Best of 2018 - My 10 Favorite Movies (and the ones I regret missing!)

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I love watching movies and this year had a lot of great ones! This list contains the top 10 movies that came out in 2018 that were fantastic and fun for me! I’ll get a bit into why I liked each one so you can get a sense of whether or not it’s for you.

Before I get into my favorites, I want to list some films that came out that I regret not seeing. Some of these might have made the list if I had gotten the chance to view them. I’m also flagging them so that I can be sure to add them to my list for next year. I’m linking to trailers for you!

Movies I Regret Missing

  • A Simple Favor. Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick in a mystery thriller with extremely bisexual vibes.

  • Sorry To Bother You. Now available on Hulu. A brilliant comedy about a new telemarketer.

  • A Star Is Born. It’s honestly absurd that I haven’t seen this. Your girl loves a musical.

  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor. I love Mr. Rogers. The only reason I haven’t seen it is because I haven’t been ready to cry like I know I will. I openly sob even just from the trailer.

  • Unsane. This movie combines two things that are deep, itchy anxieties for me: stalkers and the possibility that I have a fragile grip on reality. I am both afraid to watch it and REALLY want to. I think I have to be in the exact right mood to watch it, but I don’t know when that will be.

  • The Hate U Give. I want to finish the book before I watch this movie. The Hate U Give has had an incredibly long reign at the #1 spot on the NYT Best Sellers list and the movie based off it is supposedly very good!

  • Widows. The serious heist movie that I need! The performances are astounding from what I hear.

  • Ocean’s 8. The lighter heist movie I need! Mindy Kaling! My queen! Women doing cool stuff! I need to see this!

  • Eighth Grade. I have loved Bo Burnham since his youtube days and this movie is supposed to be absolutely brilliant.

Now that that’s over with, let’s talk about my favorite films of the year. Counting down to number one!

10. Venom.

PG-13. Superhumans. Sci-Fi.

This is an entertaining bad movie and that is what makes it so good. Michelle William’s wig is so bad. Tom Hardy’s lines are almost unintelligible at points, his accent slipping in and out. Riz Ahmed is a hot Elon Musk type. Tom Hardy’s character is a grown 30-something who apparently only knows how to make toaster oven tater tots. The pacing is strange. The story isn’t well-crafted. And yet. This movie is so fun. It’s so committed to its own terrible choices, which makes it delightful. You don’t feel like they messed something up— you know they were just incredibly happy to make a ridiculous choice. It’s also a movie that leans into the romance and horniness between Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy, the host body) and Venom (Alien, symbiote)— a bold, refreshing choice, frankly. It feels like a celebration of the incredibly cringey “edgy” era of my middle and high school years with its theme song by Eminem (of COURSE) and its bad wigs and hero who does stuff like have promo shots of himself doing cool things on a motorcycle. (He’s a JOURNALIST???)

9. Set It Up.

Not rated (would ballpark at PG-13). Rom Com. Workplace Comedy.

Let me start this by saying, wow, what a cast. Lucy Liu and Glen Powell alone are people I absolutely adore. Everyone nails it in this movie. It’s a fun movie about… setting people up. Some movies lean on outdated or sexist tropes when it comes to the romance angle, but this movie has women who stand up for themselves, men who say sorry (and mean it!!), and men who don’t say sorry getting punished. No women in this movie make themselves smaller. The kinds of relationships celebrated in this movie are ones where people support each other— and forgive each other one the mistaken party is truly repentant. It’s very cute and fun.

8. The Spy Who Dumped Me.

R. Friendship Comedy. Action Comedy. Spy Movie.

If you want a good spy movie, this is not what you are looking for. (Instead, please watch Spy, which did not get the love it deserved!) If you are looking for a good friendship movie, this is exactly what you are looking for! The Spy Who Dumped Me is a girl-friendship comedy that had the action and adventure of a spy movie injected into it. It’s a ton of fun to watch, genuinely hilarious, and has touching moments about best friendship and feeling like a failure. I definitely recommend this movie for a girls night in or whenever you and your pals want to watch something light and fun!

7. Been So Long.

Not Rated (probably PG-13ish). Stage-Musical-to-Movie-Musical. Romantic. Slices of Life.

Based on the stage musical, Been So Long is a Netflix movie version of the hit tale. It’s about a single mom (played by Michaela Coel of Chewing Gum fame) who has closed her heart off from love, and how she finds a way to open up again. There are other related stories touched on throughout— in classic stage fashion, though, they are left open ended, which isn’t typical of movies, so be aware of that going in. The talent and visual direction are great, but moreover I love the songs and how they are staged. (I cried during this one.) It’s a fun watch and filled with great performances. It’s not the tightest thing I’ve seen in terms of story, but it’s absolutely beautiful and fun and the songs are great.

6. Love, Simon.

PG-13. Coming Out. High School. Queer Romance.

Based on the best-selling book, Simon is a typical high school teen, and no one knows he’s gay. He begins an anonymous flirtationship with another closeted gay kid at school, and starts to think maybe he doesn’t want to wait around much longer. But even though he doesn’t feel like his family or friends will hate him, he can’t help wanting to stay the guy they think he is. It’a sweet queer story and a great story about generally growing up and facing who you are so that you can live your best life.

5. Searching.

PG-13. Technothriller. Father-Daughter story.

I have written at length about this movie but here I’ll get right to the point. Searching is the tale of a father looking for his missing daughter. As he dives into her computer and internet life, he learns he didn’t know his daughter like he thought. It’s taut, well-written, and engrossing. Brilliantly told through computer and phone screens, this film feels very real. And as Mimi Wong writes, it takes a stand for Asian American fathers finding ways to emotionally connect with their children, instead of distantly supporting them with material comfort.

4. Black Panther.

PG-13. Superheroism and Politics. Afrofuturism.

If you missed Black Panther you have made an egregious mistake. Black Panther is all about that it means to right the wrongs of our ancestors and strive to be better than they were. How do we honor our forefathers while also reckoning with their mistakes and their pain? Black Panther is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is set in the fictional country of Wakanda where T’Challa is now in line to become king (following the death of his father in Age of Ultron) and the Black Panther. He is supported and advised by women, whom he trusts and respects. I am so in awe of these characters and how T’Challa so naturally lets them take the lead— not because it should be hard or rare, but because it’s rarely seen in film, especially not action films, and especially not in films with the man being the title character. (Another notable instance of this was Mad Max: Fury Road.) This film is a well-written, relevant story, a celebration of Blackness, a triumph of African and African-inspired aesthetics, and an astounding work of political importance. While I love light, fun, ridiculous, escapist superhero stories (see: Venom), there is something incredibly powerful about superhero stories as mythology that can inspire us to confront serious issues. Black Panther is the latter.

3. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Not Rated (probably PG-13). High School / Teen Rom Com.

I love a good rom com. I love teen rom coms especially, because there is at once both a deep sense of not knowing what the hell we’re doing and an impossible sense of hopefulness. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is just a delightful movie based off the book by Jenny Han about Lara Jean Covey, a girl who lives most of her life in her head, fantasizing about great love affairs she will never actually work towards. She writes letters to the boys she has crushes on, just to get her feelings out. Then she puts them in a box, and sometimes she revisits them. One day, her younger sister, tired of Lara Jean hiding from her own life, mails the letters out. Then everything becomes a mess. This movie is delightful and sweet.

2. Blockers.

R. Sex Comedy. High Schoolers + Meddling Parents.

It’s prom night and three best friends are excited to have a wild night of fun. At the last minute, they agree to lose their virginities on the same night. When their parents stumble upon the girls’ plans, they decide to intervene. The premise could be sexist and puritanical but actually, this movie is the most sex-positive teen comedy I’ve ever seen. I love how this movie is about the parents letting go and learning that their kids are growing up (and yes, having sex maybe). This movie is gross at times— I mean, what R-rated sex comedy isn’t— but it is obscenely funny, very sweet, and has one of the best executed queer parent-child storylines I’ve ever seen. PS let’s put Ike Barinholtz in way more things! This movie is so so special and it is the number one movie in my teen movie pantheon at the moment in terms of quality.

1. Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse.

PG. Superheroism. Growing Up. Sci-Fi. Comic Book.

I frickin’ LOVED Spiderverse. The animation and art itself is a triumph. It is so original, so detailed, so true to the comic book form. But moreover it’s an important story that not only introduces the world to the new Afrolatino Spiderman, Miles Morales, but also expands on the Spiderman mythos in some critical ways. Everyone knows “With great power comes great responsibility.” This Spiderman movie expands on that in ways that are relevant today as stories move away from centering White men who hold a lot of institutional power, and shifts it toward people who are marginalized. This Spiderman movie tells us that we all have the potential to be heroes, even if we don’t yet feel ready. And it reminds us of the importance of always getting up and trying again to do the right thing— even when it is hard. Even when it seems impossible. This movie is so powerful and it’s just a triumph of animation and storytelling. Go see this movie as many times as you can with as many people as you can. You will not regret it.