MADHERO: Well folks, its that time once again. Time to reflect and think about the year that is behind and think "phew, thank god that's over." Well actually that was more last year, but that's how scheduling works I guess. We promised to deliver an awards show after the Golden Globes fucked up, and now here it is.
STICKMAN: I hope none of y'all said anything homophobic 10 years ago.
LARRY: And now...let's be honest, we're probably gonna fuck it up some more.
MADHERO: No, but just in case I'm just gonna delete my twitter just to be on the safe side, cause its 2019 and having that shit out there ain't grand. But hey, we'll manage. Lets go and give some awards shall we.
LARRY: Might as well.
STICKMAN: Ugh, FIIINE.
MOST ANTICIPATED FILM OF 2019
MADHERO - DETECTIVE PIKACHU
HOW?! WHY AM I EXCITED FOR THIS!? THIS SHOULDN'T BE HAPPENING! But somehow it is. The idea of a live action Pokemon movie always was something that played in my head, but always seemed impossible to do properly. Even basing it on something as silly as Detective Pikachu, which just made it seem like it was going to be a Alvin and the Chipmunks style disaster. And despite all those odds, its looking genuinely excellent. The Pokemon effects take some getting used to, but the trailer really sells the world and doesn't go the full realistic route. More than anything, it seems to be made by people who genuinely like and care for the franchise, full of unique references. When you compare it to the doom surrounding the Sonic movie (which I'm also anticipating for a very different reason), this is starting to feel like a miracle, and I hope it can keep this goodwill up and we'll get a genuinely great videogame movie.
STICKMAN - GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS.
OH LOORRDY HE COOMMIN'. 5 years after the previous installment released, we're finally getting a sequel to the American Godzilla reboot that was actually pretty darn good...lacking in the big boy perhaps, but not lacking in arresting visuals, dramatic sequences, and when Godzilla does turn up? Some god damn epic moments. I'd of been excited for a new Godzilla movie regardless, but that first trailer? Fucking CHRIST that was awesome. The film is teasing some pretty spectacular battles, with a lot of collateral damage, and potentially the end of the world as we (Or at least people in the film) know it, all setting the stage for 2020's very exciting Godzilla v Kong. Legendary's Monsterverse has already delivered a pair of entertaining monster romps in the form of Godzilla and Kong Skull Island, but the former was quite human-focused, whilst the latter was very much style (And WHAT a style) over substance. Hopefully this is the film where everything comes together beautifully...but at the least, we can expect a solid and visually strong clash of the titans.
LARRY - US
When a first-time director knocks it out of the park, it’s easy to be skeptical if he can score two home runs. We’ve seen directorial follow-ups flop more than once, we’ve even seen some in this year alone. In the case of Jordan Peele, one can be especially doubtful that he could recreate the cultural moment that was “Get Out”. Once we got details on his new project, “Us,” I was as curious as the next guy, and we slowly got more and more to peep at (the poster, then production stills) until the trailer finally dropped. Needless to say, it has already stirred up some massive hype, and the way “Us” looks to be pitting its characters against themselves not only looks thrilling, but also truer to the distinct imagery you’d find in a traditional horror piece. Featuring two amazing leads (Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke), “Us” looks to put a brand new vision from Peele on full display and continue expanding his voice in the world of horror filmmaking.
LARRY: Oh hey, I'm looking forward to ALL THREE of these films.
STICKMAN: What a random assortment of films. I'm very excited for two and cautiously hopeful about Pikachu.
MADHERO: At least none of us have to wait very long for them.
LARRY: Also, for the record, Us would be my most anticipated regardless of Endgame.
STICKMAN: Endgame would give me pause but Godzilla has Godzilla in it so it'd be tricky.
MADHERO: Its funny that none of us picked the other MCU films or anything Disney for that matter despite them ready to dominate the year. I'd have probably gone Avengers over Detective Pikachu, but as a big Pokemon fan, I'm just astounded they got it as right as they did so far and am hoping they don't fuck it up now. Wheras before I'd have been like "yeah, its probably gonna be bad but who cares"
STICKMAN: I mean, it could be pretty awful, but at least Pikachu is fluffy
LARRY: Mannnnnn it's almost like that film may....reappear on someone else's category pickkkk.
MADHERO: Ooooo, a tease, Larry? Well lets take a look at that, shall we?
BEST TRAILER OF 2018
MADHERO - GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
A whole lot of trailers try to sell you that their movie is going to be epic. Its become so overwhelming that we rarely are actually in awe of what we're seeing, so leave it to the Monsterverse team continuing their trend of amazing trailers to truly sell you its scale. I liked the 2014 Godzilla, but keeping Godzilla away from the screen for so long and having him fight pretty generic monsters were pretty unsatisfying. This trailer already remedies both, giving us both a great look of the somewhat chubby Godzooky, but also other classic monsters like Rodan, Mothra and of course King Ghidorah in just the briefest of cameos. Having it and all the human drama set to the classic Claire de Lune worked way better than it should, and was honestly awe inspiring in the shot where Mothra opens her wings. It was far and away the best trailer of 2019 in my opinion, and I can only hope the movie lives up to it
STICKMAN - SUSPIRIA
Full disclosure, I haven't seen Suspiria yet...not for lack of trying. That said, it'd be a shame to miss this out of the discussion either way, because HOOO WEE what a doozy it was. Coming on the heels of some rather notably divisive footage reaction from a fated film festival luncheon, the first teaser trailer for Suspiria (And its full trailer too) doesn't actually show much in the way of explicit content at all...instead teasing the horrors that await viewers off to the corners of each scene. The whole thing plays as one unsettling build-up of strange imagery and ominous music (The great score by Thom Yorke getting its first preview here), before culminating in a chaotic montage that teases so much but shows so little. We end on a odd hook placed on a blood-stained table as the music builds into an almost deafening scream....and that's Suspiria. Damn, son. Regardless of the divisive reviews, and the lack of actually being able to see the film? This trailer made a huge impact on its release and continues to impress on reviewing.
LARRY – DETECTIVE PIKACHU
When “Detective Pikachu” was first announced back in 2016, I made my opinion very, very clear, not only on this show but on most outlets: I thought it was dumb to reinvent a property’s cinematic presence with a game that hadn’t even been released in the West at the time. I thought it was gonna be a complete joke. And then….the trailer dropped, and I cannot lie, I was dumbfounded at how impressed I was. Will it still be good? It’s hard to say, but the trailer itself is very well-paced, has a lot of fun jabs, and gave us our first look at what the movie would look like, and holy fucking shit. What Legendary have done in bringing the Pokemon world to life is one of the most brilliant transitions to 3D animation I have ever seen. Pikachu’s fur, Charizard’s scales, Greninja’s moist tongue, Psyduck’s wide eyes—thinking back on it the pairing is almost too smart. “Detective Pikachu” has a lot to prove, but as a trailer drop, it thoroughly won the internet for the day, and gave us fanboys a strong first impression.
STICKMAN: Watching that Godzilla trailer first time was a euphoric experience for me.
MADHERO: O wow, of course Sticky had to be the hipster and not pick Us for his favorite trailer so we'd have a complete rethread of the first category
STICKMAN: Uhh, yah. I picked the arthouse horror movie. Yah.
MADHERO: The Godzilla trailer was so fucking good that it shot the film way the fuck up to one of my most anticipated this year. God its good.
STICKMAN: It's some damn good porn.
LARRY: It's BIG.
MADHERO: The Suspiria one is great too. That Thom Yorke score is used to full effect to add to the mood
STICKMAN: Thom Yorke's score is already the most snubbed thing this awards season.
MADHERO: And Larry, for you to pick Detective Pikachu is.... honestly shocking considering where you were not too long ago
LARRY: What can I say? I'm still eating my words. It was the trailer that impressed me most.
STICKMAN: Do they taste good, HUH? DO THEY?
LARRY: Aight don't push it.
BEST 2017 FILM I SAW IN 2018
MADHERO - THE SHAPE OF WATER
The fishfucking movie that could. The Shape of Water is a movie only someone like Guillermo del Toro could make. As a big fan of the guy, it gave me everything and more with its beautiful design work, the great Desplat score and the amazing performances of the likes of Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones. The fact a film this weird managed to win Best Picture shows that even in the hellscape that is 2019, there's still hope in the world. The streak of watching the best movie of 2018 will probably continue this year, considering the scheduling of Oscar movies here, but I'll take it
STICKMAN - GOOD TIME
Here's a 2017 release that missed out on being included in last year's awards blog by what I recall to be literal days. Getting an extremely limited cinema release in late 2017, before getting put straight to Netflix in January of 2019, Good Time would've comfortably sat in my Top 5 of the year had the timing been better. The film features Robert Pattinson having one hell of a crazy night, as his attempts to bail his special needs afflicted brother out of jail (Where he managed to get him I may add) spiralling rapidly into chaos and violence. The film's visually stunning, features fantastic performances all around, a great pulsing, synth score, a great mixture of drama and dark comedy, and perhaps the most haunting end credits sequence of all time. It's probably not for everyone, but god damn if it isn't for me.
LARRY - PHANTOM THREAD
Out of all the films I squeezed into my January awards season catch-up, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” still sticks with me as one of the best films of 2017, and easily his best work since “There Will Be Blood.” The cinematography is lush with polish and patience, giving the viewer time to soak in the class and elegance. Jonny Greenwood's score is gorgeous and oozes classical bravado. But this is directly supported by the performances. At one point in this film, Daniel Day-Lewis reads what he wants to order off of a breakfast menu, and that alone had me entranced more than most of the performances I saw in 2017. But give it to Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville, for they both are equal matches to Lewis and then some. By the film's thought-provoking ending, PTA once again proves why he is one of the best auteurs of the medium.
STICKMAN: I still haven't seen Phantom Thread in 2019. You better believe I saw that fish butt though.
LARRY: GET ON IT, MAN.
MADHERO: The Europe/awards campaign category. And same honestly. One of those movies I've not gotten around to. Good Time I did see and was great.
STICKMAN: Good Time is...aheh...a real...great time. Wait. Let me try that again.
LARRY: Ugh, I loved Good Time. Some of the twists in that movie fucked me up real good.
STICKMAN: It was one of the best films in 2017 that's for sure. VERY UNDERRATED DO GO SEE.
MADHERO: Not much else to say. I'm probably gonna save this slot for The Favourite next year, but there's still plenty of days to go.
STICKMAN: Phantom Thread for best 2017 film seen in 2019...maybe.
BEST SCENE OF 2018 (SPOILERS, DUH)
MADHERO - THE BEAR, ANNIHILATION
Annihilation is one of those films I would've loved to have seen in the theater. In the theater, you can't simply pause and go away unless you really need to use the bathroom and can miss some things. You're almost trapped, and it wouldn't just help for the visually impressive sequences, but also with this scene, which remains spectacular regardless. In a moment of madness, our main characters are trapped and tied up, and things don't get much better when a horribly mutated bear, a bear that has taken the features of one of their fallen comrades, who's howls are a distorted cry for help and agony. Its an absolute masterclass in creating tense and dread, and it ends spectacularly as well. Full credit to director Alex Garland and the VFX crew, who created one of the best movie monsters of 2018.
STICKMAN - THE SNAP, AVENGERS INFINITY WAR
This award was the hardest to decide upon, because there were some fucking outstanding moments in 2018 cinema. Spider-Verse's defining 'What's Up Danger' sequence very nearly won out...but yeah, we couldn't go an end of years movie wrap-up without talking about this moment, surely? Whether you anticipated this iconic comic book moment happening in the film or not, nobody saw it coming to the devastating and brutal degree that took place in this excellent film's final moments. What plays as a few panels in the comic felt like an eternity in the film, as we watched a huge volume of our favourite Marvel characters be wiped from the face of the universe. Most devastating of course, is Spider-Man's frantic and confused pleas to remain alive as he too succumbs to the population halving snap. Sure, we know pretty much all of these dusted heroes will find their way back in Endgame, but that doesn't take away from the sheer audacity of this scene, and the impact it left on the cultural zeitgeist for the entire summer of 2018, and beyond.
LARRY: CHARLIE’S DEATH, HEREDITARY
When I think back on my favorite scenes of the year, the top contenders were the scenes that shocked me to my core, scenes so thoroughly unpredictable that being in the very moment of experiencing it is a thrill in and of itself. Out of every scene that did that for me this year, the one that sticks out the most is Charlie’s death from Hereditary, or I guess, in this sense, BEHEADitary. Though technically the “scene” would be from the car ride to when Peter parks the car, but really the entire sequence, beginning from Charlie’s allergic reaction to when they lower her casket, made for one of the most horrifying moments of the year for me. I keep wanting to rewatch “Hereditary,” but all I know is that I’m going to have to relive this moment, not to mention every other fucked up moment in the film, and I really don’t want to. That’s how much the film disturbed me, and it is Charlie’s death that sets the tone for the rest of the film, the dropping of the mic, the slapping of the face. So few films really make such ballsy moves only thirty minutes into its runtime, but leave it to Ari Aster to immediately engage you as a viewer and just not hold back. Thank you, “Hereditary.” Now leave me alone.
STICKMAN: Laarrryy, picking a horror movie for his second award winner. This and Pikachu makes me think this isn't the same Larry we had at the start of the year. Are you some kinda...SCISCCOR DOOLPPELLAGANGERR!?
LARRY: Oh, god no. Things have changed.
MADHERO: I don't feel so good.... having to pick between all these 3 great choices.
STICKMAN: All of these scenes were great, Heridterary's was the most traumatising fo' sure. The scenes that follow are like being trapped in a nightmare.
LARRY: Yup, that describes it pretty well. Though, to be fair, Annihilation similarly fucked me up, ESPECIALLY that scene. When you hear the human yells in the bear's roar...haunting.
STICKMAN: Annihilation left me a little cold in parts, but that was one crazy bear.
LARRY: And then the snap...I mean, what else can I say. One of the ballsiest moves in studio filmmaking I've ever seen, honestly.
MADHERO: The snap is easily the biggest moment here. The moment that got half a million redditors banned.
STICKMAN: This was one of the hardest categories to pick...Spider-Verse, Hereidiatary, First Man, Black Panther, Quiet Place and OTHERS...so many movies with some fucking amazing scenes within.
LARRY: Indeed, twas a good year for film.
MADHERO: It was great year for moments in films. There was so many to pick from, so that shows how difficult it really is. For what its worth, I think we did good. Now lets move on to the opposite of great.
WORST FILM OF 2018
MADHERO - FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE GRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
Hoo boy. Talk about not learning from your mistakes. I wasn't the biggest fan of the first Fantastic Beasts film, but I at least saw potential in it. I thought Newt could an interesting more passive main character, exploring different locations other than England/Hogwarts, but alas, that's only partially what we got. JK Rowling has written some amazing books, but she exposes her limitations as a screenwriter, giving us huge lore dumps that bring the story to a crawl, overcomplicating everything that even the most diehard Potter fan will be confused, answers questions that no one was asking (I guess Nagini was a Korean woman all along now), gives us plot twists we know don’t matter in the end, but mostly its just really boring. It does not at all fill me with confidence for what's supposed to get 3 more movies. Except if one of them is about wizards finding out toilets are a thing. That would interest me.
STICKMAN – MUTE
Ohhhh...hrrmm. Y'know, I didn't see a lot of bad movies in 2018, the only other major contender for me was the nonsensical snore-fest of Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle...but I mean, I was never expecting much from that film...Mute? Mute wasn't just the worst film I saw in 2018, it was also the biggest let down. Mute was Duncan Jones' (Director of MOON, Source Code and...uhn, Warcraft...) passion project, for a long long time, this was his baby. He'd tried to get it made for years and never managed, but then Netflix came with a big bag of money and said YES, yes we want your passion project on our service. A dream come true, surely. Hoo boy. Painfully generic cyberpunk fare on a surface level, and so much worse once you get deeper. This film is slow, boring, cheap-looking, nonsensical, mean-spirited, nasty and aimless in its execution. This is a film that fails to meet expectations, doesn't deliver an engaging narrative, and manages to be frequently discomforting in its themes and characters. A bad movie is one thing, but a bad movie that both bums you out AND makes you uncomfortable? That's the fucking pits right there. Passion projects don't often get made for a reason, they can go either way, sometimes you get Baby Driver...most of the time you get Mute. What a waste.
LARRY: JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM
Ughghghghhhgh. Where do I even BEGIN. I’m so tired of this film I don’t even wanna type out a whole paragraph about it, but here I am…thanks Mad. This film is a big ol’ piece of shit, and the fact we’re getting a third one makes my skin crawl. I respect a lot of what director J. A. Bayona was trying to accomplish here. I’d argue he knows more of what makes the “Jurassic” franchise good than Trevorrow. But when your screenplay is this bad, and your story is this utterly inept, the pacing this wishy-washy, and your comedy is this cringe…yeah it’s hard to find much of a silver lining. Whenever there’s hope that the studio, big-budget formula may be overcome by strong storytellers and good writers, films like “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” leap onto the scene to remind us cinephiles that bullshit still exists in Hollywood, and will never go away for as long as we live. This film…made me so…god damn angry. And I’m getting angry right now revisiting it so I’m just gonna stop. Fuck this movie.
MADHERO: Two disappointing entries in multi-billion franchises and a failed passion project. Dang.
STICKMAN: I'm still fixated on the "Wizards shit themselves" lore. Like...is that within the timeline of Fantastic Beasts? How many times has Newt Salamander shat his pants on film.
MADHERO: Zero but that would at least be more interesting than what we got, which is just a complicated web of nonsense. Rowling is very much in George Lucas prequel territory with the amount of random lore she's throwing out there. She really needs a co-screenwriter, because ths film feels so much like a book in just the worst way
STICKMAN: I didn't even bother with Fantastic Beasts 2, what with the first one being mediocre and Johnny Depp being a main character...I just couldn't be arsed. I grew up with Harry Potter so that says a lot about how bad things have gotten.
LARRY: Can't wait for 3, 4, and 5. Oh yeah, I didn't bother either.
STICKMAN: Jurassic World 2 was fine...it wasn't great, but I had fun with it. I wouldn't put it as the worst film I saw unless I had a really good year. WHICH...apparently I didn't.
LARRY: I wish I knew it was dumb walking in, then maybe I woulda had more fun with it.
MADHERO: I never ended up seeing this and I love the Jurassic movies
STICKMAN: You saw the first one right.
LARRY: But like...I actually got invested in the first ten minutes and then got shat on. Repeatedly.
STICKMAN: Just like a pair of wizarding trousers. And none of you saw MUTE and I'm glad, to be honest.
MADHERO: I did..... but I stopped because I wasn't feeling it and that's at least one thing you can do with Netflix.
STICKMAN: I should've stopped too. You are wiser than I, Madthew.
LARRY: I maybe meant to at one point, but. Nah.
STICKMAN: Duncan Jones, get your SHIT together. Put it in a box...and ...so forth Rick and Morty quote.
MADHERO: Anyway, how about we get away from this funk and talk about the stuff we like! 2018 was filled with some great movies, and I feel like our lists are going to be quite different for some reason, and that has me excited.
STICKMAN: Watch us all pick the same Top 5 and make the most boring list ever, and then end the blog forever.
LARRY: Guarantee you that ain't happening.
MADHERO: We could, but I'd rather have something diverse. Letsa gooooooo
MADHERO – BLACKKKLASMAN
Hoo boy, this was tough. The Favourite made a late last minute sprint, and movies like Black Panther were super tempting as well, especially in terms of how groundbreaking it was. That said, I ultimately went with BlackkKlansman as my number 5. Spike Lee is in absolutely top form here ready to take you on a ride that's somehow actually based on a true story and not the Chappelle sketch. Its often hilarious and filled with great performances from John David Washington and Adam Driver, but does not shy away from the evils of white supremacy, with an absolute gut punch of an ending that needs to be seen to be believed. That ending alone made it one of the most important movies of the year
STICKMAN – HEREDITARY
For my first entry, I'm going for a film we've already talked about on this list...a horror movie, as is my want. It's Hereditary, because...daaaamn what a film this fucking was. In a year where A Quiet Place, a solid drama and a weak horror, was the mainstream talking point for the genre, it was great to see a big horror release come out that was both a great film AND a fantastic work of terror. Starting with a slow burn of unease, slamming you headfirst (Hoho) into some disturbing and upsetting content, before then descending into total, horrifying madness. A lot of people didn't like this film because it was too slow, but for me, it's the perfect pacing. Watching second time only improved the experience for me, since I picked up on some of the ...retrospectively really obvious clues towards the film's grisly and awkward laughter inducing ending. Great stuff.
LARRY – WIDOWS
It’s been a great year for film, that’s for sure. There were plenty of great films I had to deny a place in my 5, but one film that just managed to crack the list was Steve McQueen’s “Widows.” I’ve already spoken in-depth about why this film is such an excellent work, but to recap: aside from a few plot elements that don’t perfectly gel, everything about this film works super effectively and cohesively in executing an engaging, thrilling, and emotionally devastating crime thriller. For a story that is largely political for its first two thirds, its characters, script, and pacing kept everything moving like clockwork and had me invested in every moment. And then, once you do get some high-octane, pistol-swingin’ action, it doesn’t disappoint. With one of the best ensemble casts of the year, it’s hard to go wrong. “Widows” has put McQueen back on the map babyyyyyy.
STICKMAN: I've seen Widows, I haven't seen BlacKKlansman though, it's literally sitting on my desk right now, y'all keeping me from seeing it.
MADHERO: I never ended up seeing Widows and I'm kinda bummed about that. It just came at the wrong time for me unfortunately. Hereditary is a good pick, Stick,
LARRY: All three of these films are on my Top 25, top tier stuff. Loved Hereditary, gave me one of the craziest theater experiences of the year, and BlacKkKlansman was a brilliant comedy.
MADHERO: I mean, it has great comedic moments, but it definitely has moments where it pumps the breaks and goes "what's so funny"
LARRY: Oh yeah, totally. It's farcical to the point that it's scary. Certain scenes disturbed the shit out of me.
STICKMAN: Widows to me was a flawed gem. When it came together, it was dynamite. The performances are outstanding and the premise is strong. It was just...too messy to crack my Top 5.
LARRY: I feel ya, I can understand where some criticisms may lie. Still, I can overlook them.
MADHERO: I hope to see it by the time it gets to VOD and see for myself. Alright, now go with.
MADHERO – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT
My fourth favorite film goes to Mission Impossible Fallout, the action movie franchise that is most definitely going to kill Tom Cruise at some point. The roll that this franchise has been on since MI 3 has been un-fucking real, and they somehow manage to raise the bar once again in terms of set pieces. The halo jump, the bathroom fight scene, the many car, motor and foot chases, and of course Henry Cavill's magnicent Justice League ruining moustache and his reloading arms. It helps that it all feels like they're really doing those stunts, wh ich is a nice change of pace from all the CG battles we usually get. How they're gonna top it for MI 7? Beats me.
STICKMAN – AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
We started things off with some classy, potentially awards-receiving fare, indie films aplenty. I'm gonna put a stop to all that NONSENSE though and go for the highest grossing movie of the year, and Avengers: Infinity War. All three of the MCU releases this year were great in their own way, Black Panther being the most significant otherwise, but Infinity War? Damn if it didn't tick a fuckton of boxes for me. It was beautiful, it was well crafted, well acted, great action...great characters, frequently funny, but also emotionally quite touching and even upsetting to boot. So many different pieces of this mega-franchise had to slot together to make this film happen, there was no way they could make a good film, let alone a great film....and yet, here we are, it's one of my
favourite films of 2018.
LARRY – EIGHTH GRADE
There is no such thing as a “perfect” film, but there are films that are perfect in the sense of what they are trying to accomplish. I’d argue no film on my Top 5 fits that bill more than Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade,” a staggeringly awkward and palpably genuine coming-of-age story about what it means to be growing up in the age of social media and teenage vanity. It may come as no surprise to most of you that it deeply resonated with me, as someone who didn’t always have it easy in middle school, but it was ultimately a moviegoing experience that shed light on those repressed memories and reminded me that life will always move on, and that your identity is something that is always evolving and changing. With a brilliant lead performance by Elsie Fisher, and an incredibly strong auteur vision from Burnham, “Eighth Grade” is a punch to gut that perfectly captures the anxieties and life lessons of adolescence.
STICKMAN: Aah maaan, Mission Impossible Fallout. I'm glad somebody picked that...it very nearly pushed Hereidtary back to 6th..that was a fucking outstanding movie. Eighth Grade is an April 2019 release so I don't know how y'all saw it already. HMMMM.
MADHERO: Eighth Grade: probably the horror movie of the year.
LARRY: Yeah, Fallout's action scenes were some of the best I've ever seen...and yet the story left me kinda cold. I personally consider it the weakest of the new trilogy.
MADHERO: You don't really go to MI for the story, but I think they do a good job with them and they help carry the action forward. I haven't seen Eighth Grade either. I've sorta been at the stage between really wanting to and the fear that its going to get too real to handle, particuarely the pool scene
STICKMAN: I don't know if me and my anxiety are in a good enough place to watch a movie about the struggles of secondary school life.
LARRY: Well then maybe they shouldn't have made MI4 and MI5's story so damn compelling lol
STICKMAN: I think this was an excellent culmination of everything laid out by Mission Impossible since the third one, PERSONALLY. And how about that Infinity War, y'all....y'all get around to seeing that?
LARRY: Not much else to say. It's not on my Top 5 personally but it is one hell of an achievement.
MADHERO: I have a feeling that maaaaaaaay go and appear at some point in someone else's list.
STICKMAN: I think the fact that it went beyond merely being an impressive feat to being a genuinely great film in its own right is why it's here. It's like....the impossible movie.
LARRY: Are you excited to see them host the Oscars???!??!!?
BEFORE WE PEE, LET’S GO TO THREE
MADHERO – SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDERVERSE
Maybe Sony should keep those Spider-Man rights after all, and that feels weird to say in a year that we got Venom, which did have its own charms and wasn't as bad as it could've been, but it was all worth it for Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, a movie that would've never been made under the Disney wing and certainly wouldn't come out as unique as it did. The fact this film managed to balance so many plates, from the different animation styles featured for the different Spidermen and women, the fact said animation was so gorgeous and managed to emulate the feel of a moving comic perfectly, to it managing to stay focused on Miles Morales, who shows what makes him different from the Spidered mens we've seen before. We're once again having the debate whether this is the Spider-Man film or not. I don't know yet, but its definitely the most unique in the best way possible.
STICKMAN – SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDERVERSE
This top 3...hoooo...this top 3 was a fucking nightmare. Even as we were writing the previous entries I was still switching them around. That said, I'm going with Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse for my third pick. The last big film I saw in 2018, hot damn if it wasn't a fantastic way to end the year. Ever since our first glimpse at this back in December 2017 I'd been so excited, but a little worried...Sony aren't exactly known for exceptional franchising lately, and Venom had already proven nothing has changed in that regard. Spider-Verse however, was a delight. Visually unique, bold and beautiful....frequently funny both for fans of the Spideredman and just in general...but also inspiring and moving, but not overly sentimental either. It's a real complete package of an animated movie, one that seeks to push the medium beyond the current Disney'esque narrative cliches and stylings. And I'm here for it.
LARRY – BLINDSPOTTING
Time for another film neither of you have seen, aw well. Doesn’t make me love “Blindspotting” any less. A film that is poetic both literally in verse and thematically in content, this love letter to Oakland felt like one of the only political films this year that genuinely tackled the subject matter with nuance and complexity. “Blindspotting” tackles police brutality, racial inequality, gentrification, struggles of life post-incarceration, and many other topics in an emotional melting pot, all disguised as a buddy comedy that uses the central friendship to bring out these social issues naturally. Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal give top-notch breakout performances, and Carlos Lopez Estrada’s direction is effortless. This film is just now starting to get a lot of exposure, so if you got the money to stream it on digital platforms, do NOT sleep on it. Easily one of the year’s most overlooked gems.
STICKMAN: OH SHIT, TWO SPIDER-VERSES.
MADHERO: Awwww yeah, Spider-bros for life
STICKMAN: Spider-Boys. Blindspotting was a film I wanted to see, but Cineworld showed it literally at like, 3 cinemas in the entire country...not mine. So I gotta wait for DVD.
LARRY: It'll be worth that wait.
MADHERO: I don't think Blindspotting ever made it here so I had to miss it unfortunately. I imagine it'll get on VOD at some point though.
LARRY: Yeah it got a DGA nomination so hopefully that helps it a bit.
MADHERO: Its gone very much under the radar, unlike Spiderverse, which has soared and continues to show the genius of Lord and Miller. That and Sony Animation as a studio to watch closer now. Maybe they can do more than just the Emoji Movie
STICKMAN: I can't believe they followed up Emoji Movie with fucking Spider-Verse. Imagine suffering through having to design a poop emoji character and then getting to work with Spider-Gwen.
MADHERO: Or even someone like Spider-Ham. I imagine working on that film was a lot of fun.
LARRY: John Mulaney should make five Spider-Ham movies. I’d watch each one.
STICKMAN: An animated film so good, even awards season is pushing Pixar out of the way to praise it.
WIZARD DID A POO, ITS NUMBER TWOOOOO.
MADHERO – ANNIHILATION
So this was a film that required a rewatch to fully appreciate. Alex Garland had been doing strong work as a writer beforehand, and really showed his directing chops with both Dredd (which he directed in all but name) and especially Ex Machina, the film that somehow beat Star Wars in the VFX department. Following up that sci fi classic was always going to be tough, but I think he managed it with the much more cebrebral and high concept Annihilation. Visually gorgeous, sometimes disturbing and incredibly thought provoking. Annihilation isn't exactly subtle about its themes of self destruction, and yet it managed to spin that in a truly bananas sci fi story that I think will become more appreciated over time as people revisit it. Its on Netflix, so that's at least easy.
STICKMAN – FIRST MAN
My second placing was one I expected to be a far bigger talking point of the actual real awards that people actually read about, which is First Man. Damien Chazelle is proving himself to be a man of many talents, starting his mainstream success off with lowkey indie jazz drama Whiplash, then made the outlandish subversive love letter to golden age Hollywood musicals with La La Land. First Man is equal parts epic in scope but also deeply intimate. Space-travel has never felt this real or this fucking terrifying in a movie ...EVER. Watching this in IMAX was one hell of a sweaty palms experience, but the film pairs these horror sequences with genuine human emotion, all of which culminates in 2018's most heartbreaking scene set upon the Moon. Throw in a strange but oddly fitting and beautiful score and a masterclass in subtle but masterful acting from the two leads of Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy? You got yourself a god damn movie.
LARRY – IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
#2 comes in the form of mah boi Barry Jenkins with “If Beale Street Could Talk.” I’m ultimately reminded of when “Carol” became my favorite film of 2015, another romantic drama that dared to take its time in telling an unabashedly beautiful love story against a less-than-heartwarming backdrop. Jenkins takes a slightly more methodical, controlled direction in adapting James Baldwin’s novel, a story of a young, black couple in 1970’s Harlem. It’s an intense film at times, dealing with racial prejudice and the system injustice black people face on the day-to-day. But, at its core, it is a love story between two young people, and it’s treated with the complexity and nuance these kinds of relationships deserve. Regina King seems to be getting all of the awards attention, which is deserved, but god DAMN KiKi Layne and Stephan James has not been getting the recognition they deserve for their lead performances here. It’s sweet, it’s sultry, but it’s also heartbreaking, nothing less from one of the best directors working right now.
LARRY: Now THIS is a weird assortment of films.
STICKMAN: It really is. And LARRYYY, BEALE STREET AIN'T OUT YEEET, AAaaAGH.
LARRY: I'M SORRY I LIKED IT
STICKMAN: Annihilation was my weirdest movie experience of the year...went in super excited...came out...feeling pretty cold to it. I keep meaning to rewatch it, because I feel maybe I expected something different.
MADHERO: I definitely suggest a rewatch knowing more about what you're in for, also because the film is full of details that you might miss otherwise.
LARRY: I've been meaning to rewatch Annihilation because I didn't like it that much on my first watch, but recently I've been thinking about some of its great moments. Maybe I didn't give it a fair shake.......
STICKMAN: It's a strange one, beautiful in its ghastly imagery, but strange.
MADHERO: Its totally fine if you didn't come out of it initially loving it. I don't know if it would've made it had I not done a rewatch.
LARRY: First Man was soooooo close to being #5, I swear. That film was fucking incredible.
STICKMAN: I haven't had an IMAX experience like First Man since I saw Interstellar...and unlike that film this one actually held together.
MADHERO: I wish I saw it in IMAX. Or in DBox but then the space sequences would literally kill you. It really captures how terrifying and oddly beautiful space truly is and all that can go wrong in the process of getting there. And hey, there's plenty of American flags there.
STICKMAN: It was fucking scary as hell and I wouldn't have it any other way. MURICUH
LARRY: Ugh, when he threw the necklace in the crater. HEART. SOBBED. RYAN GOSLING YOU BEAUTIFUL STOIC MAN
STICKMAN: AAGHH SO GOD DAMN SAD. He's the first man in my heart.
MADHERO: Alright, now its time for the creme de la creme. The big cheese, the one film that defined our year. Or y'know, just one that we thought was pretty good. ITS TIME FOR NUMBER ONE
LIFE IS NO FUN, IT'S NUMBER OOONE.
MADHERO – AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
I already teased it, so no beating around the bush: Avengers Infinity War is my favorite film of 2018. What an absolutely stunning achievement in blockbuster filmmaking. I'll very proudly wave my MCU fanboy flag here, cause I don't know how I would've responded to this who went into this movie blind, but I went in as a big fan, and felt thouroughly rewarded for it. The sense of scale in honestly insane, managing to mesh different casts of actors and actresses so well in ways you could previously only imagine. While there were characters you wish you got more from, it feels like almost everyone of the heroes we've followed for a decade was allowed a moment. Doing all that while also managing to adapt Thanos in a way that made people symphatize with him as he commited genocide is pretty astounding. It was also the best cinematic experience considering I saw the midnight premiere. For something that could've been an really unsatisfying Part One, I'm happy the Russos went the extra mile and am absolute stoked to find out how it all concludes in Endgame.
STICKMAN – YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE
So...this one was a really hard one to decide. My NUMBER ONE movie of the year was one I saw waaaay early on. I've seen a lot of fantastic movies since, but there is just something...special about You Were Never Really Here that kept me coming back to it when it came to deciding my favourite film of 2018. It comes across as an odd choice, I'm sure...but damn if it wasn't an amazing work of cinema. A work of visual art, but also one with incredible sound design and an outstanding score. A lot of people have called this a modern Taxi Driver, but I feel that's a disservice of a comparison. YWNRH is about trauma, and dealing with it...or not dealing with it, in some respects. The main narrative takes second place to the experience the main character, fantastically performed by Joaquin Phoenix has getting to that jaw-dropping, disturbing and oddly heartbreaking final scene. Not a happy film, not a film with easy answers or necessarily satisfying tying of loose ends, but god damn if it didn't hypnotise me with its eerie beauty and dark, dark heart. A fantastic experience that only cinema can deliver, and my favourite film of the year.
LARRY – AMERICAN ANIMALS
Another one neither of you have seen, how appropriate that I keep things indie and unknown for my favorite fucking movie of 2018. Aw well, it’s “American Animals” y’alllllllll. Many of the other films we’ve discussed may, on the whole, be better than this film, but the reason it keeps sticking as my #1 through every other entry that comes my way is my experience in the theater. Seeing documentary and narrative techniques being blended so blatantly and yet so smoothly literally changed the way I looked at filmmaking. If you explain the things “American Animals” does with its subjects to the average moviegoer, they will most likely have never seen anything like it. Even I, as someone who studies film, have never seen it before. Oh, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that the rest of the surrounding film is excellent. The cast is fantastic, the pacing is tight, the writing is a great mix between dark and darkly funny, and the takeaway the characters bring about is definitely not what you expect from your average crime thriller. All in all, more people need to check this film out. I have a feeling, with time, its fanbase will grow. But, until then, I’ll just stick around stanning it as my favorite film of 2018…thus far, at least.
MADHERO: Yah bunch of fucking hipsters.
LARRY: At least someone else picked an indie darling. NOW I'M NOT SO LONELY.
STICKMAN: Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.
STICKMAN: I can't believe I went to see The Predator instead of American Animals. What a fool I have been.
LARRY: YWNRH is on Amazon Prime to stream for free soooooo maybe ya boi might catch that.
MADHERO: I haven't seen either of your films and now I feel really bad for picking literally the 4th biggest movie of all time
STICKMAN: You should DO THAT. At least I also had Infinity War on my list, Mad. Unlike SOMEONE.
LARRY: Eh, I always pick the underdog.
MADHERO: American Animals I now mainly associate with Moviepass and how they tried to push it so hard while they were busy dying, which feels unfair considering Gotti provides an equivalent punching bag
STICKMAN: Where was Gotti in this Top 5. Y'all just haters behind your keyboards.
MADHERO: Gotti is the secret number 0 that can only be unlocked in a way no one knows yet. YWNRH has been on my list since January and its one of those movies I've not come around despite loving Joaquin Phoenix as an actor, Lynne Ramsey's directing and it being a modern Taxi Driver. That's all very much my shit
STICKMAN: Lynne Ramsey remains an underrated director. I feel like had this film released around this time of year, we might be looking at awards contending for both Ramsey and Phoneix. As it stands YWNRH likely won't even get nominated for its deserving sound editing and cinematography.
LARRY: Modern Taxi Driver is no small comparison.
STICKMAN: I don't feel it's super similar to Taxi Driver beyond a base level comparison point. Y'all should seeee it. And I'll see American Animals soon I hope.
MADHERO: I like how different each of our lists are. Sticky and I only share 2 films and we've all got something different and great, which shows how diverse 2018 was. This year was at least good at one thing
STICKMAN: A lot of these choices were original or at least standalone movies as well. People complain about a lack of new stuff at the cinema, look at this list BOYO...also Infinity War I guess.
LARRY: You can always rely on me to provide the shit nobody else saw :)
MADHERO: We'll have plenty to catch up for this year. That's gonna be a fun trip. But there's also plenty of new films to cover, so we better be quick
STICKMAN: My boyfriend Godzilla is coming to probably not be all that great but still entertaiininng. 2019, HOoOOooooooooooOoo.
MADHERO: Lets hope its a better year for the world in general. Hope it'll treat you all well.
STICKMAN: If it don't treat you well, treat yo' self. ALRIGHT BYE.
LARRY: May 2019 bring nothing but...sanity, and peace of mind. BUH BYE