments when, in the theater, I thought, How did they do that? Some of these stunts are so crazy and so insane that it’s amazing that they were able to capture it on film. Not only that, but the story is grand and has a lot at stake, the characters are charming, the cinematography and editing is unbelievable, and it’s just a fun action movie.
9. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
This movie is the first part of the final chapter of The Avengers. This is more than a movie. It’s an event. A culmination of the MCU up until this point, it’s truly an epic movie. While it’s not my favorite superhero movie of the year, it still has many awesome moments. The various story plots, the motivations of the characters, the incredible effects, and a cliffhanger ending that took the world by storm, Infinity War is the definition of an epic superhero movie.
10. MARY POPPINS RETURNS
It’s a sequel 54 years in the making that is just as great as it sounds. Out of all the movies I saw this year, this was the most fun. From beginning to end, I had a giant smile on my face. It completely captures the magic and wonder that made the first Mary Poppins so great. The story is simple, the characters are charming, the acting is excellent, the music is outstanding, and the visuals are magical. Just like the original, it’s a truly magical experience that won’t disappoint.
11. A STAR IS BORN
It’s the fourth remake of the original 1937 film and is a joy to watch. It’s the story of a classic, seasoned musician who discovers an unknown and brings her to the center stage to make her a star. The performances by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are among my favorites of 2018. Their chemistry and their motivation is awe-inspiring. Along with some really good songs, beautiful shots, and great direction by Cooper, A Star is Born is a rare occurrence when the remake has become more well known than the original.
Based off of a true story, this film is about a black narcotics officer who goes undercover to infiltrate and expose a local KKK group in Colorado Springs. For some, this might be a film that’s hard to watch. And understandably so. At times, it’s upsetting, disturbing, and even scary. But at its core, it’s expertly written and directed by Spike Lee, has some great performances, and has some good drama and even comedy. BlacKkKlansman is a fantastic movie that should be watched by anyone looking for a really crazy but true story in history.
13. RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
This is the sequel to Wreck-It Ralph that I actually enjoyed more than the first one. It’s also this year’s funniest movie. I was actually in tears from laughing at some moments in this film. The story is basically if The Emoji Movie actually had care and passion involved. And it shows. All the voice actors are great, the animation is really nice, and there’s tons of funny references to internet culture and even Disney itself. If you’re looking for a great laugh, this is the film for you.
14. INCREDIBLES 2
This is the long-awaited sequel to the original Pixar classic. While it doesn’t have the uniqueness of the original and can be slightly derivative, it’s still a well-made sequel. From the gorgeous animation, the relentless action scenes, the well-rounded cast, and the plethora of funny and emotional moments, Incredibles 2 is a great sequel that was well worth the wait.
15. FIRST MAN
First Man is Damien Chazelle’s epic moon landing biopic. It tells the story of astronaut Neil Armstrong and his quest to land on the moon during the 1960s Space Race. While biopics are not my favorite genre of film, First Man is one of the most powerful ones out there. Not only do we care for our main lead, but we also care for his family in a time of extreme stress and sadness. With incredible production design, a beautiful musical score, and some really impressive effects, First Man is a powerful look at one of America’s most important historical events.
16. CREED II
Creed II is the sequel to Creed and a total knockout. It brought back one of the coolest villains from an 80s movie, Ivan Drago, and now his son is the opponent. Not only is the idea so cool that you’d swear it was a fan idea, but it has some great boxing scenes, great acting from Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, and some emotional drama and heart. Creed II is one of the best movies in the Rocky franchise.
17. A QUIET PLACE
Directed by John Krasinski (or Jim Halpert), this movie tells the story of a family in a post-apocalyptic world surviving from monsters that hunt by sound. While I wanted to love the movie more, it’s still a really great horror movie. The concept is wildly original, and the movie has many moments of extreme suspense and characters that you really root for throughout their journey. It’s not the perfect horror film that many say it is, but A Quiet Place is absolutely chilling, and all I can say is, “Don’t make a sound!”
18. PADDINGTON 2
A sequel to the already awesome Paddington, this was criminally overlooked this year. The first movie was charming, but this takes it over the edge. It’s just a fun, silly kids film, but it knows it’s silly, so it takes full advantage of it. And what we get is something really fun. With a simple story, some really likable characters and actors, and some fun visuals, Paddington 2 shows that a kids’ film doesn’t have to just be for kids but also can have a wide audience that includes adults.
19. CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
It’s Disney’s latest live action retelling of the classic Winnie-the-Pooh stories. While I have issues with the story and its lack of certain characters, I can’t ignore the really good stuff. The story is emotional and touching, the effects are lifelike, and all the performances are great. It has its flaws, but it still brought me back to the good old days of childhood.
This is a good Transformers movie. Yes, I said that. While not a perfect movie, its lighthearted and fun tone holds the film together. With actually well-established characters, a simple story and tone, and a fast-moving pace, Bumblebee shows that there’s actually faith in the Transformers franchise.
There you have it! These are my 20 favorite movies of 2018. What were some of yours?