by Zach Smith-Michaels
2019 in almost here! As you’re making your resolutions, and thinking about Avengers: Endgame, why don’t we take a look at some of my favorite films from last year!
Let me tell you, I was delighted to see a movie like this in theaters. I love my big action movies, and the Marvel movies, but my absolute favorite movies are original! Some people have criticized this film for being too similar to the works of Tarantino. I definitely see the similarities, but I think that this film has enough strength to stand on it’s own. The performances, the dialogue, the plot, the characters, and Chris Hemsworth made Bad Times at the El Royale a great time at the cinema.
This film is a game changer! For animation, for super heroes, for family films, and pretty much everything else in terms of films. I love Tom Holland, but I don’t want to see more solo Peter Parker films. I can’t wait to see more of Miles Morales. This film had a terrific character at the forefront and I can’t wait to spend more time with him.
I know. That Netflix movie? Really? Yes. I’m a very casual fan of the Coen brothers, so this isn’t me being a fan boy. When I was a child, there was nothing that I loved more than receiving an anthology book. I loved getting a lot of stories in one package, and that’s what Buster Scruggs was. Some stories were better than others, but as a whole I thought this film was terrific! I feel like every time I watch this film, I’ll find something new. I can’t wait to re watch this film and unpack it some more!
I’ve been in Ryan Coogler’s corner since Fruitvale Station, and I was so pleased with Creed! Going into Black Panther, I had faith in Coogler, but we’ve all seen film makers struggle when moving to bigger productions. Fortunately, Coogler met and exceeded my expectations! Black Panther is everything that I want a superhero movie to be. I want an awesome world, great characters, a fantastic villain, and a terrific soundtrack! I saw this in theaters five times! This is definitely the most entertaining film that I saw in theaters this year.
If you were to throw 10 Cloverfield Lane, A Ghost Story, Alien, and the first act of I Am Legend into a blender…you would have this film! John Krasinki has finally delivered a home run from behind the camera. I adore visual storytelling and A Quiet Place, provides a masterclass in that field. All of the actors in this film brought their A+ game an delivered a fantastic movie.
Much like the Coen brothers, I am not a huge fan of Spike Lee. It was actually Jordan Peele’s involvement as producer which got my butt in a theater seat. This is easily my favorite of Lee’s films! I absolutely adored this movie. I’ve been praising performances frequently on this list, but I do want to call out John David Washington. John David, I hope you aren’t afraid of heights because you’re about to fly! I thought that this was Adam Driver’s best film as well! This movie is everything that a historical biopic should be!
I’m a huge fan of stand up comedy, so naturally I was eager to see what Bo Burnham could accomplish at the director’s helm. I don’t know if Burnham plans on directing more films, but I for one hope that he does. In my previous job, I worked at an after school program, and I must say that this film very real. Elsie Fischer gives a great (Oscar worthy?) performance in this movie. I don’t know if Eight Grade will earn any love at the Oscars, but I think that a little recognition is well deserved!
After The Nice Guys and Blade Runner 2049, Ryan Gosling has become one of my very favorite actors. I am so excited about the choices that he’s making, but Damien Chazelle had me worried. Why should a 30 year old director who has already won an Oscar for best director (with only two films under his belt change his style? Fortunately, Chazelle took some major risks and for for me personally, they really payed off! This film was stunning. Not just from a cinematography angle, but from every angle. This movie took my breath away, and I was not expecting that. I was fearing a run-of-the-mill, paint-by-numbers-plot, but that’s not what First Man was. I even bought the screenplay! That’s how impressed I was by this terrific film!
I love Fred Rogers. He’s like the most unbelievably beautiful person ever, and this marvelous documentary was a great testament as to why his life should be celebrated! I spent my summer playing electric guitar in a traveling production of Godspell and I convinced a few members of the cast to see the film with me. A large chunk of the cast had no idea who Fred Rogers was, but that didn’t stop them from embracing and loving this documentary! What a life and what an example of love. See this film before it wins the Academy Award for Best Documentary!
and my personal favorite film of 2018 was:
This was the most emotionally bruising film of the year for me. I’ve thought about this movie every day since I’ve seen it. I even saw it a second time just to make sure that I feeling the way that I was. This movie planted a seed in my heart. A24 has been crushing it! I’m so excited about the films that they’re producing. Jonah Hill has a truly impressive debut on his hands! He had such a clear vision and undeniably passion for the story that he wanted to tell, and I’m eager for his next story, and I’m eager to pick this film up on blu-ray so that I can share it with my friends!
And so 2018 is over! I hope you enjoyed this list. I’d love to hear what some of your favorites were this year!
Also, thank you for joining us as we launch “Is It Really?” We have a lot of really fun things in the works, and I’m sure you’re gonna love it.