Written by J.T. Johnson
Every year, no matter how good or bad things are at the cinema, there is still plenty of gold to find along the way. Thankfully, 2018 was actually a pretty solid year for films. That means that this Top 10 list for the best films of 2018 definitely contains some special films that entertained audiences worldwide.
Before I begin, I do want to point out, as always, that this is simply my personal top 10 list. Your list may be completely different, but out of all the films I saw this year, these were the films that stuck out the most that were truly exceptional whether they were scary, deeply dramatic or huge blockbuster events.
Now, enough talking! Let us get down to it. Here are my picks for the Top 10 Best Films of 2018!
10. SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
When I first heard of the animated Spider-Man film that Sony was producing, I really didn’t think much of it. After I saw the film, I can honestly say that it is one of the best Spider-Man movies ever made. The animation and a story revolving around Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker allows the movie to do its own thing while the story also gives the filmmakers a chance to celebrate everything we love about Spider-Man… even the weird dancing emo Peter Parker that we met in “Spider-Man 3” is referenced with affection and if you’re a Spider-Man fan, then this is the movie for you!
9. HALLOWEEN (2018)
1978’s “Halloween” is my all-time favorite horror film, but the series that it spawned hasn’t been quite as strong. There are multiple timelines with certain films going off in different directions, a couple of atrocious remakes and there is even one movie that doesn’t star the film’s main baddie, Michael Myers, at all. Now, we have a new sequel that acts as though it is the only sequel to the original “Halloween” and ignoring all previous sequels and remakes. Jamie Lee Curtis makes a triumphant return as a troubled yet still strong Laurie Strode who must protect her family after Michael Myers escapes to once again wreak havoc on Haddonfield, Illinois. The movie has plenty of tributes to the original film series as it also does its own thing and for me, it is the true heir to the original masterpiece by director John Carpenter.
8. A QUIET PLACE
Over the past couple of years, horror films have had a bit of a resurgence thanks to films such as “Get Out”, “It” and “Split”. This film is from co-writer, director and star John Krasinski as he tries to protect his family from monsters that are blind but heavily sensitive to sound. Most of the movie is performed exquisitely well by the principal cast that also includes Emily Blunt as they have to convey the terror not only without dialogue but without the screams as well. Overall, there is almost no fat on this film and it is a thrilling horror film from start to finish!
7. A STAR IS BORN
This is the third take of a film about an alcoholic rockstar and the up and coming star that he’s fallen in love with. Bradley Cooper makes a fantastic directorial debut in addition to giving a great performance as the troubled rock star. Lady Gaga also soars as the woman who not only rises to superstardom but must decide if she wants to stick with her man. The drama is real and the songs are surprisingly good as it heads towards its inevitable conclusion.
6. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
This Western anthology from the Coen Brothers made its way on to Netflix and after finishing the film, I was mad that no studio would apparently put it up on the big screen. The six stories are all pretty solid and the performances are fantastic. The movie also contains all the quirks and clever dialogue that people have come to know and love from the Coen Brothers. Netflix films are pretty hit and miss, but thankfully this one easily soars onto the Top 10 list for 2018!
Some people will love this film and some will hate it and that will largely be due to how you lean politically. This film does not take a nice look at Vice President Dick Cheney’s life, but I was surprised that it played more like a Shakespearean tragedy or dark comedy than your normal political drama. It is at both times serious and comedic and if you watch the film for anything, it would be to see Christian Bale disappear into the role of our 46th Vice President of the United States.
4. THE POST
Now, I’m cheating a little bit with this entry. “The Post” actually had a limited release in December 2017, but I didn’t get to see it until its mass release in January. Therefore, I’m putting director Steven Spielberg’s awesome film about the release of the Pentagon Papers on this year’s list. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep give powerhouse performances as Ben Bradlee and Katherine Graham as The Washington Post has to decide whether or not they should publish the classified documents that they have in their possession. Even if you know what happened in real life, the film manages to somehow keep you on the edge of your seat as the characters fight not only their deadline but a government that is threatening to shut them down and put them all in prison. Another great film from the legend that is Steven Spielberg!
3. BLACK PANTHER
Marvel Studios has had a banner year with their releases this year and “Black Panther” is definitely their most important film. Making over $1.34 billion, this is the superhero film that helped prove that audiences want a more diverse film and it can still make money if you give it a good shot. Beyond its importance, though, the movie is also just another bang for your buck entry in the long-running Marvel Cinematic Universe containing several great performances, particularly from Michael B. Jordan as the film’s primary villain, Killmonger. Chadwick Boseman is perfect in the role of T’Challa, a.k.a. the Black Panther and he has plenty of great supporting cast members including Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright.
Writer and director Spike Lee returns with a vengeance in a darkly comedic film about a real life African American police officer that managed to infiltrate the KKK in the 1970s. John David Washington gives a career making performance as Detective Ron Stallworth and Adam Driver is also great as the Jewish white police officer that helps Stallworth when he actually has to “meet” with the members of the Klan. The movie not only comments on the past, but it also comments on how sadly similar the past is with the times that we currently live in during the age of Trump. It definitely preaches, but you never feel like you’re actually being preached down to and it was great to see Lee back at the top of his directorial game.
1. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
Marvel Studios ultimately wins the day with their $2.04 billion juggernaut! “Avengers: Infinity War” is not just a fantastic blockbuster film, it is the culmination of over 10 years of storytelling that started with 2008’s “Iron Man”. The Russo Brothers managed to direct a film with a huge ensemble yet it never feels like anyone gets shortchanged or that the story suffers from having too many characters. Josh Brolin is fantastic as the tyrannical and galactic eco-terrorist Thanos as he tries to get the infinity stones in order to wipe out half of the universe’s lifeforms. From the very start all the way to the film’s shocking conclusion, audiences were left in awe and now we’re all waiting as patiently as we can when the story concludes next April with the release of “Avengers: Endgame”!
For me, nothing even came close to dethroning “Infinity War” for Best Film. It proved that a movie can be both a massive piece of blockbuster entertainment and a film with plenty of heart and and fantastic characters to follow.