Our 20 Must See Films of 2018

Here is the first working list of the 20 most important films (excluding documentaries) of 2018, selected for their innovation, quality, & depth. Not all are considered to be “best films” per se, but instead carry the day with their cultural impact & utility for understanding the human material.

Some selections are subjectively driven, although I never ignore my objective grid to better hone the quality of my palate.

Some pack the indelible swords of emotion that leaves leaves unfurled and the test of maturity to be discovered by posterity.

Some are simply technical masterpieces of pace & direction: unbending in its resolve to piece together the prerequisite elements for artistry.

Discussion & disagreement welcome.

And so, without further ado . . .



First Reformed

The Other Side of the Wind

Cold War





Eighth Grade

The Endless

We The Animals

Scarred Hearts


First Man


Madeline’s Madeline

Wind Traces


Thunder Road

*list subject to change

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Vazante, You Were Never Really Here, Wildlife, The House That Jack Built, Nancy, At Eternity’s Gate, Galveston, & Happy as Lazzaro.


RATING: [C+|👎]

“I will be true to you. Whatever comes.”

[Terrence Malick]

A deeply human film from director Mélanie Laurent that captures those stolen moments of happiness before the torrential depravity of man washes away any semblance of the divine. A film about the essential beauty of truth and reconciliation. About the still corners of our competence as humans to choose good over evil. About family and the elastic bond of memory. About sacrifice and the reckless greed of a fallen system bent on transactional relationships.

Galveston is a combinations of The Florida Project and You Were Never Really Here. It’s about Ben Foster, who runs errands for a degenerate crime boss, and his near escape after his boss tries to get him killed. Foster finds the kidnapped Elle Fanning, who he takes across the state of Texas (i.e. Galveston) in hopes of delivering her to a better place where she can live out the rest of her days in safety. He believes he’s dying and thus finds in Fanning the last investment that he’s going to make. Fanning has with her a daughter that she delivered from an abusive step father who raped Fanning as a child. This colors her world; a harrowing and saddening demonstration of the consequences of abuse to the future self-worth perception of another. Fanning and Foster develop a platonic and moving relationship like father and daughter. They move together pain after pain, finding pockets of comfort in each others mutual worldly contempts. When things seem like they would find comfort; and, joy would take its place between the corners of their mutual affections, the reality of fallen humanity returns stealing the lights of their collective vision.

The movie transitions from bliss to paradise lost and into a profound and brilliantly shot juxtaposition between the turmoil of the present storm and the vibrant, translucent memory kept hidden away to sustain us one more day. In the end, the few pieces that Foster could salvage after all is lost are given to another or left on the shore to serve as illumination when daylight expires.