Best Films of 2018

Movies made 2018 somewhat tolerable for me. Judging by 2018’s record box office receipts, it seems like films made the year tolerable for the lot of you.

Here comes the hard part: choosing 10 of my favorite films of the year and ranking them by way of preference. This is my sixth time composing this year-end list and it doesn’t get any easier when the slate is this good.

I will fight anyone who says 2018 was a lame year for movies. From small and independent fare that wended their way into the mainstream conscience (A Quiet Place, Hereditary), to big budget extravaganzas that delivered the hype and obliterated expectations (Black Panther, M:I – Fallout), to Oscar dramas that wound up becoming event films in and of themselves (A Star Is Born, Roma). The past year in movies may be set and done but it nonetheless sets the bar astronomically high for 2019. These were the best movies of 2018 IMO:  Continue reading

Best Films of 2017

You’d think that by having done these best film lists before that I’d be a pro at hand-picking ten movies. Truth is, this gets harder every year. It didn’t help that 2017 was such a mammoth year in film, though I suppose that’s a good thing because it was an excuse to be a shut-in (as if I needed an excuse) and indulge my obsession and in general just not step outside for a few weeks, which I wouldn’t recommend. I’m exhausted, frail, AND all caught up. Here’s a look back on the past year in film before I put 2017 in my rearview for good.  Continue reading

Best Films of 2016

I may be a bit late to the party considering the Golden Globes aired last Sunday, but the Oscars won’t be announcing their nominations until the 24th so we’ll say this list was right on time. Then again, I’m not a member of the Academy so screeners don’t get sent my way. I have to watch movies the old-fashioned way – guilt-tripping my friends into coming with me then bribing them with food (you offer to buy dinner after the movie, so they have to stay). Here are the top ten films I gladly coerced people into seeing with me.  Continue reading

Best Films of 2015

2015 was yet another fascinating year for film, which made composing this year-end list that much harder. It hurts to select ten movies; it’s even more agonizing to go about ranking them. For me, it’s a factor of two things: emotion and staying power. Any film can impact you in the moment. But the truly great ones stay with you long after you’ve left the theater. That is how I define great cinema. Here are the most memorable cinematic experiences I had in 2015.

  1. The Big Short the-big-short

Adam McKay’s first foray into drama is as irreverent and wonderfully madcap as any of his feature comedies, but with a much sharper focus. The Big Short isn’t just a scathing indictment of the system, it’s a critique on our own indifference. We got so comfortable in our collective disgust towards Wall Street that we failed to see the doomsday clock ticking right in front of us. We disarmed ourselves by obsessing over YouTube, smartphones, and the next reality TV star. With a bit of irony, McKay pokes fun at our fixation on celebrities by bringing in surprise cameos like Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez to break the fourth wall and deliver the blood-boiling truth behind the collapse. You can almost feel McKay’s serrated comedy edge cutting into your skin as you’re bellying over with laughter. Christian Bale disappears into yet another dynamic role; Ryan Gosling matches McKay’s satiric bite; and Steve Carrell gives a soulful performance. The Big Short is as entertaining as it is infuriating. You almost forget that these characters profited from the nation’s financial meltdown. Almost.  Continue reading

Best Films of 2014: Runner-Ups

Earlier this month, I released a list of my top ten films of 2014. And I will reiterate: it wasn’t an easy list to make. The list changed dramatically with each film I saw because there were so many to sift through. I realize now that it is unfair to toss these films aside because they deserve a chance to shine on their own. What I have compiled here is another list of films, in no particular order, that either came close or were simply ones I had to wait for wide release. Without further ado, here are the runner-ups. Continue reading