Best of 2018: Movies

By the

December 7, 2018

  1. Black Panther

Black Panther is more than just a movie—it is a cultural phenomenon. The film bolsters an incredibly talented and predominantly black cast that breathes new life into the superhero genre. Its setting in the fictional African nation of Wakanda wondrously blends together Afrofuturism and science fiction in a way that forces viewers to consider what an Africa that was never colonized could have looked like. Director Ryan Coogler masterfully weaves these larger themes of racism and colonization together with action scenes that are a thrill to watch. At a moment in cinema in which superhero films are a dime a dozen, Black Panther manages to surpass the expectations of the genre, making for a film that is exciting, relevant, and unbelievably important. – Dajour Evans

2. Crazy Rich Asians

A movie that was hailed for its casting, diversity, grand aesthetics, and unique rom-com plot, Crazy Rich Asians deserves a high spot on this list. It’s thrilling to see Asian characters portrayed in a three-dimensional way in a box office film. Between the fierce Constance Wu, hilarious Awkwafina, and handsome, loveable Henry Goulding, this movie defies stereotypes in ways that are understated yet speak volumes. Narrating the story of a Chinese-American economics professor trying to gain acceptance from her boyfriend’s crazy rich family in Singapore, the film revitalizes the rom-com genre, and the lavishness depicted in every scene makes it fun to see how the other half lives. Rife with laughs, drama, heart-melting, and heartbreak, Crazy Rich Asians is a wonderfully tied together, feel-good film. – Inès de Miranda

3. Incredibles 2

After a 14-year hiatus, Pixar’s Incredibles 2 brought the beloved Incredibles world back to life on the big screen. For all the hype and anticipation surrounding the movie, Incredibles 2 had an extremely well-curated plot. The development of Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) from stay-at-home mom to an independent working woman embracing her superhero persona was refreshing to see. The wonderfully tiny, yet powerful Edna (Brad Bird) did not disappoint, filling the movie with her curiously sarcastic remarks. While sequels are always a hard sell, Incredibles 2 did not tarnish the great Incredibles namesake. – Anna Pogrebivsky

4. Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War was epic. Featuring an ensemble of more than 30 superheroes, it pushed the boundaries of classic superhero team-up movies. The film balanced the stories and interactions between long-time favorites such as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans) and newcomers like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) with relative ease. All of these unique, complicated characters faced off against Thanos (Josh Brolin), a Mad Titan determined to erase half of life in the universe. Brolin delivers arguably the best villain of the Marvel films to date but stands amid an all-around formidable cast. Everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far has led to Infinity War, and the film both meets and plays with fans’ expectations. – Juliana Vaccaro de Souza

5. BlacKKKlansman

BlacKKKlansman features satisfying doses of heart-pounding suspense and blood-boiling outrage. Spike Lee’s film tells the wild true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, as he attempts to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in the early ’70s. Washington brings humor, sarcasm, and intensity to the role, and Adam Driver shines as his accomplice. The film strikes the perfect balance of wit and action, while confronting the question of whether change is best achieved through radical action or working within the system. Lee perfectly manipulates tension, keeping audiences hooked throughout. The ending packages together intense satisfaction with a chilling montage of modern day racism. – Sienna Brancato

6. A Star is Born

When people talk about A Star is Born, they talk about three things: the song from the trailer, the fact that it’s a remake, and Lady Gaga’s nose. And rightfully so; those are all integral aspects of a movie that greatly deserves its success. It was Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, and in it he plays a hard-drinking, successful singer who takes Gaga and makes her a celebrity, as well as his romantic partner. The movie is a deep dive into stardom, identity, and love between two people whose power dynamics are constantly shifting. On top of all this, “Shallow,” the aforementioned trailer song, is one of the best pieces of movie music that’s ever been written. It’s truly iconic. – Claire Goldberg

7. A Quiet Place

Director John Krasinski promised a post-apocalyptic thriller about monsters but delivered a horror about childbearing. The idea was deceptively simple: carnivorous creatures imprison a family to a soundless existence—even a “shush” invites death. At its core, A Quiet Place explores the nightmares of parenthood, the unpredictability of loss, and the fallacy of love as protection. The chemistry between the protagonists, played by real husband-wife duo Krasinski and Emily Blunt, enlivens the plot’s raw severity. The scariest aspect of this film is neither the silence nor the creatures, but Blunt’s pregnant belly, a foreshadowing of expectant trauma. – Emma Francois

8. Sorry to Bother You

Multihyphenate screenwriter-director Boots Riley’s Sundance hit is colorful communist philosophy that knows how to have fun. Lakeith Stanfield plays our protagonist, Cassius Green, a fellow down on his luck who ascends the corporate ladder at his new telemarketing job by masking his blackness with a “white voice” (dubbed by David Cross). Suddenly, Cash finds himself forced to choose between elites of dubious ethical standing and his revolution-minded excoworkers; both wealth and liberation come with a twisted cost. Featuring Tessa Thompson (full of light) and Armie Hammer (darkly manic) in pitch-perfect supporting roles, Sorry To Bother You is sly, surrealist storytelling. – Amy Guay

9. Roma

A return to the 1970s Mexico of his youth, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma is a semi-autobiographical epic following a middle-class white family and their young indigenous nanny Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) living in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. Cuaron imbues the story with both an exquisite sensitivity and the large-scale grandeur traditionally reserved for war movies. Shot in black and white, each image is luminous. There is no overarching storyline, but Roma doesn’t need one. In it, Cuaron captures all the aching loveliness of life—from the bleak to the humorous to the thoroughly quotidian—and through inhabiting the outer edges of his memories, Cuaron has given us the utterly transcendent. – Caitlin Mannering

This post has been updated to reflect the removal of a contributor. 

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