Mark’s Favorite Movies of 2018 Feat. Paddington 2, Incredibles 2 & More

by | Jan 3, 2019

What a year 2018 was!  All kinds of wonderful and not-so-wonderful movies and it’s always fun to look back and see which ones were my favorites.   Bear in mind, that these are just the things I’ve seen and reviewed so if you see something that you think should have won (or at least been nominated), either I didn’t have a chance to review it or I DID review it but would like to pretend that it didn’t exist.

Also, minor spoilers ahead.  Fair warning.

Most Gorgeous

Wow, this was a great year for truly beautiful films.  Everything looked so good. Whether it’s amazing colour or breathtaking shots and scenery, there were many more films than the four nominees below.  But which was actually best?

  • Fantastic Beasts:  The Crimes of Grindelwald – for the lovely rendering of imaginary critters and crazy magical scenes
  • Mortal Engines – for the steampunk gloriousness of walking cities in a refreshingly original world
  • Ready Player One – for the insanely detailed and loving representations of pop-culture icons through the ages in a futuristic internet game
  • The Nutcracker and The Four Realms – for the amazing depictions of the Nutcracker Universe and the worlds of Sweets, Snow, Flower and… Ginger.

Best Horror/Thriller

I’m so happy about the amount of scary movies that have come out this year.  There have been years where I’d struggle to get four nominees but for 2018 I had some to choose between.  Here are the four best, but there can only be one:

  • A Quiet Place – for the relentless struggle against monsters that can kill you if you make the slightest sound
  • Hereditary – for the soul-crushing fight between a family and the subtle forces of evil
  • The Nun – for one priest’s battle against a demonic nun in the Conjuring universe
  • Overlord – for a squad’s mission to stop terrible experiments that create monsters in WWII

Biggest Letdown

Not all films are destined for greatness.  Some just accept their Suck and fade quietly into obscurity, while others swing for the fences and struggle against their obvious shortcomings.   This is a list of films that Really Tried and I honestly wanted to like every one of them. Interesting to note, three out of four of these nominees specifically thanked their audience in a short segment before the show.   But which one sucked the hardest?

  • Mary Poppins Returns – for its terrible pacing and unstoppable enthusiasm resulting in Torture By Musical Number
  • A Wrinkle In Time – for its level headed attempt to make a crypto-religious film for a secular audience that made no sense whatsoever
  • Tomb Raider – for its attempt to reboot Laura Croft in a way that takes all the magic out of it
  • Slender Man – for its attempt to make every single one of its 93 minutes scary and ensuring only annoyed exhaustion.

Best Fan Service

Sex sells or at least it used to.  These days I can’t be sure – is that still a thing? It seems like there was a distinct lack of semi-nudity in films and that’s a shame.  Still, some of the nominees here had such magnificent Fan Service that it seems the overall annual level of Fan Service remains the same.  Which was the handsomest film?

  • Black Panther – for Michael B. Jordan’s retainer-breaking performance as Erik Killmonger
  • Bad Times at The El Royale – for Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of the most charismatic cult leader, ever
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp  – for Paul Rudd, in a cast, in a bathtub
  • Deadpool 2 – for Josh Brolin’s sexy badassed cyborg

Best Animated Picture

I started this category because animated films had an unfair advantage over Live Action in competing for my affections.  Animation is just better in every way and by sheer coincidence, all of these were very funny. The four of these are the best films 2018 had to offer but one must be a clear winner.

  • Ralph Breaks the Internet – Wreck-it Ralph is back again and this time, he’s online
  • Hotel Transylvania 3 – the hilarious adventures of the Dracula family continue
  • Smallfoot – Channing Tatum as an abominable snowman facing a funny and charming existential crisis
  • Incredibles 2 – Pixar’s latest, with Bob and Helen still keeping the family together while facing terrible, world-ending danger.

Best Live Action Picture

This is sort of a Best Overall category.  While other films might be good at one thing or another, these four candidates are the whole package.  Good writing, entertaining characters, good action, good special effects. And all CGI aside, they are all Life Action.   Four are called, only one can win.

  • Pacific Rim: Uprising – for its spectacular use of scale in this Giant Robots versus Kaiju extravaganza
  • Venom – for its highly entertaining story about a man and his symbiote and their battle against Bad Symbiotes.
  • Paddington 2 – the strange and unexpectedly good story of a bear and his marmalade
  • Solo:  A Star Wars Story – the underrated Han Solo origin story and how he made the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs, whatever that was.

And the winners are:

Most GorgeousMortal Engines.  I loved the look of this film, beginning to end.  

Runner up: Ready Player One.

Best Horror/ThrillerA Quiet Place. This one stuck with me long after the show was over, leaving the theater trying not to make a single sound.  It was so good.

Runner up: Overlord.

Biggest LetdownTomb Raider.  What a disappointment.  Worse in every way than the thing it tried to reboot.  

Runner up: Slender Man, which was equally terrible, but not unexpectedly so.

Best Fan ServiceBad Times at The El Royale.  Good lord, Chris Hemsworth, thank you for showing us how it’s done.   

Runner Up: Black Panther, at a very close and very deserving second.

Best Animated PictureIncredibles 2, it was just so good.  Why does Pixar always win these?  

Runner Up: Smallfoot, which was a sleeper hit for me.

Best Live Action PicturePaddington 2.  Look, I don’t have an explanation for this.  It was just far more excellent than it had any right to be.

Runner Up: Venom, whose only fault was it didn’t show enough Tom Hardy.

Well that’s it for this year.  Before I go, I’d like to give you a few Honorable mentions:  aka stuff I saw and wish I’d reviewed.

  • The House with a Clock in its Walls 
  • Annihilation
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

These would have won at least a category each but I was either lazy or didn’t see them in time.  Go see ‘em.