I’ve never been a huge movie buff. When given the choice, I’ll rewatch Fight Club or The Little Rascals for the hundredth time over pretty much anything else. But this year I decided to take advantage of a deal on a yearlong MoviePass, allowing me to see a different movie in theaters every day of the year for a flat price below $100. And unlike the monthly subscribers, I was not subject to the change in rules halfway through the year from a movie a day to three movies a month.
Maybe I still didn’t take advantage of it quite enough though, because I still averaged less than two movies a month. But 2018 has by far been the year I’ve seen the most new movies in theaters. Here are my thoughts on everything I watched this year:
I know I’m supposed to be Team T’Challa, but I love Killmonger. He was a kid from Oakland with a dream, and he was fighting for his people. Maybe he went about it the wrong way, but I had trouble viewing him as a villain. Those are my favorite kind of villains. Also it didn’t hurt that he was played by Michael B Jordan. Then there’s also the fact that the Wakandan military was solely made up of women. All of the women in the film were amazing: Okoye, the chief general; Shuri, the technological genius with a lot of spunk; and Ramonda, the matriarch of Wakanda. Here’s a superhero movie that’s not only about an African country and its people, but also about the strong women leading and holding the country together. Black Panther is more than just a fun movie. It’s also important.
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool is one of the greatest castings of all time. He is Deadpool. This movie has everything: It’s funny, it’s action-packed, it’s heartwarming, and it has some totally unexpected and amazing cameos. And Deadpool breaking the fourth wall is one of my favorite things.
I’ve always loved Winnie-the-Pooh. As the kids who grew up with Winnie-the-Pooh are all now getting older, this is the perfect movie to remind us of the magic of childhood and that spending time with the people we love is more important than work. And Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are just as lovable now as they were when I was a kid.
Love, Simon is the kind of movie we need more of. Normalize LGBTQ teenage love stories. We’re inundated with boy meets girl stories, and it seems like every other movie with an LGBTQ character as the main focus has to be a cinematic piece of genius and portray gayness as some big unusual thing. Love, Simon is mainstream and about realistic teenage characters dealing with normal anxieties like coming out to your peers. Not to mention, it is a really cute story. You can’t help but spend the whole movie rooting for Simon.
Searching tells the story of a man trying to find his missing daughter, all through the lens of a computer screen. It was super well done, and the screens didn’t distract from the story at all. If anything, it was an interesting testament to how much of our lives are spent on social media, and how everything is all tracked through our phones and computers. Aside from that, it’s a great thriller. I figured out the twist ending about five minutes before it was revealed.
I love David Tennant and I hate how amazing of a villain he can be. His character in Bad Samaritan was narcissistic and psychotic and slightly terrifying. It’s a pretty straightforward thriller, but I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Unpopular opinion, but I really liked Solo. I’m not super huge into Star Wars, so I think that’s why. Fans of the original Star Wars seem to be incredibly picky when it comes to the new movies (or have just flat out decided against liking any of them), but I watched this one as a barely-even-casual fan and thought it was fun. It was quite a bit too long, and Han Solo himself was probably the least interesting character, but between L3, Chewbacca, and Lando, I think it’s definitely worth at least giving a shot.
Venom got bad critic reviews too, but I thought it was great. It’s just a fun superhero (antihero?) origin story. I loved the Symbiotes, both as a concept and their visual representation. I loved the relationship between Eddie and Venom. And as a San Francisco resident, I loved all the great shots of the city.
Super Troopers 2
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the first Super Troopers that I hardly remembered it, but that wasn’t necessary to enjoy the sequel. The wacky gang of cops head north to take on Canadian Mounties, and what follows is nonstop trouble and hilarity. It’s slapstick comedy with a good bit of crude humor, but if you’ve seen the first movie you already know to expect it.
A group of badass women pulling off a heist during The Met Gala? With an absolutely killer cast of actresses? I haven’t seen any other movies in the Ocean’s franchise, but this one was fantastic.
I think this may be an unpopular opinion, but I enjoyed Red Sparrow. There were some big issues with the film, like using rape as the main source of motivation, and the overall treatment of women in general, but I’ve always found the whole double-agent spy thriller genre to be entertaining, and the ending was enough of a payoff for me to make it worth the watch. Dominika deserves her revenge, and it’s beautiful when she gets it.
What I took most from this movie is a desire to learn how to fight. Lara Croft is a badass. I want to be her.
Game Night was forgettable for me. I just remember it being complicated. There was a lot of kidnapping that you didn’t know whether or not was part of the game. I honestly can’t even remember if any of it was real or not. Maybe that says more about my own attention span.
Isle of Dogs
I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. The dogs were cute. There were a lot of children in the audience of the theater I was in, but this was definitely not a kids movie. It’s political, fairly violent, and about half of the movie is in Japanese.
I wanted Papillon to be a high-speed action-packed prison break movie. Instead it was a fairly slow and very depressing prison break movie. It’s based on a true story, which makes it interesting, and Charlie Hunnam is easy on the eyes, but those factors weren’t enough to make me love the movie. We never find out who framed Papillon and got him sent to the prison island in the first place, and his ultimate way of breaking free is honestly pretty anticlimactic. We see him in solitary confinement, and we see the execution of another prisoner whose escape attempt failed. I left the movie feeling more sad than anything else.
Oh my god this movie made me sad. It’s based on a true story of a couple who accidentally sailed a boat into a hurricane. There’s a decent twist in it, so no spoilers, but it was too sad for me.
Mamma Mia 2
Mamma Mia is cute, but I’m just not crazy about musicals. And what exactly was Cher’s purpose showing up in the last ten minutes of the movie out of nowhere?
I love all the actors in Tag, so I wanted to love the movie, but it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It went from funny to intense too quickly. Every scene with the untaggable Jerry seemed like it came out of a Sherlock Holmes movie rather than a buddy comedy. They had no shame in tagging each other during interviews, therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and even a wedding. The idea of continuing a game of tag for 20+ years is really cute and I love that it was based on a true story, but I’m just not sure I found it as funny as I wanted it to be.
What the Heck Did I Just Watch
Bad Times at the El Royale
Maybe this movie just wasn’t what I was expecting. It wasn’t bad exactly, but it never totally clicked with me. It’s about the happenings at a hotel, so it would make sense that the characters all have separate lives and stories, but I tend to appreciate movies that are more cohesive, and that don’t have random violent cult leaders thrown in at the end out of nowhere just to blow everything up that led to that point.
A Wrinkle in Time
I have to be totally honest here. I never read A Wrinkle in Time. My childhood experience with this story all comes from an old made-for-tv movie that I adored. In the made-for-tv movie, Charles Wallace is a ridiculously lovable character, and it breaks my heart every time when he’s taken by the IT. In the new movie, I felt like they spent way more time and energy on making everything pretty and magical than on character development and story. The graphics and costumes and scenery are all beautiful, but I didn’t feel as attached to the characters as I thought I would (and once did). I was disappointed. I really wanted to love this one.
Crimes of Grindelwald
I love Harry Potter. I’ve read all the books, I own all the movies, and I know as much of the lore as your average Hufflepuff would. I even went to London to see The Cursed Child. But this movie absolutely baffled me. First of all, was there even really a plot? I was hoping to learn more about Grindelwald and why he was such a bad guy, as we never really got enough detail about him in the Harry Potter books. Instead, Crimes of Grindelwald was a giant quest to find out who some random kid is related to. I don’t care. I understood Credence’s purpose in the first Fantastic Beasts movie, but since he’s never mentioned in the Harry Potter universe, he can’t possibly be more relevant than Grindelwald himself. Then there’s the fact that it didn’t make sense. It felt like they just threw out as many Harry Potter references and family names possible (Lestrange, Nicolas Flamel, and Nagini for instance) but never figured out how to really tie them all together in a way that made sense. And if everything does all fit together the way this film wants us to believe, the Harry Potter lore we all held dear up until this point falls apart. The plot holes are astounding. I’m making the decision that this movie is not canon.
Plain and simple, I did not understand this movie. It was weird. The ending was weirder. I can normally get behind sci-fi weirdness, but this one just never made sense to me and I didn’t get the point.
Movies I Didn’t See But Still Want To
Sorry to Bother You
Cassius is an insanely successful telemarketer from Oakland, while his friends and co-workers are protesting against corporate oppression. It’s supposedly a fantasy/sci-fi film, and I’m not sure why given the premise of the movie, but I want to find out. Not to mention everyone I know seemed to love it.
A Quiet Place
I’m not a big horror fan, and silence freaks me out to begin with. I’ve heard mostly good things about this movie, and John Krasinski from The Office is one of the main actors, so I do want to see it eventually. I just couldn’t bring myself to sit in a theater for a perfectly silent horror movie.
I’m honestly still upset I haven’t seen this one yet. I’ve only waited 14 years for a new Incredibles movie, yet for some strange reason I never went to see it.
I haven’t even seen Bohemian Rhapsody yet, but I’m already rooting for it to win awards. I’m sure a Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic is going to be amazing. I’m excited to see it.
Avengers: Infinity War
The only reason I didn’t rush out to see Infinity War on opening weekend (or any of the following weekends) was because I haven’t seen enough of the earlier Marvel movies to fully understand or appreciate it. I realized while looking at the complete list of MCU movies that I have a terrible tendency to not watch sequels. I’d seen the first Captain America, the first Iron Man, the first Avengers, the first Thor, and the first Guardians of the Galaxy, but nothing else following those. It seemed like too many movies to sit down and watch before going to see the new one everyone was freaking out about, so I passed.