This has been a pretty incredible year for movies. So much good stuff has made it to the big screen and Katie and I have been able to watch a lot of it. A lot more than we normally would have. So I have plenty to choose from for Kevin’s 7: Movies list.
In all, I saw 30 theatrical releases this year be it on the big screen or a library checkout or a Blu-ray purchase. Sure, there are still a bunch I would’ve liked to have seen that I think would’ve stood a chance of making the cut, but, alas...
The Lower 7:
Welcome to the second tier of 2018 movies!
14. A Quiet Place
I liked this John Krasinski starring/directing/writing turn a lot when I initially saw it but as I started talking about it with Katie and other friends and coworkers, we began poking holes in it that made it drop further down the list. But it still has enough staying power to not get dropped completely.
13. Ralph Breaks the Internet
I’ve now seen this Wreck-It Ralph sequel twice and I liked it a lot more the second time around. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that jazz. But it was still a letdown from the original.
12. Ant-Man and the Wasp
I really have grown to love the Ant-Man pair of films. Paul Rudd is the unlikeliest of superheroes but he pulls it off so well. And his band of Merry ne’er-do-wells, fronted by Michael Peña, steal every scene they’re in. Plus, Ghost (Hannah-John Kamen) has to be one of the best villains in the MCU.
11. Deadpool 2
I was torn by the first Deadpool film when I first saw it. I really cannot stand the character in comic books and that fact alone made me not want to see it. I watched it and, while not as bad as I expected, it still wasn’t enough to make me excited about a sequel. But I went with a bunch of comic-loving coworkers and loved it. It was a blast! And both Josh Brolin as Cable and Zazie Beets as Domino were magnificent.
10. Crazy Rich Asians
I never got to see this romcom in theaters unlike Katie who saw it two or three times and loved it. So when it came out on Blu-ray, I bought it for her and we watched it together. Sure, it’s pretty standard insofar as romcoms go but it was a lot of fun to watch all the same. And our enjoyment of this and star Constance Wu has Katie and I wanting to go back and watch her sitcom Fresh Off the Boat from the beginning.
9. Creed II
Before a month or so ago, I hadn’t seen a new Rocky-related film since Rocky IV. No Rocky V, no Rocky Balboa, and no Creed (although this last one was a film I really really wanted to see). I finally saw the first Creed a month before seeing this and loved everything about it. Then I saw this and enjoyed it nearly as much. This is such a worthy sequel to both Rocky IV and Creed.
8. Solo: A Star Wars Story
This Han Solo stand-alone film is one whose ranking on my list is helped entirely by low expectations. I went in not even truly wanting the film to have been made but saw it because I will not miss a Star Wars film on the big screen. And it was good; not great, but good. I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the portrayals of basically all the characters. Recasting iconic roles such as Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lando (Donald Glover) is dangerous business, but it was handled well.
The Upper 7:
Welcome to the best of the best, at least as far as I've determined them.
7. Bad Times at the El Royale
Here is a film about which I knew absolutely nothing going in but went with coworkers (we’ve seen three movies this year and plan to do it more regularly) and loved it. Bad Times is a film about strangers coming together at an old motel on the California/Nevada border where bad occurrences will bind them for life... if they live through the night.
6. Molly’s Game
Molly (Jessica Chastain) is a failed Olympic slalom skier who, in order to cobble together a living becomes hostess to illegal high-stakes poker games. This will be a controversial selection because it was released for awards consideration in late 2017. However, since IMDb lists the release date as January 5, 2018, and I would have no way otherwise to see it, 2018 it is. This movie grabbed me immediately and didn’t let go beginning to end. Chastain is amazing as is the sickeningly talented Idris Elba.
5. Love, Simon
Here is a second entry that Katie saw multiple times in theaters but I never got to see until she and I watched it at home when she bought the Blu-ray on the day it was released. Such a great coming of age film about a teenager struggling with his unreleased homosexuality amidst friends, family, classmates, and administrators who all assume he’s straight. Nick Robinson is inspired casting as Simon and the film really pulls no punches at all. It can be watched over and over again.
I went out last night and got my viewing of what probably constitutes my most anticipated film of 2018 in just under the wire. So worth it on every level. In what amounts to a semi-reboot of the Transformers series of films, Bumblebee is sent to Earth as Cybertron falls (a la Superman being sent from Krypton) to protect it as a future base of operations for the Autobots. What ensues is a deep friendship between Bee and the human girl who finds him all while two Decepticons hunt him with the help of U.S. Special Forces. It is so much fun with a lot of great action, comedy, and even emotional depth. Worth every penny.
3. Black Panther
I can’t really say any more about this masterpiece of a film that hasn’t already been said. I will add, though, that it holds up well to repeated viewings and you will find yourself discovering greater depth to it both in terms of acting and visuals.
2. Bohemian Rhapsody
Wow! What a great biopic of one of my all-time favorite bands, Queen, and my all-time favorite vocalist, Freddie Mercury. This film spans from just prior to Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) joining the band to their performance at Live Aid and all the sordid goodness in between. My only question is how well it will hold up to multiple viewings.
1. The Incredibles 2
14 years in the making, this Pixar superhero sequel was definitely eagerly awaited and well received. And the star of it was Elastigirl (Holly Hunter)!!! She’s such an amazing character and owned her upgraded role. We watched this at least three times in theaters and probably a half dozen more since its Blu-ray release.
Time to start populating my 2019 must-see movie list.