There are about to be a lot of best-of-the-year lists all up in your face. I want to be in your face too! But best-of lists are hard for me, a lowly freelancer who doesn’t get to see the all the top-shelf movie releases. The best movies of my year are not generally gonna be the absolute best stuff. Also, my beat tends to fall under “stuff geared towards women,” which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how much Hollywood hates women on any given week. This year I’ve seen some great stuff and I’ve seen some real garbage—20 reviews in all. Here they are, ranked from best to worst.
1. Mama Mia: Here We Go Again. For two hours, there was no bad in the world. The cinematic equivalent of puppies.
2. RBG. This documentary about a legal-badass-slash-catlike-internet-meme was awesome—not “awesome” like “tubular” but “awesome” like I’m slack-jawed in awe of this lady.
3. Crazy Rich Asians. It’s a top-notch rom-com any way you slice it; that it featured a not-white cast was just the icing on the cake.
4. Can you Ever Forgive Me? Women are complicated.
5. Ocean’s 8. Women break rules.
6. Life of the Party. Women party. (And Melissa McCarthy is a national treasure.)
7. Whitney. This was very powerful and very very sad.
8. Pick of the Litter. More puppies, but these ones are business puppies!
9. Juliet, Naked. An underrated, under-seen rom-com that is only this low on the list because the stuff above it is so great.
10. Half the Picture. An underrated, under-seen documentary that is only this low on the list because the stuff above it is so great.
11. Krystal. This indie flick is about a teen in love with an older woman, which is, yeah, sure, whatever, but there is an invisible demon component, which made it super fun.
12. The Gospel According to André. This is hard! I want this movie to be higher up, but I just don’t know where. This documentary about legendary style icon Andre Leon Talley was great, if maybe a little bit slow, I guess? I did like it, though.
13. Blockers. This movie about parents trying to stop their kids from having sex on prom night was loved by every critic except me. I thought it was creepy.
14. Sex Weather. Portland-made indie flick with the best title ever.
15. On Chesil Beach. I’d completely forgotten about this movie until I searched my author profile to remember what I’d written.
16. On the Basis of Sex. Review forthcoming, but here’s a preview: If you want to enjoy two hours of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, watch RBG instead.
17. Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Hell is for children.
18. Red Sparrow. Somehow Jennifer Lawrence as a ballerina spy sucked? How’d they even do that.
19. Fifty Shades Freed. The end of an mall-smut era! Smell ya later!
20. I Feel Pretty. Blech. All-around bummer.
Oh, and HONORABLE MENTION for Speed 2: Cruise Control, which, yes, came out in 1997, but I only saw it for the first time in 2018, and it was EXCELLENT, so it's important that I include it in my highlights of the year. (Please do not write off any of the opinions in the above movie reviews just because I told you that I really love Speed 2: Cruise Control, okay?)
See you in 2019!