2018 wasn’t the greatest year for film but there were still a few worthwhile watches in the mix. As reported over on Film Blerg here are my top 10 for the year, along with some special mentions.
A few notes:
- Eligible films had to be released in Australia cinemas (or Netflix) between 1st January and 31st December 2018.
- Of course I didn’t see every film released (not even close) so I may well have missed something special.
- This is a subjective list of my personal favourites, not necessarily films that should be considered for Oscars. Obvs.
10. On Chesil Beach
Director: Dominic Cooke
Screenplay: Ian McEwan
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle
Ian McEwan adapted his novel into a screenplay and the result is a beautiful film that didn’t get all that much attention. Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle star as English newlyweds on their first night of marriage together. Fantastic writing by McEwan really got me thinking about young love and the limited understanding of relationships at that age.
9. Crazy Rich Asians
Director: Jon M. Chu
Screenplay: Peter Chiarelli & Adele Lim (based on the book by Kevin Kwan)
Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan
I felt like I laughed all the way through this. It was ridiculously over the top but it was so much fun and what a freakin’ revelation that you can make a Hollywood movie with an all-Asian cast. In terms of story it was pretty standard Hollywood fare but sometimes that’s what you’re after and this was GOLD! (But not like, tacky gold).
8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Director: Martin McDonagh
Screenplay: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell
I haven’t seen this since New Year’s Day 2018 when it was released but I remember being so surprised that I actually liked it given how Coen brothers-esque it looked. (Sorry, not a fan). Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell won Oscars for this and it’s easy to see why. Straddling the comedy/drama line well, this is surprisingly fun to watch given its dark subject matter.
7. Lady Bird
Director: Greta Gerwig
Screenplay: Greta Gerwig
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalfe, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts
This was Film Blerg’s number 1 this year on account of being on most people’s lists. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut was stunning, and if you like her husband Noah Baumbach’s style then you’ll probably enjoy her work. The wonderful Saoirse Ronan starred as my favourite kind of protagonist – a teenage girl.
6. I, Tonya
Director: Craig Gillespie
Screenplay: Steven Rogers
Starring: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan
Margot Robbie FTW! Allison Janney also contributes an Oscar-winning performance as her bitch face mum. This film had some really interesting things to say about how the lower class are perceived and had the best soundtrack of the year. It made me gasp in shock (mostly at the domestic violence and abusive parenting) and laugh out loud in equal measure. Particularly at Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn who both disgusted and cracked me up.
5. Love, Simon
Director: Greg Berlanti
Screenplay: Elizabeth Berger & Isaac Aptaker (based on the book by Becky Albertalli)
Starring: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel
My second favourite genre, the teen film, is really nailing it lately and even though this feels very clichéd in some ways it’s a) groundbreaking in that it has a gay teenage protagonist in a mainstream film and b) actually bloody good! It held up on rewatch too – again this was another one I laughed at all the way through. I also cried.
4. A Star is Born
Director: Bradley Cooper
Screenplay: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters
Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper has delivered a phenomenal directing debut with the fourth film version of this story. Only a fool would deny the ridiculous talent of Lady Gaga who, in my opinion, is far and above the absolute best pop star of her generation. She stars here and contributes much of the music. GIVE THE WOMAN HER OSCAR NOW (for best original song, at least).
3. The Children Act
Director: Richard Eyre
Screenplay: Ian McEwan (based on his novel)
Starring: Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Fionn Whitehead
Ian McEwan does it again! I’ve struggled to read his books but on the screen his writing sizzles! And who better than Emma Thompson to lead this one? The set-up of Fiona’s life and the developing narrative is what made this one an absolute winner for me. This was brilliant storytelling.
2. Bohemian Rhapsody
Director: Bryan Singer
Screenplay: Anthony McCarten
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello
The critics enjoyed shitting all over this film but it’s certainly a crowd favourite and I LOVED IT SO HARD. It must be said I do love Queen, but I’ve lost track of how many non-Queen fans have told me they loved it (and are now converted fans). I did think it was rather sanitised but I still had a blast nevertheless. It also gave a really strong sense of Freddie’s loneliness amidst all the adoration. GIVE RAMI MALEK EVERY AWARD!!!!
AND THE WINNER IS…
1. A Quiet Place
Director: John Krasinski
Screenplay: Bryan Woods, Scott May & John Krasinski
Starring: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski
To me, this was storytelling perfection. The story is pretty damn simple – and there’s not even that much dialogue – but WHAT A STORY. Who would have thought a horror/thriller could touch your heart so much? John Krasinski nailed it. And Emily Blunt is of course wonderful in everything. I am disappointed to hear there’s a sequel in the works as I don’t think it will top this. And on that note, Bird Box didn’t even come close to this film and I take personal offence to anyone who thinks as much. (I know the book supposedly inspired Krasinski to make AQP but the film just ain’t that all that).
The Post – Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg and John Williams. You can’t go wrong.
The Shape of Water – The 2018 Best Picture Oscar winner. Great worldbuilding in this one.
Molly’s Game – Aaron Sorkin delivers another hot screenplay.
Hereditary – Creepy AF. You will be disturbed.
Tully – From what I’ve heard from mothers, this film seemed right on the money in its portrayal of post-natal depression and the shit parts of mothering.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – I WILL NEVER TIRE OF THIS FRANCHISE. At least not while Chris Pratt’s around.
Skyscraper – Okay so it wasn’t exactly fine filmmaking, but it was HILARIOUS. Whether that was intentional I’m not completely sure.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – I couldn’t not include this, come on.
BlacKkKlansman – Prepare to feel depressed at how far we haven’t really come.
Beautiful Boy – The most heartbreaking film of the year. Timothée Chalamet deserves an Oscar for this.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? – A true story told well. Melissa McCarthy shines.
The Favourite – After The Lobster which I loved and The Killing of a Sacred Deer which was quite simply WTFuckery, Yorgos Lanthimos is back to his best.
Vice – The performances were all brilliant (can Amy Adams just get an Oscar already, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) but even better, this was actually hilarious.
Ralph Breaks the Internet – I laughed, I cried, and best of all IT HAD AN ALAN MENKEN MUSICAL NUMBER!!! Oh, and the Disney princesses!
Disappointments (thankfully I did not pay money to see any of these):
Fifty Shades Freed – not so much a disappointment but a film that I expected to be crap and was. THANK GOD IT’S OVER.
Annihilation – What. The Actual. In its defence it was better than the book. But the book was absolute shit.
I Feel Pretty – Talk about a wasted opportunity. It could have had a great message but managed to just be offensive.
The Spy Who Dumped Me – FAILED the laugh out loud test. Even with Kate McKinnon.
Charming – Don’t even try to emulate Disney because you will fail MISERABLY.
Second Act – Possibly the worst writing I’ve seen all year.
All in all, it was a rather mediocre year relatively speaking, however there were a reasonable number of films that made me laugh out loud so it could have been worse. With at least six musicals already slated for 2019 however, and two releases in the first THREE DAYS of the year that already top everything on this list, I have high hopes for 2019!
What were your picks for 2018?
P.S. This was really the best thing I watched this year: