2018 has been a fascinating year for movies. While 2017 wasn’t as great as I had hoped it to be, 2018 surpassed my expectations. So, what was so special about 2018? Well, in one word: “variety”. I can’t recall a year in recent past when we had so many eclectic mix of films. Many might not know this but 2018 was also one of the best years in terms of box-office collections. After a disappointing 2017, many were worried that with the rapid expansion of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, people would stop going to theaters. But as it turned out that wasn’t the case after all. Marvel movies like ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Black Panther’ smashed box office records. Even a film like ‘A Star is Born’, which many had deemed to be too avante grade to make a dent at the box-office, made more than $200 million in US alone. Animation, Action and Disney continued their superb show by raking in millions in revenue. One genre that had a surprisingly good year was horror. I say “surprisingly” because even though horror films tend to make a lot of money, they usually fall short in terms of quality. But this year was different. ‘A Quite Place’ and ‘Hereditary’ are genuinely good films that will be remembered for a long time.
One qualm critics always have with Hollywood is that they don’t make enough movies with people of color. Well, that is a valid criticism, but this year saw Hollywood made some great deal of progress. Films like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ proved that audiences are not queuing for just movies with white people. What they are looking for is genuine entertainment. And entertainment truly doesn’t have a race, gender or religion. So, the responsibility is now on Hollywood studios and producers to keep making films that tell stories of people from all backgrounds. That’s a healthy way to keep moving forward. People are hungry for good stories; they don’t care where they come from.
That brings me to today’s list, which many of you have been waiting for. What do I think were the best films of 2018? Well, I saw more than hundred films that released in 2018 . To choose just ten wasn’t easy, especially in year as fantastic as 2018. I talked about how well big studio films did this year, but make no mistake: 2018 will be defined by indie and foreign films. If you are a genuine cinephile, this year was a like five-year-old kid in a chocolate shop — so much to choose from, but not enough time. Over last decade or so, we have seen an extraordinary rise of indie filmmakers. Finally, we are seeing the fruits of labor of these filmmakers who spent years learning the craft. What is so impressive about them is that they like to tell unique stories and don’t get bogged down by the spectacle of filmmaking. That’s the reason both the quantity and quality of indie films just keeps rising. We, as cinephiles, aren’t complaining… are we? Just keep them coming.
While indie films have been on an up-curve for several years now, the same can’t be said about foreign films. There was a time when European films were considered the gold standard. Nowadays, even though some of their films are still amazingly well made, they aren’t breaking new grounds. Countries like South Korea and Mexico are quickly becoming the hotbeds of new brave talent. With that said, 2018 has to be one of the best years — if not the best — for foreign films in recent memory. You will see the influence of foreign films in this list as well. Do you remember a year when a foreign film was the top contender to win Best Picture at the Oscars? You surely don’t, because it has never ever happened. The fact that ‘Roma’, Shoplifters’, ‘Cold War’, ‘Capernaum’ are all competing for Best Foreign Language Oscar is just unbelievable. Each of those films deserve to win on their own merit. But, of course, in the end, three of them will end up on losing side.
Anyway, enough of background. Let’s now directly jump on the list of top movies of 2018. I decided on these after a lot of thought, but ask me on another day and I might give you a different set of ten films. It really was difficult to leave out films like ‘Support the Girls’, ‘Minding the Gap’, ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me’, ‘First Reformed’, ‘Shoplifters’, ‘The Front Runner’, ‘Wildlife’, ‘Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse’, ‘Disobedience’ and ‘Annihilation’. But here we are. I had to make the tough call and prune my list to just 10. Hope you enjoy! (Note: One of the best films that I watched this year was ‘Climax’ but since it has been scheduled to release in 2019, I didn’t add it to this list).
10. You Were Never Really Here