2018 Year In Review (The Ok)

The end of the year brings with it many traditions. It’s a time to reflect on the things we’ve went through, the state of the world (it ain’t great) and to arbitrarily rank our favorite movies for complete strangers to criticize and mock on the internet. It’s that time once again, for every Tom, Dick and Harry with an opinion to list their favorite movies of the year. This list, however, is a bit different in that I’ve ranked every film I’ve seen, not just my favorites. Oh and that my rankings are correct. 

The list will be broken down into:

  • The Bad— Films that received an F or lower D.
  • The Ok— Films that received a higher D or C.
  • The Good— Films that received a higher C or B.
  • The Great— Films that received a higher B or A
  • The Discoveries— Films I liked that weren’t released in 2018.
  • The Documentaries— A ranking of the documentaries I’ve seen this year from worst to best.

The world is on fire. Schools are getting shot up at an alarming rate, actresses are leaving Twitter over harassment, children are being locked in cages, the house of mouse is slowly becoming an all powerful conglomerate and a Star Wars film flopped. 2018 straight up sucked but these are the films that help distract me from everything wrong with the year. For better or worse.

This is 2018: Year in Review (The Ok)


 

43. Galveston

Directed by: Mélanie Laurent

Plot: After a surviving a botched hit, a dying hitman goes on the run with a hooker and her younger sister.

The hit man with a bum ticker taking care of the prostitute with a heart of gold is a story that’s been around for so long, it had whiskers in the 50’s; so a film in 2018 using such an outdated story is fucking bizarre. It gets points for trying to subvert cliches but that subversion ends up costing the film a point. It’s not a revenge film, it’s not a redemption story and nothing is ultimately solved. The only highlight being the performances but even they aren’t good enough to save it from mediocrity.


42. Lowlife

Directed by: Ryan Prows

Plot: An insane luchador, a desperate hotel maid and a recently released from prison ex nazi, cross paths in this Tarantino inspired crime thriller.

On the scale of Tarantino knock offs, Lowlife is right around the middle of the pack. It’s light years away from Guy Ritchie but is a masterpiece compared to others *cough* The Boondock Saints *cough*. It’s biggest flaw is it’s anthology structure because the luchador is easily the most entertaining character in the film and would’ve worked far better if he was the sole lead.

You can read my review here.


41. Dumplin

Directed by: Anne Fletcher

Plot: A plus-size daughter of a former beauty queen signs up for her mom’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant as a form of protest. 

This is the kind of film that makes you feel guilty for picking on it. Much like an adorable puppy, all it wants is your love and attention and while it’s completely harmless, it doesn’t do any tricks to earn that love or attention. It doesn’t do anything new or original but it’s also inoffensive and wears its heart on it’s sleeve. It’s impossible to hate due to it’s sincerity but is hard to love because of its unoriginality. It’s nice to hear some new Dolly Parton songs, though.


40. Revenge

Directed by: Coralie Fargeat

Plot: After being savagely attacked and left for dead, she’s back and hungry for revenge.

A revenge thriller that’s damn near impossible not to nitpick to death. There’s some great gore but the film forsakes realism in favor of the gag, each and every time (I mean, who the fuck would operate a break pad with a gaping wound on their foot??) But if you can turn your brain off, its a good time.


39. Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

Directed by: Sam Liu

Plot: Steampunk Batman vs Jack the Ripper.

Setting Batman (and his various side characters) in turn of the century England during the Jack the Ripper murders should be the easiest slam dunk in history but while the ball still gets in the net, it’s more like a layup. I’m assuming those are less impressive or worth less points. Sports are dumb.

The animation is solid, if a bit too clean and the voice cast is superb but the story just isn’t engaging. The who-dunnit isn’t hard to piece together and it doesn’t take advantage of its setting or steampunk aesthetic.

You can read my full review here.


38. The Night Eats the World

Directed by: Dominique Rocher

Plot: The morning after a party, a young man wakes up to find he’s the last living man on earth. 

Remember the scene in Home Alone (1990) where Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) tells his mother he wishes his entire family would disappear and the next day, it kind of happens? Well, this film is exactly like that but Kevin is teenager, his “family” is a party of hipsters and they don’t disappear so much as turn into zombies. There’s enough to sustain a 30 minute short but the longer it goes on, the less interesting it becomes. It also has Denis Lavant (Holy Motors) as a zombie but does nothing with him. Which should be a crime punishable by death.


37. Five Fingers of Marseilles

Directed by: Michael Matthews

Plot: The lives of five friends are changed forever after one of them kills two police officers.

A mediocre western set in post apartheid Africa that has a cool as hell villain but not much else.

You can read more about it here.


36. Apostle

Directed by: Gareth Evans

Plot: A drifter on a dangerous mission to rescue his kidnapped sister tangles with a sinister religious cult on an isolated island.

I don’t dislike this film because it writes a check, it doesn’t bother cashing, nor do I dislike that it’s not scary in the slightest. Beside it wasting Dan Stevens–which should be a crime punishable by death–the reason I dislike this film, is that it felt like watching water evaporate for 90 minutes. There were a couple of legitimately creepy images and the fight scenes were all well done but the rest felt like the first draft of a twelve year olds Wicker Man fan fiction.

There are sub plots that are pointless, characters that are meaningless and it feels like nothing of consequence happens. Say what you will about the Nic Cage Wicker Man remake but that film is at least memorable.


35. First Reformed

Directed by: Paul Schrader

Plot: A minister of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.

Not since the Florida Project (2017) has a film’s ending damn near derailed the entire experience but unlike the Florida Project, First Reformed needs a great ending for it to work. The Florida Project just needed to end two minutes earlier and it would be perfect but First Reformed is slowly building to its logical conclusion but then drops the ball so hard, it kills the film dead. The Florida Project is like getting an amazing blowjob but right before you cum, she scrapes your dick with her teeth. Everything before the teeth was still good. First Reformed is like having a sexy woman slowly turn you on for two hours and right when she’s about to play with your dick, she evaporates into mist leaving you with the worst case of blue balls imaginable.

First Reformed is nothing but blue balls.


34. The Road Movie

Directed by: Dmitrii Kalashnikov

Plot: A film comprised entirely of Russian car cam footage.

It’s really hard to write about a film that’s nothing but dashboard footage because it’s not exactly a film you watch. You soak it in like a sponge. It’s the kind of film you put on in the background like one of those artificial aquarium DVD’s they sell exclusively to dentist offices. But instead of gupper fish, it’s Russian prostitutes and insane locales.


33. Ghost Stories

Directed by: Jeremy Dyson , Andy Nyman

Plot: A Skeptic is tasked with proving or disproving three unexplained cases of apparitions.

Even though the vast majority of them are terrible, horror anthologies are one of my favorite subgenres of film. Ghost Stories might be the most aggravating one I’ve seen in a long time. It has a solid premise, a great cast and an interesting third act reveal but not a single one of the stories is scary, with each one taking far too long to set up with very little pay off. The Martin Freeman segment is by far the best but it lasts less than ten minutes. It’s not a bad film, just disappointingly middle-of-the-road.


32. Halloween

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Plot: After forty years, Michael Myers is back but this time, Laurie Strode is ready.

Around 2015, Hollywood decided to cut out the middle man and instead of homages and pastiches, it would now produce nostalgia checklists. Films like Terminator: Genisys, Spectre, The Peanuts Movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and shows like Stranger Things all hit big by cashing in on the ol’ “hey, remember when that movie you like did that thing? Well here it is again.”

Directors no longer alluded to their influences. They now just recreated them shot-for-shot. The age of pandering to nostalgia babies was born.

Halloween is a direct result of the  nostalgia obsession of 2015. It is less a film, than it is a checklist of things fans love of the series. There’s the gas station scene, the death by hammer scene, guy getting impaled by a knife shot, character going out a window, falling to the ground and then suddenly disappearing scene and on and on and on.

The third act is the only original thing this film does but in order to get to it, you have to suffer through unlikable characters (most of which talk shit about Laurie, even though she’s right), cringey ass humor, piss poor exposition and one character is written so lazily, it’s almost embarrassing.


31. Ralph Breaks the Internet

Directed by: Phil Johnston , Rich Moore

Plot: Six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” Ralph and Vanellope discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.

There’s a reason the marketing for this film has been nothing but the Disney princess’ cameos. It’s the only thing about it that works. The first film was a fantastic love letter to old school video games; it was essentially Toy Story (1995) but with video game characters. You can tell the creators had real affection for those games but this film feels like an old man’s attempt to connect to the youth because according to this film, the internet is nothing but Ebay, YouTube and viral videos. That’s it.

They make some funny jokes about spam and they even go to the dark web but other than that, they do absolutely nothing with the location. Honestly, how do you make a film about the internet and not make at least one subtle reference to porn?

It’s nothing but wasted potential marred by plot holes and inconsistencies.


30. Upgrade

Directed by: Leigh Whannell

Plot: After a vicious attack, a self-identified technophobe is forced to undergo an experimental procedure that connects him to a computer chip implant called Stem, which he uses for revenge.

Destined to be a cult classic, Upgrade does enough to be fondly remember for years to come but fumbles once too many times to be considered great. The action is well shot and the plot has some twists I honestly didn’t see coming but there are some glaring plot holes and some of the acting is straight up terrible. Just another pass at the script and one more action set piece and it could’ve been a contender.