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.

Thunder Road

RATING: [B-|🍅]

“Just because someone chooses to leave, that doesn’t mean they didn’t wanna be here with you. It means they had a hard time of things.”

From the opening scene, to the last moments of an instrumental Skinny Love, Jim Cummings proves himself to be a competent full-scale director, writer, and actor who has largely fallen by the wayside in a year where the role of fathers shone through. From Eighth Grade to Blockers to Custodywe’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (respectively): and now, with Thunder Road, we have an image on par with the matriarchal powerhouse performance of Charlize Theron in Tully or Carey Mulligan in Wildlife in the soft corners of the father figure we all deserve to admire.

A truly brilliant and incandescent work about a psychologically unsuitable human being who overcomes his mental and material problems with the poise of a hero in disguise. A comedy with profound moments of grief that walks circles around the sentimental Hollywood box office drivel that adds nothing to the psychological experience of thinking through films and being changed for the better. Emotionally rich and unapologetic, Thunder Road delivers one of the finest struggles in view of the fatherhood model for raising a girl in fourth grade and in a year where Bo Burnham does the same for girls in middle school.

A remarkable achievement that South By Southwest was right to acknowledge. I look forward to what Cummings has next.