Tomorrow’s the day the Oscar nominees will be announced!
I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to be happy with a lot of the nominees (and likely a lot of the winners), but I wanted to share my list of my favorite movies of 2018. My tastes lean more Independent Spirit Awards and various regional critics’ awards than the Oscars, so if there’s something here you haven’t heard of, I encourage you to check it out!
Here’s DC4B’s Top 10 Movies of 2018!
10. The Kindergarten Teacher
The criminally-underrated Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as the titular kindergarten teacher, who feels stuck in her family life and job. She takes ConEd classes at night, dreaming to become a writer. This movie was deeply hard to watch, yet deeply watchable. Gyllenhaal is incredible and we feel her sorrow, pain, desire, ambition and madness in a very complex performance of a character who starts crossing awful barriers to give herself a sense of purpose.
9. A Simple Favor
A Simple Favor is a sharp, witty, cunning and campy romp! Anna Kendrick stars as Stephanie, an obnoxious Type-A mommy vlogger, detested by all the other parents at her child’s school. Blake Lively co-stars as Emily, the glamorous, enigmatic and uninvolved mom that all the other parents at the school are dying to know. Stephanie and Emily quickly form a seemingly unlikely bond. When Emily suddenly goes MIA, shit hits the fan and dark secrets are dug up. It’s a truly fun, biting dark comedic thriller, with beautiful fashion and yet another excellent Blake Lively performance (which shouldn’t be surprising if you’ve seen The Shallows, All I See Is You and The Age of Adaline).
Tully reunites the dream team behind my favorite movie of this decade, Young Adult – writer, Diablo Cody and star, Charlize Theron.
This time around, Theron stars as Marlo, a stay-at-home mom at her wits’ end, struggling not just with post-partum depression, but with a sense of loss of self and identity. Tully (Mackenzie Davis) enters Marlo’s life to give a hand with the kids and Marlo transforms. It’s tough to say too much about this movie without giving too much away, but even as a childfree person, I found Marlo’s trials relatable AF.
7. The Favourite
The Favourite has it all; cunning, cussing, shade, reading, gay shit, bunnies, Nicholas Hoult still somehow looking extremely fuckable in an old-timey wig and rouge, trauma, duck races, goose shooting and Taylor Swift's boyfriend getting a dry-ass handy on his wedding night. It’s a real Stefon Club of a movie!
All three leads in this historical retelling of Queen Anne’s reign are incredible – you can’t really go wrong with Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Olivia Colman – but Colman really does steal the show as the Queen herself, in a balanced, tragicomic performance.
6. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Can You Ever Forgive Me? is about shady gay scammers in NYC in the early 90s, so it's obviously right up my alley.
Melissa McCarthy rules as Lee Israel, a down-on-her-luck celebrity biographer who turns to forgery as a way to make ends meet. McCarthy’s Israel is completely determined & desperate. She is mean and cutting, but mostly lonely. Because she's so brashly funny and clever, we can't help but root for her.
Richard E. Grant is a revelation as her hustler BFF & drinking buddy, Jack. He captivated me with his charm and seediness. There's one scene in particular where the two of them are cleaning Lee's apartment that just captured a truly unconditional friendship. Grant is my favorite for Best Supporting Actor this year. McCarthy is my favorite for Best Actress should the one I really want not be nominated.
5. Eighth Grade
It’s wild to me that Eighth Grade was written and directed by a man (Bo Burnham), because he captures early teens girlhood so damn well.
Eighth Grade stars newcomer, Elsie Fisher, as Kayla, a 13-year-old girl in her last week of middle school. Kayla isn’t popular or unpopular, she’s just kind of there… trying to find that fine balance between the need to fit in, while at the same time, her desire to be herself. Filmed in awkward close-ups , Instagram scrolls and YouTube videos, foreign to my own teenage experience, but reflective in her trying to express herself in a world she feels doesn’t understand her.
4. Juliet, Naked
This might be my new favorite hetero romantic comedy. Chris O’Dowd and Rose Byrne star as Duncan and Annie, a long-term couple with no marriage or kids on the horizon living in smalltown England. Duncan is hopelessly devoted to Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke), a “lost legend” musician from the 90s, who put out one album, then disappeared. When Annie decides to troll the comments on a blog post Duncan made, reviewing a previously-unheard demo, an unlikely kinship happens between Annie and Tucker.
O’Dowd’s and Hawke's characters could have been such caricatures, but were treated with so much humanity. I’ve known fanboys like Duncan (and worse!), and O’Dowd captured the over-enthusiasm-as-passion of these types of fans perfectly. Ethan Hawke was absolutely perfect and blew me away with his over-the-hill stuck-in-the-90s-ness dad bod former rocker, constantly working on the 9th step in his recovery, knowing he'll never fully make amends, but trying his damn hardest. And as my husband put it when we were walking home, "Rose Byrne is just such a delight!" Juliet, Naked is effortlessly charming, funny and sweet and one of the more delightful flicks of the year.
Sorry, The Favourite, but there’s another 2018 queer period piece that has my heart! In Colette, Keira Knightley stars as Gabrielle Colette, the woman who actually wrote the popular Claudine series of books for her husband, Henry Gaulthier-Villars (Dominic West). But this isn’t Big Eyes. Colette is fun, slightly campy (thank you farting fat suit Jimmy McNulty from The Wire!), sumptuous and sexy. It’s also an ode to queerness and polyamory, and a stand against toxic masculinity! And Knightley’s costumes are to die for soft butch suit-inspired corsetry. Basically, it’s the period piece for 2018. I stan!
2. If Beale Street Could Talk
Based off of James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, If Beale Street Could Talk is a gut-wrenching tale of romance while being black in America. Stephan James stars as Lonny, a young man falsely imprisoned. KiKi Layne is his girlfriend, Tish, who works tirelessly to clear his name in a system that’s stacked to fail them.
Though the subject matter is heartbreaking and frustratingly still relevant, If Beale Street Could Talk is the most beautiful movie of 2018. Cinematically and musically, it is completely masterful. The shots and the hands and the faces and the eyes and THAT SCORE and sound production! My heart ached and swelled along with the joys and pains of all of the characters thanks to the impactful music and strong sense of place.
1. Support The Girls
Support The Girls seems like a simple concept for a film – a day in the life of a breastaurant. But beneath its surface, this is an incredible film about sisterhood, chosen family, racism, classism, the working-class struggle (particularly with the American health care system) and misogyny.
Support The Girls boasts a cast of likable actresses playing very sympathetic characters who are treated with empathy and respect, which is rare to see in a movie about service industry employees, especially women. Haley Lu Richardson is an absolute tenderhearted and whip-smart delight as Maci! Shayna McHayle (aka rapper, Junglepussy) absolutely shines in her first movie role as Danyelle. She's a natural, and I can't wait to see more from her!
Regina Hall, though... what a powerfully subtle performance as general manager, Lisa! She’s funny, sweet, tough, over it, exhausted, wise, strong, charming and incredibly hardworking. In a perfect world, she'd get an Oscar nom. She won’t… but at least she’s up for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress!
2018 honorable mentions:
- A Star is Born
- Game Night
- Black Panther
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post
- Creed II
- Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
- The Tale
2018 movies I haven’t seen yet but want to:
- The Rider
- Sorry to Bother You
- The Hate U Give
- Minding the Gap
- Madeleine’s Madeleine
- Beautiful Boy
Worst movie in 2018 (that I watched!)