There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.
Best Movies from 2018
2018 has come and gone, and a lot of movies were released during this time. There were a bunch of stinkers, there were a lot of average movies, but only the year’s best movies made this list. I ranked my favorite movies of the year from worst (10th place) to best (1st place). I looked at all the movies that I reviewed (all of which are right here on Hubpages.com), and ranked them based on the grades that I gave them.
When I encountered a couple movies with the same score, I just decided which movie I liked better. I did have to give an honorable mention, as I only had two spots left and three movies that had the same score. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this list, and be sure to comment at the end if you think this list is dead wrong. Let me know what your favorite movies were, and let me know if you think I missed a movie that should have made it on this list (I can only see so many movies and am always open to good ones that may have slipped by me).
Honorable Mention: “Ready Player One”
In the year 2045, society has become reliant on a massive virtual reality experience, called OASIS. Although the original intent was for it to be a video game, much of the world’s society spends the majority of their day in the game. The software is revered by all users and, when the original creator died, the whole world mourned. Before dying, he recorded a video announcing an Easter egg that he had hidden within the software. In order to get the egg, a player must complete three difficult challenges, collect three keys, and unlock the gate they correspond to.
With the egg, the player will receive a vast amount of money and full ownership of OASIS. The first key (and a clue to the second) will be awarded to the player who wins a challenging car race. The race recurs regularly, but after a few years, no player has been able to finish it. Most casual players have given up, but diehard fans, and an evil corporation, are still committed to getting the first key. After many failed attempts, a young player known as Parzival (Tye Sheridan) has discovered a secret to winning the race. With this secret, the first key is surely his, but receiving it will attract the attention of players all across the world, as well as the attention of the evil corporation.
Grade: B+ (88pts)
My expectations for Ready Player One were not very high. Not because I did not think it looked good, but because I had not seen or heard anything about the movie beforehand. It is a typical dystopian story, but it has a ton of really fun flavor. It plays into the video game theme and, by doing so, it is able to incorporate a lot of iconic properties into the story. This quickly becomes one of the most entertaining parts of the movie and could make repeat viewings equally entertaining.
My favorite part of the movie was its premise. It does a great job at commenting on our society’s reliance on technology by creating a dystopia that could very well be a possible future for humanity. It also creates a fascinating universe with OASIS. The possibilities are endless in OASIS, both for the characters of the story and the audiences watching the movie. There are seemingly infinite worlds and infinite stories that could be told in this virtual reality setting. The quest then created a fun adventure for the main characters, and gave the movie a naturally competitive storyline. The movie has a few minor problems that are mostly related to poorly written side characters, but it was a pretty entertaining movie.
His father was a lighthouse keeper who, one day, discovered a woman who washed up on shore. She was certainly peculiar, but she was the Queen of the underwater city of Atlantis. The two quickly fell in love, and had a son named Arthur Curry. They were an unlikely family, but they loved each other deeply. However, Atlantis would not so easily forget about their Queen, so Arthur’s mother decides to return to Atlantis before any harm comes to him. Arthur (Jason Momoa) grew up on land as an outcast, but his abilities and his heroic actions turned him into the legend known as Aquaman.
King Orm (Patrick Wilson), Arthur’s half-brother and the current King of Atlantis, has declared war on the surface world. He is tired of humanity’s continued pollution of the world’s oceans. Ecosystems have died, sea creatures have been poisoned, others have been poached, and King Orm decides that it is time for humanity to learn their place. In order to stop the war before it begins, Princess Mera (Amber Heard) sets out to find the legend known as Aquaman. She hopes to persuade Arthur (despite his reluctance) to overthrow his younger brother, and take his rightful place as the King of Atlantis. However, Arthur does not view Atlantis fondly, so he will not be so easy to recruit.
Grade: B+ (88pts)
Warner Brothers have been a hit or a miss lately with their DC movies, so I did not know exactly what to expect. I liked the casting of Jason Momoa after having seen Justice League. I did not know what else to expect, so I did not want to get my hopes up, but I actually ended up enjoying Aquaman quite a bit. Black Manta was underutilized, the colors were a bit too bright for my visual taste, and the characters deliver a ton of exposition, but the movie was a lot of fun.
Jason Momoa turned this once lame character into a badass that is entertaining to watch. Amber Heard has good chemistry with Jason Momoa, and her character was so much more interesting than your typical love interest (it does not hurt that she is extremely powerful whenever she is near some water). On top of all that, the action was solid and the underwater setting made the whole movie feel really unique. Yes, DC movies have been a hit or a miss lately, but Aquaman was one that I ended up enjoying quite a bit.
The Kims were a happy family, but everything changed when Pamela (Sarah Sohn) was diagnosed with cancer. Pamela was David‘s (John Cho) wife and Margot’s (Michelle La) mother and, after she passed away, David and Margot tried to continue on. One night, when Margot does not return from a study group, David knows that something has happened to her. He knows his daughter and knows this is not like her to stay out all night without letting him know, so he calls the police.
Detective Vick (Debra Messing) is quickly assigned to the case and reaches out to David so that she can learn more about his daughter. After their meeting, Detective Vick tasks David with reaching out to Margot’s fellow students and their parents. The hope is that David will learn more about what was going on the night that Margot disappeared. David ends up finding out that his daughter had a very secretive life. He learns that he did not know Margot as well as he thought, but no matter how many secrets he uncovers, he will not stop searching until he knows what happened to his daughter.
Grade: B+ (88pts)
Searching seemed like the kind of gimmicky movie that would be watchable at best, but I could not have been more wrong. The filmmakers make it so that you forget about the gimmick altogether. This makes me wonder why they put it in there in the first place. A few aspects were kind of silly. The lead detective primarily communicates with David via video message, instead of meeting with him face-to-face. There are a few more examples of silly behavior to justify the gimmick, but for the most part, the filmmakers did a good job of not making it distracting.
The best part of this movie is the plot. It has a simple premise (loving parent discovers daughter has gone missing) that is easy to get invested in, and is full of twists and turns that will keep audiences gasping on the edge of their seats. The plot twists are frequent and audiences will see few of them coming. This is especially true for the final plot twist despite the many clues that the filmmakers dropped throughout the movie. This is the kind of movie that was riveting to watch and will be fun with repeat viewings where one can spot all the clues that the fillmmakers sprinkled in here. If you were debating whether or not to see this movie, I suggest you give it a shot. It is a thrill-ride that will have you fixed to the screen from start to finish.
Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) was not always a successful and powerful man. In his youth, he was kicked out of college for drinking and getting into fights. Not long after that, his lifestyle started jeopardizing his low-paying jobs. He had the love of his life at his side, but she could only take so much. Eventually, Lynne (Amy Adams) decided that enough was enough. She pushed him to get himself together and to become the successful man she knew he could be, so that he could provide for her and their family.
After that, Dick Cheney’s life would never be the same. He decided to get into politics, and made a name for himself alongside his mentor, Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell). Eventually, Dick Cheney became the most powerful and most reputable man in the Republican party. This made him the only logical choice when George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) was seeking a Vice President for his campaign for presidency. What no one realized at the time was that Dick Cheney saw an opportunity. He had his own idea of the role he would play as Vice President, and no one would see him coming.
Grade: B+ (89pts)
Vice was a movie about an interesting man, who I knew little about, with a great cast. The editing felt a bit choppy, but the story was enough to maintain my interest. Christian Bale has transformed, once again, and delivered another impressive performance. He is joined by a strong cast with Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell. Everyone in this movie played their part, and they played their part well, but it was the main character’s story that made this so fascinating.
I knew very little about Dick Cheney before going into this movie. I pretty much only knew that he was George W. Bush’s Vice President, and that he shot a guy in the face. With that in mind, I found this movie to be fascinating. His story is both compelling and entertaining. I did not find it to be perfectly executed by the filmmakers, but I was interested in this movie from beginning to end. Again, it was not perfect, but had an interesting story and a very strong cast.
7. “A Star Is Born”
Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is nearing the end of his prime as a rockstar. He is somewhat of a legend, but everything is not as great as it seems on the surface. He feels hollow and is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, with the latter being the more dominant of the two. Ally (Lady Gaga) works in a kitchen by day and is an aspiring singer by night. She has a gig where she regularly performs, but has been unable to break into the music industry due to her appearance.
On one fateful night, Jackson discovers Ally. Despite his issues with addiction and his career being on the decline, Jackson decides to take Ally under his wing. He sees the incredible talent she has and instantly becomes infatuated with her. They fall for each other quickly and they could be the answer to each other’s problems. Jackson could be exactly what Ally needs to break into the music industry, but Ally may be the bright star that pulls him out of his dark addiction.
Grade: B+ (89pts)
A Star Is Born was a really good movie, but it had its problems. The movie failed to give proper focus to Ally’s rise to fame. We see plenty of it, but I never truly felt connected to it. This movie is really Jack’s story, which was very compelling, but the filmmakers seemed to skip a few steps in order to get to his climax faster. He was definitely on that path, but I did not feel like his climax had been justified yet. The movie was also just really predictable. Sure, this was the third remake of this story, but even if it was not, it was pretty easy to see where this story was heading.
There was a lot to like here. Lady Gaga did a great job in her movie debut, but I do not think her performance was Oscar worthy (although I am 90% sure she will get a nomination). Bradley Cooper gave an absolutely fantastic performance that I think definitely deserves Oscar recognition. His character has so much going on and Bradley Cooper did an amazing job of oscillating between the characters darker and lighter moments. There was so much that he was able to say with just his facial expressions and it was awesome to see. The music was fantastic, catchy, and personified the characters and their compelling relationship together. A Star Is Born is not perfect but it has an excellent soundtrack and tells a compelling story that most audiences will love.
6. “A Quiet Place”
No one knows where these aliens came from, but they are extremely violent, have armored skin, and hunt anything that makes a sound. Just months after the aliens arrived, humanity is mostly wiped out. There is no way of knowing how many of the aliens are out there, but survivors have realized that only way to survive is to survive quietly. Those who have survived this long have done so by mastering the skill of living silently, but the slightest mistake could prove to be fatal.
Evelyn and Lee Abbott (Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) have adapted to the challenge of having to live silently but they have the added challenge of trying to raise three young children in this new world. They have two young boys and their oldest is their daughter, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), who has the added challenge of being deaf and unaware of any sound that she makes. This family has seen its share of tragedies, but they have found a way to survive. However, when Evelyn becomes pregnant, the family must prepare for an inevitably loud labor and must find a way to raise the baby quietly.
Grade: A- (90pts)
A Quiet Place was a thrill-ride with some terrifying aliens, but it was so much more than that. This movie follows two parents and their struggle to keep their children safe in this extremely dangerous new world while also trying to prepare for a new baby. The movie has a pretty gimmicky premise, that centers around an alien race that is super-sensitive to sound. As a result, humanity has to be absolutely silent in order to survive.
In order for this premise to work, the aliens have to be terrifying, and (fortunately) they were. The aliens were extremely fast, extremely powerful, and (if you make a sound) can hear you from miles away. This movie is all about the family, but the aliens were done really well and definitely gave the movie a horror-thriller feel. The filmmakers also used sound in the most fascinating way. A good portion of this movie is silent, which gives the audience an appreciation of just how quietly these characters have to live. Sound (or the absence of it) was utilized flawlessly in this movie, and Emily Blunt and John Krasinski were able to shine without saying a word. This movie resorts to lazy writing and plot devices in a few areas but, for the most part, this was a really well done movie. It is compelling, entertaining, chilling, and definitely worth the price of the ticket.
5. “Christopher Robin”
Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is at a very difficult point in his career. The company he works for is facing financial hardship and Christopher’s team is facing potential layoffs. He has been tasked by his boss to work through the weekend to find places in the budget to cut costs. If he cannot save the company enough money, many of his employees will be let go. If that was not stressful enough, Christopher has to cancel his weekend getaway with his wife and daughter.
Meanwhile, in Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie-the-Pooh (Jim Cummings) has woken up to find that all of his friends are missing. He searches everywhere and, when he finds no one, he decides to go through the door that Christopher Robin used to come through decades earlier. Once Pooh arrives in London, he discovers that Christopher Robin is much different than when he last left the Hundred Acre Wood. Christopher Robin has grown up. He has a wife, a child that he hardly spends time with, a job that keeps him busy, and he no longer has the time or desire to play. Pooh needs Christopher’s help to find his friends, but Christopher may need his help even more.
Grade: A- (91pts)
Christopher Robin is a light hearted story on the surface, but it takes a deep look at the differences between childhood and adulthood. Christopher Robin is a relatable character that has lost sight of what it means to be happy. This will hit home with a lot of audiences as it sheds light on how much we change when we grow up. We all know what this is like to some extent and that what we once saw as “boring adult stuff” has now become an integral part of our daily life. “Fun” used to be all we cared about, but that simple mindset fades when we grow up.
This is all given to the audience with the added flavor of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. There is a lot of light hearted humor that focuses on the silly innocence of these characters, although Winnie-the-Pooh is the obvious focus. Due to the light hearted nature, and the fact that this is supposed to be a feel-good movie, the story ends up being pretty predictable. The story also seems to drop the ball on Evelyn Robin by not giving the character enough focus to justify her behavior. That being said, my issues with this movie were relatively minor. This is a strong movie that has a message that will connect with a lot of audiences, which makes it a movie that is definitely worth seeing.
4. “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) has been given the gifts of a great voice, a great vocal range, and a natural talent for writing music. Unfortunately, these are not gifts that his father appreciates. His father knows Freddie will never amount to anything if he indulges his musical dream, but Freddie is not one to follow his father’s rules. Instead, he is determined to fulfill his dream, with or without his father’s approval.
Freddie needs a band and, at a nearby college, he finds a band that needs a lead singer. They are immediately impressed with one another, and thus, Queen is born. However, despite their immense talent and unique style, their road to fame and glory will not be an easy one. Their new lifestyle is hard on the group, and Freddie discovers something about himself that will forever change the way the band is viewed. All they can do is make and perform music like only they can. Who knows? They just might become one of the most legendary bands of all time along the way.
Grade: A- (92pts)
Bohemian Rhapsody was a strong movie. It has a few problems, such as a cluttered cast and how Freddie’s sexuality was handled, but they were minor issues that the film was able to mostly overcome. The movie had too many side characters, which I think took away from time that should have been spent learning more about Freddie’s band mates. I also got the impression that Freddie's homosexuality was somewhat vilified, by making Paul a very one-dimensional antagonist. However, as mentioned before, the film was able to overcome these issues.
Rami Malek delivered a fantastic performance that made me feel like I was actually watching Freddie Mercury. Freddie Mercury’s story was also a very interesting one and, while I am sure the movie was far from one hundred percent historically accurate, I think the filmmakers delivered a compelling story about this legend. On top of all of that, the movie had the benefit of having a soundtrack that was comprised of Queen’s greatest hits, which will keep audiences engaged and excited. It is not a perfect movie, but I had a really good time watching it.
3. “Black Panther”
The country of Wakanda mourns the death of their king. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has returned home to mourn the death of his father and it is now time for him to be crowned as the new king. With the power of the Black Panther and his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), creating innovative tech for Wakanda, T’Challa must decide what kind of king he wants to be for his nation. Does he do as his father (and every king before him) has done and maintain the secret of Wakanda’s vast Vibranium resource and tech that is decades ahead of the rest of the world? Does he share Wakanda’s secrets to help the world from poverty and discrimination while bringing the entire world into a new age of advanced technology?
Sharing Wakanda‘s secrets does not come without risk, as doing so would surely make the country a target. Meanwhile, a known terrorist named Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) makes a new ally, a mysterious young man named Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). The two steal vibranium from a museum and kill a few people in the process. When he learns this, T’Challa sets out on a mission to retrieve the vibranium before anyone else gets hurt.
Grade: A- (92pts)
Black Panther was such a great movie. It had awesome superhero action, had a beautiful setting, and featured some fascinating characters. Yet again, Marvel delivered a visual masterpiece with this movie. The country of Wakanda looks like a fascinating place, largely due to the amazing sets where the film took place. I absolutely loved the culture that was in this movie, but the characters were the best part. We had T’Challa, a new king deciding the future of his country and his role as its leader. We had Erik Killmonger, a dangerous man with a valid grudge against Wakanda who is on a warpath against those responsible for his misfortune. Both of these characters got strong character development that was fascinating to watch.
As strong as the lead men were, the women were just as strong. Sure, the ladies were not literally as strong as T’Challa (the power of the Black Panther is not easily matched), but they represent all of Wakanda’s strengths. Nakia is the moral strength, Okoye is the fierce warrior, and Shuri is the brains behind the advanced tech. As great as so much of this movie was, it did have a few issues. It became pretty predictable towards the end and has a few unnecessary characters that took precious screen time away from the ones that mattered more, but the movie’s strengths far outweigh its flaws. It is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it definitely stands on its own. Whether you are a die hard Marvel fan or have yet to see a single superhero movie, I highly recommend watching this one.
2. “Instant Family”
Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) are house flippers. The buy old, rundown houses, renovate them, and sell them to the highest bidder. One day, Pete comes home to find Ellie crying over a foster website. She wants, desperately, to help one of these kids and Pete, who is reluctant at first, looks at the site himself and caves. Before they know it, they find themselves in a foster class, ready to adopt.
Pete and Ellie imagined taking in a young child, but they meet a teen that stands out. LIzzy (Isabela Moner) leaves an impression on them, so they decide to move forward with fostering her, but they learn that Lizzy comes with her two younger siblings. The kids are certainly a handful, but Pete and Ellie decide to give it a shot. A house is just a building, but a home is where a family lives. Pete and Ellie have flipped many houses, but now, with the chaos that comes with three kids, they have a shot at flipping a home.
Grade: A- (94pts)
First, the problems with Instant Family. While relatively minor issues, it is worth mentioning that the plot is pretty predictable, the Jacob storyline felt out-of-place for this movie, and the light-hearted tone takes some of the steam out of the film’s more serious moments. Like I said, these issues were minor. The film has a lot more going for it than it has going against it.
To start, Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne were a great pairing that worked well together both dramatically and comedically. The younger kids provided plenty of chaotic comedy, but Lizzy was definitely the emotional heart of the story. Lizzy was played, wonderfully, by Isabela Moner, and was the primary obstacle for Pete and Ellie to overcome. Lizzy has the most emotional baggage and Isabela Moner did a great job playing into all of that. She is a talented young actress that I look forward to seeing more of. This story is predictable, but was executed really well, was entertaining, and was easy to get invested in. The filmmakers did a great job with this one, and I highly recommend checking it out.
1. “Avengers: Infinity War”
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is leading the Asgardians to their new home on Earth. On their journey, they are met by Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his forces. Thanos is searching for the Infinity Stones in an effort to save the universe. He believes the universe is overpopulated and does not have enough food or natural resources for everyone. Thanos is quite possibly the most powerful being in the galaxy, and he goes through Thor’s ship with little effort. Now he is headed straight for earth to retrieve two of the Infinity Stones.
Thanos has spent his life conquering planets and wiping out half of each civilization in an effort to save the universe from starvation and poverty. However, the Infinity Stones will let him do this on a much larger scale. He has tracked all of the Infinity Stones (except for the Soul Stone) and, while he has sent most of his forces to Earth to retrieve two of the Stones, he has also sent forces across the galaxy to retreive the others. While The Avengers are still disbanded, they are about to be met with their most difficult challenge yet. While Earth's mightiest heroes are dealing with the biggest fight of their lives, The Guardian's of the Galaxy are headed to Knowhere to retrieve the Reality Stone.
Grade: A+ (95pts)
Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of all the previous movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Over the past ten years, we have slowly been introduced to more and more heroes while also learning about the Infinity Stones and what they are capable of. The hype for this movie has been slowly building for the past decade and the movie honestly lives up to it. We get a great villain with Thanos, we get almost all of the heroes that we have loved over the past eighteen movies, and we get some truly epic action.
I am sure have seen the adds saying that this movie is a “spectacle”. Rest assured, this is no exaggeration. Not only do we get an incredible cast of heroes, we also get a menacing and compelling villain. Audiences will not agree with his methods but they will understand his goal as well as how desperate he is to achieve it. He is a compelling villain but he is also a menacing one. The filmmakers did the best they could with such a cluttered cast and we got a ton of great action sequences and entertaining banter. Marvel has had some great movies, but this is arguably their best one yet. Avengers: Infinity War is a must see movie event with iconic heroes, an epic villain, incredible action, funny (but not over-powering) comedy, and stakes higher than they have ever been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Best Movies from 2018
Avengers: Infinity War
A Quiet Place
A Star Is Born
Movie Beasts (author) from MA on February 05, 2019:
Hey Royce, thanks for the comment. I enjoyed “Mission Impossible: Fallout”, but I did not think it was THAT good. It was a solid movie, and left me hopeful for the franchise, but I did not think it was good enough for this list. I am glad you enjoyed it though!
Royce Proctor from Dallas, Texas on February 05, 2019:
Loved the list, but Mission Impossible Fallout at least deserved an honorable mention. Other than that I completely agree.
Movie Beasts (author) from MA on February 03, 2019:
Hey John, thanks for the comment and I am glad you enjoyed my list!
John Plocar from Weatherford on February 03, 2019:
Pretty solid list! I have a few of your picks for 'Best of the Year' on my list as well. Lol
Movie Beasts (author) from MA on February 03, 2019:
Hey Louise! Yeah I liked Christopher Robin a lot. I do not think enough people saw it, but it was a really good movie
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on February 03, 2019:
You've listed some good films here. Christopher Robin is my favourite in this list. =)