Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! We have reached that time! The year is over, which means we get to one of my favorite parts of doing Scene Before, my annual countdowns! That’s right, it’s time to count down my top 10 BEST movies of 2018! Before we get into the countdown however, let me just have you know that when it comes to this year in film, just like every other, there are movies that I have missed. If there is a certain movie you thought might have been on my list that is not on my list, I have a newsflash for you. I either didn’t see it or I just didn’t like it enough to call it top 10 list worthy. One example is “Mary Poppins Returns.” Not only is it not my type of movie, but I also never saw the original film, so I missed out on that. When it comes to bigger budget films to come out in December, “Aquaman” was more important. Also, this is a subjective list. Art creates all sorts of opinions across the board, therefore it is subjective. If you think that a certain movie on this list is your least favorite movie of the year, you are entitled to that opinion and I respect you completely. However, maybe this will encourage you to make your own top 10 list when it comes to this year in film. In my countdowns last year, I stated a couple of honorable mentions before I got on to doing my top ten. However, this year, I’ve seen a few more movies compared to last year, so I decided instead of two honorable mentions, I’d include three. Let’s state them right now.
Honorable Mention: Blockers
My first honorable mention is “Blockers.” 2018 was admittedly a surprisingly great year for comedy. This movie is basically a female-oriented “American Pie” for a new generation. There is also an argument to be made that this is also “Revenge of the Nerds” for a new generation because of how many layers this movie surprisingly manages to pack in despite being marketed as what looks like a disposable comedy. Overall, I ate this movie up.
Honorable Mention: Deadpool 2
My next honorable mention is “Deadpool 2.” I saw this film when I was staying in Disney World, which is basically a combination of two polar opposites, and I don’t regret it in the least. “Deadpool 2” is a sequel that is not as good as the first, but still manages to deliver quality action, humor, and possibly even better opening titles than the original! I’d like to give a special shoutout to one of the two guys who killed the dog in “John Wick!”
Honorable Mention: Hereditary
And finally for honorable mentions, we have “Hereditary.” A24 manages to deliver an excellent horror story with quality directing, cinematography, a killer performance by Toni Collette, and some of the most disturbing scenes of the year! Speaking of scenes, it’s possible that “Hereditary” contains my favorite standalone scene of the year, specifically the one towards the middle to end, at the dinner table.
Without further ado, let’s start the annual tradition with a bang! These are my 10 BEST movies of 2018!
#10: Incredibles 2
2018 is FINALLY the year we get a sequel to my favorite animation of all time, “The Incredibles,” and I must say that “Incredibles 2” did not disappoint! Brad Bird returns once again, both with his own screenplay and in the director’s chair! And I must say, animation is where Bird excels. I’ve seen a couple of movies he directed in live-action form, specifically “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland,” and while they were decent, they were nowhere near as masterfully done as say, “The Incredibles” or “Ratatoullie.” Most of the original cast made a return to play their roles they’ve portrayed in the first film (it’s hard to keep Dash’s young and hyper-sounding voice going on forever), and I’ll say while I do consider “The Incredibles” to be better than “Incredibles 2,” I will personally add that I find “Incredibles 2” to be the funniest of both films. Jack-Jack is a scene stealer, the part where the family is at the restaurant is a gutbuster considering what Violet has to go through, and while this movie displays the harsh reality of being a stay-at-home parent, it’s just done with charm and wit. “Incredibles 2” just goes to show that Pixar played their cards right, not only with marketing, but with waiting to make a sequel that could potentially rival the original film in terms of likability.
#9: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Coming in at #9 is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!” One of my favorite movies of all time is 2004’s “Spider-Man 2,” directed by the very talented Sam Raimi. “Spider-Verse” does not quite match “Spider-Man 2,” however, it is the second best “Spider-Man” film I’ve ever seen. It is also one of the trippiest movies I have seen all year, and I mean that in the absolute best possible way. When I first heard about this movie, I kind of thought it was mainly trying to cash in on the name Spider-Man. Boy was I wrong! This is a movie that has heart, humor, action, and likable characters! Usually I’m used to seeing Peter Parker on screen, but it was interesting to see a different Spidey behind the mask for one film. Granted, Peter Parker is in the movie, but he’s not the main character. Also, Aunt May in “Spider-Verse” might just be the best Aunt May I’ve ever seen. I mean, holy f*ck! All the characters here were awesome, Kingpin is an excellent villain, the animation style, while it seemed to be tacky at first when seeing trailers, paid off and was only a benefit to the final product!
#8: Eighth Grade
John Hughes gave us some great coming of age stories revolving around teenagers like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Unfortunately, he passed away in 2009, so his wonderful writing can only be a reflection. However, Bo Burnham is still alive and we have a new coming of age story to remember. I’m talking about “Eighth Grade!” There are still days where I look at my life in middle school and realize that in some ways that my life is a hell lot better than it was back then. I’ve met nicer people, more mature people, people who want to get to know me better. “Eighth Grade” reminded me of the horrors of middle school, of not only presenting experiences that were relatable, but by also showcasing other happenings that I can’t really say I’ve had. One of my lesser preferred genres when it comes to film is horror, only because I don’t get terrified all that easily therefore destroying the purpose of the genre. This is not a horror movie, but seeing Kayla, played by the amazingly talented Elsie Fisher, in various situations, was almost heart-stopping based on the potential horrors that could be unleashed.
#7: First Man
I was never alive back in the 1960s, so I never got to experience the space race or the moon landing, but it’s always been a subject I’ve personally been fascinated with. With that being said, it’s no surprise that I adored “First Man.” This movie has always been something I’ve personally been looking forward to since it was announced, and when it came out, I was extremely pleased. Nobody went to see it, but this guy did and he doesn’t regret it in the least. In terms of directing, this movie shines. There are several scenes where shaky cam is used, and if you know me, I’m kind of anti-shaky cam. When I watch something such as an action movie, I find it much more preferable for all of the action scenes to be played out with a much more standstill approach. This movie, while it didn’t make me pro-shaky cam for all of eternity, made me reconsider my anti-shaky cam motives. When it comes to the score, the cinematography, the atmosphere, the vibe was perfect. It was a somewhat terrifying and jaw-dropping adventure. One of my favorite scenes in the film involves a conversation before Neil Armstrong leaves his family to go to the moon. The pacing of all the dialogue which happened to be given and the acting was 100% spot on!
#6: Welcome To Marwen
I can usually agree with a majority of people that a certain movie is good or bad. However there are times when I fall into a minority. That is the case with my next pick, “Welcome To Marwen.” PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME! This is a movie that I went to see early, and when I saw it, it was truly revolutionary. One of the best animated franchises of all time is “Toy Story.” “Welcome To Marwen” is essentially a live-action version of that, featuring someone who has PTSD. The performances are top notch, the directing is beautiful, the concept is wonderful to tenth degree! I stand by my statements, even if that means I’m going to die within the next few days. But this is a film that is HATED by critics. I can probably say the same applies to moviegoers as well given how the film has a 5.5/10 on IMDb. Then again, the Cinemascore rating was a B-, so it does have some positive reviews from audience members. Nevertheless, this is a film that is not only original, but reminded me of why I love telling stories and listening to stories. Well done, Robert Zemeckis!
#5: First Reformed
Coming in at #5 is a film I actually didn’t get around to reviewing this year but enjoyed watching nevertheless, “First Reformed.” One of the most pressing issues of my time is climate change, this movie paints a picture of climate change like I’ve never seen before. There is one scene in the film where the main character, a priest, sits down with somebody whose wife is currently pregnant. He wants his future child aborted so it does not have to live in a nearly or perhaps inevitably uninhabitable world. I said to myself before that when I grow to be a certain age, specifically the time when perhaps most people would want kids, I’d probably pass up on that opportunity. I’d usually say that I just don’t want to screw up someone’s life because I’d be nervous about the responsibility at hand, I’d possibly even screw up my own life. Now, this movie made me think, I’d feel deeply sorry if I had to bring a child into this world. Granted, having children is not a bad thing necessarily, but I would feel more than terrible bringing in someone who has to deal with constantly changing normality in terms of climate and weather, decreasing resources, and the fact that ways we try to amuse ourselves and survive affects our very own planet. In fact, part of me wonders if I’ll be one of the last generations to survive on Earth. Part of me wonders if we’ll ever even see a shift to another planet to start a new way of life. “First Reformed” truly got me thinking about my own future. Not only that, but it manages to make a Christian priest skeptical about his own beliefs, which is something I never tend to think about when someone has a high religious position. The acting in this movie from performers like Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried is simply lovable. The directing by Paul Schrader is basically the definition of a vision. It kind of reminded me of “No Country For Old Men” meets “La La Land” meets “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Bravo!
#4: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Who says people don’t go out to see documentaries nowadays? Well guess what, this guy did, and this guy saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.” Talk about an amazing, sweet, memorable experience. I never had Mr. Rogers in my childhood, however my grandmother always sang the opening song to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” to me. This movie made me want more of him in my life. I was reminded of how a lot of shows that children are subjected to are flashy and noisy and all other sorts of stuff. As a child I watched “Power Rangers,” where grown people are flipping around uttering random sounds as they annihilate others. Had I watched “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” however, I would probably have had a better childhood, by which I mean, I would have been a smarter, and perhaps a more well-behaved child. This movie must be seen by every individual in the universe, even if you are the toughest manly man out there with tons of facial hair who rides a motorcycle across the country occasionally stopping to chow down the biggest baddest burgers and steaks in the world, you will enjoy this documentary!
#3: Ready Player One
I’ve read the book for “Ready Player One,” it was awesome! Then I saw the movie for “Ready Player One,” that was awesome too! While there are many changes from the book, I will say that I’m not complaining about it. What we’ve got with “Ready Player One” is nothing short of just a plain old epic adventure with a bunch of people who wish they grew up in the 1980s. I will say, I am not a psychic, but if “Ready Player One” wins Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards, that would be killer! Also, may I add, if you like Chucky or “Child’s Play,” do yourself a favor and check this movie out just for the thirty seconds Chucky happens to be on screen! Do I have problems with the movie? Yes, I have problems with many movies I see and some like this one that happened to make it on the list, but it does not change the fact that this movie not only was fun, glorious, and all-around just immersive, but it also had a chase sequence towards the end that is sitting somewhere in my top 10 of all time.
#2: Avengers: Infinity War
Coming in at #2 is the movie event of the year, and some of you might be thinking like the last couple of years, it’s a “Star Wars” movie. Nope, this year’s “Star Wars” flick was painfully average so that’s not making the list. Instead, I’m talking about “Avengers: Infinity War!” I remember a couple years ago I saw “Captain America: Civil War” and I once declared it to be my favorite movie of 2016. Not only that, but it was also my favorite MCU movie. Forget I said that, because this movie is not just a good comic book movie. It’s a good MOVIE. While I might have my gripes for Marvel for seeming to never want to end their cinematic universe at any given point, it also allows us to see something truly groundbreaking. Because the reality is that “Avengers: Infinity War” is a culmination to a franchise that has been built up for ten years. It’s almost like watching a nearly conclusive TV show finale. I mean, originally, “Infinity War” was supposed to be marketed as a two part thing, but that’s not happening anymore. Not to mention, it provided one of the most epic experiences I’ve had at the movies this year. It was basically like watching a big sporting event as opposed to a movie in the theater, especially on opening Thursday night in a sold out IMAX. Another reason why I love this movie so much is because without getting into spoilers, is because it did a couple of things that I wouldn’t really see in something like a Marvel movie or some film featuring superheroes. Other than that, it’s really just a fun yet emotional ride. I don’t run the Oscars, but if the voters happened to pay more attention to big blockbusters, this would possibly get nominated, or even win Best Picture. Did I mention Thanos? Oh my gosh! Thanos! THANOS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST VILLAINS EVER PUT ON SCREEN! I am not sure how 2019’s list of films to come out is going to be compared to 2018, but hopefully, “Avengers: Endgame” does not suck, or even ruin “Avengers: Infinity War.”
#1: Mission: Impossible: Fallout
Alright, we have reached the #1 spot! We finally made it! This is the movie that I had the most fun watching, I had a great time reviewing, and once it finished, my first words were “HOLY CRAP.” What movie could get me to say that? How about Tom Cruise’s latest attempt at killing himself? At the #1 spot, we have “Mission: Impossible: Fallout!” The latest installment to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise was something I was looking forward to as its release got closer and closer. Little did I know how much I’d love it! If “First Reformed” is the definition of a vision for an independent film, then “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” is the definition of a vision for a big blockbuster film. Much like the MCU, the “Mission: Impossible” movies have been going on for a long time. “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” is not necessarily a culmination, but it takes a lot of the characters you know from previous “Mission: Impossible” films and inserts them in one epic story. Not only that, but Tom Cruise provides the best stunt performance I’ve ever seen from him. If you ever thought there was no way he would ever top hanging on the side of an airplane in “Rogue Nation,” I personally thought he topped it 110% in “Fallout!” The cinematography, the score, the sound, the editing, HOLY CRAP the editing. There is a scene towards the end of the movie that I remember being in awe watching it during my second viewing! Seeing this film in a theater was an experience. Twists, turns, craziness, the action scenes in this film are all memorable! The helicopter scene is a thing of f*cking beauty! When your lead actor breaks his leg during a stunt, and chooses to go on with a scene like nothing happened, you know you have a movie worth watching. Tom Cruise has still got the goods when it comes to action and stuntwork! This is possibly the best Tom Cruise movie I have seen personally since 1983’s “Risky Business!” I would like to thank Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Paramount, Bad Robot for making an action-packed extravaganza that I will probably watch many years to come! I’m glad to call “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” my favorite movie of 2018!
Thanks for reading this countdown! Tomorrow I am gonna have a new post for you all to read, and I know it is a new year and it is time to celebrate, but the reality is, sometimes it is reasonable to relieve some stress. That is why tomorrow I’m switching my mood, and I’m going to be talking about my top 10 WORST movies of 2018. I will admit, this year for movies has been awesome. I’ve seen A LOT of movies that have come out this year, a third of which I currently consider to be at least an 8/10. I’m serious. I will say that with at the very least, a majority of these movies, and possibly others that I’ve yet to see, these are going to apply in a future event I’m going to unveil to you all here on Scene Before. In my first awards show that I’m doing here weeks from now, I’m going to be including my top 10 movies for my Best Picture category. Instead of having me choose the Best Picture, partially due to already revealing my personal favorite film of the year, I’m going to have viewers and followers vote for what they think should win Best Picture of the year. Once the nominees are announced, voting will be open. My nominees are to be announced in a few weeks from now or so, and I officially have no date for the awards ceremony to be posted, but trust me when I say that it is going to be one of the most ambitious posts I’ve ever done. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your favorite movies of 2018? Feel free to count down your picks, or if you want to be exclusive and only include one film, feel free to do that too. The top 10 WORST is coming tomorrow, stay tuned! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!