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15 Best Movie Scenes of 2018

December 13, 2018
13 min read

Film scenes can define generations. They can subvert the power of time and make an era timeless. That is the power of cinema. Be it a director’s craft, or an actor’s emotions, the best scenes ever created on celluloid are a mix of both. From Mike Nichols’ brilliant “Revelation” scene in ‘The Graduate’ and Federico Fellini’s opening of ‘Eight and Half’ to De Niro’s “You Talkin’ to me?” and Daniel Day-Lewis’ “I Drink Your Milkshake”, the list of memorable scenes runs amok. Films are such a fantastical and accessible medium that what might appeal to you have no regard for others. Despite being flexible in affording audiences this luxury, there are some scenes which have universal jubilation.

2018 has been the best year for movies in the last decade. The quality that has flown from top auteurs around the world is remarkable. This list, though, indiscriminately looks at individual scenes, and not the quality of the films to determine the final entries. Preparing this list has been an extremely tough, albeit fun job, and we expect you too have a great time going through and reliving these extraordinary moments. Here’s the list of top film scenes and moments of 2018.

15. Last Dinosaur on Island, ‘Jurassic Park- Fallen Kingdom’

‘Fallen Kingdom’ couldn’t build on its successful predecessor. While mainstream popcorn movies like these usually don’t value artistic ideals of celluloid, ‘Jurassic Park’ was a worthy reboot. An engaging storyline was matched by its fierce antagonist and a stellar Bryce Howard. The sequel was rather disappointing. But there was one sequence that we all will remember forever, as it directly affects our history and existence. The lone Brachiosaurus stranded on the island as the ship departs evoked strong reactions from reviewers. Many called it “poignant and haunting”, believing it to be a foray into a brave new world and an ode to mankind’s history on this earth.

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14. Parachute Scene, ‘Tomb Raider’

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The film’s overall quality is disregarded. And that is why ‘Tomb Raider’ finds a place on the list. Alicia Vikander played the titular character in a rather unnecessary reboot of the series. I mean, if the most gorgeous woman couldn’t pull off the character, who else can? Having said that, Vikander does prove to be an improvement. Certainly in the action sequences, which are sharper and diligently crafted. One such scene is where Raider is being chased after in the forest. As she tries to lose her tail, she goes through hoards of natural obstacles, so to speak, and eventually escapes using a half0functioning parachute. This particular instance, the filmmakers got everything right and did a wonderful job of fashioning an action sequence that we won’t forget anytime soon.

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13. Live Aid Scene, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Freddie Mercury was a phenomenon which the world will probably not see for a long time. The “music prostitute” and lead vocalist of Queen saw a recreation on screen in a career-defining performance by Rami Malek. His legacy is timeless and will continue to inspire artists for many generations to come. Bohemian Rhapsody is considered to be one of the greatest songs ever written. It is the crown jewel in Queen’s musical timelessness and a song that is so unique, researchers across the world took time to analyze it. Malek’s recreation of Mercury’s Live Aid concert performance brought many to tears in the hall, giving voice to a collective uproar in the adulation of a remarkable musician. If you’ve loved, Queen, be sure to bring along some tissues.

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12. Two Special People, ‘Mandy’

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The trippiest movie of the year is a psychedelic craze fest, infused with dreamlike imagery and insane hybrid drugs. A film as visually brilliant and unique as ‘Mandy’ is bound to have memorable scenes. While the movie did exceed expectations, there was one scene that stood out. When Nic Cage’s Red Miller is held captive by Sand and his fanatics, he’s injected with a serum. This sends him down spiraling into a hallucination-like reality, where he sees Sand talking, boasting rather, of the connection he shares with Mandy. With a voice like Darth Vader and the blood red visuals, Red can only laugh, ridiculing Sand and his “divine” being, to personify the spirit of the movie.

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11. Flip’s Induction in KKK, ‘BlacKkKlansman’

Spike Lee’s formidable return to the screen also culminates into one of the year’s best movies. Based on the true story of officer Ron Stallworth, the film’s timely thematic exposition could no better be exemplified than this gorgeous six-minute long scene. Stallworth, with the help of colleague Flipp Zimmerman, infiltrates the States’ most highly charged racial organization, risking his life and that of others around him. When Flip finally gets inducted in the organization, with the blessings of David Duke, we also simultaneously are narrated the macabre lynching of Jesse Washington back in the day. The dual nature of one group’s royal comforts and the other’s persecution gives you goosebumps, enough to make the list.

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10. White Voice, ‘Sorry To Bother You’

The White Voice might just be the most genius metaphor ever used to reflect the racial confrontation that still shadows the American society. Boots Riley’s stunning and overwhelming directorial debut produced some wonderful images and symbolic representations of our current day society. Replete with the observant study of the world around us, ‘Sorry To Bother You’ assumes its bizarreness from the moment our struggling protagonist is given a friendly tip by his older counterpart about selling to people in a white man’s voice. And how his fate changes. The whole sequence is so unique and original that you almost grind in your seat.

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9. Bathroom Scene, ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’

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Even before the film came out, the bathroom scene had fans excited. ‘Fallout’ is undoubtedly the best film in the franchise and also one of the decade’s best action movies. Striking a perfect balance between breathtaking action sequences and taut storytelling, the film’s blue jewel proved to be the Bathroom Scene. The scene has a lot of firsts. Not only does it mark Henry Cavill’s first action moves in the film, but also sees Rebecca Ferguson make a timely entry in the story. In order to kill John Lark, after IMF’s failure to do so, Hunt and CIA Agent Walker (Cavill) infiltrate a nightclub party and are directed to the bathroom by Lark’s position. After waiting out to be alone with him, the two engage in a sumptuous hand to hand combat, breaking washbasins and bones alike to emerge on top. As Lark is about to overpower the two, Ilsa Faust comes blows Lark’s brains out. The scene is replete with stunning camerawork, intense action armory, and the right kind of humor that has made these Mision Impossible movies so special.

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8. Ending Scene, ‘Annihilation’

‘Annihilation’ was one movie that polarized audiences. While some were astounded by its high-concept and vivid adaptation of the Jeff VanderMeer novel, others lamented a lack of thrills and criticized the visual effects. But even the ones who didn’t like the film won’t contest the ending’s bizarre beauty. Throughout the film, Dr. Ventress leads a pack of women operatives with distinct job profiles to study the source of the Shimmer, the light tower, and bring back verifiable data. In their way, they encounter unexpected mutations, manifesting in animals and plants alike (humans also, it turns out). As they near the end, Lena is supposedly left alone. She reaches the tower and spots a camera and burnt semblance of a body. She discovers that her husband, who miraculously returned after a prolonged disappearance and undergoes treatment, had actually died, committing suicide by blowing himself. As she digs further in the tower and finds Ventress, she encounters a mysterious figure that mimics her actions and assumes her form. Which Lena that finally escapes remains a mystery. For its wonderful construction and epic twist, this scene finds a place in the list!

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7. Dinner Scene, ‘Hereditary’

Dinner scenes often offer great insights into family dynamics. Movies from time immemorial have used it to relay the common energy members share and their individual emotional connection. ‘Hereditary’ emerged as the most unsettling movie of the year. It found a perfect blend of scare jumps, tension build-up, and an explosive ending. After Charlie loses her head and her brother, Peter, drives on home and quietly sleeps, the family sees tensions between Annie, their mom, and Peter. Both of them stop talking to each other and the tension culminates in ecstatic fashion in the dinner scene that sees Colette cement her position as one of the year’s top performances. The sudden change of emotions from both the actors add to it, but it is Colette’s hauntingly terrifying Annie that steals the scene.

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6. Governor’s House Scene, ‘You Were Never Really Here’

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Lynne Ramsey’s harrowing portrayal of a conflicted man who struggles with solitude and his indifference to violence released to widespread acclaim. Joaquin Phoenix spearheaded this emotionally charged drama-thriller, effortlessly playing his character to great impact. The film is unique in its attribution of violence and pain as both a victim and perpetrator. The depiction of violence takes shape in the least satisfying way, which actually reverberates with the character’s internal struggles. The disturbing quietness that hugs Ramsey’s thrilling finale is almost deafening. We get shots of the house, which will later be home to Joe, in its normalcy, untouched by external forces. We do not once see Joe kill a man, until of course the absolute end, but only know that he did. Ramsey leaves the manner in which Joe kills the men to our imagination. The understated, and rather anticlimactic, use of violence gives us great insight into the human condition of Joe, who breaks down once he sees the governor already dead. The climax ingrains the dual nature of Joe. One part that brews violence; the other, pain: violence is what he runs from and runs toward.

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5. Kayla’s Epiphany, ‘Eighth Grade’

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‘Eighth Grade’ couldn’t have released at a better time for this generation. Embodying the insecurities and addiction of many youngsters of her age in contemporary times, Kayla becomes Burnham’s vessel of a universal message for them to be non-conformists. In a film that is largely driven by Kayla’s point of view, her epiphany towards the end, after she realizes she isn’t on the earth to please anyone else, stands out. Her odyssey, more or less a circle but so much more, ends with the self-acceptance of her nature and personality, wherein we see another one of her traditional web-castings and how she’s graduated high school to be the person she wanted to be. Leaving her worrying, fidgety self behind, Kayla understands that life is so much more than what others think of her, but what she thinks of her herself. How she sees herself is what defines her and not the judged point of view of others. ‘Solitude is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity’.

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4. Letter, ‘Green Book’

There are several moments in ‘Green Book’ that warm your heart. If you are a good person who believes in general goodness of human beings, there is no reason you won’t like this film. Basically, it is a feel good film of the highest order. That’s also why it is difficult to choose one single scene of the film for this list — because there are so many great scenes to choose from. But I am going with a moment is the film that is reflects the true friendship and bonding that our two characters have developed. It is a scene that first makes you laugh and then cry — with joy. A moment that provides the reason why cinema exists.

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3. Landing on the Moon, ‘First Man’

Technology has a come a long way in movies. And with the bombardment of superhero and action films, there is hardly any CGI scene that leaves an impression on your mind. In fact, if a CGI scene is not well done is when you pay any attention to not. That’s why the moon landing scene is such an achievement because it is so memorable despite being a CGI scene. ‘First Man’ showcases all the years of struggle and sacrifice, the simulations, the trials, the failures and the personal toll it took on Armstrong with pining detail, and that is precisely why the finale scene on the Moon is much deserved. For those who loved the film, I am sure the scene will be etched in their mind for a long time.

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2. Can God Forgive Us, ‘First Reformed’

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Paul Schrader’s seminal musings of climate change and a test of God’s word result in one of the finest character studies of the year. Largely inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Winter Light’, ‘First Reformed’ is grounded in the internal torment of faith, religion, and human compassion, facilitated by a transcendentalist style that enthralls. The question that the protagonist is asked and then he further asks the world, is ‘Can God Forgive Us?’ For what we have done to the world and mother nature, Toller contemplates the question in one of the most evocative moments on film this year. In case you were wondering what the answer is, here’s Schrader with the answer: “I have a secular answer, but it’s not the correct answer. If the question is “can God forgive us,” the secular answer is he has to; that’s why we made him. That’s his job. But the Earth is just fine: 50,000 years after the all-out nuclear holocaust, it will be up and running without the virus of humanity, and maybe he’ll take a better evolutionary course next time.”

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1. Drowning Scene, ‘Roma’

With ‘Roma’, Alfonso Cuaron takes you through this personal journey of his that is equally revealing and revetting. While the film is dramatic and emotional, there are also moments that are deeply unsettling. One such moment happens on an operation table. I could have easily chosen that scene to top this list, but I am going with the drowning scene only because it is not just gripping but also overwhelmingly emotional. After two hours of watching Cleo going through ups and downs with her employer family, the scene pays homage to her strength and resilience. It also acts a perfect note of emotional high to end the film on.

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