Of the choices on offer, The Rider - a film I went in expecting to have no feelings about whatsoever - would have ended up being my choice. But I was so shocked with how much I appreciated Blindspotting that I felt like it deserved at least one "Other" vote. It's so tightly wound, with such brilliant explosions peppered throughout. Every character walks a tightrope between real person and thematic meaning, especially Janina Gavankar's remarkably restrained performance as Val. Any other movie with the same climax would have been embarrassing, and it's a testament to both Daveed Diggs' abilities as a performer and Blindspotting's courage of its convictions that it not only doesn't fail, it actively succeeds. In a year where Oakland seems to have taken over the silver screen, it would be an absolute shame if this movie got overlooked.
I thought I knew a lot about Fred Rogers and his show in the neighborhood, but the documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor" taught me how little I actually knew about the man on the tele that I used to watch as a small kid. The film, though subject to nostalgia, does not play off the nostalgic feelings of the past to manipulate the audience. Rather the editing style, the three parallel story lines - Mr. Rogers growing in his moral principles and believes as time goes on, the progression of the show, and the window into the deeper childhood and strong belief in God reveled through a now animated Daniel the Lion - play a part in portraying the true Mr. Rogers - not just the man on the television - and touching the audience to not only think, but feel. The film not only touched on the human that Fred Rogers was, but the humans that we can be through the preaching/lessons that Fred thought to share with everyone - young and old alike.
I am a black and African person. Black Panther had a very very emotional impact on me. I saw the film 3 times, and each time, I wept more in the theater. Guys, just because it became a very popular film does not mean it is not the best film. I know filmspotting people are more art-house who like smaller films, but Black Panther got it right even as a big budget. It has a lot of small and family messages and truths. Well I voted it.
Paddington 2 is by far the best movie of 2018 for me. Unfortunately, this perfectly stylized, heartwarming, and beautifully executed film is being far too easily dismissed as a "children's" movie. Nearly everyone I've recommended it to has assumed my love for it must be ironic or overblown and many "film lovers" have had similar responses. The dismissal of Paddington 2 is tragic because if the name "Wes Anderson" had appeared somewhere on the poster it would be rightfully championed as one of the best films of the decade.
Hey - how ya doin? How come Gotti isn’t listed here? This is a amazing movie featuring former Sweathog John Travolta in a tour-de-force performance as one of the great influences off the 80s. Paddington 2? Fuhgettaboutit!
Eye-opening on so many levels, Jennifer Fox has created in The Tale what I think will be considered a seminal work on the subject of child sexual abuse. It's a shame this went straight to HBO, because this should have been in the major awards discussion for work on both sides of the camera.
You might say that I have a soft spot for close-knit stories featuring women quietly surviving day in and out in what most people would call hard situations. My vote, Leave No Trace, manages a really delicate balance where Ben Foster’s PTSD is both respected and creates significant difficulty for his daughter Tom at the same time.
In a similar delicacy, the way this film handles outsiders’ suspicion provides a refreshing example of protecting a young woman while also trusting her judgement- take note of Foster’s silence in these exchanges. This example is so important, and just one of the things I love so much about this film.
My vote was for Hereditary. I’ve always enjoyed the horror genre, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find horror films that shock me and take unexpected turns. Hereditary did both. At one point, a third of the way into the film, I found myself covering my mouth for three minutes straight, in disbelief of what I just witnessed on the screen. The film’s final act left me with wide-eyed and on the edge of my seat. This is a film that people need to research online after leaving the theater, and go back to watch again so you can pick up on the tiny details that you missed the first time. Solidly the best film of 2018 so far.
David Healy, Springfield MO
I voted "Other" for a movie that you may say is a cheat, since it hasn't had a theatrical release, but since it has been widely screened at film festivals including in Chicago, and since I saw it at True/False where I also saw The Rider, another movie in limited release on your list, AND since it won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance, AND since this is a movie that your listeners will want to seek out, I thought I would throw it into the competition. It is called Crime + Punishment, a documentary about the "NYPD 12", a group of New York police officers that band together against the practice of arrest quotas that inordinately are directed against minorities. It also follows the wrongful arrest and long detention of a young man victimized by the practice and the efforts of his mom and a PI she hires to free him. It is The Night Of (the HBO series), only real, and never less than compelling, particularly in these times when we need role models speaking truth to power. This might even be eligible for Golden Brick consideration if you have the chance to check it out. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7689908/?ref_=nv_sr_4
Perhaps because it was the last film that I watched, perhaps because I love sushi and dogs or perhaps Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs is the film that had me feeling such a thrill of excitement inside I wanted to call everyone I know and tell them to watch it immediately. I laughed, cried and followed intently as a group of dogs told this moving story, cleverly peppered with social and political commentary while a superb soundtrack held the beat. Not to mention the massive raising of the stop motion bar. A masterpiece this is on all levels!
For me it is a two man race so far this year between You Were Never Really Here and First Reformed. Both with stellar performances from their leading actors Joaquin Phoenix and Ethan Hawke respectively. You Were Never Really Here takes the cake though with it's tight narrative, cutting away all the fat and leaving us with a chilling character study against the backdrop of a sextrafficking scandal. Exercising the less-is-more technic to perfection, the film shows you everything you NEED to see, and leaves out everything you wish to see. Making the violent scenes much more haunting in your imagination than what would be portrayed on screen. All this leads to an ending that goes against your expectations and refuses to provide the perfectly gift-wrapped ending you desire (in the best possible way). Lynne Ramsay has delivered 2018's best movie of the year so far, and possibly the best movie of 2018. I'm excited to see what else 2018 brings in it's second half!
It's been a while since I last threw my vote away by selecting 'other', but the Death of Stalin is easily my pick of Best of 2018 so far. Watch it!
Sorry to Bother You, although divisive, is my current choice for favorite film thus far. In a world of too many simple, great movies, it was excellent to see a complicated, stellar one. I'm incredibly excited by the ambition from Boots Riley and cannot wait to see more.
A hard stare for anyone not choosing Paddington 2
Best film so far this year without a doubt was Red Sparrow.
I picked other. "Won't You Be My Neighbor" was just pure joy and portrays the best of humanity. I could not stop smiling. We could really use Fred Rodgers today. Others at the top of my list are:
1. Won't You Be My Neighbor
2. Isle of Dogs
3. Hearts Beat Loud
5. Incredibles 2
- Randy in Annapolis Maryland
First Reformed expanded to my area (East Lansing, MI) at the end of June, a deeply dark time for the world as well as me personally. I haven’t seen a movie that so accurately expresses despair at the state of the world and the way it overtakes your life. I still haven’t made up my mind with regards to the ending, but it’s certainly the best film I’ve seen all year, and probably the Most 2018 Film I’ve seen as well.
Although I have not seen many films so far this year, I would go with either Annihilation or You Were Never Really Here. Both have lingered with me long after seeing them. It's a shame that I have not seen more films. I guess You Were Never Really Here could also describe me at the theater this year.
My favorite 2018 release is You Were Never Really Here, followed by 4 horror films rounding out the top 5.
1. You Were Never Really Here
5. A Quiet Place
"First Reformed" is the best film included on the poll. However, "24 Frames," the final film by Abbas Kiarostami, is the best film released in 2018. It's a reminder of Godard's quote, "Film begins with DW Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami."