My Top 10 Films of 2018 (+10 worst)

Here it is! My annual Top 10 list + bottom 10 because we had that many disappointments this year. I watched 179 films in 2018, a good chunk of them 2018 releases. There are a few 2018 films I wish I could've seen before making this list, such as If Beale Street Could Talk and Vox Lux, but my theater hasn't gotten them and unless one of them ends up a Best Picture nominee in February, I probably will have to wait until DVD. 

Below are my 10 favorite films of the year, a few that just missed, plus some honorable mentions. Then of course we bring it home with the 10 worst films I saw, plus some random winners just for fun.



Top 10 Films of 2018


"We're here to fight, and if you stand in our way, we'll fight you too."

"Wakanda Forever!"


"I want to understand it."

"Imagine that."

"All power to all the people."

"Hot damn."

"I hope your month is full of successful days and ventures."

"The difference between me and you is I ain't no killer."

"Cunt!"

"Anyone can wear the mask."





Just missed






Honorable Mentions: Unsane, The Hate U Give, Crazy Rich Asians, Hereditary,  Leave No Trace, Nancy, Private Life, Dumplin' The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Bottom 10
And here are the 10 worst films I subjected myself to this year. 

1) Peter Rabbit - Oh, the life of a parent.
2) Mute - This one pisses me off the most because I was really looking forward to it. 
3) A Wrinkle in Time - What a let down.
4) Woody Woodpecker - I cannot believe I let my six year old talk me into watching this with him ON THE SAME DAY WE SAW PETER RABBIT! Fuck me. 
5) Sicario: Day of the Soldado - This did not need a sequel.
6) The Seagull - Waste of a great cast.
7) Hold The Dark - Ditto.
8) A Futile and Stupid Gesture - This movie was so boring and unfunny that I can't even remember the specific details of it.
9) The Wife  - Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
10) Summer of 84 - This felt like a bait and switch.


Random winners

Best Cinematic Example of "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong" - Kayla throwing a banana at her father in Eighth Grade

Cleganebowl GET HYPE Award for - you guessed it - maximum hype - Thor arrives in Wakanda in Avengers Infinity War

Star Trek Into Darkness Award for "Fuck you, I loved this!" - Sorry To Bother You in all its "wtf" glory. 

Martha Award for Best Unintentional Laugh - "I just want to take another look at you." - A Star Is Born

10/10 Would Bang Award for Hottest Performance in a Film -
Chris Evans and his beard - Infinity War
Chris Hemsworth - Infinity War/Bad Times at the El Royale
Idris Elba - Infinity War (Idris is so hot even 1 minute of screen time counts)
Winston Duke as Mmmmmmm'Baku - Black Panther
John Chu as a hot and concerned dad - Searching
Steven Yeun - Sorry to Bother You

"I know a guy" Breakout Side Character Award -Piek Lin (Awkwafina) - Crazy Rich Asians

"You didn't see that coming?" Award for the film that surprised me the most - Searching and Dumplin'

Lars Von Trier Award for "This Scene is Going on Way too Long" - Turning down the house - Roma. 

Best Female Performances
Olivia Coleman - The Favourite
Carey Mulligan - Wildlife
Elsie Fisher - Eighth Grade
Emma Stone - The Favourite
Toni Collette - Hereditary
Thomasin Mackenzie - Leave No Trace
Cynthia Ervio - Bad Times At The El Royale
Viola Davis - Widows
Elizabeth Debicki - Widows
Danai Gurira - Black Panther/Infinity War

Best Male Performances
Bradley Cooper - A Star Is Born
John Cho - Searching
Adam Driver - BlackKklansman
Lakeith Stanfield - Sorry To Bother You
Ben Foster - Leave No Trace
Ed Oxenbould - Wildlife
Daveed Diggs - Blindspotting
Christian Bale - Vice
Nicholas Hoult - The Favourite
John David Washington - BlackKklansman



Here's to many good films in 2019 my friends!


2019 SAG Predictions: Who Will Win/Who Should Win

Time for my SAG predictions. There's no way I can bomb as hard as I did with my Globe predictions, right? RIGHT?! Here's who I think will win, and in some cases, who should win. 

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
A Star Is Born
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Bohemian Rhapsody
Crazy Rich Asians”
Who will and should win: Black Panther
Hear me out. I know you're thinking "All the signs point to Bohemian Rhapsody." And you're probably right, but something tells me the actors are going to vote differently on this than the rest of the industry will. I think they will honor Black Panther here. I'd be fine with this, BlackKklansman, or Crazy Rich Asians winning. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman”
Who will and should win: Christian Bale
This is by no means a sure thing at this point, but this is where I think Bale moves into front runner status. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Coleman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Who will win: Glenn Close
Who should win: Olivia Coleman
I really hope I'm wrong here, but I think we may be in for another "Career" Oscar which is ridiculous for a movie as dull as The Wife. Coleman should be running away with this. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Timothee Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Who will win: Mahershala Ali
Who should win: Adam Driver of Chalamet
This one is out there too. Ali got the Globe win, but I prefer Drier and Chalamet's roles. Grant could maybe squeeze himself in. Elliott was just playing himself.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, "Vice"
Emily Blunt, "A Quiet Place"
Margot Robbie, "Mary, Queen of Scots"
Emma Stone, "The Favourite"
Rachel Weiss, "The Favourite"
Who will and should win: Amy Adams
Without Regina King here, and with the fact that they will (wrongly) not give her a statue for Sharp Objects, I think they'll award her here. 


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Americans
Better Call Saul
The Handmaid’s Tale
Ozark
This Is Us
Who will win: The Americans
Who should win: The Handmaid's Tale
I really love THT's overall cast but I think The Americans might get a send off reward since it was their final season.  

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale
John Krasinki, Jack Ryan
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Who will win: Sterling K. Brown
Who should win: Joseph Fiennes
I don't see how Fiennes hasn't won everything for his role in this. I see them repeating with Sterling. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Julia Garner, "Ozark"
Laura Linney, "Ozark"
Elisabeth Moss, "The Handmaid's Tale"
Sandra Oh, "Killing Eve"
Robin Wright, "House of Cards"
Who will win: Sandra Oh
Killing Eve and House of Cards are two that I don't watch and the other ladies are all equal. I think Oh takes it since she took the Globe, but I wouldn't count Wright out either.


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Atlanta
Barry
GLOW
The Kominsky Method
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Who will win: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The only one of these I watched was Barry and I hated it. Maisel seems popular and I would definitely be watching if I had Amazon. Kominsky Method could take it too, but Maisel seems like a better choice. 

Outstanding Performane by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alan Arkin, “The Kominsky Method”
Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
Bill Hader, “Barry”
Tony Shalhoub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Henry Winkler, “Barry”
Who will win: Tony Shaloub
I'm guessing there will be a lot of vote splitting between the other two shows so lucky Tony will win. 


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Alison Brie, “GLOW”
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”
Who will win: Rachel Brosnahan
I don't think vote splitting will affect her, she feels like a front runner. 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”
Darren Criss, “Assassination of Gianni Versace”
Hugh Grant, “A Very English Scandal”
Anthony Hopkins, “King Lear”
Bill Pullman, “The Sinner”
Who will and should win: Darren Criss
Everyone else is there because they can't just give it to him. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Amy Adams, “Sharp Objects”
Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”
Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
Penelope Cruz, “Assassination of Gianni Versace”
Emma Stone, “Maniac”

Who will win:Patricia Arquette
Who should win: Amy Adams
I've never understood the appeal of Arquette but she'll probably win this too even though Adams was outstanding in Sharp Objects. *heavy sigh*

Indie Gems: Loveless

Why are you even doing this?

Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) and Boris (Aleksey Rozin) are going through a bitter divorce. They're trying to sell their apartment so they unfortunately still live under the same roof. Their biggest issues is their son, Alyosha. (Matvey Novikov) Neither actually want him. Boris has already gotten his new girlfriend pregnant and they won't have the room, and Zhenya is enjoying her freedom too much. They entertain the thought of dropping him at an orphanage, though Boris is afraid his conservative boss will find out. Alyosha listens to all of this from the bathroom and cries himself to sleep. He runs away the next day, and his parents don't notice he's gone until two days later.

This might be one of the harshest movies I've ever watched. Zhenya and Boris are terrible people. All I wanted to do was take Alyosha away, wrap him in a warm blanket, and punch both of his parents in the face. It's a bit jarring to see two people act so selfishly about their child, but that's the point of the film. Director Andrey Zvyagintsev wanted to make a movie about how selfish the world has gotten, particularly his home nation of Russia. He succeeds with flying colors.

The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous for a film with so much despair, and actors are all very good. I prefer this to the other I saw of his, Leviathan. It's one of those that's not going to be for everyone. At times even I had a hard time watching people behaving as shitty as these ones do but for what he was trying to say, it worked very well. I'm not sure I've ever seen a movie tackle a subject like this.

Grade: B-

Watched on: DVD (thanks local library!)

Memorable Quote: "Here I was thinking you actually cared for your son." - Zhenya (Maryana Spivak)

Thursday Movie Picks: 2018 Releases

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves wants us to look back at 2018. I decided to choose three films that surprised me with how much I liked them. 

1) Searching

When my theater opened Searching, I had never heard of it, so I watched the trailer and it looked like a really basic thriller, but I like John Cho and had nothing to do, so I went anyways. So glad I did because this was really enjoyable and they made the most of the gimmicks they used.

2) Dumplin'

I cried like a baby in this. It was just so sweet. Sometimes I forget that I need to watch movies where nice things happen, I'm always drawn to darker things. 

3) Blindpsotting

When I saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked like so many other movies I had seen like it and upon watching it, it didn't check any of the boxes I expected it too. I really wish I would've gotten to see this in theaters and given them some of my money because it was extraordinary. 

Review: On The Basis of Sex

The Notorious R.B.G

After last year's wonderful documentary following Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we get the dramatic story of how she started out. We meet up with Ruth (Felicity Jones) as she's starting law school at Harvard. Of course none of her professors (Sam Waterston and Stephen Root) take her seriously, but her husband Marty (Armie Hammer) always does. We see her go through school, struggle to find a job as a lawyer due to gender discrimination and finally take on Charles Moritz's (Chris Mulkey) tax case that puts her on the map.

I feel like this movie has almost been forgotten. It was talked up like it was going to be a massive awards contender only for it to be pushed to a January release with little fanfare. It's almost ironic considering all Ruth has had to fight for. For what it's worth, On The Basis of Sex might not be perfect but it's still a very good film.

While the film does take its liberties as biopics do, it doesn't do anything egregious and the flow of the story works well. It's easy to be on Ruth's side when so many men go against her, even the ones like Mel Wulf (Justin Theroux) of the ACLU who are on her side. Felicity Jones brings a fine gravity to the role. The accent is a bit of a struggle but not to the point where it gets distracting. I think she does her justice. I believed every word she said.

The same can't be said for a few very reliable actors. Waterston, Root and Jack Raynor, who are all very good actors were the weak point here. They play professors and lawyers who go up against Ruth during a hearing, but the thing about it is I never once believed a word they were saying. They're the bad guys, the ones that think women should have their place at home, but you can tell that these men really don't believe that in real life and it showed in their performances. Felicity never pulls you out of the moment with her acting, but those three certainly did. It was bizarre considering I was going into this film expecting to dislike Armie Hammer the most and he ended up being not bad at all.

Aside from the acting, another thing that really stands out is the costume design. It's wonderful, especially when we make it to the 70's. It makes me long for more pieces like that to come back. The film's 3rd act is easily the strongest and it doesn't hold anything back. The last shot of the film was enough to get me chocked up.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Because that's what I wanted to do!" - Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones)

Review: Aquaman

Permission to come aboard?

Arthur (Jason Momoa) was born of a human, Tom (Temuera Morrison) and the queen of Atlantis, Atlanna. (Nicole Kidman) She returns to Atlantis to protect her husband and son, is forced to marry another and has another son, Orm (Patrick Wilson) and then is executed for her crime of falling in love with a human. Now Orm wants to wage war against the surface world, so his betrothed, Mera (Amber Heard) goes to recruit Arthur, the rightful king for this fight.

If you would've told me last year that I'd be paying theater money to go see an Aquaman movie I probably would've laughed, but here I am, enjoying the camp that was provided to me. Aquaman has hands down some of the most ridiculous dialogue I have heard in a movie this year, but damn do they know it. And they make it work. The awesome score that plays throughout elevates it. 

Aquaman is the first "fun" DCEU movie. Where others failed, they succeed in flying colors mostly thanks to its charismatic lead actor in Momoa. He took what many (myself included) called a boring character and made him into a beer loving bro, which is the best thing that could've happened to Arthur Curry on the big screen. It also manages to not completely flop in its 3rd act like even the mighty Wonder Woman did. I really liked how this film ended, it easily could've gone in another direction and it didn't.

This is a very CG heavy film, which some won't like but 90% of it is stunning. Atlantis looks beautiful, really the only shoddy CG in this is during fight scenes on land and when some of the humans ride animals but who gets those right on the first try?

I did have a few complaints, Amber Heard had zero chemistry with Momoa and made their romance feel so forced and unearned, especially when Kidman and Morrison display 100 times the chemistry in their short amount of scenes together. Mera is a cool character, but emotionally Heard did her no justice. The other issue, I think falls squarely on WB. I got the feeling that director James Wan did not feel confident in this film becoming a hit (and who could blame him) therefore, he shoves a lot of Aqua-lore into this movie, but also leaves a lot of questions. Why exactly is Aquaman essentially bullet proof and has super strength above water? They also waste their secondary villain, Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) A lot of this could've been saved for the sequel. 

I hope DCEU eventually starts tying these movies together. We get a mention of Steppenwolf here but we don't see any other familiar faces. They should either make cameos in each movie or have a Phil Coulson-like character that ties them all together. That would be a good idea if they plan on continuing this universe.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "If only I knew you'd grow up to be such a dick." - Arthur (Jason Momoa) 

Here's what I read in 2018



I really slacked with reading this year. I just kept getting in movie moods instead, but here are the few books I read in 2018. My 2019 goal is to double this. 

Crazy is my Super Power - AJ Mendez-Brooks
I haven't watched wrestling in years, but I still love reading wrestlers' memoirs. I had heard AJ covered a lot about mental health, so that peaked my interest. She does speak of it extensively and I love her for it. My only complaint is she barely talks about wrestling at all. I love backstage stories and really only the final few chapters are devoted to it. It surprised me how little it was mentioned.
B

Meaty - Samantha Irby
After We Are Never Meeting In Real Life became my favorite book from last year, I had to check out Samantha's earlier work. It was hilarious. Not as polished as her second novel but I still feel like I relate to her so much. 
A-

Attack on Titan: No Regrets vol 1 and 2 - Gun Snark & Hajime Isayama
Last year during one of the TV editions of Thursday Movie Picks where we had to find non English TV shows, I picked non English shows I planned on watching. One of those was Attack on Titan and I dove in head first. I ended up reading these two volumes as they were side stories on Levi, one of my favorite characters. I loved getting that extra knowledge and now I've started following the main manga online.
A-


Why Not Me - Mindy Kaling
I adore Mindy, and while Marathoning the Office this year I decided to pick up her second book. I found it really interesting and I'm not going to lie I was trying to Google some of the people she talked about with fake names because I love drama like that.
B

One More Thing - B.J Novak
Another product of my office binge, I'm really impressed by how wonderful of a writer Novak really is. Not that I ever doubted it, but it was nice to see so much of his work in one place. This is collection of short stories and some of them are pretty bland but most are wonderful. I'd love to read something else by him.
B+

The Broken Girls - Simone St. James
This book is way better than it has any right being. St. James tells multiple stories at the same time and you'd think it would get messy but it never does. I love mysteries and this satisfied all of my cravings.
A

Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
From her blog post of the same name, I love that Reni expanded on this. This is such an important book and I found it so fascinating. I will say that the first chapter is a lot because she's talking about Black History in the U.K and for me personally, I knew nothing about it so I felt like I was getting a massive info dump but the rest of the chapters are clearly in her voice.
A

Wilde Lake - Laura Lippman
I love Laura, she's one of my favorite authors and Wilde Lake has been one of the best she's written in a while. All of her books are mysteries and even though this one was slightly predictable, it was a page turner that I couldn't put down.
A