It wouldn’t be a holiday season without all those best-of lists, but sometimes we love to just talk about all the things we love, whether or not they qualify as best-of anything.
There are so many movies that come out any given year, it’s hard to keep them all straight. Award shows are a fun way to look back at a few of them, but too many are forgotten come award show time because they aren’t “good enough” (whatever that means).
In order to honor all the movies we like, whether they are award show caliber or not, we have each chosen one movie that touched us this year and wrote a little about why.
Our favorite movies of 2018 are…
I know what you’re thinking. “You could choose any 2018 movie as your favorite and you choose The Meg?” My answer: Hell, yes.
You see, The Meg is a freakishly entertaining movie, full of suspense, emotions, and laughs. My newest mission in life is to make sure everyone gives this movie a chance. It has a diverse cast that absolutely shines and a third act pseudo-villain that actually makes you cheer for the shark for a few minutes.
Most importantly of all, The Meg is the pinnacle of science fiction escapist fare, offering semi-legitimate explanations as to why a megalodon could possibly suddenly appear in the oceans above the Mariana Trench and how they’ve survived for eons without being discovered. I don’t need to know the myriad of reasons why this is improbable. All I need to know is that I’ve watched this movie more than a few times this year, and it’s never let me down.
This year was a great one for movies. A lot of them made quite an impact, from Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War to Call Me By Your Name and A Star Is Born, but one that truly caught my attention this year was Bohemian Rhapsody. I grew up listening to classic rock because of my dad, so it was only fitting that I see this in theaters with him.
I was worried the movie would gloss over Freddie Mercury’s sexuality, but I was delighted it was actually central to the film. The music was incredible, and there’s no doubt Rami Malek deserves some Oscar recognition for his portrayal. I was most nervous about my dad’s reaction, however. He experienced the Queen phenomenon firsthand, so if they got something wrong, he’d be able to tell. But I’m happy to report that he loved the movie just as much as I did, and it was a great bonding experience for both of us.
‘Call Me By Your Name’
I finally saw Call Me By Your Name on November 23 and not a day has gone by without my either watching the movie, reading the book, listening to the audiobook, or listening to the music. A film I once dismissed as “Oscar bait” has completely swept me off my feet with its lush beauty and unabashed love of love itself.
I’m glad I let my cynicism go and let this peach of a movie into my life because I’ve fallen madly in love with love.
At a time when remakes are a dime a dozen, there was good reason to be skeptical of a remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic Suspiria. However, the final product cast aside all skepticism, proving itself to be more than just a remake, but a genius deconstruction and reinvention of the story. No movie this year thrilled or terrified me more than Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria.
It crawled under my skin and took up residence there, staying with me long after I left the theater. It’s a rare treat to watch a movie so remarkably ambitious, deeply unsettling, and surprisingly poignant. The movie succeeds in telling a story that is all at once utterly horrifying and unexpectedly resonant. Suspiria is one of the best movies of the year, proving once again the horror genre’s uncanny ability to terrify and inspire in equal measure.
‘Mama Mia: Here We Go Again’
Mama Mia is one of those movies where you walk away thinking, “How much money did it take to get that cast together?” And then, years later, a sequel comes along that not only gets the entire cast BACK together, but adds Cher and Andy Garcia. I don’t know what deal went down behind closed doors to get this cast together and to get Colin Firth swinging on the ropes of the ship headed to a Greecian island, but I’m happy it worked out.
Mama Mia: Here We Go Again was delightful and every single additional cast member who portrayed the younger versions of the leads nearly surpassed their counterparts. Not to mention that the performance during the credits puts anything Marvel movies have done with that space to shame.
‘Burn The Stage’
Do I really have to explain why I chose Burn The Stage: The Movie as my favorite for 2018? For ARMYs everywhere there’s nothing better than getting to watch BTS in their element, and Burn The Stage: The Movie gave us a new look into their BTS’ The Wings tour.
Unlike the documentary version, the movie showed more of the uplifting and fun side of BTS along with their triumphs. It did an amazing job of highlighting all their hard work, along with each of the band members personalities. It’s just a shame it had a limited release, and some fans won’t be able to see it until it gets released on DVD or streaming.
‘Anna and the Apocalypse’
It may be because it’s the most recent movie I saw in theaters, but my pick for favorite movie of the year has to be Anna and the Apocalypse. It’s definitely some of the most fun I’ve had in the theater this year, what with its infectious music, talented cast, and absurd humor. I can’t get it out of my head, but in the best way possible. It may be a movie that takes place at Christmas, but I will definitely be watching it all year long in 2019.
‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’
Objectively, there were many better and bigger films than Netflix’s adaptation of this Jenny Han modern YA classic.
But like Lara Jean, the lead character of this lovely, little romcom, I am a sentimental romantic who loves love and leads with her heart, so there was never going to be a movie higher on my list of favorites this year than this one. Romantic comedies get a lot of flack, but I’ve always maintained that the best ones allow us to live in a warmer, kinder world than ours and provide us with characters with whom we not only root for, but want to be our best friends.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before checks off both of these boxes, while also giving us an Asian-American lead and important relationships outside of the romantic one. It’s a movie that I wish I’d had around when I was in high school, but one that I’m so glad the teenage girls of today get to have.
‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’
This is THE age of superhero films, and I love them. I love what they allow us to explore about humanity, I will fight tooth and nail defending their value. But while most of our beloved characters came to us from the pages of a DC or Marvel book, few superhero movies truly feel – in my opinion – like an actual comic. Ironically, reading comics has always, to me, felt like a very cinematic experience, as this method of storytelling – the framing of certain visuals, the dialogue, the action – is the closest comparable medium to film, in my opinion. I mean, it’s basically the art of storyboarding, but so much more.
Into The Spider-Verse, (which introduces the general audience to Miles Morales, the Afro-Latino Spider-Man originated in one of Marvel’s alternate universes) invokes that symbiotic relationship between page and screen in a way I’ve never seen done before — and I’m not just talking about the occasional use of dialogue bubbles. What the unique animation of Spider-verse allows — the transitioning creative styles, the “stunts” live-action could never pull off — partners perfectly with what the writing of Spider-Verse allows — the best and most heartfelt depiction of everything that Spider-Man is, was and always will be.
Spider-Man was always meant to represent all of us — that’s why he was created, and as times have changed, it’s truly a credit to Marvel and Sony to have taken Spider-Man’s legacy, updated it and honored it so thoroughly here. Into The Spider-Verse is visually stunning, irreverent, risky, subversive, progressive, warm, woke, loving, and incredibly inclusive, and if this is what animation can achieve for superhero films moving forward, I’m ready to hand these team the keys to the entire kingdom.
Oh, and Stan Lee’s cameo — not his last, but the first since his passing — is going to go down in history as his best and most important. Spider-Man was arguably his most treasured creation, and what he has to offer the new kid this time around is going to make me burst into tears whenever I think about it for some time to come.
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of tired of movies. Specifically, tired of going to the movies and being disappointed by some hyped-up spectacle that really isn’t that exciting. I feel like the past few years have been more down than up when it comes to highly anticipated blockbusters.
But not Black Panther was everything people said it was and more. It represents a massive shift forward in terms of representation, a superhero movie with not a black lead but exclusively black leads — coming years too late, of course but that is not this movie’s fault — and provides amazing and much-needed role models and heroes.
There is so much to love about Black Panther, but what makes it shine are its characters. T’Challa. Nakia. Okoye (my personal favorite). Shuri. M’Baku. Killmonger. Every single one of these characters were real, powerful, complex and with identifiable and understandable goals and motivations.
Black Panther was not just a triumph of a superhero movie, but a triumph of cinema in general. Far and away the best movie of the year, if not most years, and so, so necessary.
‘Crazy Rich Asians’
Okay, so I’m totally cheating and adding a second title on here, but I absolutely could not let this list onto the internet without this movie. Not to distract at all from my original pick, The Meg (see top of post), Crazy Rich Asians was my favorite theater experience this year. My mom joined me for this one the day before my birthday, and we both loved it so much we can’t stop talking about it.
Some movies are important because they’re groundbreaking, some because they’re simply great, and even more because they are just enjoyable. Crazy Rich Asians is all three and then some. See it and share it with everyone you know, you won’t regret it.