My 10 Favorite Movies of 2018

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Going to the movies in 2018 was kind of like panning for gold. You mostly get a bunch of worthless dirt and rocks, but every once in a while, you find something that sparkles and excites your mind. Here’s my list of the ten films that shine brightest amidst the cinematic dross. As usual, this isn’t a list of the “greatest” movies of the year, but the movies I got the most enjoyment out of watching. Let’s rock!!

”Bohemian Rhapsody”

This tale about the rise of the band Queen is short on depth and detail. But it also features a stellar performance from Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, and it’s exciting watching the band build their hit songs from initial ideas. And the music is excellent!

”A Quiet Place”

Director John Krasinski’s film is a brilliantly conceived, tension-filled work that relies on classic suspense-building film techniques instead of the lame jump scares so prevalent in other contemporary scary movies. Using an atmosphere of oppressive quiet and the expressiveness of the human face, “A Quiet Place” offers one of the most unique movie experiences of the year.

”The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

This Netflix-produced gem is written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and you can definitely tell it’s a Coen Brothers project. “Buster Scruggs” is bizarre, hilarious, dark and disturbing at different times throughout this collection of six vignettes about the perils and travails of people living in the Old West. Visually distinct and entrancing, “Buster Scruggs” is the Coen Brothers at their best and proof that there is still much life left in the Western genre.

”A Star is Born”

I hate Bradley Cooper. The dude is handsome and gets to be in cool movies like “Wedding Crashers” and “American Hustle.” Plus, he’s beloved by tons of Marvel fans for voicing Rocket Raccoon. Now, he’s made his feature directorial debut with an intimate retelling of “A Star is Born.” Driven by Lady Gaga and Cooper himself, “A Star is Born” is an emotionally brutal but honest and heartfelt story that reinvents a familiar story and makes it feel brand new.

”Crazy Rich Asians”

Imagine that. A romantic comedy that is both genuinely funny and hilarious. This flick uses spectacular backdrops of Hong Kong to give an epic feel to the proceedings. But it never loses sight of its heart: Constance Wu’s performance as Rachel, a girl swimming out of her depth among the fabulously wealthy and finding both strength and a sense of self-worth. Fabulous stuff!

”Avengers: Infinity War”

That ending, though. I mean, I’ve read the “Infinity Gauntlet” story arc and I had a pretty good idea what was coming. Still, the ending shocked me. That’s a testament to the love Marvel has been able to build for this cast of characters. “Infinity War” packs in the humor and action one expects from an entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the drama and tension surrounding the ending put it over the top.

”First Man”

An intimate and atypical biopic, “First Man” places us squarely in the headspace of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon. Director Damien Chazelle keeps us up close and personal with Armstrong, and Ryan Gossling gives a performance that comes off like a coiled spring waiting to snap. Biopics don’t get much better.

”Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

If you would’ve told me last year that Sony would make a better “Spider-Man” flick than Marvel, I would’ve died laughing. And yet, the Sony-produced “Into the Spider-Verse” is the best “Spidey” flick since Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2.” Full of heart, emotional weight and eye-popping comic book visual flair, “Into the Spider-Verse” combines cosmic sci-fi elements with superheroic derring-do into the best comic book movie of the year.

”Eighth Grade”

An unvarnished, intimate look at junior high angst and awkwardness, “Eighth Grade” packs an emotional wallop without loading up on depthless nostalgia. It features a fantastic performance from Elsie Fisher as a inelegant, uncomfortable eighth-grader trying to get through her last week of junior high. But what’s really striking about this movie is how easy it is for an adult to relate to what this socially awkward teenager goes through. I guess life really doesn’t change that much as you get older.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor”

A powerful testament to the good one person can do, “Neighbor” digs into the life and work of legendary kid’s show host Fred Rogers. Not only do we get to see how his career unspooled, but we get to see Rogers spell out the beliefs that drove his work in his own words. Inspirational and uplifting, “Neighbor” leaves you wanting to help your fellow man and fills you with hope.

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Thanks to Fat Cats in Rexburg for providing screenings for movie reviews on EastIdahoNews.com.