The Ten Best Movies of 2018

4. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – In a year inundated with quality superhero films, INFINITY WAR is easily the best. I realize I just threw down a seriously controversial claim. But I have no problem trading blows with those who prefer the entertaining BLACK PANTHER or the brilliantly animated SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.  Somehow balancing so many characters, Marvel managed to tickle, shock, and thrill us leaving audiences in tears and wonder.  Adding a villain as the lead character in a film full of superstars as superheroes, somehow INFINITY WAR makes it all work.  I just hope Part 2, ENDGAME, is as fun as Part 1.

3. BEAUTIFUL BOY – Perhaps the best film about drug addiction that I have ever seen.  Pardon the hyperbole, but I’ve never seen a film follow the intimacy and breakdown of the different stages of love a parent might go through as their child endures the horrific symptoms that come with drug addiction.  A personal and heartfelt experience aided by my favorite performances of the year by Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet as a father and son trying to figure it out. How much abuse will a parent take for their child? And when do you begin to cut the cord and focus on raising the family that you still have?

First Man

2. FIRST MAN – From the guy who brought you WHIPLASH and LA LA LAND, Damien Chazelle delivers a different look at the history involving NASA.  Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy give an understanding depth of love and sorrow to Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong.  A powerful film focusing on the man behind the small step rather than the mankind behind the giant leap.

Eighth Grade

1. EIGHTH GRADE – I struggled with what my top film would be among the top three.  Ultimately, EIGHTH GRADE hits home more than any other. As a father of a daughter, I’m terrified of her teenage years.  That’s said half jokingly, but I believe EIGHTH GRADE depicts this struggle through the eyes of Elsie Fisher’s Kayla, an unpopular, kind girl, just trying to make friends.  She’s brave behind social media but a little more shy in person.  She’s fully aware of her shortcomings, but is figuring life out no matter what obstacles lay before in the disturbing transition world of junior high to high school.  It’s a scary, touching, and powerful film that taps into the unfair pains that many kids go through.

Honorable Mention: While these movies may have had incredible elements or scenes that I greatly admire, they didn’t fully achieve enough for me to connect with completely.

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