My Year at the Movies – 2018

Action Scenes of the Year (SPOILERS) (see below for One-on-One Fights)

10) Car chase, Ant-Man and the Wasp

9) Battle on Cybertron, Bumblebee

8) Train chase, Paddington 2

7) Chaos on the field, Black Panther

6) Parr House melee, Incredibles 2

5) Battle of Loudon Hill, Outlaw King

4) Helicopter havoc, Mission: Impossible – Fallout

3) Sicily skirmish, Aquaman

2) Thanos fight on Titan, Avengers: Infinity War

thanos fight on titan

1) Bathroom brawl, Mission: Impossible – Fallout

bathroom fallout

Best Films Based on a True Story

The Death of Stalin

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

The Favourite

Outlaw King

Tag

 

Best Non-2018 Films Discovered in 2018

https://letterboxd.com/paulstanis/list/best-non-2018-films-discovered-in-2018/

 

My Favorite () Yet

Black Panther, my favorite solo MCU debut movie yet

Bumblebee, my favorite Transformers movie yet

 

Best Heroes or Antiheroes of the Year

10) Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), Bumblebee

9) Amanda (Olivia Cooke), Thoroughbreds

8) Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), Ralph Breaks the Internet

7) Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), Mary Poppins Returns

6) Helen Parr/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Incredibles 2

5) Shuri (Letitia Wright), Black Panther

4) Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), Solo: A Star Wars Story

3) Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), Mission: Impossible – Fallout

2) The Nurse (Jodie Foster), Hotel Artemis

1) Paddington Brown (Ben Whishaw), Paddington 2

09 Paddington 2

Moments of the Year

15) The table kill, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

14) The beach, Roma

13) Legacy of Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

12) Who’s on the film?, Bad Times at the El Royale

11) Flubbed lines, BlacKkKlansman

10) Back to amber, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

9) A small measure of closure, First Man

8) Chess business, Thoroughbreds

7) The Soul Stone sacrifice, Avengers: Infinity War

6) Death of Bruce Wayne’s parents, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

5) Disney Princesses in the green room, Ralph Breaks the Internet

4) “Ask me who I am”, Black Panther

3) Han sees the Millennium Falcon for the first time, Solo: A Star Wars Story

2) McGregor’s freak-out at work, Peter Rabbit

1) “Shallow”, A Star is Born

Shallow

One-on-One Fights of the Year (SPOILERS)

8) Grey Trace vs. Fisk Brantner, Upgrade

7) Tobias Beckett vs. Enfys Nest, Solo: A Star Wars Story

6) Ethan Hunt vs. John Lark, Mission: Impossible – Fallout

5) T’Challa vs. N’Jadaka/Erik “Killmonger” Stevens Round 1, Black Panther

4) Tony Stark (Iron Man) vs. Thanos, Avengers: Infinity War

3) Violet Parr vs. Hypnotized Voyd, Incredibles 2

2) Red Miller vs. Klopek, Mandy

1) Arthur Curry/Aquaman vs. David Kane (Black Manta), Aquaman

aquaman david kane black manta sicily

Best Pop Culture References/Allusions of the Year

5) Box office returns, Deadpool 2

4) Hercule Poirot, Paddington 2

3) Paddington 2, The Commuter

2) The Haunted Mansion, The Predator

1) Disney Princesses and Cass Hamada, Ralph Breaks the Internet

Special awards: Blockers, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

 

Ranking Disney-Distributed Movies (worst to best) 

9) A Wrinkle in Time

8) Christopher Robin

7) Mary Poppins Returns

6) Ralph Breaks the Internet

5) Ant-Man and the Wasp

4) Incredibles 2

3) Solo: A Star Wars Story

2) Black Panther

1) Avengers: Infinity War

 

Best Romance Films of the Year

Book Club

Blockers

Crazy Rich Asians

Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again

Set it Up

 

Sequel Improvement

Ant-Man and the Wasp > Ant-Man

Incredibles 2 > The Incredibles

The Predator > Predators

Ralph Breaks the Internet > Wreck-it Ralph

 

Sequel Decline

Creed 2 < Creed

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald < Fantastic Beasts and where to Find them

Mary Poppins Returns < Mary Poppins

Pacific Rim: Uprising < Pacific Rim

Sicario: Day of the Soldado < Sicario

 

Best Sequel (#2 – Second Installment) of the Year

Paddington 2

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Incredibles 2

Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again

Ralph Breaks the Internet

 

Best Spinoff of the Year

Black Panther

Aquaman

Bumblebee

Ocean’s Eight

Solo: A Star Wars Story

 

Stray Observations

Biggest tearjerker of the year for me is Christopher Robin, particularly the first five or so minutes.

Both The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Suspiria are presented in six acts. (The Favourite has even more.)

First there was Early Man. Then there was First Man.

John Krasinski imperatively communicates through sign language in A Quiet Place. In Aloha, he shared a bizarre scene with Bradley Cooper where they have a subtitled conversation using only subtle shrugs.

Ready Player One is Steven Spielberg’s The LEGO Movie. Ralph Breaks the Internet is Disney’s The LEGO Movie and The Emoji Movie.

 

Most Underrated Films of the Year

The Predator; Book Club; I Feel Pretty; Hotel Artemis

And Death Wish wins my “Pardon One Turkey” award.

 

Best Villains of the Year

10) Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Avengers: Infinity War

9) Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), Creed 2

8) Jatemme Manning (Daniel Kaluuya), Widows

7) Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh), Crazy Rich Asians

6) Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson), Peter Rabbit

5) David Kane (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Aquaman

4) Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale), The Death of Stalin

3) Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), Paddington 2

2) Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), Black Panther

1) Thanos (Josh Brolin), Avengers: Infinity War

Thanos

Worst Villains of the Year

5) Orm (Patrick Wilson), Aquaman

4) Quinn (Mark Lewis Jones), Apostle

3) Kores Botha (Roland Møller), Skyscraper

2) Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton), Gringo

1) The Wydens (Malin Åkerman & Jake Lacy), Rampage

 

WTF (bad)

Most of Venom

Disingenuous sequel baiting, Tomb Raider

Character retcons, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Independence Day: Resurgence similarities, and Scott Eastwood doing his dad’s voice, Pacific Rim: Uprising

 

WTF (good)

Electric guitar beatdown, The Commuter

The Hokey Pokey, Mom and Dad

Tom Cruise stunt insanity, Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Prog-rock album cover imagery, Aquaman

 

(Rough) Final Ranking of All (84) 2018 Films Seen (Best to Worst)

The Death of Stalin; First Reformed; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Avengers: Infinity War; Black Panther; Searching; Mandy; A Simple Favor; Paddington 2; The Favourite; Solo: A Star Wars Story; Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; Game Night; Teen Titans Go! to the Movies; Aquaman; Outlaw King; Incredibles 2; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Ralph Breaks the Internet; Hotel Artemis; Book Club; Set it Up; Tully; Roma; Bumblebee; Widows; Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again; Upgrade; Mary Queen of Scots; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Blockers; Annihilation; Mary Poppins Returns; Bad Times at the El Royale; Thoroughbreds; Christopher Robin; Crazy Rich Asians; A Star is Born; A Quiet Place; Love Simon; Tag; First Man; Death Wish; Juliet Naked; The Predator; If Beale Street Could Talk; I Feel Pretty; Hold the Dark; Skyscraper; Green Book; Creed 2; Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Sorry to Bother You; Isle of Dogs; Early Man; Breaking in; BlacKkKlansman; Mom and Dad; Peter Rabbit; Disobedience; Vice; 12 Strong; Mary and the Witch’s Flower; Ready Player One; Apostle; Deadpool 2; Bohemian Rhapsody; Overlord; Woman Walks Ahead; Wildlife; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; The Commuter; Ocean’s Eight; Red Sparrow; A Wrinkle in Time; Beautiful Boy; Venom; Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; Pacific Rim: Uprising; Rampage; Proud Mary; Tomb Raider; Gringo

 

By the Numbers

Percentage of films viewed that pass the Bechdel Test: 40%

8 Stan Lee appearances – RIP (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Venom, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

5 Films featuring genetically mashed-up animals (Annihilation, Rampage, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Sorry to Bother You, Venom)

4 Train crashes (Paddington 2, The Commuter, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Mary Poppins Returns) (Special mention to The Death of Stalin’s climax, which features chaos reigning with over 1000 dead because the trains start running again.) (Subverted in Incredibles 2.) (A train also features in the climax of Black Panther.)

3 Films featuring characters called Black Panther (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Gringo)

3 Films with people digging into fried chicken (Green Book, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Vice)

fried chicken

2 Crime films set in a hotel with a heavy 60s-themed soundtrack written and directed by a guy named Drew (Hotel Artemis, Bad Times at the El Royale)

2 Crime films set in Chicago (Death Wish, Widows)

2 Dog food advertisements (Paddington 2, Isle of Dogs)

2 Female villains named Proxima (Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story)

2 Films about Scottish agitators to the English throne that open on a flickering candle (Outlaw King, Mary Queen of Scots)

2 Films about secret pen pals, which also uses The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” (Juliet Naked, Love Simon)

2 Films featuring Simon Farnaby and a talking bear (Paddington 2, Christopher Robin)

2 Films featuring voluntary toilet bowl drinking (Peter Rabbit, Aquaman)

2 Films where adult superheroes are hypnotized via screens and younger superheroes have to save the day (Incredibles 2, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies)

2 Foot chases in St. Paul’s Cathedral (Paddington 2, Mission: Impossible – Fallout)

2 Freak-outs taken out on a pool table (Mom & Dad, Tag)

2 Giant crabs (Roma, Aquaman)

2 Households with Julie Walters as a live-in homemaker, Ben Whishaw, and a pantry full of marmalade (Paddington 2, Mary Poppins Returns)

2 Incongruous animals rockin’ out on drums (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Aquaman)

2 Lead characters who have to climb a crane to jump onto a tall structure (Skyscraper, Bumblebee)

2 Long-lost mothers stranded in an isolated zone, wearing bespoke armor (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Aquaman)

2 Nannies who come exactly when needed and leave exactly when her purpose has been fulfilled (Mary Poppins Returns, Tully)

2 Neighbors who constantly try to join the main characters’ game night (Game Night, Christopher Robin)

2 Paddington appearances (Paddington 2, The Commuter)

2 Say Anything… boombox parodies (Ready Player One, Deadpool 2)

2 Suited office boss villains equated to sinister fantasy animals (Christopher Robin, Mary Poppins Returns)

2 Swims with dolphins (Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman)

2 Tartigrade appearances/references (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Sorry to Bother You)

2 Tesseracts (A Wrinkle in Time, Avengers: Infinity War)

2 Uses of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” (Ralph Breaks the Internet, Bumblebee)

2 Visions of World War II with fighter planes and a mushroom cloud (Black Panther, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald)

 

Messing with the Studio Logos (A Wrinkle in Time, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Avengers: Infinity War, Rampage, Incredibles 2, Proud Mary, Peter Rabbit, Game Night, Christopher Robin, Bohemian Rhapsody, Overlord, The Favourite, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman, Upgrade)

Opening Title Sequences – * = dedicated sequence (Paddington 2, The Commuter, Mom and Dad*, Isle of Dogs*, Deadpool 2*, First Reformed, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Proud Mary, Mission: Impossible – Fallout*, Christopher Robin, A Simple Favor*, Woman Walks Ahead, Set it Up, Apostle*, Bohemian Rhapsody, Overlord, Breaking in, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs*, I Feel Pretty, Roma, Mary Poppins Returns*, Vice*, Love Simon, Tully)

Wrap Party Finale (Paddington 2, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Mary Poppins Returns)

Epilogue text (The Death of Stalin, BlacKkKlansman, 12 Strong, A Simple Favor, Woman Walks Ahead, Bohemian Rhapsody, Outlaw King, Beautiful Boy, Green Book, Tag (epilogue footage) , Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Mary Queen of Scots, Vice)

Curtain Call Cast Credits (Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Time, The Death of Stalin, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Peter Rabbit, Game Night, Early Man, Overlord, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, Creed 2, Aquaman, Bumblebee)

Mid-Credits Scenes – * = does not take up the entire screen (Paddington 2*, Black Panther, The Death of Stalin*, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Isle of Dogs*, Deadpool 2, Hotel Artemis*, Proud Mary*, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Mary and the Witch’s Flower*, Peter Rabbit, Game Night*, Sorry to Bother You, Crazy Rich Asians, Book Club, Christopher Robin, A Simple Favor, Set it Up*, Blockers, Venom, Tomb Raider, Bad Times at the El Royale*, Bohemian Rhapsody*, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, Tag*, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again*, Roma*, Aquaman, Vice, Juliet Naked*, Bumblebee)

Post-Credits Scenes (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Venom, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

 

Movies like Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, and Ralph Breaks the Internet feature tons of characters and iconography crossing over in the same movie, often in tiny cameos. This has necessitated a special category of “By the Numbers” I’ll call the Intellectual Property Tally.

3 Aquaman appearances (Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, Aquaman)

3 Iron Man appearances (Avengers: Infinity War, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Bumblebee [toy])

3 Millennium Falcon appearances/references (Ready Player One, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ralph Breaks the Internet)

3 Stormtrooper appearances (Ready Player One, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ralph Breaks the Internet)

2 “Back to the Future” main theme needle drops (Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies)

2 Batgirl appearances (Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies)

2 Batman appearances (Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies)

2 Deathstroke appearances (Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies)

2 Eeyore appearances (Christopher Robin, Ralph Breaks the Internet)

2 Flash appearances (Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies)

2 Groot appearances (Avengers: Infinity War, Ralph Breaks the Internet)

2 Infinity Gauntlet appearances (Avengers: Infinity War, Ralph Breaks the Internet)

2 Lara Croft appearances (Ready Player One, Tomb Raider)

2 Mera appearances (Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, Aquaman)

2 Mobile Suit Gundam appearances (Ready Player One, Pacific Rim: Uprising)

2 Optimus Prime appearances (Ready Player One, Bumblebee)

2 Original Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex appearances (Ready Player One, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom)

2 Peter Pan representations (Ralph Breaks the Internet, Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

2 Proxima Midnight appearances (Ready Player One, Avengers: Infinity War)

2 Red Skull appearances/references (Avengers: Infinity War, Ralph Breaks the Internet)

2 Supergirl appearances (Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies)

2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appearances (Ready Player One, Teen Titans Go! to the Movies)

2 TIE Fighter appearances (Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ralph Breaks the Internet)

2 X-Wing appearances (Ready Player One, Ralph Breaks the Internet)

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