And now we cut the shoot and write the piece that was happening sooner or later. Not to mention it will completely write itself. Here are my top five movies of 2018.
Avengers Infinity War
I wrote last year that seeing the first Avengers was probably the most fun I’ve had in a movie theater and is probably one of my favorite memories of my childhood. You got the feeling that you were watching something that shouldn’t work, something that shouldn’t be allowed. Some filmmakers got away with something that they should not have and we were lucky enough to witness it.
I had a similar experience watching Infinity War. It felt like my teenage years were accumulating to this moment; I was a giddy 12-year-old again watching the rules get broken. And that ending- holy shit did the entire theater fall apart. Those Russo brothers walked into the room and dropped their twin sets of balls on the table and told us to deal with it.
I don’t usually like scary movies because I despise jump scares. This movie had only one and my god did it earn that one. Hereditary terrified me and I loved it. There was one moment in particular where it absolutely held me in the palm of its hand and kept me there until I was shaking in my seat. It was awesome.
I like a good movie that misdirects me. (Semi-spoiler coming) Hereditary makes you wait and wait for something supernatural to happen and when you get about 75% through the movie and nothing does, you accept that it’s not going to happen. And then it does. In itself, having a horror movie that is perfectly scary without employing supernatural elements is an impressive feat.
In my college education so far, I’ve learned a little bit about German playwright Bertolt Brecht whose thing was direct address (directly addressing the audience, breaking the fourth wall, you get it) and denying the audience of closure so that at the end of his plays they felt the burning need to go out and fix the problem his plays presented. I’ve learned that Spike Lee adopts this method in his films and the latter part about deny closure really hits home in this film.
At the end, the protagonist has won and racism has been conquered. Huzzah! But then there’s the final sequence that reminds the audience that racism is very much not dead. It’s rampant and frankly not at all better than you saw it depicted in the movie you just watched which takes place decades earlier. What are you gonna do about it? Cut to black.
This one was particularly enjoyable because I got to smugly enter and leave the theater being like, “I read the book y’know.” Again, I like a good movie that tells me to go fuck myself. This was beautiful sci-fi that denied the viewer of any satisfaction of explaining what they were seeing. All you know is that whatever the hell is on the screen is beautiful, wild, and terrifying. The ending of this movie kind of felt like some poems, where you read it and it makes you feel some type of way but it isn’t exactly saying anything specific. I can imagine some people would find that annoying but boy was this a good poem.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
I walked out of the theater a kinder and more peaceful person. My dad and I went to a restaurant right after and I was calm and cuddly inside. Never has a film made me want to be so good. I’m too young to have been of fan of Mr. Rogers during his peak and during his later years, but Neighbor inserted that cute man into my childhood, present and future. I have found a new religion and my Jesus wears cardigans.
Honorable mention: Ready Player One
It was fun and looked pretty. Mark Rylance is an (inter)national treasure. “It was never about winning- it was just about playing the game” really punched me in the heart. That is all.
I look forward to writing this piece yearly until I die. Get amped.