Sunday, February 24, 2019

Top 10 Movies of 2018

It's been five years since I‘ve been able to sit down and write my quick spoiler-free reviews. But with my pregnant wife at home on bedrest waiting for our second son’s arrival, and our Netflix and Hulu binge-lists shortening rapidly, we’ve had some time to catch up on movies we missed in theaters. As per usual, it’s tough for me to compare the best, cinematic “see-it” masterpieces to my favorite, rewatchable, “buy-it” Blu-rays and digital downloads... but here’s my take on the top films of the year:
  1. A Star is Born: This musical tear-jerker also features the year’s top performances by Bradley Cooper as a drunken-rockstar-turned-romantic and Lady Gaga’s strong-yet-down-to-earth-(at least compared to the typical Gaga)-waitress turned viral sensation. Hands down the “best” film of the year no matter if you’re a renowned film critic, MoviePass-holding cinephile, or once-a-year renter.
  2. A Quiet Place: Shh... I've got a secret to tell you. It's not only the best horror movie of the year but also worthy of a spot in my top 20 “favorite” films of all-time! John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s real-life love pours over into this terrifying fictional world where you can’t make a noise, or else....
  3. Free Solo: Watching professional rock climber Alex Honnold attempt the first free solo (aka rope-less) climb of the infamous 3,200ft vertical wall nicknamed El Cap at Yosemite National Park was the most intense film let alone documentary I’ve seen since “The Act of Killing.”
  4. Black Panther: Don’t get me wrong, Black Panther was a great, important, fun film — probably the best Marvel movie since the original Iron Man — and it may actually win the Oscar for Best Picture thanks to the Academy Awards' preferential voting system... but, it wasn’t the best picture of the year.
  5. Widows: Despite the powerhouse cast and 91% reviews on RottenTomatoes, this cops-and-robbers movie failed to steal the hearts of America or make bank at the box office. But only marketing can be to blame because everything about this twisty film was shocking and amazing.
  6. Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse: A surprising unformulaic entry into the Marvel universe and hands-down the best animated movie of the year worthy of one of the ten possible Oscar nominations for Best Picture.
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody: If you weren’t a huge Queen fan already you will be after falling in love with Rami Malek’s performance (in every sense of the word) as Freddie Mercury. I’m not sure if lip-syncing or actually singing makes him a better “actor” but either way this film rocks.
  8. Searching: One of the most unique suspense films you’ll ever see. Follow a desperate father (an atypically dramatic role played by John Cho) through the lens of a webcam and Skype-like screenshares as he searches online for his 16-year-old daughter.
  9. First Man: Like Titanic, it doesn’t matter if you think you know how the Neil Armstrong moon-landing ends because you haven’t seen the drama played out by the six-time Academy Award®-winning LaLaLand duo of director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling.
  10. Creed 2: Even you’ve never seen Creed 1 (which you should) or any of the Rocky films (which you should, especially the first three), you won’t be able to throw in your towel of tears during the final round of the riveting fight between the sons of Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago.

    There were A LOT of great films this year. It was hard to leave the wonderful documentary “RBG” about notorious U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg out of my top ten. And the same goes for Green Book’s powerful story inspired by the unique real-life 1960’s friendship between a world-class African-American pianist and his Italian-American driver. But the line has to be drawn somewhere. Here are the honorable mentions to round out my top 25 movies of the year:
  11. RBG
  12. Green Book
  13. Molly’s Game
  14. Chappaquidick
  15. Mission Impossible: Fallout
  16. Avengers: Infinity War
  17. Halloween
  18. Incredibles 2
  19. Bumblebee
  20. Roma
  21. Hereditary
  22. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  23. Leave No Trace
  24. The Favourite
  25. Roma
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments:

My top 100 favorite films

Top 100 Favorite Films

What makes a movie worthy of a spot on your top ten list?

If you've read my top 100 best movies list you know my definition of "best" differs from "favorite". But how do you define "favorite"?

I am sure your list is different than mine, and my list is different than his, and his list is different from hers. The fact of the matter is...

No one agrees on the best movies of all time. No one's favorite movies are the same. No one's genre preferences are the same. And no one's favorite actors are the same. So no one's list is the same.

"List-worthy" films are combination of best-films and favorite-films specific to each person, personality and personal experiences. The best movies of all time are difficult to separate from your favorite movies of all time. You favorite movies are the ones you can't turn the channel from when you catch it halfway through on TBS. While your best movies list is simply compiled of the most critically acclaimed films you've actually seen.

But honestly, most people don't agree with critics. Most people haven't even seen this year's Academy Award nominees. Most people just go see what their cineholic friend suggested, or what their co-workers were talking about around the water cooler. Most people fall for the hype. But often times, box office numbers even lie.

A movie isn't "list-worthy" just because there's a trailer on TV every hour, it's starring 5 Oscar winners, plus Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, itís directed by Martin Scorsese and was produced by Steven Spielberg. And just because a critic gives it "two thumbs up" and calls it "the best movie this decade" doesn't guarantee it a spot on your list either.

"List-worthy" movies are a mix of everything. You can't make your own list without including opinions and rebuttals to someone else's list. I don't know if you consider me a legit critic, but Richard Roeper is, and I'm sure your list is different than his, his list is different from hers, and her list is different from mine:
  1. Star Wars: Episode V - Empire Strikes Back 
  2. Inception 
  3. The Godfather 
  4. Fight Club 
  5. The Dark Knight 
  6. Dumb and Dumber 
  7. Pulp Fiction 
  8. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut 
  9. Braveheart 
  10. Silence of the Lambs 
  11. The Notebook 
  12. The Incredibles
  13. Great Expectations 
  14. Saving Private Ryan 
  15. Last of the Mohicans 
  16. Monty Python and the Holy Grail 
  17. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope 
  18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  19. A Quiet Place
  20. Arrival
  21. The Wolf of Wall Street
  22. Finding Nemo 
  23. Fool's Gold 
  24. Inglorious Basterds 
  25. Shawshank Redemption 
  26. Heat 
  27. The Social Network 
  28. The Lego Movie
  29. Usual Suspects 
  30. Gladiator 
  31. Predator 
  32. Garden State 
  33. Pacific Rim
  34. Toy Story 3 
  35. Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade 
  36. Memento 
  37. Interstellar
  38. Guardians of the Galaxy
  39. The Avengers 
  40. Shrek 
  41. Goodfellas 
  42. Apocalypse Now Redux 
  43. Se7en 
  44. Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi 
  45. The Ring 
  46. Good Will Hunting 
  47. Serendipity 
  48. Lord of the Rings 3 - The Return of the King 
  49. The Matrix 
  50. Drive
  51. Schindler's List 
  52. The Beach 
  53. American History X 
  54. The Bourne Ultimatum 
  55. Watchmen 
  56. Monsters Inc. 
  57. A Perfect Getaway 
  58. Batman Begins 
  59. Pretty Woman 
  60. Forrest Gump 
  61. Paranormal Activity 
  62. Back to the Future 1 
  63. The Exorcist 
  64. Kill Bill: Volume 1 
  65. Black Swan 
  66. Into the Blue 
  67. Groundhog Day 
  68. Get Out
  69. Creed
  70. Snatch 
  71. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark 
  72. The Big Lebowski 
  73. Scarface 
  74. The Sixth Sense 
  75. Big Fish 
  76. Reservoir Dogs 
  77. Mothman Prophecies 
  78. Pirates of the Caribbean 1: The Curse of the Black Pearl 
  79. 300 
  80. X-Men: First Class 
  81. Rocky 
  82. Avatar 
  83. Die Hard 
  84. American Beauty 
  85. Star Trek (2009) 
  86. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith 
  87. Aliens 
  88. Lord of the Rings 1 - The Fellowship of the Ring 
  89. Jaws 
  90. Up 
  91. Kill Bill: Volume 2 
  92. Troy 
  93. The Hangover 
  94. Stand By Me 
  95. Titanic 
  96. The Departed 
  97. Bourne Identity 
  98. I Am Legend 
  99. Back to the Future 2 
  100. Requiem for a Dream 

Honorable mentions:
  • The Cabin in the Woods
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Sin City
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Amadeus
  • Donnie Darko 
  • Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers 
  • Into the Wild 
  • Ratatouille 
  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall 
  • Wall-E 
  • The Lion King 
  • Fargo
  • Wizard of Oz 
  • Casino 
  • Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom 
  • Twelve Monkeys 
  • The Shining 
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest 
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 
  • Mystic River 
  • E.T. 
  • Toy Story 
  • There Will Be Blood 
  • Bladerunner 
  • V for Vendetta 

Last updated: 2/24/2019

Top 100 best films according to a movie-watching millennial

Top 100 Best Movies

If you've read my top 100 favorite movies list you know my definition of a favorite, or "list-worthy" film. The best films are different.
The best films, according to me, a movie-watching millennial, are those films post-1980 that a person born post 1975 could remember seeing in theaters. And they're not only the films they "could" remember (studies say humans remember major events around age 5), they are the films they "do" remember.
These are the films that left a lasting memory on me -- this is my cinefile of the best films of my time:
  1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  2. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  3. Schindler's List (1993)
  4. Inception (2010)
  5. The Dark Knight (2008)
  6. Star Wars: Episode V - Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
  8. Fight Club (1999)
  9. The Incredibles (2004)
  10. Snatch (2000)
  11. Goodfellas (1990)
  12. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  13. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  14. Gravity (2013)
  15. The Matrix (1999)
  16. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  17. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  18. Se7en (1995)
  19. The Social Network (2010)
  20. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  21. Braveheart (1995)
  22. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (2002)
  23. Memento (2000)
  24. Forrest Gump (1994)
  25. Back to the Future (1985)
  26. Toy Story 3 (2010)
  27. Arrival (2016)
  28. Dunkirk (2017)
  29. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  30. American History X (1998)
  31. Good Will Hunting (1997)
  32. American Beauty (1999)
  33. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  34. Gladiator (2000)
  35. WALL-E (2008)
  36. The Shining (1980)
  37. Avatar (2009)
  38. Up (2009)
  39. A Star is Born (2018)
  40. The Pianist (2002)
  41. The Departed (2006)
  42. Aliens (1986)
  43. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
  44. Argo (2012)
  45. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  46. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  47. The Prestige (2006)
  48. The Green Mile (1999)
  49. Pacific Rim (2013)
  50. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
  51. Amadeus (1984)
  52. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
  53. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  54. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
  55. A Quiet Place (2018)
  56. Black Swan (2010)
  57. Iron Man (2008)
  58. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
  59. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
  60. Icarus (2017)
  61. Die Hard (1988)
  62. Sin City (2005)
  63. Batman Begins (2005)
  64. L.A. Confidential (1997)
  65. Heat (1995)
  66. Blade Runner (1982)
  67. No Country for Old Men (2007)
  68. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  69. Free Solo (2018)
  70. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  71. The Lion King (1994)
  72. The Big Lebowski (1998)
  73. Toy Story (1995)
  74. Donnie Darko (2001)
  75. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
  76. Platoon (1986)
  77. Into the Wild (2007)
  78. Black Panther (2018)
  79. Rain Man (1988)
  80. X-Men: First Class (2011)
  81. Scarface (1983)
  82. Trainspotting (1996)
  83. Groundhog Day (1993)
  84. Finding Nemo (2003)
  85. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
  86. The Terminator (1984)
  87. Casino (1995)
  88. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
  89. Get Out (2017)
  90. Stand by Me (1986)
  91. V for Vendetta (2006)
  92. Ratatouille (2007)
  93. Prisoners (2013)
  94. Star Trek (2009)
  95. Mystic River (2003)
  96. Inside Out (2015)
  97. Big Fish (2003)
  98. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
  99. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  100. The Cove (2009)
Honorable Mentions:
  • Monsters, Inc. (2001)
  • Shutter Island (2010)
  • Fargo (1996)
  • The Truman Show (1998)
  • The Wrestler (2008)
  • 12 Monkeys (1995)
  • Wonder Woman (2017)
  • RBG (2018)
  • Let the Right One In (2008)
  • Gran Torino (2008)
  • Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri (2017)
Last updated: 2/24/2018