Top 5 Movies of 2018

21 Dec
Sorry to bother you

Sorry to bother you

It’s December, the Golden Globe nominations are out, and oh, I still can’t get the song “Shallow” out of my head. It’s a time to reflect on the past year, and that includes looking back on a particularly great group of movies that I saw this year. Before reading my very eclectic list below, check out my picks from previous years: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Sorry to Bother You: What a weird, wonderful movie this was. I imagine that watching Pulp Fiction in 1994 was a little bit like watching this, knowing that you’re watching a fresh, original voice express a bold vision onscreen. Boots Riley, of Oakland rap group The Coup, directed this story of Cash Green, a young telemarketer who finds success using his “white” voice. The vision of a not-so-distant future where people opt in to slavery is bold, but the struggle of whether to stand by one’s friends or sell out and make money? That is timeless.

Crazy Rich Asians: This romantic comedy was like many others- money and family threatens to tear apart two lovers. But Crazy Rich Asians was groundbreaking in several ways: an all-star Asian cast, including a charismatic performance by the Cary Grant-esque Henry Golding, a lush Singaporean setting, and clever, sure direction by Jon Chu. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Place Publique: In-flight movies do two things for me-they either lull me to sleep or keep me awake. As I flew over the Atlantic this summer, Air France gave me the opportunity to watch a plethora of French movies. Place Publique, directed by Agnes Jaoui, was exactly my kind of light, breezy summer movie- the entire film takes place during a party populated by producers, TV weather girls, YouTube celebrities, and starstruck yokels, among others. It’s both very funny and very insightful about the nature of fame and celebrity.

A Star is Born: Some people scoff at anything that is popular and successful. They figure only obscure art with limited appeal can be good. A Star is Born is a remake of a remake of a remake; a timeless story about fame, addiction and love. I can’t compare this version to any of the previous ones. But to me, the music- country, pop ballad and dance pop-along with expert pacing and direction by Bradley Cooper make the story sing. That, and phenomenal acting by Cooper and Lady Gaga, at whose altar I worship.

Roma: Alfonso Cuarón has directed two masterpieces- Children of Men and now Roma. Though named after the Mexico City neighborhood where Cuarón grew up (and which I know well), the movie title evokes the languid cinema of Italian directors. Based on the director’s memories of childhood, the story unfolds more as a series of remembered moments than as a traditional, linear narrative. The roar of planes flying overhead. The panic of losing sight of a child on a crowded street. The clunky old car that never quite fit in the garage. These moments are told with arresting visuals. But more than the sights and sounds of 1970’s urban Mexico, Roma is about the intersecting lives of two women, Sofía and Cleo, but more specifically Cleo, as both are abandoned by men. Roma is a story about gender, class, the startling brutality of political violence, and the way we remember the past, both personal and political. I thought it was stunning.

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One Response to “Top 5 Movies of 2018”

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  1. Green Book, a true throwback | The Lebanexican - January 9, 2019

    […] it is happening in a year when Black Kkklansman by Spike Lee, Blindspotting by Daveed Diggs, Sorry to Bother You by Boots Riley, If Beale Street Could Talk by Barry Jenkins and Black Panther by Ryan Coogler all […]

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