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: [B-|🍅]

“When I die, bury me deep”

[Douglas Roberts]

Behind the veil of its absurdity and violence is a beautiful landscape of psychedilic sound and color driven by the maniac desire for revenge no matter the cost. Nicholas Cage returns in a big way as only Nicholas Cage can return: drinking vodka on the toilet wearing tighty whities in eager anticipation for a death match with Hellraiser bikers and killing religious sociopaths with self-forged weapons. A “fantasy feature awash in physical and emotional violence.” A film entrapped between the coalescence of the familial grounding of isolation and the capacity of man to exhibits itself in the evils of the occult. Alone and debased, Cage, in the immemorial words of Denzel Washington in Man on Fire, has just one more life to take. Summarized best by Eric Kohn (Indie Wire):

Panos Cosmatos’ followup to his wacky debut, “Beyond the Black Rainbow,” is another stunning dose of psychedelia and derangement, this one folded into the constraints of a woodsy revenge thriller, but that’s mainly an excuse for Cage to unleash his most psychotic extremes. Cosmatos gives him plenty of opportunities in this hypnotic midnight movie, which veers from astonishing, expressionistic exchanges to gory mayhem without an iota of compromise

Not to be outdone is Andrea Riseborough — “lending a lysergic nervousness to her heroine” — and continuing to impress with her haunting depictions of female characters ready to take an emotional chainsaw to the face of the audience with impunity (see also Nancy). If you’re looking for an acid trip inside a madhouse while questioning the nature of your reality to the sound of King Crimson and Jóhann Jóhannsson, you’ve come to the right place.

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