So far, 2018 has given us brilliant films such as A Quiet Place, Sorry To Bother You and BlacKkKlansman. Both received cinematic stays and tons of pre-release publicity to let movie-goers know of their releases. What about the movies that weren’t shoved down our throats by Hollywood or the ones that didn’t do as well as they deserved in the box office? This list counts down the best movies of 2018 you may have missed.
SEE NUMBERS 15-8 HERE.
Lisa (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is an aspiring poet who is unable to impress her teacher Simon (Gael García Bernal) with her work. While waiting for a straggling caregiver to pick up the remaining child in her kindergarten class, she hears the young boy named Jimmy (Parker Sevak) mumble a poem under his breath. Lisa is amazed at his poetic ability and is adamant on helping him reach his full potential in this art despite his father’s disapproval. At her afternoon poetry class, she reads Jimmy’s poem aloud as her own and receives incredible feedback. Lisa becomes so obsessed with the kindergartner that she volunteers to watch him after school and takes him to a poetry meeting without permission, which leads to even more drastic measures.
Maggie Gyllenhaal delivers a remarkable performance as the lead for Sara Colangelo’s American recreation of Nadav Lapid’s Israeli film. Gyllenhaal captures the heart and soul of her character and elegantly depicts Lisa, a seemingly sane woman whose decision-making abilities get more and more clouded as her obsession with a child prodigy grows. This role was made just for her.
When they were kids, Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) and Justin (Justin Benson), escaped from a cult which they believed was planning a mass suicide. Now adults who are still struggling to adapt to living in the real world, the two receive a videotape from the cult and, after a lot of persuasion from the youngest Aaron, the two decide to head back and check out what they’ve been missing all this time. When they arrive, they notice a lot of strange things going on around the site, but even still, one brother desires to stay and rejoin the cult that they had run from many years prior.
The duo of Benson and Moorhead is a force to be reckoned with. They are stepping up the game in the science fiction genre with this supernatural thriller. It’s a mystery, to say the least, but you’ll find yourself glued to your seat with your eyes stuck to the screen as you learn more and more about the odd happenings surrounding the cult.
Collin (Daveed Diggs) has three days left until he is finally off probation, so despite needing to stay squeaky clean, his white best friend Miles (Rafael Casal) always knows how to bring the trouble. On his way home from work one night, Collin is stopped at a red light and witnesses a white police officer shooting and killing an unarmed black man right next to him. He leaves the scene, saying nothing about it to anyone except Miles for fear of being sent back to jail. As Collin is haunted by this crime, he begins to question his relationship with his co-worker and best friend until things finally come to a boiling point.
Not only did Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal do an astounding job bringing their characters to life, but they also wrote the script. Blindspotting tells a powerful story, sometimes using verses of rap, while spilling in a mixture of side-splitting humor and intense, well-acted scenes. Diggs and Casal have outstanding chemistry and they handle each line with care, making this a must-watch.
4. Eighth Grade
It’s the last week of eighth grade and then thirteen-year-old Kayla (Elsie Fisher) will be going to high school. As she prepares for this transition, she makes videos that she posts online, offering helpful tips and tricks to surviving adolescence, which she sometimes has a hard time following herself. She tries to come out of her shell, but the boy she’s crushing on barely notices her, a high-schooler she was talking to attempted to take advantage of her and the girls that she tried to befriend were snobby brats who wanted nothing to do with her. With a kind push from her father (Josh Hamilton) Kayla becomes determined to open up and find friends who accept her as the shy and awkward girl that she is.
Elsie Fisher is the perfect face of this film. Her portrayal of Kayla was so accurate and spot on because it provided comedy, teenage angst and realism. Eighth Grade is writer/director Bo Burnham’s first feature film, yet he somehow manages to produce excellence. He created something so incredibly relatable that I felt like I was watching a video of my own middle school years. Eighth Grade is an entertaining and hilarious work of art that a lot of people will enjoy.
Starr (Amandla Stenberg) is two different people. She acts one way at her home in a mostly black neighborhood ruled by a drug dealing gang called the King Lords and another way at her mostly white prep school. After leaving a party one night, Starr and her childhood best friend Khalil (Algee Smith) are pulled over by a white policeman, which sets off a chain of events leading to Khalil’s death. Terrified of what her classmates might think and what her uncle, a member of the King Lords, will do if she speaks out, Starr remains silent. As the film progresses, she believes that her vow of silence was a mistake and learns that she has to fight for what she believes in and speak out again violence.
This is possibly the most powerful, eye-opening film of 2018 and it serves as a wake-up call for both the youths and adults in our nation. The Hate U Give tackles important, real-world issues and inspires its audience to speak out and stand up for what is right without passing all the blame to any one group in particular. If there is ever a movie that every single person in America needs to sit down and watch, this is it.
2. Beautiful Boy
Based on the novel of the same name by David Sheff and his son Nic’s Tweak: Growing Up On Methamphetamines, Beautiful Boy is the true story of David Sheff’s (Steve Carell) long-time fight to save his son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) from losing himself completely to the drugs. Relapse after relapse, his hope dwindles and he becomes so engulfed in his eldest son’s struggles that they get in the way of his relationship with his wife and two other children. Even still, he refuses to give up.
Carell and Chalamet take their roles and run with them, giving their portrayals of these two real-life men everything they have. Beautiful Boy inspires hope, spreads encouragement and shows any viewers who are struggling with addiction or who have loved ones going through this that they are not alone. This masterpiece does a phenomenal job at showing addicts what their loved ones are going through and showing loved ones what their addicts are going through.
1. 6 Balloons
Katie (Abbi Jacobson) is setting up a surprise party for her boyfriend, but because her father didn’t pick up her brother Seth (Dave Franco) like planned, she must go to his motel room and bring him and his young daughter back to the party. Upon arrival, she becomes suspicious of him and soon learns that he has, once again, relapsed on heroin. Putting her plans on hold, she drives across the city to find a rehab for Seth, once again put in the unfair position to save him from his addiction.
What’s so fascinating about this film is that, unlike other drug movies, 6 Balloons takes place solely from the sister’s point of view instead of the addict’s. When writing this, I noticed another interesting fact. While Beautiful Boy is a story about never giving up on a loved one who struggles with addiction, this movie is the exact opposite and instead teaches the message that sometimes you have to let go. Writer/director Marja-Lewis Ryan refuses to shy away from the raw and real hardships of heroin addicts while focusing on the tough challenges and decisions that loved ones must make for their own sake.