CJ’s top 15 best films of 2018

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CJ’s top 15 best films of 2018

Photo created by Genevieve Guenther.

Photo created by Genevieve Guenther.

Photo created by Genevieve Guenther.

Photo created by Genevieve Guenther.

Jonathan Montague, Staff Writer

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Well, we made it everyone! 2018 certainly flew by, and now, I’d like to use the last bit of the year to showcase what I felt were the best films your local theatre had to offer!

I feel like I should lay down some ground rules first:

  • This list is ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE. I didn’t see every film that came out this year. I saw over 50 films, and I wish I could have seen even more. If I included a film you hated or excluded a film you loved, I’m sorry (but I’m not sorry).
  • The film had to have been released in an American theatre this year. No Netflix or Hulu. Otherwise, I couldn’t have seen it and it wouldn’t be fair to some films.
  • Each of these films has been scored on six categories:
  1. Plot – narrative, dialogue
  2. Story – characters, themes, direction
  3. Acting – the performances
  4. Visuals – cinematography, set/costume design, special effects
  5. Sound – sound effects, music
  6. “Rewatchability” – The last of these categories can make or break a film in regard to this list. Some films that I thought were excellent all around I didn’t feel were ones I would watch again, and that, I feel, is very important to consider.

 

Even after all of this, I still had to expand this from a Top Ten, due to seven different films having the same score.

Feel free to tell us your favorite films of 2018 as well! With all that said…

Honorable Mentions

I do want to highlight some films that did not make the official list but scored high enough that I couldn’t just leave them out.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

A great villain, good comedy and fun action. Also, that gut punch of an end credit scene!

Tag

One of the funniest films I’ve seen all year with a bopping soundtrack to boot!

Teen Titans GO! to the Movies

A film I did not expect to like nearly this much, but great songs and very smart humor makes this a great representation of the show it’s based on!

The Top 15

15) Mortal Engines

I honestly don’t understand the hate that this movie is getting because I had a blast with it. This is a fun-filled adventure movie with breathtaking visuals, great music, and memorable characters. I haven’t read the book series that this is based on, but I wish this film hadn’t flopped as it deserves your attention.

P.S. The author liked it, too!

Plot: 4

Story: 4.5

Acting: 4

Visuals: 5

Sound: 4.5

Rewatchability: 4.5

Total: 26.5

 

14) Love, Simon

Another movie based on a book that I never read. Maybe I would feel different if I had read the book as I know others did. Maybe not. What I do know is I enjoyed the plot and the direction. The characters felt genuine, and I liked most of them. I was brought along for an emotional ride, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Plot: 4.5

Story: 4.5

Acting: 4.5

Visuals: 4

Sound: 4

Rewatchability: 4

Total: 26.5

 

13) A Simple Favor

I think there might be a pattern here…

I did not expect this film to be as good as it was, but some strong performances from Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick really helped to carry this film, along with Henry Golding (who had a really good year). On top of that, it was a genuinely intriguing mystery that left you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what was actually going on. It was funny, suspenseful, and left like a pretzel with the numerous twists.

Plot: 5

Story: 4

Acting: 4.5

Visuals: 4

Sound: 4

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 26.5

 

12) Aquaman

I’m just going to say it. I think this film is stronger than Wonder Woman. Fight me!

While Wonder Woman‘s third act kind of floundered, this film was started off strong and only got stronger. The designs were beautiful, the fun was nonstop, and Jason Momoa has charisma to spare as the loveable doofus Arthur Curry. And let’s not forget that this film finally shows the King of Atlantis for how powerful he is truly. If this film doesn’t finally gain the hero some respect, I don’t know what will.

Plot: 4

Story: 4

Acting: 4

Visuals: 5

Sound: 4.5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 26.5

 

11) Instant Family

This was the feel-good family comedy of the year. The jokes were a mile a minute, and they hit so hard because these characters were just so entertaining to watch. The actors all had great chemistry and timing. The best thing about it, though, is the message of unconditional love and the true meaning of family. I cannot wait until I can see this movie again, and I want my whole family with me when I do.

Plot: 4.5

Story: 5

Acting: 5

Visuals: 4

Sound: 3.5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 27

 

10) Mission: Impossible – Fallout

How!? How, after six movies, are these films only getting better and better? As far as pure action films go, this is easily the most intense and exhilarating movie I saw this year. I found myself holding my breath during multiple scenes and gripping my seat as tightly as possible. Tom Cruise is still an incredible action star, and they actually deepen the character of Ethan Hunt a bit too. If only Superman could have kept his mustache. It looks good on him.

Plot: 4

Story: 4.5

Acting: 4.5

Visuals: 5

Sound: 5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 28

 

9) Ralph Breaks the Internet

As someone who thought the first film was just “good,” I thought this was going to be about the same. Little did I know that Disney would bring out the big guns and hit us with something that everyone could love. This film has one of the most mature messages I’ve ever seen in a Disney film, and it’s told in a way that even young kids can understand and learn from. There’s even some great commentary on internet culture! The characters are portrayed as genuinely wanting to do the right thing but letting real human flaws get in the way. It surprised me in the best way possible.

Plot: 5

Story: 5

Acting: 4.5

Visuals: 5

Sound: 4

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 28.5

 

8) Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

This was a film I expected to absolutely hate. I saw the first one in preparation, and I hated it, even as someone who loves musicals. And yet, this film still managed to suck me into its magical world of sparkly fun. The characters were entertaining and memorable, and they really did do their best to find the perfect actors for these roles. The music is better paced than the first one, making the dialogue have more meaning, and, by God, even knowing how the story was going to go, it still made me emotional to see it unfold. It really is a “Super Trouper” of a film!

Plot: 4

Story: 5

Acting: 4.5

Visuals: 5

Sound: 5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 28.5

 

7) Black Panther

You can tell that Disney didn’t expect this film to be nearly as successful as it was (Thanks, Thanos!), but considering how amazing this film is, I cannot figure out why! Because we were already introduced and slightly progressed the title character in Civil War, they were able to devote a lot more screen time to the villain. For this reason, Killmonger is easily one of the best villains of the year. He is a savage killer, presenting a much more lethal side of an important political conversation and bringing attention to issues that are present throughout the world. The only thing that holds it back is the CGI, which gets so bad and rubbery by the end that it is hilarious. Still, I’ve seen this film four times, and I will probably see it many more. Now, can we please stop making Chadwick Boseman do the Wakandan salute everywhere he goes?

Plot: 4.5

Story: 5

Acting: 5

Visuals: 4

Sound: 5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 28.5

 

6) Eighth Grade

When you’re a kid, the smallest issues seem like catastrophic problems with the universe. This is what Bo Burnham brilliantly captures with his directorial debut. The actors are mostly children and they all give impressive performances and show that they have promising futures in the industry. It’s a great coming-of-age story showing a time in one’s life that’s not usually focused on. It touches on our expectations of our futures, how we can change, and if we even like the people we are becoming. You don’t have to be a young teen for this to hit home, and if you ask me, knock it out of the park.

Plot: 5

Story: 5

Acting: 5

Visuals: 4.5

Sound: 4.5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 29

 

5) Avengers: Infinity War

Ten years and 18 films have led us to this moment. How could this film possibly live up to our expectations? The answer: with flying colors! Similar to Black Panther, because we already know our heroes, we have a chance to focus more on our villain. And Thanos is easily the best villain we’ve had in Marvel Cinematic Universe. He almost wins you over to his side because you perfectly understand how he got to be the villian. Furthermore, he truly believes himself to be the hero of his story, a crusader fighting for the future of the universe. On top of all of that, we get to see all the heroes we’ve fallen in love with all meet, interact, and fight together for the first time. And that ending! I cannot wait until May!

Plot: 4.5

Story: 5

Acting: 4.5

Visuals: 5

Sound: 5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 29

 

4) Incredibles 2

The original film is one of my favorites of all time. It’s one of those few films that I cannot find a problem with as an adult and watched many times as a child. To say I was excited for this movie would be an understatement, and this film actually delivered. The animation is upgraded. The comedy is top-notch. The action is exhilarating and creative, and I actually liked the villain a lot more. Rarely has a villain made me think more on the drive home about what they were fighting for, even though they went about it the wrong way. I just hope it isn’t another 14 years before we see Incredibles 3.

Plot: 4.5

Story: 5

Acting: 5

Visuals: 5

Sound: 5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 29.5

 

3) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I swear I’m not doing this on purpose. For some reason, superhero movies were all just really amazing this year. With that said, we have the best animated feature of the year. This film has an animation style all its own, using it for some of the most creative visuals I have ever seen. The story is full of emotion from great characters with plenty of chances to show off what makes them special. You can tell they have a true love of the Spider-Man comics and made this movie for fans like them. And I, as a fan and a movie lover, could not have been more satisfied with the end result!

Plot: 5

Story: 5

Acting: 4.5

Visuals: 5

Sound: 5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 29.5

 

2) Crazy Rich Asians

I love a good romantic-comedy, and this is one of the best I have ever seen. Every aspect of this film is gorgeous. The locale is beautiful. The costumes are exquisite. The acting is superb. The story is intricate. No character is portrayed as evil and you understand both the main character and the mother perfectly. Even the music is amazing. Not only is the score well-composed, but I have been listening to the soundtrack since I first saw it. This is truly Jon M. Chu’s coup de grace.

Plot: 5

Story: 5

Acting: 5

Visuals: 5

Sound: 5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 30!

 

1) Paddington 2

When I first saw Paddington on Netflix, I had no idea I would love it as much as I did. But when I saw Paddington 2 was in theatres, despite knowing nothing about it before watching it, I knew I was going to love it to death. And here it is at the top of the list! The name of the game is charm. This film has more charm and heart than I thought was possible, but I literally could not stop smiling throughout. It’s creative and fun, and you have no idea just where it’s going to go. Paddington is a character who you can’t help but fall in love with because he remains the nicest person in the room no matter what, and he is so huggable, it hurts! To me, this is another of those perfect films. Should they get that sequel they definitely deserve, it could be a part of one of the most perfect trilogies ever.

Plot: 5

Story: 5

Acting: 5

Visuals: 5

Sound: 5

Rewatchability: 5

Total: 30!

Thank you all for joining me in counting down my favorite films of the year! Feel free to criticize my list and tell the Seahawk all your favorites in the comments! Thank you to all the folks who read our paper, and I’ll see you all in the new year with a new review.