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Matt’s (Extremely Late and Untimely But, Whatever, It’s Going Up Anyways) Top 10 Films of 2018

Neither the Top 10 list that the internet deserves, nor the one it needs right now.

Yes, I know – who the fuck even cares?

..Is the usual public response to ANYTHING I post, but even more so with this thing! I mean, a Top 10 Films of 2018 list? What is this, December 2018? Well, don’t worry, you didn’t magically get thrown back in time (lord knows the last thing ANYONE wants now is to be hurled into 2018.) No, this article is posting at the tail end of February 2019, primarily because I suck at doing things, and primarily suck at doing them in a timely fashion. But, hey, I work two jobs guys – that’s 60 hours a week. Cut me some slack. And, as always, I beat the Oscars. So that’s still something, right?

Anyways, for the sake of my own personal bookkeeping, I’m posting my Top 10’s for the year. Today’s the movie one, and the TV one should be landing soon. Probably. I don’t fucking know. Don’t expect massive write-ups on them, because lord knows no one is reading this thing anyways. But for those 0 readers…some quick honorable mentions.


Black Panther – it’s first act is a little dodgy IMHO, but the rest of this movie rocks, so it’s still yet another winner for the MCU

Paddington 2 – MOTHER FUCKING PADDINGTON 2 IS VERY GOOD, AND EXTREMELY CHARMING. THESE FUCKING BEAR MOVIES MAN. GOD. DAMN. PADDINGTON.

Bad Times at the El Royale – very much my kind of shit, though the ending did leave me wanting a bit. Still exquisitely crafted, however, and proof Drew Goddard should be given the world.

Game Night – Who would have thought this movie would be so damn good? It was a shock to me, frankly. This one almost made my Top 10 in fact, until it got bumped off towards the very end. Still though, what a great studio comedy, in an environment that could use a hell of a lot more of them.


And kicking off the list in kind is…

10. BlacKKKlansman

Man, how long has it been since Spike Lee made a legitimately great movie? Inside Man? Either way, its nice to see him back in the auteur spotlight again, and with something as fascinating, entertaining, and lively as this. Plus, the sequence that caps the film off is one of my biggest cinematic gut-punches of the year. I was floored. For that alone, BlacKKKlansman more than earns its spot on at the top of this list.


9. The Favorite

The hand job scene, guys.

That’s all that’s needed here. Let’s move on.


8. The Hate U Give

Y’all slept on The Hate U Give when it hit theaters back in September and, to be quite blunt, I every one of you for it. This is a fantastic portrait of minority life in modern America bolstered by an incredible lead performance by Amandla Stenberg, who should have gotten an Oscar nomination if there was any justice in the world (as this film proposes though, there very much isn’t.) The Hate U Give is a film I’ve been thinking about constantly since I saw it, and I think it’s essential viewing for pretty much everyone. Trust me, it will leave an impression on you. You know…

IF YOU GODDAMN WATCH IT.

7. Roma

Alfonso Cuaron is a god amongst filmmakers, and Roma is easily one of his all-time best. There’s so many absolutely stunning sequences in this movie, and moments that will be ingrained inside my brain forever. It’s very deliberate in its pacing (and sometimes quite lethargic, if we’re being honest) but it’s a movie that rewards you at the end of the day with some all-time bravura, stunning moments. And though it become almost a meme upon the film’s release, I did in fact see it in a movie theater. And, yeah…see it in a movie theater. This is a genius filmmaker, doing his thing. And it deserves to be witnessed in all its glory.


6. The Death of Stalin

The funniest film of 2018, by far. It’s extremely dark and EXTREMELY Armando Iannuci, so your mileage may vary depending on how much of those elements you can take. But as a lover of both things, this movie was pretty much perfect for me. A bold, hilarious, black-as-ash satire that, in looking through the past, ends up making a heck of a statement about our present. I wish more comedies were as impactful as this one. In these crazy times, lord knows we can use a good laugh – and, maybe even more so, the lesson that goes with it.

5. Blindspotting

Remember all the things I said about The Hate U Give above? Well take all that, and also put it on Blindspotting, because this movie is bloody brilliant. It’s rare to see a film deviate so heavily from hearty, gut busting laughs to absolute heartbreak, and terror, and sadness, but Blindspotting does it all with ease. Like if Do The Right Thing had a baby with Clerks, Blindspotting manages to say so much about the modern world, and problematic friendships, and the extreme fucked-up-ness of the justice system. And like The Hate U Give, it also puts focus on a pivotal aspect of police brutality: the indirect witness who, although not the subject of the injustice directly, has to live with the trauma of being in a world that allows it to happen in the first place. It fucks us all up, and I’m so glad that movies like The Hate U Give and Blindspotting exist to remind us of that, in wildly different ways to boot.


4. Eighth Grade

Meanwhile, isn’t life SO TOUGH for the white girl?

I’m being flippant here just because the contrast between these two entries amuses me, but it’s to Bo Burnham’s credit that I never once thought that Kayla’s experiences throughout Eighth Grade were anything to look down upon. No, I saw a lot of myself in Kayla, as I’m sure many who watch this terrific film end up doing. It just manages to put you so well into the head-space of its protagonist, and turns ever single moment of her life into a nightmare scape of awkwardness and pain. This one touched me deeply, and gives proper representation to the type of character we just don’t see on screen all that often. After such a fantastic debut feature, and as a huge fan of his work as a comedian, I’m extremely excited to see what Bo Burnham does next.

3. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Since Fallout came out at the tail end of July 2018, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I think I’ve come to a final conclusion. Despite what I said back when it came out, yes: Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the best Mission: Impossible movie, and indeed one of the best action films of the decade. It just has everything I want in a summer blockbuster – it’s propulsive and well-paced and memorable, and with action scenes that are truly jaw-dropping. I can’t stop thinking about some of its more gonzo sequences, and I always kind of have the desire to re-watch sequences from it again. I recently bought an Xbox One and, to properly test out its new capabilities, I bought the super cool 4K Steelbook sold from Best Buy, and though I told myself I was just going to test my display by watching the opening…of course I ended up watching the whole thing again, for a fourth time. It’s just that fucking good, guys. And, side note, easily one of the best scores of last year. Lorne Balfe does the lord’s work with some of those adrenaline pumping compositions. Seriously, just every part of this goddamn movie WORKS. If they can somehow keep the quality up on this franchise as well as they have this decade, than I say keep them coming. I’m just not sure any of them can match the franchise perfection that is Mission: Impossible – Fallout.


2. If Beale Street Could Talk

The latest entry on this list, If Beale Street Could Talk absolutely wrecked me when I saw it just a few weeks back. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Barry Jenkins is perhaps the best romance filmmaker out there, and the way he can imbue his movies with such passion, warmth, and just pure love, is nothing short of incredible. If Beale Street Could Talk invites you into its beautifully lyrical world, only to rip it all away by its inevitable conclusion. But the experience is rather cathartic and, put through Jenkins flawless camera work and (especially) Nicolas Brittel’s all time great score, If Beale Street Could Talk doesn’t just fit perfectly amongst the tableau of film’s heavily focused on racial injustice release last year – it stands head and shoulders above them all. And like the rest of them, unfortunately, it was severely overlooked upon its release. I can only hope time will be kind to this brilliant masterstroke of a movie.

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

2018 was one of those years where I was going into the final stretch of it with absolutely NO favorite movie of the year or, at the very least, anything I felt appropriate to truly represent the spot. I started to get worried, frankly: surely something had to hit me in just the right way to make it to the top of my yearly pile, right? Well, better late than never, as leave it to the ol’ Web Head (Heads?) to be the perfect pinch-hitter for the final inning…of the year? Whatever, I don’t know sports, don’t make me do sports analogies guys.

To truly understand how much I loved Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, you have to understand how much I love the character of Spider-Man in general. He’s my favorite superhero by far — one of my favorite fictional characters in general, really — and he means so much to me as a film fan, a superhero lover, a creator, and, hell, as a person. He is a cornerstone of my pop culture experience. And one of the glorious things about Into the Spider-Verse is how aware the movie is of the place that Spider-Man has in pop culture. It makes note of that connection in ways that are playful and witty, yes, but in its most stunning moments, immensely powerful and rather awe-inspiring. Like in this sequence, for instance, which is bar none the best film scene of 2018, and one I’ve watched over a dozen times by this point. And I don’t even own the Blu-Ray yet!

All of which is to say: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the Spider-Man movie of my dreams. Hell, the superhero movie of my dreams. Or, double hell, the movie of my dreams PERIOD. Immensely entertaining, endlessly re-watchable, imaginative beyond all measure: Into the Spider-Verse is the real fucking deal. And it’s by far my favorite film of 2018. All hail Lord & Miller, those glorious writer/producers. What can’t they do?

(Star Wars. The answer is Star Wars, apparently.)


Well, that’s my list. Not sure why you would be reading it this late in the game, and with so much other things to be done in 2019, but, umm…thanks?


Also published on Medium.

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Written By

Matthew Legarreta is the Editor and Owner of Freshly Popped Culture. A big ol' ball of movie, TV, and video game loving flesh, Matthew has been writing about pop culture for nearly a decade. Matthew also loves writing about himself in the third person, because it makes him feel important (or something.)

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