Sunday, January 27, 2019

Best and Worst of 2018 Movies

2019 swooped in a lot faster than I anticipated. To be honest, I have a lot of catching up to do with movies released in 2018 (Aquaman, Hereditary...just so many movies), but I'm pretty happy with what I saw last year. Before we get too far into the new year, I thought now is as good of a time as any to finally post the best and worst picks of what I enjoyed and disliked last year. Hope you enjoy!

This post contains slight spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Avengers: Infinity War, and Annihilation.

{Worst of 2018}

Staler than Expired Bread: Ocean's 8

The film was a great idea: a cast of amazing women planning a heist at the Met Gala. But the script didn't try to be original enough from the Steven Soderburgh's movies and the direction was just stale - no fluid comedy or drama, no rhythm to any of the scenes, not even a good soundtrack to amp you up for the heist. After seeing A Simple Favor months later, I wish Paul Fieg had been the director. As one profound tumblr put it: Oceans 8 was basically 2 hours of “sweet jesus god I love women”, so that's the main reason I'll remember it. Also, it's been seven years since I saw my girlfriend Sarah Paulson on the big screen, so I can't complain about that.

Best Acting Off A Brick Wall: Dakota Johnson, Fifty Shades Freed

Except for that one scene where he finally turned on the waterworks, Jamie Dornan put into little to no effort in this trilogy. You don't see how much he stands there like a brick wall until Ana finally rants at him for being an asshat. Yes, it's bad fanfiction but do something Jamie, FFS. UGH. I'm just so excited Dakota is finally free.

I Survived Because He's Hot: Ryan Gosling, First Man

I almost passed out two minutes into the opening sequence when Neil breaks into the Earth's atmosphere. When one of the modules spins out of control later on in the film, I was so dizzy  gripping the chair and trying not to vomit on the woman next to me. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I have no idea how I saw the docking scene in Interstellar in IMAX a few years ago. The film wasn't one of my favorites, but it wasn't atrocious - the production just made me so discombobulated. I kept reminding myself there was more of Ryan's nostrils to see, so I survived because he's hot. That probably doesn't surprise anyone.

Most Annoying Character: Martin Addison, Love, Simon

When you see someone else  logged onto a public computer, you're one shady bitch to screenshot their emails and blackmail them because they're gay and force them out of the closet. I have mad respect for Logan Miller because the movie writes Martin to be just enough of an outcast  you're supposed to feel sorry for him, but his actions are so harmful, it's hard to keep that empathy.

Unpopular Opinion: I liked Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

I liked Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them when it was first released, but it took me a long time to love it. I actually think now it would've been just great as a stand-alone movie. Maybe I drank Gilly Water or alcohol-laced Butterbeer, but I loved The Crimes of Grindelwald immediately. I didn't feel confused or bored at all, even though it's definitely flawed. But I feel like we all just gotta take some more chill pills before we got on the cancel or hype trains, and that's what I hope to do for the next three movies.....and then I'll be bitter. Because this entire spin-off experiment could inevitably be horribly wrong.

Characters Who Deserved Better: The Women of Crimes of Grindelwald

Just because I enjoyed the film doesn't mean I don't think the women deserved better. Queenie's arc doesn't bother me as much as it does other fans, but the movie definitely failed the female characters. Leta was the heart of the film and Zoe did a beautiful job, but it's absolutely frustrating for her to get killed after laying out exposition that comes out of nowhere. And then I adored Claudia Kim as Nagini and I want to know so much more about her other than just ultimately turning into a snake, but J.K. Rowling couldn't even throw more than two lines her her way. Rowling is not someone to admit her mistakes, or probably even thinks she makes a lot of mistakes in her writing, so that makes me frustrated about the franchise's future.

Overrated!!!: The Wife

*literally my face watching this entire movie unfold* I just don't get it at all. The movie is a snoozefest cliche. The script of a wife trying to cover for her philandering talentless husband is  atrocious. Glenn Close's performance is not near some of the work she's delivered in the past nor does it raise a mediocre movie to a semi-watchable level like some Oscar-worthy performances manage to do. And her supporting cast not that great either - I straight up cringed in some scenes because the performances were so wooden. Someone at the top of the award chain had to have opened the doors for Close's performance to be nominated. #notsorry On top of which, the direction is not even trying. *Point the camerahere  because that's where the conflict is. Now point the camera here for long takes to make bad acting even more awkward.*

Runner-Up: The Wife

Theo James and Forrest Whittaker make the worst decisions when an apocalypse strikes and they try to rescue Forrest's daughter in another state. A road trip across the country goes as pretty much as you expected: it just goes on and on and on. And then when apocalyptic-thingies start to happen, you wonder why Netflix is punishing you with this movie because they all add up to big nothings and characters dropping like flies. I love my review, so at least one good thing came out of it.

I just needed this movie: Love, Simon

That's it.

Please Stop Stalking Me: A Star Is Born

This movie straight-up stalked me. I'm not talking about the radio playing Shallow every time I got in the car. I had parking attendants whose name was Jackson. On a walk around my neighborhood, a dog exactly like Bradley's wiggled out of his leash, knocked me down, and licked my face. And, I dreamt I sang Shallow in a grocery store parking lot full of fangirling strangers. I reached my peak with this movie pretty early.

Biggest Cluster****: Annihilation

The film follows a similar formula to other sci-fi films, but it gets way out of control in the last half hour or so. I've watched this film a few times and am always mind-boggled by the special effects. The final act is some crazy shit.

Biggest Sigh of Relief: Mission: Impossible Fallout

I was holding my breath since the first Fallout trailer dropped at the beginning of 2018. Honestly, I was nervous as **** because I didn't want it to be bad or to fail Ethan Hunt as a character. My biggest sigh of relief was seeing it in theaters and how it met all of my expectations. Also, I discovered an underground fandom on tumblr that I never knew existed, and ETHAN (and Benji) DIDN'T DIE thank you lord Jesus. #BLESSEDAF

Favorite Promo Tour: Ocean's 8

All of the fun this cast had was better than the movie. Mostly because Sarah was there to act like a nerd and have more game with Rihanna than any mere human could ever imagine.

Wow, This Was Actually Fun?! A Simple Favor
Runner-Up: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Every year the contrast between what critics and movie goers love or hate differs exponentially. Or maybe I'm just getting older and everything is not as bad or great as people make things out to be. I heard a lot of negativity about A Simple Favor, but Anna Kendrick's quirky girl typecasting wasn't as annoying as I thought it'd be (sorry Anna!),  the story was full of fun twists, and director Paul Fieg added some dramatic flair to his typical comedy style. Also, I'm pretty sure God is a woman and looks like Blake Lively in those magnificent suits.

Tattoo This On the Inside of My Brain: does this need explaining?

Also this scene too from Avengers: Infinity War: I'm not looking for forgiveness. And I'm just way past asking permission. Earth just lost her best defender. *Jim Halpert shivers.gif*

{ Best of 2018}

Supporting Actor: Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom, Venom
Runner-Up: Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

I honestly walked into the movie theater thinking Tom Hardy would go full Method Man. But it was pleasantly surprising how entertaining he made Eddie Brock as his own individual character and being taken over by Venom. He basically built a relationship with himself from CGI/a voice in his head and it was absolutely perfect. I'm giving him Best Supporting because they basically share the entire movie together.

Supporting Actress: Danai Gurrira, Black Panther
Runner-Up: Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

You cannot have Black Panther without Shuri, Nakia, Ramonda, and especially, Okoye. She's conflicted about standing by her king. Even though when the crown switches from T'Challa to Killmonger, not even her husband will get in the way of protecting the throne. In most movies, not changing loyalty from the hero to the villain (or anti-hero) would make her a bad guy too. But she easily maintains her support from the audience despite the fluidity of who she has to serve. Okoye's  outspoken, straight-forward, vulnerable, and bad-ass. And her reaction to T'Challa dying in Infinity War is heartbreaking. Leaving The Walking Dead behind temporarily to be in this movie, Danai brings some life back into the MCU.

Actress: Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns
Runner-Up: Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Similar to Amy Adams never winning for her work, I don't know what it's going to take for Emily to be 'officially' recognized by the Academy. All of the hype for A Quiet Place and I thought for sure she would've gotten Best Supporting Actress somewhere. And, then similar to everyone getting Star Wars Fatigue, no one was on board for another sequel like Mary Poppins Returns. The film, though not perfect, is heartfelt and endearing, and her interpretation of Sequel Mary is vain, sassy, clever, stubborn, and moving. I know I'm a musical hog, but I just loved her performance and so many other performances just didn't captivate me the ways hers did. And I think the contrast between both roles in one year made her an even bigger favorite of mine than she already was.

Actor: Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

The more time I spend away from A Star Is Born, the more I realize how much this is Bradley's movie as a triple threat. Cooper's direction and partnership with Lady Gaga, Sam Elliot, and other musicians who served as collaborators for the soundtrack is impressive. Not only did they create the entire sound together, but he learned to play guitar, sing, and lower his voice to match Sam Elliots. And, add to the fact that his acting is totally natural where he loses himself in the role, and let's the direction speak for itself is much more complicated than I think people give him credit for. Though he and Lady Gaga's chemistry is on fire, he truly owns this movie. Award show season has painfully become Silver Linings Playbook Part 2, and similar to Emily Blunt, I just think the lack of recognition (other than being nominated) is so disappointing.

Movie: Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Runner-Up: Black Panther

I'm a total geek for the Mission: Impossible franchise more than most people, but I'm surprised how the praise for this vanished. It's not only one of the best in the franchise, but they just don't craft action movies like this anymore. Tom Cruise proves why he's still the best action star today with all of the impeccable stunts he crafts, how the supporting cast doesn't get lost in his performance or the story surrounding Ethan, and the script was a perfect fit for Ethan's arc. Director Christopher McQuarrie has made six movies with Cruise, and each one feels different from the last. Even though Tom is is keeping the franchise going with back-to-back movies in 2021 and 2022 (WHAT IS LIFE I'M SO SCARED), the sixth installment was awesome. It's going to be hard to not mess up perfection, but I'm curious to see how he's going to try.

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