There were 146 movies released in some form or another in 2018 that I wanted to see. As someone who doesn’t watch trailers, here are the various reasons how something gets added to that watchlist.
- A great director (First Man worked out, Buster Scruggs didn’t)
- A great cast (Widows worked out, Tag didn’t)
- A high rotten tomatoes score (Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse worked out, Bumblebee didn’t)
- Friend recommendation (Private Life worked out (thanks Juan), Bird Box didn’t (I take it back Juan))
- Passing praise on a blog or podcast (Minding The Gap worked out (thanks Sean Fennessey)), First Reformed didn’t (fuck you Sean Fennessey))
- Blind obligation because it’s a sequel to something I loved (The Predator and Creed II are both ok, but they did fail to reach the hype in varying degrees)
- Only because my mom won’t stop asking if I saw it (RBG worked out, Green Book is TBD).
Unfortunately nothing is foolproof, as each of these avenues will let you down occasionally. Of the 114 movies that I’ve seen thus far from that list, I only liked 69 of them (Grade C or above). Yes, I’m fully aware how ridiculous that sounds to watch 100+ movies, who has the time, blah blah blah. Look, some people go to church on Sunday mornings, I go to the movie theater. Can I live?
But anyways, 114 movies in 2018. 69 for 114 isn’t a terrible shooting percentage I guess. If you watched 100 basketball games over the same span, a similar % would be considered “good” games. But I have a hard time assessing the overall current year compared to prior years as it takes a full 12 months post premiere, at the very least, for a film to become fully appreciated. For instance, I can’t believe I rated Get Out behind Atomic Blonde and I, Tonya last December. That is absurd, given that I now view Get Out as perhaps THE film of the decade.
I count eight A+’s in 2018 at the moment, but who knows what movies might actually be gems a year from now. Upon re-assessing 2016, I moved American Honey and Popstar up into the top tier. But upon reassessing 2017, I also moved Baby Driver, Apes, and Logan down into the second tier. It’s all relative. It’s possible that The Favourite might turn out to be a masterpiece, it’s possible that The Predator (bonkers as it is) might be a cult classic, and it’s certainly possible that my bullish stance on Sicario 2 was skewed by my BAC on that Friday night viewing.
Nonetheless, you’ll find below the highlights of 2018 along with a complete ranking of the 114 as I see it today. But before I get to that, one more thing. It’s hard to say how much I’ll keep up with this blog in 2019. I’m sure I will still see plenty of movies and continue to catalog them like the dork that I am, but as far as actual posts go I might be running out of takes. We’ll see what inspires Rated Greg. Nonetheless, thank you for your continued support of this hobby, whether feigned or genuine. I always appreciate the feedback, and formally apologize if Rated Greg led you towards a terrible movie night decision. If that happens please let me make it up to you and I bet I can redeem myself.
Official 2018 Report Card and further Superlatives are below:
For the record, Tag is still better than The Shape of Water.
And now, The Rated Greg Superlatives:
Best Lead Actor
- Christian Bale* – Vice
- Ryan Gosling – First Man
- Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
- Benicio Del Toro – Sicario: Day of the Soldado
- Alden Ehreneich** – Solo: A Star Wars Story
*I think I enjoyed Vice less than others, just kinda seemed like a mess, but I will say that the best part about it is Bale’s incredible performance.
**Taking on the role of Han Solo is an impossible task and the fact that Alden pulled it off, at least in my opinion, deserves some praise. Granted, this is a VERY shallow field outside of the top 3.
Best Lead Actress
- Carey Mulligan – Wildlife
- Emily Blunt – A Quiet Place
- Toni Collette – Hereditary
- Viola Davis – Widows
- Elsie Fisher* – Eighth Grade
*On the other hand, Lead Actress is extremely deep. It pains me to leave Natalie Portman (Annihilation) and Lady Gaga (Star Is Born) out, but there’s just nowhere to go. I thought about removing Elsie Fisher given that she’s very likely just playing herself, but that movie doesn’t work nearly as well without her very authentic performance.
Carey Mulligan appears in Wildlife by Paul Dano, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.
Best Supporting Actor
- Colman Domingo* – If Beale Street Could Talk
- Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born
- Jake Gyllenhaal – Wildlife
- Josh Hamilton – Eighth Grade
- Shia LaBeouf** – Borg vs McEnroe
*This could easily go to Brian Tyree Henry as well, but I’m trying to limit to one per movie. Domingo gets the nod since he has more screen time.
**This is a MUCH better movie if it’s just a McEnroe biopic starring Shia.
Best Supporting Actress
- Emma Stone* – The Favourite
- Claire Foy – First Man
- Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
- Anne Hathaway – Ocean’s 8
- Rachel McAdams – Game Night
*I wasn’t sure who’s the lead and who’s supporting in Favourite, so this may be cheating. But whatever the case Stone is en fuego this entire movie.
- Jatemme Manning (Daniel Kaluuya) – Widows
- Killmonger (Michael B Jordan) – Black Panther
- Ray Merriman (Pablo Schreiber) – Den of Thieves
- Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd) – Mute
- The Screaming Bear – Annihilation
Best Sidekick/Comic Relief
- Drug Dealer Tim (Anton Yelchin) – Thoroughbreds
- Luis (Michael Pena) – Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Kevin (Lamorne Harris) – Game Night
- L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) – Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Drax (Dave Bautista) – Avengers: Infinity War
Worst Character and/or Performance
- Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman)* – Black Panther
- Halliday (Mark Rylance) – Ready Player One
- Detective Vick (Debra Messing) – Searching
- Duncan (Pete Davidson) – Set It Up
- King Orn (Patrick Wilson) – Aquaman
*Why the F is he in this movie? Is Martin Freeman the first ever token white guy?
Best Ridiculous Performance
- Gerard Butler* – Den of Thieves
- Chris Hemsworth – Bad Times at the El Royale
- Olivia Munn- The Predator
- Tom Hardy – Venom
- Mark Wahlberg – Mile 22
*Sure Christian Bale is incredible in Vice, but THE MOST ENTERTAINING performance of the year is whatever the hell Butler is doing in Den of Thieves. He’s chewing up and spitting out every scene he’s in.
Best Volume Year**
- Brian Tyree Henry (Widows, Beale Street, Spiderverse, Atlanta)
- Olivia the dog* (Game Night, Widows)
- Michael B Jordan (Black Panther, Creed II)
- Kathryn Hahn (Private Life, Spiderverse)
- Skateboarding (Mid90’s, Minding The Gap)
*Shout out to the three year old, 15 pound, West Highland white terrier. Her Mom and Dad must be so proud.
** Lucas Hedges could also be on here with Mid90’s, Ben is Back, and Boy Erased, but I haven’t seen the latter two yet.
- Game Night
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- The Favourite
- Deadpool 2
- Eighth Grade
- Ralph Breaks The Internet*
- A Quiet Place
*The parents who took their young children to the Wreck-It-Ralph sequel were likely thanked with a week’s worth nightmares from the kids. The movie starts off pretty straight forward but the third act has some legitimately creepy, yet profound metaphors on the correlation between social media, neediness, and depression.
- If Beale Street Could Talk*
- A Star Is Born
- Minding The Gap
- First Man
- Mid 90’s
I didn’t get the chance to write about it, but If Beale Street Could Talk is a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL work of art. Barry Jenkins follow up to Moonlight is a must see.
- Sicario: Day of the Soldado
- If Beale Street Could Talk
- A Star is Born
- Isle of Dogs/Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse**
*Another very deep field. Is it just me, or has cinematography evolved exponentially in the past few years? I’m not just talking about high definition, but it seems like experimental angles, wide frames, and tracking shots are used more and more to cool effect each year. Wildlife, Hereditary, The Favourite, First Man, Minding The Gap, MI6, and A Quiet Place all also look amazing.
**I generally wouldn’t include animated here, but these two both look like nothing else I have ever seen.
Best Action Scene
- The Paris Chase – Mission Impossible: Fallout
- Training Montage – Creed II
- The Ambush – Sicario: Day of the Soldado
- The Stampede – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
- The Highway Shootout – Den of Thieves
Best Non-Action Scene (I’ll be vague going down)
- The Duet – A Star Is Born
- The Freestyle – Widows
- Old Friends Catching Up – If Beale Street Could Talk
- The Drug Deal – Hot Summer Nights
- The Incident – Hereditary
- The Bathroom – Mission Impossible: Fallout
- Creed v Drago – Creed II
- The Butcher Shop – The Night Comes for Us
- Elastagirl vs The Screenslaver – Incredibles II
- The Final Battle – Outlaw King
Best Use of a Song (Non-Star Is Born)
- Whitey on the Moon (Gil Scott-Heron) – First Man
- Helplessly Hoping (Crosby, Stills, and Nash) – Annihilation
- Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler)* – The Strangers: Prey At Night
- Liquid Swords (GZA) – Mid90’s
- Too Late To Turn Back Now (The Cornelius Brothers) – BlacKkKlansman
*The Strangers 2 is a REALLY bad movie. I do not recommend it. Except is does have this fantastic motel pool kill scene set to the tune of Bonnie Tyler. I know it seems sacrilegious for a film to use Total Eclipse of the Heart after Wedding Crashers, but this really works.
Best Film Score*
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Nicholas Britell)
- Sweet Virginia (Brooke Blair and Will Blair)
- Mid90’s (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
- First Man (Justin Hurwitz)
- Hereditary (Colin Stetson)
*One of my go to’s when I really need to concentrate on something is to throw on a film scores playlist. There were some GREAT one’s added to the playlist this year.
Five Random Quotes
- “Gucci!” – Eighth Grade
- “On my planet I’m kind of a loser, like you” – Venom
- “What is this, some kind of pervert hotel?” – Bad Times at the El Royale
- “That’s not a predator, that’s a sports hunter. A predator kills it’s prey to survive. What your describing is a bass fisherman.” – The Predator
- “Fuck, shit, that was dope” – Mid90’s
Twenty-Two Other Things That Made Me Feel Some Type of Way (in no particular order)
- The pool party in Eighth Grade
- The Disney Princesses in Ralph 2
- Killmonger and T’Challa’s heart to heart in Black Panther
- Beni Hana in Den of Thieves
- Invisible Drax in Avengers
- The pizza in Set It Up
- The beach sequence in The Meg
- Bradley Cooper wrestling his dog in Star Is Born
- The high five in Momentum Generation
- The mid credits scene in May It Last
- Naughty Marco Polo in Blockers
- The bowling alley in Widows
- The very end of A Quiet Place
- Lando’s diary in Solo
- The ocean in Roma
- The diner in Wildlife
- The credits of Mid90’s
- The flare sequence in Aquaman
- Emma Stone roughhousing in The Favorite
- The rushed origin stories in Spiderverse
- Packing in First Man
- The shootout in Hold The Dark
Most Anticipated in 2019
- Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
- The Irishman
- The Beach Bum
- Ford v. Ferrari
- Triple Frontier
- The Lion King
- It: Chapter 2
- Zombieland 2