When looking back on the year, I felt one of the most meaningful ways I could look back at the year is by listing the top five movies I saw this year. It was an incredible solid year for movies, and some great stuff came out – I want to recognize and log films I saw that were outstanding to share and also have some kind of record for the future.
Due to the incredible MoviePass deal that started in August 2017, I managed to see quite a few more movies than I usually do in a year. While the MoviePass thing hasn’t completely gone sideways, suffice it to say I have not used the subscription as much in the latter half of the year as I did in the first half.
I think MoviePass is good for everyone all around – but clearly however the money is being managed is not best. I was exposed to far more films than I usually am in a year, and I often felt more inclined to go see movies where a $10 or $13 charge would have been discouraging.
Sorry to Bother You– This movie shook me. It is the movie that pushed me to grow and reconsider how I view the world most this year. It’s advertised as this woke comedy, but it self-actualizes closer to another genre I love. It is extreme and wild and goes all out – completely earning its title, as if a self-fulfilling prophecy. Months later, I am still bothered by this film. It shakes one awake to the experiences of others in a truly unique and unforgettable way.
searching. – I saw this movie on digital release. I watched it, then I convinced L the next day that we should watch it together. What convinced me to watch this was an io9 article about all the hidden subplots in the movie. I was surprised and confused to learn about them, and on second watch managed to catch a few of them. This movie was pretty fun and twisty, and I really enjoyed the form of the story. While it is not particularly new, it is still fun. It was really cool to see John Cho carry a film in this really dramatic style, and explore loss, and how far one would go for someone they love.
Black Panther– I was thrilled to see that this already has a couple of Oscar shortlist nods, as well as some Golden Globe Nominations. Everything about this movie knocked it out of the park – after a lackluster few years since the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Marvel seems to be back on their game and hitting it out of the park. It is great to see superheroes on the screen that aren’t just white men named Chris. It was so much fun to see all the potential for storytelling Wakanda has. Aesthetically, this would easily be the best movie of the year if it weren’t for…
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse– The animation style is an easy and obvious place to start here. Digital animation with hand-drawn supplements gives this movie its own unique style and feel. Just that alone has me wondering why we do not see more animated superhero movies in the theater (and I think this film will be the swing of the pendulum back into that format). A narrative line that manages to introduce not just one, but like, five spider-people without seeming boring or unnecessarily repetitive, or dull is a true feat to be achieved.
Prospect– I was fortunate enough to see a screening of this film which featured a Q&A with the director after the movie ended. Prospect was made on a “measly” three million dollar budget. The production team included props creators who actually built things for a living, and costumers who have spent years working professional on cosplay. The result is this beautiful, lived-in science fiction world, evocative of what the original Star Wars must have been like to see for the first time – sans space fights. Everyone on the team who created this movie really knocked it out of the park.
Annihilation – Visually stunning, but this film fell apart in the third act.
BlacKkKlansman – This historical drama pointedly waves at some current events, then confidently resolves.
Isle of Dogs – Wes Anderson’s framing is on-point, as always.
A Simple Favor – Twisty pop fun, a more enthusiastic searching.
**I want to note that there are a handful of high profile movies coming out in the last three weeks of December — including a sixth Transformers movie (or is it a seventh? I can barely keep up), a second Mary Poppins movie (it’s about damn time), a Natalie Portman… musical? (am I reading this right?), and some aquatic superhero played by Jason Momoa (who everyone knows by his 10 episodes of Game of Thrones, not his multiple years of Stargate:Atlantis).
What do you think? What are your top five movies of the year? Let me know in the comments below!