THE HATE U GIVE

This year has been a great time for diverse movies, offering a bit for everyone and I enjoyed every bite. Horror is my obvious go to and take up much of this list, but other genres stole my heart as well. I had a hard time coming up with my ten favorites so I thought why not just go for 18 for 2018.

18. THE HATE U GIVE

A socially relevant story told through the eyes of a teenage girl caught between her two worlds is what we needed this year. The movie is nowhere as preachy as one might think based on the premise of a racially divisive society where unarmed black kids are shot by white cops. Amandla Stenberg’s performance stands out as one of the best of the year and, without it, this film wouldn’t be as effective. 

17. BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE

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A group strangers end up in a bizarre hotel in 1969, each with their own secrets that are slowly unraveled in what might end up being a bloodbath. I’m a sucker for movies like these and this didn’t disappoint. An all star cast is utilized in ways we haven’t seen them yet and I can’t wait to have the home video release of this. 

16. TERRIFIED

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This horror offering from Argentina just delivers the goods, reminding of the good old days before J-Horror was burnt out. A series of supernatural occurrences in a neighborhood bring an investigation of experts who completely unprepared for all the batshit crazy that ensues. This one is a must for horror fans who miss being scared. 

15. SPIDERMAN: INTO THE SPIDERVERSE

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This was so not what I was expecting and felt refreshing as it seems that we’re constantly getting a reboot of Peter Parker. However, this lets us know right now there’s a place for every kind of Spiderman you can think of and sometimes those worlds collide. Great humor, heartwarming story, and unique animation makes this a standout the comic book genre. 

14. LOVE, SIMON

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I was extremely skeptical when I saw the trailers for this one, but I cried my eyes out both times I saw it. What this ended up being was the John Hughes teen movie we’ve needed for quite a long time now with scenarios I could actually relate to. I hope more movies get made like these and create a more colorful landscape for kids and teenagers discovering their sexuality. 

13. Mid90s

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Jonah Hill directs this semi autobiography of experiences being a white kid influenced heavily by hip hop. The characters feel raw and almost improvisational as no script could feel this honest with kids. There’s no apologies or fucks given and that drew me in. It’s profane and immoral, just like real kids. 

12. REVENGE

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Rape revenge films are some of the most controversial in the genre, but it’s rare for one to come along where the rape happens offscreen. Instead, she’s far from the perfect angel, but the focus is on the survivor and warrior she becomes after a group of men leave her for dead. It’s far from grounded, but you’re rooting for this girl every step of the way. It’s an added bonus that we finally get some off full frontal male nudity instead of exploiting our female lead. 

11. VOX LUX

Vox Lux

Brady Corbet has held some of the most fucked up roles on screen (my personal favorite being in MYSTERIOUS SKIN), but he has found himself behind the camera with a different kind of musical drama. A shooting propels a young girl to stardom after she finds success with an anthem that leads to a long term career as a pop star. However, the road isn’t perfect and neither is she. She’s hard to feel sorry for at times and her music feels transparent, but her ironic status is what makes VOX LUX so fascinating to watch. As usual, Natalie Portman delivers another memorable performance that I hope more people discover over time.

10. TULLY

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I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen a movie be so honest of what it’s like to a parent, more specifically a mother who is trying to appease those she loves. All the love and guilt that comes with having children is not disguised in some Hallmark card, but rather put out there for us to see that nobody is perfect. Written by Diablo Cody and her second movie with Charlize Theron, the pair understand the material and that this story needs to be told. 

9. ASSASSINATION NATION

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The best way to describe this movie is if Harmony Korine directed a PURGE movie. It’s dirty, perverted, and an unapologetic glimpse of how fucked we all are if our text messages and social media accounts were put out there for the public to judge. At the center of it all is a group of teenaged girls who become perfect targets to blame because it’s easier that way, right?

8. SATAN’S SLAVES

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This is, without a doubt, the scariest movie I’ve seen all year. An Indonesian release, exclusively for Shudder, a family is dealing with a dying a mother and the secrets she lives behind that they all must pay for now. It’s best not to reveal too much, but it’s non-stop scares from beginning to end and the title will make much more sense when you watch it. 

7. ANNIHILATION

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Probably the most perfect science fiction movie to come out since EX MACHINA, another film by Alex Garland. A group of women venture into a place called the Shimmer that’s growing and no one has ever come out of, except one man who isn’t exactly the same. I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie, not knowing at all what to expect and was completely filled with wonder. This is the smartest movie James Cameron never made. 

6. THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT

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While a huge a fan of the first film, I was pleasantly surprised to find this sequel to be completely different kind of film. Fans of old school slashers with a great pop soundtrack will devour this movie like I did. A family is terrorized by our familiar group of killers, but this time, the victims aren’t going down without a fight. This also features one of the best fight sequences in years, completely neon and accompanied by Bonnie Tyler.

5. SUSPIRIA

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I am the first to admit, I am not a huge Dario Argento fan, but I absolutely love the original SUSPIRIA. The story of an American dancer who believes her prestigious dance school is run by a coven of witches is given a new vision and an experience that doesn’t offend the original. It’s grotesque, beautiful, and delivers a visual orgy of sequences that are hard to get out of your head.

4. A STAR IS BORN

A STAR IS BORN

This could have easily been a vanity project for director Bradley Cooper, but instead gives us the not so perfect love story not many want to admit they have. There’s no “omg, have you heard her voice?” moment when Lady Gaga makes her stage debut and there’s an intimacy between the two actors that’s hard to believe nothing evolved off the screen. This one deserves all the recognition it’s getting.  

3. THOROUGHBREDS

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I had never heard of this movie, but saw it on the marquee for showings. I read who the two leads were and I immediately bought my ticket. I’m a huge fan of both Anya Taylor-Joy (THE WITCH) and Olivia Cooke (BATES MOTEL) and these two feed off each other like a classic Joan and Bette. Don’t look up the previews, don’t read the synopsis, just watch it and follow funny yet dark plan these two come up with. 

2. HEREDITARY 

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This one lived up to the hype as it’s one of the most original horror movies to come out in years. The influences are there, but the story of a family dealing with grief and a history of mental illness serves as an allegory for something far more sinister going on. Toni Collette is always great, but this is her Oscar performance she greatly deserves. She finds the hatred, humor, and love when it comes to dealing with tragedy, but the movie goes to places you’ll be thinking about long after the credit roll. 

  1. BLINDSPOTTING

Blindspotting

This is another movie I never saw a trailer for and I’m glad. An experiment in social satire told in spoken word prose with a taste of hip hop will engage viewers in a story most would want to refrain from. The two leads also wrote the film together and that chemistry makes them so fun to watch. I can’t compare this to any other movie but these are people I’ve met and places I’ve been to. There’s nothing I admire more than authenticity and this is the epitome of it. 

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