2018’s movie award season finally comes to a close. With the Razzies awarded a few nights back, there is only one more award to announce: We’re not talking about tonight’s Oscars, but Mike’s Best Picture of 2018!
This year, I am basing my nominations on the 89 of the top 100 grossing films that I saw. Looking back, 2018 brought increased diversity into the main stream and its characters, and good ol’ escapism at the movies was never better.
As I debate with myself when deciding best picture, I prioritized movies that caused me to react in some way. That moved me to cry, laugh, appreciate, or pause. That I had something to say about afterwards. That featured flawed characters with intriguing stories that showed some sort of growth. I’m a sucker for heart and a good soundtrack. Lastly, I don’t dismiss the credit a movie deserves for simply providing a good time.
Camera pans to
Kevin Hart Imaginary Host: And this year’s 13 Best Picture Nominees are…
- A Quiet Place: Popcorn has never sounded so loud. This is truly an original movie that had me on the edge the entire running time (and the whole walk home). Anchored by stellar performances and a story about family and monsters (and bathtub labour), this movie elevated itself from a standard horror to a deeply impactful and memorable film. The Oscars are the true monsters here by overlooking this. I can’t keep quiet about A Quiet Place.
- A Simple Favor: Do yourself a favor- make yourself a strong martini and sit back with this twisty, stylized, punchy, funny cat and mouse tale of a friendship gone wrong. Hey Anna Kendrick- I’ll be your friend! The moral of the story: Be wary of those moms who look like that have it all together.
- Christopher Robin: It’s a simple story about growing up, with the real joy coming from watching Pooh and friends come to life in such a beautiful way. Childhood dreams come to life. It also brought some closure to the death of my grandma, so it holds a special place in my heart.
- Crazy Rich Asians: I caught this one a little later in its run, after it was had blown up to be this crazy rich phenomenon, and I still loved it. I laughed a lot. I felt a lot. That wedding scene: I debated buying an old wedding dress and flooding my living room just to experience that. Life should be over the top sometimes right?! And hey, representation matters.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Yes, it’s packed full of too many ideas, but I know it’s going somewhere magical. I love the extensive tie ins to the world of Harry Potter. It’s dark, it’s heavy, it’s moody, it’s growing up, it’s risky in not playing to children, all of which put me under a spell. It’s a connecting chapter that’s leading into something bigger.
- Green Book: Of the Oscar nominees, this is the one that literally brought me and the audience to its feet. Its flawed characters, grim realities, lessons learned, self reflection, and big heart dog-eared its spot in my book this year. As frustrating as theaters are becoming these days (turn off your phone people!), everyone was locked in. It’s something special when the audience shares one breath and one heartbeat. It’s due time we have those conversations friends, and be the change.
- Love Simon: I didn’t realize what representation meant until I finally saw my story on screen. I was so moved I wrote a whole post about it. This rom-com 80’s inspired story of boy meets boy is beautiful, light, and insightful. I love that it broke away from the tragic heavy lgbtq+ love stories that are finally getting their screen time (yes, they are important, but not all gay love stories end in pain, shame, and drug overdoses). This is a coming of age coming out story, that (spoiler) ends on a good note. Jennifer Garner’s mom speech- I’m still crying. Love wins friends. Love wins.
- The Hate U Give: While I’m still crying from Simon, and my heart still breaks thinking about this beautifully important and horrific movie. This should be a mandatory viewing because of its relevancy and articulation regarding black lives and police. Underlying that flashier message, it captures how we all consciously and unconsciously give our hate, and our love in such a tangible human way. Sometimes the defenses we put up do more damage than protect us. It’s big stuff here. I have only love to give The Hate U Give.
- Vice: Another movie that made me so angry that I fell in love with it. I clearly knew nothing about Dick Cheney. How the cast dance into these people’s characters is incredible. The make up and prosthetics are effective, but it’s the subtleties that both Christian Bale and Amy Adams bring that make it all so believable. The scary politics of yesterday remind us that where we are today was a long time coming. We can’t forget.
- Free Solo: This documentary tracks real life free solo (ie: no ropes) rock climber Alex Honnold’s ascent as he becomes the first person to successfully climb Yosemite’s 3000ft high El Capitan Wall. Even though we know he’s going to make it, it’s impossible not to have your stomach lurch and your feet tremble in your seats. Soaring camera work brings the audience right to, and off the edge with Alex. On top of the visuals, it’s tied down with a great story surrounding its quirky real life character. I’m peeking through my eyes as a I type this, just remembering the experience. It’s intense.
- Paddington 2: Marmalade sandwiches, a cute talking bear with an absolute pure heart- what more do we need? This movie is silly, charming, and beautiful for people of all ages.
- Won’t You Be My Neighbour? I grew up with The Polkadot Door, Fred Penner, and Don’t You Put It In Your Mouth. I am yet to watch an episode of Mr Rogers. But did this pull at my heart, and make me nostalgic for a childhood memory I didn’t actually have? Absolutely. An emotional episode of the complexities and simplicities of his life and his impact. We need more Fred Rogers in our world.
- RBG: We also need more Ruth Bader Ginsbergs in our world. I somehow love her even more after seeing this. She’s become a recent superstar, but this doc reminds us that she’s been making change for decades. Bigger than her, her confirmation vote of 96-3 speaks volumes: It is possible for politicians to get along and do the right thing. This doc pairs well with the Felicity Jones starring RBG film The Opposite of Sex, 20 push ups and a dissent collar.
So no need to watch the Oscars tonight friends. The biggest award of 2018- Mike’s Best Picture- goes to…
It’s a tie!
Love Simon, and A Quiet Place!
Before the end credits roll on 2018, I’ve got a few bonus recommendations for the movie fans out there:
- Solid Sequels: Deadpool 2, Jurassic World 2, Incredibles 2, Ralph Wreaks the Internet, and Mary Poppins Returns.
- Top Forgettable Yet Fun Times at the Movies: Book Club, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Ocean’s 8, Second Act, Smallfoot (what can I say, I’m an old lady).
- Decent Movies That Were Better Than They Got Credit For: Annihilation, Robin Hood, Mortal Engines, The Darkest Minds, Midnight Sun, and Peppermint.
- Movies That Should Have Been Better: The Avengers, The Meg, The Grinch, The Nun, and The Predator (if you’re wanting over the top comic book adventure, stick with Aquaman and Black Panther).
- I Love Bad Movies But These Are Bad Movies: Slender Man, The 15:17 to Paris, A Wrinkle in Time (flying kale?), Breaking In, and Life Itself.
- For your last minute Oscar pool, my Best Picture Prediction: Roma (sorry Gaga)
Where will 2019’s silver screen take us, and what films will we be talking about in a year’s time? Will it be Detective Pikachu, Us, Uglydolls, the next Annabelle chapter, or maybe the other talking dog movie, A Dog’s Journey? Until the credits roll- See you at the movies!
What’s your Best Picture of 2018? What are you excited for that’s part of 2019’s slate?
Songs from the Movies of the Year: Rollercoaster (The Bleachers, featured in Love Simon)
and A Quiet Life (yes A Quiet Place had music!)