Anniversary 2018: The Top 5 Movies of the Past Year (For Whatever Reason) – Best Of
I haven’t posted a single movie review on I Just Hate Everything in the past year.
I’m sorry. I know how important it is to have a stranger complain to you about movies on the Internet. It’s the reason why I subscribe to r/movies.
But of course, I’m still human. And a human with not much of a social life. So yes, I’ve still been watching movies, and my gift to you is a list of ones that I watched in the past twelve months that have been memorable for me.
Unlike last year, however, I’ve got some honourable mentions, baby:
- Valerian: Endlessly imaginative and truly breathtaking world building. If only the story was worthy of it all.
- Some Freaks: I was a bit late to get to this one, but it was a compelling little movie about the insecurities within us all.
- Don’t Talk To Irene: Literal indie perfection. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
- Call Me By Your Name: This is a heartbreaker. It was so close to making the list. But much like the Movie Bitches said, it could have used a little more Italy porn, and a little more gay porn.
Enough with the losers, let’s get to some winners.
Oh, but honey, we’re not done with the losers just yet.
You know, I didn’t expect greatness from Rough Night. When I first saw the cast and the premise, I will admit my hopes did flutter a little. I still revere Bachelorette, and I was hoping Rough Night would be trying to tread the same ground.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the shameful comedy vacuum that this garbage excuse for a movie turned out to be. Apart from the fact that it was simply unfunny, I will also specifically denounce Rough Night for two things: sexism, and the ruining of Broad City talent.
The Broad City talent (Ilana Glazer, Paul W Downs, and Lucia Aniello) was a real gut punch to me at first, but on the back of the choppy fourth season of that show, I’m not so mad about it, anymore. But still, how did they make such a big mistake?
Worse, though, is the movie’s flippant treatment of men. I suspect it is intentionally done as a response to how this kind of movie would treat women had it been made with male stars (a couple of decades ago?), but it’s not cute. They straight up kill a guy, then the movie proceeds to parade him around because of his attractive physique. And poor Colton Haynes shows up later and gets basically the same treatment. It’s gross.
Rough Night is irredeemable. And that Australian accent from Kate McKinnon? You’re telling me there’s not a single actual Australian actress in Hollywood who could have played that part? Fuck you, movie.
And now, the antithesis of Rough Night, and proof that an all-female raunchy comedy vacation movie can be great.
I was wary of Girls Trip going in. The poster made it look like some trashy trash trash, and after enduring Rough Night, I didn’t know if I could handle another experience of the same. And it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Girls Trip has all the lowbrow humour and raunch of a raunchy comedy (that pissing scene!), but with just enough sentimentality to even it out. The cast bring the best out of each other, and this is a deservedly star making turn for Tiffany Haddish.
But what really puts Girls Trip above something like Rough Night is that its approach to feminism (or at least female empowerment) doesn’t rely on objectifying men, or making women look like gross, feral animals. This is simply a fun movie with sex jokes and adult humour that happens to have four women as its leads. It doesn’t have an obvious agenda like Rough Night, and ironically it forms a much stronger proof of concept for a female-led adult comedy as a result.
Really, just fuck Rough Night, okay?
Let’s hear it for the girls, as I keep the theme going with my absolute favourite movie of the past year.
What really sets Wonder Woman apart from anything else in its genre is the overwhelming optimism of the movie. This is particularly apparent next to the other DCEU movies, which have been rightly criticised for their dark, drab grimness. But Wonder Woman is all about hope.
This is exemplified in the best scene in the movie, and one of new favourite film scenes of all time, when Diana rejects her team’s assertion that they must ignore the pleas of help from the battlefield. I’ve seen Wonder Woman several times now, and each time she chooses to cross No Man’s Land; to do something to help, it brings a tear to my eye. While her superhero peers are out fighting intergalactic villains, or just fighting each other, Wonder Woman is fighting to save people.
She’s a hero. And that’s kind of important when you’re in a superhero movie, you know?
The Shape of Water
To get straight to the point: The Shape of Water is magic. It is literal magic, translated into a movie.
I didn’t think I’d care about the fish fucking movie. After the absymal dumpster fire of Crimson Peak, I didn’t even care that it was Guillermo del Toro directing. And a Best Picture hopeful that intentionally sucks Hollywood’s dick with old film references? Come on.
But then I saw it. I was floored from start to finish with the beauty and wonder of a movie that does indeed contain fish fucking, severed fingers, Russian spies, and eaten cats. The Shape of Water is, in a word, transcendent.
It’s a shame that Three Billboards came and nabbed Frances McDormand a worthy Best Actress win at the Oscars, because Sally Hawkins is flawless. Yes, I know it’s an obvious “Oscar scene,” but her anguished, sign language rant at her neighbour about what it means to be human had me destroyed.
And let’s not forget that in 2018, a movie featuring lead characters of a disabled woman, a black woman, a gay man, a helpful foreigner, and an illegal alien won Best Picture. It’s cheesy, but it’s defiance.
Blade Runner 2049
Call me an awards snob, but I’ll throw in another “it’s a shame that” for poor Denis Villeneuve, who lost Best Director to Guillermo (hey, at least it wasn’t Dunkirk).
Absorbing the majesty of Villeneuve’s vision while watching this movie filled me with shame for not putting Arrival on my list last year. This is a man in complete control of his art, and he was able to make this obvious cash grab sequel that’s thirty years too late into something special.
From top to toe, Blade Runner 2049 is a monument of achievement of the medium of film. The visuals, sound design, acting, editing, pacing; everything works in glorious harmony to make this tale come to life. Yes, the story is a bit lofty (are robots people, too? No), and the ending is a bit “who cares” with the resolution to the mystery.
But after three hours in this world, I still didn’t want to leave. And Jesus Christ, that’s rare.