Nyengo’s Top 18 Movies of 2018

Happy New Year!

I’m Nyengo. Here is a picture of me in a snazzy suit for this prestigious occasion (only the best for Pastiche Mode).

Ladies…contain thyself!

I’m subbing in…I mean, guest posting for Angasa because she couldn’t even come up with 10 movies for an end of year movie list. Despicable! Oh ye of deep hearts and pockets, please get our fallen sister Amazon Prime Video (since we already know she’s maxed out her 30 Day Free Trial)

This actually should have come in late December, but good things come to those who wait) and I’m shamelessly using last Sunday’s Golden Globe award ceremony to post this timely list.
Before we jump in, just a few things to note:

  • This list isn’t definitive, just based on my opinion, which is a shame because my opinion is awesome and everyone should share it!
  • I haven’t had the chance to watch EVERYTHING from 2018 (obviously). Apart from being busy studying to become your favourite engineer, I live in a country without movie theatres so I can’t get to some things that would most likely make the list (Into The Spiderverse, A Star is Born & Aquaman).

So, let’s go:

18. Solo: A Star Wars Story – ★★★✩✩

Behold, it is I, that one Star Wars fan that actually really enjoyed this movie. It might not stack up too well against the rest of the franchise (it comes 8th on my list, in case you were wondering) or add anything to the substantial to the lore but it’s still got fun action, good humour and a charming lead in Alden Ehrenreich. Plus it’s got the ever-gorgeous Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the yada yada yada… Yeah, you know the one.

17. Black Panther – ★★★✩✩

Yes, yes I know this was massively overhyped, mainly because of the afrocentricism. But if you look past the fact that they basically retold The Lion King with humans (The Human King? No?) you’ll see that it’s actually quite a good movie. It gave us a chant with a matching pose (Wakanda forever!) a good villain and helped set the stage for bigger things.

16. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – ★★★★✩ (rounded up from 3.5)

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I can feel all of you judging me here but before you leave give me a chance to explain… Okay I’ve got nothing. I guess I’m just a sucker for love (along with video games, sneakers and watches, if you want to know the way to my heart). This is a sweet little story with a lead who slowly learns to come out of her shell and a good supporting cast that keep the entertainment coming (especially her little sister).

15. The Incredibles 2 – ★★★★✩ (rounded up from 3.5)

Everyone’s favourite superhero family is back! They’ve brought the same great animation, same great dynamic and same great… Everything? This is not the movie to go to if you want something radical and risky, but if you want a great watch that you can recommend to almost anyone, this is your movie. I mean when your foundation is one of the most beloved animated movies of the last 2 decades it’s hard to go wrong. I was hoping they’d give the kids more of a chance to shine (especially Dash) but it’s still very fun from start to finish.

14. Love, Simon – ★★★★✩ (rounded up from 3.5)

A love story and a story about being comfortable in your own skin had a love child and this was the result. Based on the novel Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Love Simon has all the makings of a great coming-of-age tale, which of course includes quite a lot of cheesiness. But it covers its cheese with a very likeable cast and a few subversions of expected tropes. It even throws in a great soundtrack with some Whitney Houston flavour to top off a nice little movie pizza.

13. Deadpool 2 – ★★★★✩ (rounded up from 3.5)

Does it give you the jolt of life the original did? No. Does that stop it from being an awesomely crass, hilarious, action ride that is very different from your usual superhero fair? Nope! The Merc with a mouth came back strong in all his profane glory. They even had an extremely touching scene set to “A-ha – Take on Me” that may or may not have brought have made me shed a few thug tears. It also has the advantage of having one of the most likeable people in Hollywood (Ryan Reynolds) as its leading man.

12. Crazy Rich Asians – ★★★★✩

Oh look, another rom-com! But this time it’s in Asia so it’s totally different! Okay no really, it is. The plotline, involving a girlfriend who’s antagonised and intimidated by her potential in-laws, could very well be plucked straight out of Zeeworld. I don’t watch that nonsense though, so I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that the setting and portrayal of Chinese culture made it feel fresh and the cast was filled with interesting characters. Also, their cover of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love was straight fire!

11. Isle of Dogs – ★★★★✩

This one is for all the dog-lovers out there, it’s even in the title; I love dogs, get it? Cause we all love a corny pun. It’s Wes Anderson at his heartstring-tugging best, with an ensemble cast that includes Bryan Cranston and Scarlett Johansson. There’s plenty of emotion, charm and even a few twists along the way that make sure this sticks with you long after you’ve left the movie theatre/TV room/room with your laptop.

10. Tag – ★★★★✩

Ever wondered what it would be like if Don Draper, Hawkeye and couple of friends got into a massive, never-ending game of tag? Look no further for your answer! This had me laughing the way few movies did last year, witnessing the extreme lengths a bunch of grown men will go to just to make sure someone else is “it.” It’s even more impressive when you find out it’s based on a true story (which is obviously exaggerated for effect). It’s not all-the way-realistic, but it’s-all-the way fun.

9. Mission Impossible: Fallout – ★★★★✩

How do you keep a franchise entertaining after 6 instalments? Get an ageless Tom Cruise, who’s supposedly 56 but is still somehow fitter than my 23 year old self, and have him do crazy stunts. This has some of the most thrilling action sequences you’ll see in any 2018 movie, with so little cool-down time you’ll probably be out of breath yourself by the end of it all. There are also a couple of James Bond-esque moments along the way, except done better than recent James Bond movies, further asserting the claim Ethan Hawke has for the onscreen spy throne.

8. Upgrade – ★★★★✩

Advanced society? Check. Gripping fight scenes with a technological twist? Check. Revenge quest after a tragic event? Check. We’ve got all the makings of a smash there. Throw in a wildly intelligent AI and an eccentric genius and it’s no wonder I loved this. And the ending, oh the ending. You really just have to see it for yourself.

7. Ready Player One – ★★★★★ (rounded up from 4.5)

Anyone who knows me knows I love pop culture references, which explains why this is so high, it’s chock-full of them. That and the gorgeous visuals had me at hello. There was no way this was going to go wrong when it’s actually directed by the man who made a lot of the things it references (a little known man by the name of Steven Spielberg). Plenty of people will say it’s not nearly as good as the book, and to those people I say: don’t be that guy.

6. Blackkklansman – ★★★★★ (rounded up from 4.5)

When you witness the portrayal of racism in the 1970s and see how similar it is to the present day it’s hard not to feel uneasy. At the same time when you see John David Washington and Adam Driver owning their combined role as Jewish black man Ron Stallworth, card carrying member of the KKK, it’s hard not to crack up in hysteria. This straddles the line between comedy and seriousness masterfully, making it easily the best movie from the Denzel Washington clan in possibly a decade (yeah I said it).

5. Eighth Grade – ★★★★★ (rounded up from 4.5)

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Don’t let Kayla Day, the 13 year old lead, fool you with her shy demeanor; she’s wise beyond her years and delivers some premium A-grade knowledge. She’s also terrible at following her own advice and struggles mightily with even the most basic parts of social interaction. But that all that just makes her more relatable. I mean who doesn’t feel out of their depth sometimes? This little portion of her story is one of the most touching things you’ll get a chance to watch, so please, watch it.

4. Searching – ★★★★★ (rounded up from 4.5)

The entire thing takes place on phone/computer screens, so a technology-addicted millennial like me felt right at home. But it’s not relying on a gimmick to keep you. The story behind it, about a father searching (huh!) for his missing daughter, is excellent and comes with all sorts of surprises along the way.

3. Avengers: Infinity War – ★★★★★ (rounded up from 4.5)

I’m pretty sure you’ve all seen this so you know why this is so high. But if any of you have been living under a rock for the past few months and need to be clued in, then one word explains it: Thanos. This is really the villain’s movie and the Avengers are just along for the ride. The only thing holding it back is it feels very much like a part 1 but oh snap! What a ride!

2. A Quiet Place – ★★★★★ (rounded up from 4.5)

It’s all about atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere! I love different and this movie’s premise, with monsters that basically force society to live like mimes just to survive, is pretty different. Throw in a character-driven story involving a family with more issues than just being hunted and we’ve got a winner here. All the emotional blows and payoff hit just right, making this one you won’t soon forget.

1. First Man – ★★★★★

Admittedly, I might be a little biased here since Ryan Gosling is my favourite actor, but even outside of him everything else is top notch. The moon landing is handled beautifully with an excellent score backing it. The sequences leading up to it, depicting all the training successes and failures, are great too. But beneath all that, the personal journey of Neil Armstrong is where it really soars. His approach to dealing with personal trauma is relatable, his eventual growth is cathartic and his family dynamic is portrayed perfectly. A lot of movies did a lot of things incredibly well, but this one did just about everything right, and that’s why it’s first.
If you’re still reading, thank you. If you skipped through the headings and came here, thank you still, ‘cause you still gave us the page view! I threw in a few bonus entries, mainly because I like hearing myself talk (in my head, as I read this out).

Most Hated Film: A Wrinkle in Time – ★✩✩✩✩

I’m a person who sees the good in everything (and everyone, sometimes to my detriment, but that’s a blog post for another day) so I don’t take saying I hate something lightly. But this, this deserves it. It’s got an in-form director, decent cast and the power of the Disney machine backing it, but for some reason it’s relying on the power of Whimsy to keep you entertained. Maybe my inner child is just dead but that is not enough for me. I just couldn’t see past the bad acting, forgettable characters to whatever was supposed to be good here.

WTF Movies of the Year: Annihilation & Sorry to Bother You.

I don’t even want to say much about these because that ruins the surprise. All I’ll say is there are aliens, strange white voices, Terry Crews and some monsters that capture the screams of their victims. If you haven’t seen these, watch them so we can have a nice long talk about how weird they are.

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This seems like a really good place to plug my social media. I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Opinions? Grievances? Share your thoughts in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Nyengo’s Top 18 Movies of 2018

  1. Oceans 8 and Antman and The Wasp should be on this list, especially Oceans 8.
    The reason Black Panther is loved is because of the social context as well as the visuals. It may be a basic story itself but the execution of it is what takes it to another level. There is an appreciation of African cultures and Black American cultures in subtle ways throughout the story. Historically, black people have not been giving humanising roles in mainstream media and this was an opportunity to see people who are diverse having multifaceted experience, not just one of pain and trauma. This film explicitly shows women as leaders and protectors and innovators. You can’t separate the social context from the film in this social climate.
    And you’re wrong about Annihilation.

    Liked by 1 person

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