by Jan Bottiglieri
A new year always prompts us to look back at the old year and reflect. Did we reach our goals? Did we change, learn, and grow? Did we weather the storms with grace and courage, and did we celebrate the small victories of each glorious new day with humility and gratitude?
And each year, these deeply personal thoughts compel us to boil down our precious five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes into manageable chunks of ten things… and not just any ten things—the ten TOP things. Because “TOP” can obviously have only one definition, and that definition applies to ALL THE THINGS.
In that spirit, I offer you this list of Eleven Highly-Favored Movies I Saw in 2018, arranged here in chronological order of when I saw them, with a few notes on why I loved them.
A Quiet Place - Why are there so many movies about surviving the end of the world? Some might say it’s because of how good we feel when the movie is over and we’re not dead. I think it’s because the only way to improve at chess is to play opponents better than you, even if you lose. (This metaphor makes perfect sense to ME.) I found this film tense and compelling, and I loved the way it relied on image, expression, and direction to create a sense of dread—we’re used to films falling back on aural clues, and A Quiet Place leans into their absence to make us feel as stricken by loss as the family at this film’s center.
Mandy - No one who reads or writes for this website needs to be convinced that horror is a genre of possibility—and Mandy is the blacklight-poster-come-to-life proof. I don’t mean the Tolkien-y kind of black light poster with flowers and fairy maidens on it. I mean the kind that looks like the cover of a Nordic death metal album—the kind that would be hanging in the bedroom of your best friend’s older brother Kevin, and you’d sneak in just to gaze at its thrilling terror until Kevin came home and yelled “BEAT IT, TWERPS” while he hurled a wadded-up denim jacket at you. Mandy is also a thriller, a revenge film, a super-romantic love story, and maybe a space movie? There’s a lot of blood. It’s the Nic Cage of Nic Cage films.
If I missed one of your favorites of 2018, it may be that I just didn’t see it (I am only one Jan with access to a single Jan-verse.) Tell me about it in the comments!