Lads and Lasses, 2018 will have its curtains closed very soon, but as is customary for every film critic, you must end the year with a top 10 best and worst list. This is that very list. I’ve decided to go more traditional with my list this year because believe it or not, it is challenging to categorise films, especially when there is a good mix of brilliant and terrible films this year.
- This is my own list, meaning it will contain OPINIONS, I had to capitalise OPINIONS just, so everyone is aware of the OPINIONS that will be present. Warning: this list may cause butt-hurt. OPINIONS.
- I have not seen every film of 2018, I love film more than anything but I’m not a wizard. If there is a film that would be in your top 10 and it isn’t mentioned here, feel free to mention it in the comments below.
Phew, glad that’s over, now we can get on with the nitty-gritty.
TOP 10 BEST FILMS OF 2018
We all love nice things, so let’s begin with the best of the best this year, starting with…
10 – SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO
It feels odd that we should start with an “I was wrong” film, but I had every reason to think this film would bomb. The three key talents of Blunt, Villeneuve and Deakins had abandoned ship and I felt the first Sicario was a great one-hit wonder film so what was the need for this to exist? But man, I was pleased with this film, it kept the same intensity in the face of exploring the cartel world through the eyes of children. It had great acting, great characters and I’m now certain of a bigger future for this series if it were to become a franchise.
9 – FIRST MAN
Ryan Gosling is like the good luck charm on everything he does, whatever he is on is always going to be special. First Man is no exception. You leave First Man with having more respect for Neil Armstrong than you thought possible and despite being a bit of brick wall, you pick up on the humanity. The moon landing itself was impressive using deafening sounds and eerie silence to draw intensity and wonderment. Damien Chazelle hypnotises you into staying with the story and you are handsomely rewarded for doing so.
8 – ISLE OF DOGS
Is there any film-lover alive who doesn’t get excited whenever a new Wes Anderson film is released? The most uniquely styled director working right now brought us another demonstration of his prowess in his second animated feature. Isle of Dogs is everything you could possibly want from a Wes Anderson film, great story, clean stop-motion and a believable fictional world. Wes’ films are so infectious, afterwards, you start to act and move like a character in one of his film. Please tell me I’m not the only one.
7 – HEREDITARY
When critics started calling Hereditary “this generation’s The Exorcist” I thought that was a giant shoe to fill. And while I still think this, I can see why people thought this because Hereditary was genuinely scary. There was such a masterclass on display that the scares in Hereditary are ones we haven’t seen in a long time. From the first frame alone, you can already tell that Hereditary was in the hands of filmmakers who were passionate about horror and wanted to deliver something truly horrifying. Despite a weak conclusion, the film did just that and it is also the cause of a very restless sleep afterwards.
6 – INCREDIBLES 2
We had been waiting and requesting an Incredibles sequel for what seems like an age. 2018 finally gave it to us and lived up to gigantic expectations. One of the most entertaining and comfortable films to watch this year because everyone can connect to the family, we see a bit of ourselves in every member of the Parr family. I do feel what let it down was a weak antagonist but the comedy with Jack-Jack more than made up for it and completely steals the show. Would totally babysit for Jack-Jack, although I’d probably have to stock up on cookies.
5 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE FALLOUT
Mission: Impossible films fly right past me in the world of films, partially because I never had a devoted interest in them. They certainly have my attention now. I used to think the films were just overhyped stuntwork around a basic story. Mission: Impossible Fallout is a great definition of Hollywood action with one mindblowing stunt, followed by another mindblowing stunt, followed by another… Do you get the picture? Every stunt in this film could be the climax to another action film which would make this the best action film of the year. Cheers Tom Cruise, as long as your risking your life, I’ll continue to see Mission: Impossible films.
4 – CREED II
Yes! Yes! Yes! My most anticipated film of the year made it! Creed was probably the best film of that year thanks to an urban feel and the strong theme of fatherhood. Now with Creed II, which sees the return of the Drago family, my mind exploded with avenues to explore. Thankfully the film chose the right path and the emotional weight the boxing matches carries was overwhelmingly strong. I saw this film with my dad and he wouldn’t stop talking like Rocky, which is why I’ll be getting him his hat.
3 – A QUIET PLACE
Everyone has their own experience with A Quiet Place, thankfully most of the bad ones seem to stem from annoying moviegoers. But if you’re lucky enough to see this with a compliant audience, you have a unique viewing experience worth paying for. The key work in A Quiet Place is dread, you dread each time something has the potential to cause noise, there is silence and then there is silence +1 and it’s the plus +1 where we feel the most unease as we’ve never been taken down this road before and it’s excitingly scary. John Krasinski, Jordan Peele, are you sensing a pattern here? God knows what a Jerry Seinfeld horror would be like.
2 – BLACKkKLANSMAN
The film that packs the biggest punch this year has to go to BlacKkKlansman. Spike Lee is the American equivalent of a social realist filmmaker and BlacKkKlansman left an angry aftertaste, especially with THAT ending. But it’s not just the shock value that propels it to the silver medal, it also has dedication from actors playing difficult roles because of the nature of the film and Spike Lee tells a compelling story. What goes around comes around, history repeating itself, whichever way you look at it, this film is very gripping. Man, that ending!
1 – A STAR IS BORN
Is it any wonder that this year’s surprise hit would be a contender for the No.1 slot? Interestingly the only film this year to get a full 10/10 from me, but it deserves to be called a masterpiece. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper have turned a frequent remake into a rollercoaster of emotions with absolute confidence. The journey of two characters rise and fall is astonishingly beautiful and tragic to witness, and I still listen to the soundtrack whenever I can. I adore A Star is Born’ live singing, I adore the chemistry between Cooper and Gaga, it is heart-melting.
TOP 10 WORST FILMS OF 2018
As often with most things, if there is a best of something there is a worst of something, as we have had our fair share on lazy, disrespectful and downright idiotic films in 2018, this list is the worst of the worst. Again, if there is a film that should you think should have made it into the list, let me know.
Time for some good old-fashioned cinematic ranting, beginning with…
10 – PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING
Pacific Rim: Uprising is the perfect example of why a directorial vision is needed when making a film. The first Pacific Rim film was a surprise hit because of what Guillermo Del Toro could bring to the traditional robot v kaiju fighting sequence, it made us all realise that giant robots, big creatures and huge chaos could be stunning and entertaining. Pacific Rim: Uprising, on the other hand, doesn’t really run with this. It had an out of control narrative with underperforming actors who we know can perform which and overall an uninspiring watch. Mashing together my Batman and Godzilla figurines was more compelling action than Pacific Rim: Uprising.
9 – THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT
Talk about completely missing the mark on your genre. The Strangers: Prey at Night was an insult to everything slasher. It was made so that fans of slasher films can satisfy their cravings but speaking as someone who lives and breaths slasher films, it failed to entertain me. There is a level of blandness that you never want to reach, and this film had it all in characters, killers, story and deaths. If anything, this film made me more excited to see Halloween, which was a much better slasher film than The Strangers: Prey at night could ever dream to be.
8 – GRINGO
A film I have literally only talked about since the day I saw it, that’s how forgettable Gringo is. As a comedy, it put all its eggs into one basket and switching comedic style on the slide. It had no clear direction and the writing is so awful you would think they ran with the first draft of the script. There were too many ideas on how to show this story and it seems the filmmakers said, “screw it” and went with all of them creating a very confusing viewing experience. A real conundrum of a film, but I don’t think people are going to look back at Gringo to figure out what it was.
7 – FIFTY SHADES FREED
Thank GOD the Fifty Shades trilogy is over. I didn’t necessarily hate Fifty Shades Freed and it is the more tolerable of the Fifty Shades films, but the film itself was just so boring. What was the most interesting thing about the story, Anastasia is stalked, that’s it. The rest of the film is following these two sex-obsessed people through married life where nothing remotely resembling conflict happens, whispering their lines, not speaking (they must be worn out from all the BDSM), who you never liked together in the first two films. Not bad, just a bore, now the world can move on and pretend that the franchise never happened.
6 – JURRASIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM
I said it in my review and I’ll say it here, I’m embarrassed to be a fan of the Jurassic Park franchise after seeing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Everything about this film tears away the wonderment that has always been in Jurassic Park films and left it so there is no wonderment left, not even a scrap. Every shot of a dinosaur feels it was done for the sake of being a great desktop background or bedroom poster. There is nothing that anyone can say that will convince me the Jurassic Park series is going to get better. Also, it has the worst, the most unnecessary, the most brain-dead twist I’ve seen since The Happening.
5 – NIGHT SCHOOL
Night School follows a breed of films I like to call “Ego Boosters”. These are films that serve one purpose and one purpose only, to make the leading star feel like the greatest person in the world. This films target was Kevin Hart and in the film’s quest to boost Hart’s reputation, it forgot to be an actual film. The worst part about it is it could have been much better. With Kevin Hart’s comedic mind and a narrative in a need of heavy restoration, it could have been given a lick of new paint. So, what did it do with this opportunity? It wasted them, much like Kevin wasted his opportunity to host the Oscars. (Too soon?).
4 – THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS
It is possible for kids Halloween films to be fantastic if your pushing at the boundaries of spookiness and horror, The House with a Clock in its Walls played it safe and it paid the price for it. This film was such a grind to sit through because it’s trying to forcefully shove so many different things in your face. The child actor’s character was built to be adorable, but instead of gradually building his likeability, he does cute things for the sake of being cute. The magic in this film felt cheap, the special effects stood out way too much and there were no limitations to what magic could do, is anything possible in this film? As far a clocks go, you’ll be watching yours for the duration of this film wondering when it will be over.
3 – ROBIN HOOD
How can you mess up one of the biggest folklore characters in history? The makers of Robin Hood figured that out by turning his tale into a superhero origin story. This film stole so many clichés from modern superhero films, it became devoured of all originality and eventually became the story of Batman Begins, following the narrative beat obsessively. Everyone in this film has been extremely talented in other projects, so why is everyone’s performance way over the top. The costume was rubbish, the action was uninspiring, and bows are treated as if they were AK-47’s. I felt like Robin Hood has literally stolen money from me and given it to the filmmakers who don’t deserve a single penny.
2 – THE NUN
Or to give it its more appropriate title “Every Jumpscare Horror Ever”. Worse than its lack of original horror, The Nun was incredibly stupid. It withheld information to how it ties in with The Conjuring at the end, and it was information we already knew. It was also jam-packed with so many deus ex machina moments that it made the demonic nun idiotic. What was her purpose? Did she want to kill the characters? Because she had plenty of clean opportunities to do so but choose to jump out at them and pull a scary face. I couldn’t care less for the villain, I couldn’t care less for the characters, I couldn’t care, end of the conversation.
1 – PETER RABBIT
The films previously mentioned only felt like an attack on good cinema. Peter Rabbit, on the other hand, felt like it was personally attacking me. No other film this year made me angrier, more infuriated than James Corden’s beyond annoying portrayal of a beloved British character. The title character himself in this film is completely wrong (if there even was a character at all) making the sweet blue coat wearing rabbit a self-centred jerk. I’m making a plea to anyone younger people unfamiliar to Peter Rabbit not to see this film because I’m worried that people are going to accept this version of Peter Rabbit as THE version of the character. The worst crime this film committed, and why it felt like it has personally attacked me, is that my innocent Peter Rabbit doll, the very first toy I ever owned, is now tainted. Screw you Peter Rabbit.
Phew! Somehow, I made it with my sanity still intact. So that was my best and worst list for the films of 2018. We’ve had a reasonable mix of films this year but sadly with more garbage than masterpieces. Hopefully, things will change in 2019. Thank you so much for staying with me throughout 2018, you reading my reviews means the world to me (more than you can imagine) and I hope you’ll be staying with me as we venture into 2019 together.
Before we go, I’d like to leave a list of my 5 most anticipated films of 2019, and they are…
5 – Us
4 – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
3 – Star Wars: Episode IX
2 – Godzilla: King of the Monsters
1 – Pokémon Detective Pikachu
See you in 2019,
Sean McConville Reviews