I only saw 34 new-to-me movies in 2018 and I can count on one hand which ones I saw in the theater. Movies just don’t say in the theater long enough for me anymore and I’ve just had too many poor movie theater experiences recently that I always debate spending the money vs just waiting to get the DVD from the library. Most of the movies on my list I saw in the comfort of my own home.
Hearts Beat Loud – I didn’t know what to expect from this movie and I kept waiting for it to go south quickly or make a misstep that turned the drama up to 11. It never did. Yes, there were moments when father and daughter butted heads, characters made mistakes, but they never went for an over-the-top scene or fell for the usual cheap shots to make us all cry. Instead, it was a realistic movie about growing up with some extremely catchy tunes.
Hereditary – I am a wuss and I do not watch horror movies unless people tell me it is worth my sleepless nights. This was worth it. And I DID HAVE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS! Some sequences from this film haunted me for weeks after. But it was just so well done. Part of me wants to watch it again, now that I know where it is all going so I don’t have to sit with my hands half over my face the whole time…but another part of me isn’t sure I want to have those nightmares again!
Annihilation – This movie was intriguing enough that I read the entire Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer after we watched it. I think the film did the best it could to distill those stories into one 2 hour feature. It is both right on the mark and nothing like the books. It was eerie and weird and creepy and horrific and I want to watch it again now that I’ve read the books to better compare. Plus, the cast was fantastic across the board.
Love, Simon – I read Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda when it first came out because it was a well reviewed YA book with a gay protagonist. It was a sweet rom-com and I was excited to see that a movie was being made. I think the movie did a great job of translating the book onto the screen. The whole cast was perfect and it followed the book pretty closely. I watched it twice (one of the few I saw in theaters and then rented afterwards) and it was just a great teen flick. Most of the stuff Simon deals with is the same stuff any teen deals with, just with the added complication of coming out, which is kind of a big one!
Loving Vincent – Some people complained that this movie was just all about the gimmick of animating a film in the style of Van Gogh’s artwork and to that I saw – DUH! I mean, I would have watched the same movie about Vincent’s life because it was fascinating but the added layer of watching his story unfold while the colors swirled around the screen made it more than just a biopic but a beautiful love letter to an artist.
Nanette – I had never heard of Hannah Gadsby prior to this Netflix special, but people were talking about it and I wanted to see it before I saw too much of it in gif format on the internet. It was not what I was expecting. It is stand-up special that is a brilliant deconstruction of stand-up and the flaws with the medium as entertainment. It didn’t ruin stand-up for me, but now when I watch a comedy special, I do pay attention to where the humor is coming from. I think this will be a special we hear about a lot in the future, one that the next generation of comedic artists will refer back to.
Isle of Dogs – I saw this one in the theater! We were so excited for this new Wes Anderson movie because Fantastic Mr. Fox is a favorite. But it was a bit distracting since about 2 rows in front of us was clearly a grandparents that saw “dogs” and “animated” and though the grandkid would enjoy it but instead the kid spent the whole movie bored and confused and talking. *sigh* ANYWAY I am looking forward to watching it again because even with that frustration, I really enjoyed what I saw. COMPLETELY different kind of story and tone than Fantastic Mr. Fox, but still very much a Wes Anderson movie.
The Post – I’m a Spielberg fangirl for life. This year, I got TWO films and while I had a lot of fun watching Ready Player One, The Post caught me off guard and also lined up right with our viewing of Ken Burns’ Vietnam War documentary so I had an even greater understanding of what was happening around all of these events. Well acted and well paced, a fitting prequel to ‘All the Presidents Men’.
Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War – This documentary was looooong but it wasn’t like Burns could just ignore the history that caused this war to become what it did. Viewers needed to understand Vietnam’s history to comprehend why the wore started and then we had to understand American politics to come to terms with why it continued to rage on. This is the war that changed America but we don’t talk about it because it is messy and there are no clear answers. This should be required viewing for everyone because so many of the problems we are dealing with today have their roots in this conflict.
Coco – Disney/Pixar does it again! A movie I kind of shrugged off when I saw the ads, thinking I probably wouldn’t enjoy it, and then I saw and watched it and I LOVED IT SO MUCH! The Frida Kahlo jokes – did kids even get those?? Why did I ever doubt you Pixar?
Won’t You Be My Neighbor – I grew up watching Mr. Rogers, but he was in the line up with Sesame Street and I eventually graduated up to The Muppet Show, leaving the land of Make-Believe behind. I knew the story arc of Jim Henson’s creative journey, but I knew nothing about Fred Rogers. When I saw the trailer for this movie, I started to tear up. I knew I had to see it to find out more about this soft spoken man who literally saved PBS’s funding with a simple speech.
Those were just some of the movies I saw this year! Did you watch any of these? Were they ones you liked? What were your favorite films of 2018? Share in the comments or link me to your post!