Tyler Howat’s Top 10 Films of 2018

By Tyler Howat
Published: January 3, 2019
Tyler Howat's Top 10 Films of 2018

Tyler Howat’s Top 10 Films of 2018.

10. Hereditary

Hereditary came out of nowhere, taking the horror – and the film – world by storm. It’s bonkers, freaky, disturbing, and emotionally wrenching. It’s a horror film, but it’s much more a film about the tragic implosion of a family.

9. First Man

First Man is a poignant, tense portrait of a complex man as he journeys toward destiny. Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong is not merely the charismatic Boy Scout we met in The Right Stuff, but a flawed, difficult, driven man set on making history. This is a different follow-up to La La Land than we expected from director Damien Chazelle, with much less warmth and feeling than that musical, but with no less of an impactful story. First Man is no Apollo 13–it’s not inspirational or emotional, but it’s no less gripping or moving.

8. Ralph Breaks the Internet

Ralph Breaks the Internet is a genre-busting, heartwarming film with positive, profound messages about friendship and, of course,  prolific hilarious pop culture in-jokes. I would compare it to Inside Out for its nuanced yet on-the-nose manifestation of the internet in all its positive and negative forms. It’s a delightful, family-friendly film for the holidays that outstrips its progenitor and other sequels from this year.

7. Leave No Trace

One of the more quietly powerful films of the year, touching on issues of family, government, society, veterans, and what it means to love. Ben Foster is quietly broken and Thomasin McKenzie appropriately and effectively channels Jennifer Lawrence in Debra Granik’s follow up to Winter’s Bone. Similarly infused with nature and family, Leave No Trace is not as bleak as its predecessor, though Granik has once again discovered a star in the making with McKenzie.

6. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Fallout is such a strong entry in this epic franchise. Everything about it is turned up to 11, bringing everything from the previous few films together into a satisfying, cathartic filmgoing experience.

5. A Quiet Place

With the mood and atmosphere of an M. Night Shyamalan film and the pathos of both the brilliant Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, A Quiet Place stands out among so many other films of its kind. On paper, this isn’t anything special: a post-apocalyptic thriller with strange creatures trying to kill our protagonists. But everything else makes it a film apart.

4. Won’t You Be My Neighbor

In short: this is the most heartwarming film I’ve seen this year. I dare you to put up all your armor and avoid shedding only a single tear.

3. BlacKkKlansman

An important, timely, unflinching, uncomfortable, hilarious piece of cinema that pulls no punches and shines a spotlight on the insanity of racism. This is required viewing for America today.

2. A Star Is Born

This is the first time this year that I left the film thinking: this was a Best Actor, Actress, and Director worthy movie.
A Star Is Born is breathtaking, engaging, intensely emotional and heartbreaking. Bradley Cooper gives another in a career of career-making performances, and Lady Gaga feels so genuine and real. Their chemistry is raw and meaningful, and the music is moving. This is a film to watch come Oscars season, and one for your hearts.

1. Eighth Grade

Eight Grade is easily my favorite film of the year. Bo Burnham and Elsie Fisher thrust us into the head and world of an Eighth Grade girl, with all the innumerable insecurities and anxieties that go with that part of life. However, it keeps us firmly grounded in her reality, not hyperbolizing or condescending to “that generation” or “those kids and their phones and social media.” Her phone is front and center, but that’s true to life, and she’s not condemned for it. It’s another element and obstacle that she needs to overcome. Elsie Fisher is stunning and real. The camera fixes closely on her throughout, nearly everything is a closeup, not only of her but of her perspective. Rarely does anyone else share the screen with her. And the camera loves her, cringes with her, and cries with her. This is a stunning, nearly perfect film with one of the most cathartic moments I’ve ever had while watching a movie.

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