Since 2006, I have been rating every movie I see throughout the year on a 0-100 scale. I have a methodology that I have laid out before and can put at the bottom of this post. Starting today, and lasting until January 31st, I will be counting down my 2018 movie rankings from number 205 all the way to the number one top spot! For the next two weeks, I will be doing two sets of movies per day and then finishing with 10 per day. Today’s rankings will cover movies 001 through 010. Enjoy!
001-010: A year after giving ‘Blade Runner 2049′ a 99/100 and my title as Best Movie of 2017, I have given the “coveted” award to Bo Burnham’s ‘Eighth Grade’. Taking every element into consideration, from the script to the story, to the context within the movie’s drama, and more, I felt this was the best movie I saw in 2018. What Burnham was able to achieve in terms of realism on screen blew my mind. Middle school and high school was an anxious, awkward and tough time for many kids. To be able to display all of those elements perfectly on screen, with zero hints of anything being forced or a “how do you do fellow kids!?” feel is beyond impressive. Coming-of-age movies can be great, but capturing something other than the usual fairytale or glossy outlook doesn’t happen very often. Guess what… teenagers can be shitheads! Not everything is perfect and, most importantly, the anxiety of growing up and learning life lessons is not easy for anyone at that age. You feel the awkwardness, you cringe with the characters and you relate to every little detail, from hilariously strange teachers to the ups and downs of parent-child relationships. Next to last year’s ‘Lady Bird’, this is the most “real” feeling coming-of-age movie ever made. Burnham is a genius, Elsie Fisher dominates her role and ‘Eighth Grade’ is my best movie of 2018. Tied with ‘Eighth Grade’ and missing out on the number one spot by virtue of a tiebreaker comes ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’, one of the best action movies ever made. Christopher McQuarrie’s movie is a masterclass in how to film an action movie. There is not one cliched visual trope in this movie during any fight or chase scene. No shaky cam. No ridiculous overuse of slow motion. No jump cuts. You see every element, of every scene, with striking visuals and precise camerawork. It’s a stunning movie to look at and will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Let’s be honest, it’s ‘Mission: Impossible’, Ethan Hunt isn’t going to die anytime soon, but McQuarrie found a way to make the sixth movie in a franchise just as intense and white-knuckle-inducing as the franchise’s first entry. A large part of this is because of the death-defying stunts being filmed up close and personal with madman actor Tom Cruise. How he has survived all of these movies doing his own stunts, whether it be a HALO jump or barrel roll-diving a helicopter (probably not the right term), is just pure craziness. The movie isn’t just carried by great action and visuals, though, because the story is engaging and flows perfectly across what seems like a quick 2 hours and 28 minutes. ‘Fallout’ has some of the best twists and turns from any ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie and the audience was going wild each time I went and saw it in theaters. We talk about including comic book movies or major blockbusters for the Oscars all the time, well, guess what, if you want a movie that should be the poster boy for that movement, you’re looking at it with ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’. Great story, well written, solid acting and incredible visuals, this was truly one of the best movies of 2018 and it deserves to be recognized as such.
Coming in with a 95/100 and next up on the list is ‘The Death of Stalin’, the best comedy movie of the year. Released early in 2018, ‘Stalin’ has been overlooked, which is unfortunate considering it boasted one of the best scripts of the year. A hilarious, yet dark, look at the power struggle around Joseph Stalin following his death, the movie had me belly laughing from the jump. Made by ‘VEEP’ creator Armando Iannucci, ‘Stalin’ has the same lightning fast, quick-witted story and pacing that people know and love from his Emmy Award-winning TV show. Having the cast, which includes Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Isaacs, and Rupert Friend, use their regular voices and accents only added to the genius absurdity of this movie. ‘BlacKkKlansman’ was not just one of the most important movies of 2018, but it was flat out one of the best. Led by the dynamic duo of John David Washington and Adam Driver, it was a movie with heavy themes but also a hilarious buddy-cop style script. I went into more detail about the movie in my review from a few months ago and think it is firmly one of the must-watch movies of 2018. Another important movie is ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’, also known as another movie that reminds me I could never make an actual good movie. Barry Jenkins, director of ‘Moonlight’, is clearly a master at the art of filmmaking as he hit a home run once again with another stunning movie. The look of the movie, from the framing of each moment, to the set pieces and the color palette, add to a deeply emotional story. It takes on social issues relevant to the present day but also showcases the struggles of dealing with differing beliefs and ideologies within a family. This is a real, raw and a gut-wrenching journey to go on. Aided by some great performances, ‘Beale Street’ does paint a picture of hope rising from the ashes, but also how deep and brutal the origin of those ashes can be. I knocked ‘A Star Is Born’ down my list a hair after my initial viewing (full review can be found here), but it was still an easy choice for Top 10. It has two of the best performances of the year from Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott, incredible musical performances from Lady Gaga and is packed with a deeply meaningful story and message. Going deep into the horrors and struggles of addiction and depression in a major blockbuster movie is no easy task, and Bradley Cooper managed to do it in his directorial debut with a fine, nuanced touch. I have heard people knock the movie for being a “remake of a remake,’ but who gives a shit? A good movie is a good movie, regardless of whether or not it is an original concept, or not, and ‘A Star Is Born’ deserves the praise it has received.
I have been caping for ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ ever since I saw the movie a few months ago. Every time I see or think about this movie I like it more and more. I stand here and believe, without question, that this movie should have been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. It’s an innovative movie and one of the best look, most unique looking, animated movies of our time. If this was released by Pixar, I think it would have in fact gotten a Best Picture nomination (it also has three songs that should have gotten Best Original Song nominations as well. Regardless, it’s still great to see this movie get the recognition it deserves from most parties (a shoo-in for Best Animated Picture, Golden Globes win, Best Movie of 2018 from the LCB Audience). A comic book movie with stunning visuals, incredible music, hilarious script, and a great message? Sign me up every single time. ‘Spider-Verse’ is the second best comic book movie I have ever seen, just behind ‘The Dark Knight’. ‘Annihilation’ feels like it came out a year ago (it basically did) and yet, somehow, I am still thinking about this movie! A thought-provoking, insane sci-fi drama-thriller, ‘Annihilation’ isn’t for everyone, but those who liked this movie seemed to like it as much I did. Does the shimmer and end of the movie represent cancer? What does it mean!? Anything this thought-provoking, but also this well written, acted and made will always be on the top of my list. It’s a gorgeous movie to look at, but goes far beyond that, presenting a story that makes you think and immerse yourself in every detail. Filmmakers should dare to make something, original or adapted (this movie was based on a book), that goes beyond just a popcorn thriller, and Alex Garland did that with ‘Annihilation’. It is also worth noting that some scenes and moments in the movie are as horrifying as anything from the best horror releases of the last few years. Another movie not getting enough love this year is one by the name of ‘The Hate U Give’. As chronicled in our review from November, ‘The Hate U Give’, as written by my co-host KenJac, is, “an extremely honest and blunt look today’s social landscape that tells a moving story with a deft hand, never feeling preachy or forced.” It’s an honest and, at times, both brutal and inspiring coming-of-age movie that does a great job at chronicling issues with race, class, and family in this country. Director George Tillman Jr., writer Audrey Wells, and newcomer Amandla Stenberg all deserve praise for taking a small movie and saying something big, helping it stick out among the giants of 2018. Rounding out my Top 10 Movies of 2018 is another movie with a fresh look and feel on social issues in the United States: ‘Blindspotting’. A movie that flew under the radar, the basis of the story is somewhat similar to ‘The Hate U Give’ but goes about telling the story in a much different way. ‘Blindspotting’ gives the societal look, with elements that put real-life horrors and struggles into perspective, but is just as funny as it is emotional. The movie can best be described as “polished grit” for me, right down to the look of the movie and script. The acting from creators and life-long friends, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal is superb as well. They are probably the best duo in any movie this year just behind John David Washington and Adam Driver in ‘BlacKkKlansman’. Black or white, rich or poor, ‘Blindspotting’ takes on every social and life issue possible in one of the most underappreciated movies of the year.
HERE IS THE REST OF THE LIST FROM 11 THROUGH 205!
Thank you to everyone who read through these! It’s a passion of mine and I was amped to have a place to put my rankings this year.
Movie Rating System Explained
First off, you can come to your final 0-100 score any way you’d like. But I figured people would like to see the process we use for the podcast. I hate Rotten Tomatoes’ scoring system. It’s shit, skewed and wrongly affects the way people make judgments on new movies. A 99% doesn’t mean it is an A+ 99/100, it just means 99% of critics thought it was at least slightly more good than it was not good. So, basically, 99% of people viewed it in the 70/100 range. The real rating, which they bury under the percentage, could very well be a 7.0/10 for a movie with a 99% critics score. ‘Lady Bird’ is the best example from recent years, as many people felt the 99% was too high. In reality, the real rating given by critics was 8.7/10. The goal of our 0-100 rating system is to not be misleading, give a definitive score and allow you to differentiate between everything that is out there to see. Okay, end rant, let’s get to my explainer:
1) Rate the movie on a scale of 0-80 for your first number
2) Give either 0 or 1 point for the following categories:
– Special Effects
3) Combine your scores from steps 1 and 2
4) The max score in step 3 should be a 90
5) If the movie hits a max of 90, you then move it up and down from 90-100 based on where it’d rank with other tops movies you’ve seen in the past
EX: I liked ‘Wind River’ a lot last year, but didn’t like it as much as ‘Inception’, which I gave a 95. So I slotted ‘Wind River’ in at a 94. This is where the system gets a little more “creative.”
Make sure to rate all the movies you’ve seen for the year 2018 below!