Top 5 Movies of 2018

Ella Stevens 2.28.2019
Pictures form the 5 best movies of this year (photos: IMDB)

Normally each year will have a few good movies. There may be three or four films that I think about a lot, and the rest slip my mind. However almost every movie I saw in 2018 was fantastic. There were so many great films I struggled to make a list of my favorites, but somehow I managed, so here is my top five movies of 2018, starting at number five.

February generally isn’t a great time for movies. It’s after the rush of artsy Oscar bait movies and before the summer blockbuster season. Because of this, Annihilation (released February 2) was a pleasant surprise. With a cast including Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac, Annihilation combines tense horror with truely beautiful visuals. One minute you’re clinging to your seat in terror, the next you’re looking at pretty flower creatures. Annihilation definitely deserves a place in the pantheon of great science fiction, and watching it definitely wouldn’t be a waste of time.

The Favorite is an excellent drama set in the court of Queen Anne. It’s cast includes Emma Stone, Olivia Colman, and Rachel Weisz, all fantastic actors. The Favorite has it all; drama, comedy, great dialogue, a clear aesthetic, and interesting characters. As the movie goes on, your affections fall from one character to another much like the queen in the story. It also doesn't hurt that this movie is almost exclusively about women. It probably passes the Bechdel test (a test to see how many times women can have conversations without talking about a man) more times than it fails it, which is about as likely as getting struck by lightning the minute you find a four leaf clover. Definitely a worthwhile movie.

Sorry to Bother You is a great example of magical realism. It’s a surreal movie full of bizarre humor that has deeper meaning. It stars Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson (again) and it’s written and directed by Boots Riley. Sorry to Bother you is a clever critic of capitalism. It’s greatest feature however is how likeable the characters are. Their stories are compelling and you find yourself really rooting for Stanfield’s character, Cassius.

Roma is an absolutely beautiful film set in 1970s Mexico. It follows the life of a live-in maid, Cleo who works for a rich family in Mexico City. There are so many great things about this movie, but the two that stand out are the characters and the cinematography. Roma is unique in that almost all the characters are likeable. Of course there has to be some conflict, but the movie is mostly people (particularly women) helping each other out. The cinematography is also outstanding. Certain shots have to be timed so perfectly they’re nearly impossible, and yet they work out, which isn’t surprising seeing as Roma is directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the director of Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Roma really is a marvel.

Bad Times at the El Royale was by far my favorite movie of the year. It may not be as high-brow artsy as some other movies on this list, but it’s definitely the best. From the premise to the plot to the aesthetic, El Royale is almost a perfect movie. It’s set in a run down 1960s hotel, where throughout the course of the movie, the guests secrets are revealed. Some have written it off as a Tarantino rip-off because of all the violence and monologues, but El Royale holds its own as an action movie. It has amazing visuals, great soundtrack, a great cast (including Chris Hemsworth as a Manson-esque hippy cult leader), and a captivating plot which perfectly captures the complexities of the late 60s. It’s all around a great film, and you should definitely watch it.

These weren’t the only great movies that came out last year, but they were some of the best. Thankfully, at least some of these films won Oscars. Roma and The Favorite were both up for best picture, and their lead actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Olivia Coleman, were nominated for best actress. Their supporting actresses, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Marina de Tavira, were also nominated. Roma and The Favorite were also contenders for best director, best original screenplay, best cinematography, and best production design. Roma was nominated for best foreign language film, best sound editing, and best sound mixing, while The Favorite was nominated for best film editing, and best costume design. Thankfully Roma won best cinematography, foreign film, and director. However it didn’t win best picture which was a disappointment. The Favorite only won one award, best actress, which was a pleasant Surprize.

Needles to say Roma and The Favorite (mainly Roma) swept the Oscars. However the other films on this list didn’t garner any nomination. Nonetheless, 2018 was a phenomenal year for movies, so it’s hard to fit them all into the Academy Awards. Out of all the great movies of 2018, Annihilation, The Favorite, Sorry to Bother You, Roma, and Bad Times at the El Royale were five of the best.