Another year in the books for the world, and therefore another year of favorites in pop culture. It has been been a down year for movies in terms of prestige players, although we’ve been treated to ultra-hyped sequels, surprising small-budget thrillers, life-ruining horror, and so much more that it hurts to even call it a down year. But, even if that prestige was there, it would not matter. As we here at GlitchUp don’t do “Best”, we do “Favorite”. So, after sitting through hours and hours of film, we have found our favorite movies of the year. The movies that wowed us, that entertained us beyond belief, that culled emotions we weren’t even expecting to burst out of us. You can see our favorite movies of 2017 here, and you can read on to find out just what got to us the most this year. This is GlitchUp’s Favorites of 2018: Movies.
Pat: Avengers: Infinity War was the most awesome, bombastic, hype-fueled culmination to a 10-year journey that anyone could ask for. And yet, I still find myself unable to place it at the top of my favorites list this year. That honor goes to Searching, my favorite and most surprising movie of the year.
Searching is one of the most unique movies I’ve seen in a very long time. A mystery movie about a teenage girl who goes missing sounds typical enough, but the fact that it takes place entirely on “screens” (think computer screens and Facetime calls instead of the typical Hollywood camera shots) is something that deserves recognition, even without taking the rest of the movie into context. What could have been a really annoying gimmick, ends up being an extremely unique and compelling way to tell a story, thanks to the incredibly good attention to detail (including the insane secret “blink and you’ll miss it” subplot that unfolds in the background) and the variety of ways in which the story unfolds on the different kinds of screens. It’s the little things like seeing the old YouTube UI, the familiar wallpaper from Windows XP, and the realistic use of this technology (no “Zoom in. Enhance.” here!) that really sells it. You’re never on a single type of screen for too long either. You’ll go from phone to computer, to video camera, to TV and it happens so naturally, you find yourself sitting there wondering how anyone could come up with such a distinctive way to present a movie.
I could keep gushing about the presentation of the movie, but all other aspects of the movie are phenomenal as well. The story had me hooked from start to finish. I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of the runtime and was holding my breath waiting on every single line of dialogue to see where the story went next. I thought I had the movie solved multiple times, only to get shot down by some serious hooks and twists. I felt angry, I felt sorrow, I felt sick, but above all else, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie.
Honorable Mentions: Avengers: Infinity War; Incredibles 2; A Quiet Place
Chandler: A sequel that hits harder than the original? 99% of the time this simply doesn’t happen but Creed II pulls no punches and managed to deliver a thrilling ride from start to finish. As the “eighth” installment in the Rocky-Creed movie universe, one would imagine by now we’ve seen pretty much every scenario play out in the boxing ring. However, the film’s incredibly choreographed boxing matches and emotional attachment to the franchise’s established characters, kept me constantly hooked throughout each suspenseful buildup.
It’s a testament to Creed II director Steven Caple Jr. to step into Ryan Coogler’s shoes and offer a fresh visual-style of his own while juggling all of the cheesy Ivan Drago material from Rocky IV. Fans familiar with the franchise will remember it was Drago who killed Creed Sr. in the ring thus setting in motion all of the events of Adonis Creed’s story. This is where Creed II really hits its stride by connecting events of the past on both sides and merging them with the present. Every character has something to prove and it makes the movie even more compelling to watch when you can sympathize with the villains just as much as the heroes. On one side you have Adonis trying to avenge his father’s death by beating Drago’s physically-imposing son Viktor. Then on the other you have Drago coming out of exile with his son to get back the life that was lost to him after his brutal loss to Rocky in Russia. Clearly old wounds haven’t healed and this becomes a ferocious grudge match for the ages.
After all, what’s a Rocky-Creed movie without some bone-crushing action? And Creed II certainly lands a haymaker here with its jaw-dropping cinematography. The training sequences are barbarically intense, the highs and lows of each match are electrifying, and the visual impact of each punch landing resembled two gladiators battling it out between life and death. It’s no surprise that Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone deliver stellar performances again along with Tessa Thompson who shines as a strong female character in an otherwise male-dominated movie.
Following the events of Rocky IV, I thought Drago’s story was naturally concluded but I’m glad I was wrong because this was a story that NEEDED to be told. I don’t know about you guys but I’m ready for round III.
Honorable Mentions: Avengers: Infinity War; Won’t You Be My Neighbor?; A Quiet Place
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Andy: When I first saw the trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, my gut reaction was “eh this animation/art style isn’t for me, I’ll pass”. Granted, we do a podcast here at GlitchUp, so I knew I’d be in the theaters week number one. Even five or so minutes into the film, it looked like I had walked into a 3D showing of it accidentally, and I still wasn’t sold. Oh, how I was wrong! If I told you a Sony-produced, quasi-cartoon styled, multiple Spidey story would be my first A+ ever given on the podcast (oh, and one of the Spidey’s is voiced by Nic Cage), I’d tell you to delete your account.
What I was worried about being a detractor of the film ended up being it’s biggest strength. This is a legitimate comic-book come to life, and I’m not sure I can ever go back to pretending I’m watching Spider-Man on the big screen after seeing what the team of visual artists did with Spider-Verse. Incredible action sets, vibrant color palettes that feel like they are not from this world (because they aren’t), and multiple Spidey art-styles from different era’s and different worlds could ONLY be possible with this visual format.
The voice acting cast is unreal: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Nic Cage, Mahershala Ali, Zoë Kravitz, Chris Pine, Liev Schreiber and more all bring their best to the screen.
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse’s unique visual style might be the first thing that catches your eye, but it’s the movie’s heart, the supporting cast’s performance, and everything down to the soundtrack and original score that will surprise you. I can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about this movie and it’s hands down the biggest surprise of 2018.
Honorable Mentions: Avengers: Infinity War; A Quiet Place; Annihilation
Austin: #1 midway through the year, #1 at the end. No movie has encapsulated the desire for wonder and emotions I seek than Annihilation. From the stunning visuals of the mysterious Shimmer, a floating, transparent-but-not, gorgeous border lining the edges of a forest, to the haunting appearance of altered life, the film captured my attention fully, wow-ing me in my seat both times I watched it. The emotional core of the film, the struggle of the team to find meaning of the seeming disaster as well as Natalie Portman’s deep confusion and need to find what happened to her now alien-like husband deepens your intrigue and connection to the mystery. Yeah, it’s easy to make a viewer interested in an original, apparent alien invasion, but it sure as hell makes it a lot more meaningful when you are invested in the character’s seeking to uncover the truths of that mystery.
Annihilation features the most terrifying moment I’ve had watching any movie ever. Hell, it might be the most terrifying moment I’ve ever experienced in life. It distills into a single moment the fear we have when we have no idea what to expect, the true terror that lies in what we don’t understand. My mind couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing, and I have never wanted to sink further into my seat than those seconds in the theater. It’s a true feat to make someone feel that when it relies on the lack of something. No jump scare, no monster lurking in the corner, nothing. And even more, it is an astonishing reflection of the feelings the characters have felt throughout the film, further tying the experience together. It’s one of my favorite moments I’ve ever had in a theater.
In what has been a weak couple years for sci-fi, it is nice to have Alex Garland taking full priority and dominance in the genre, putting out intelligent films that force the viewer to take notice to all that happens onscreen, without sacrificing the character development and inter-character relationships we need to connect to a movie. Already having one of the best of 2015 with Ex Machina, it was no small task to follow it up. He did that, and more, delivering the best movie of 2018.
Honorable Mentions: Spiderman Into The Spiderverse; Mission Impossible Fallout; A Star Is Born; Thoroughbreds; First Reformed
Additional Note: I still haven’t seen Wildlife, Burning, or If Beale Street Could Talk (strongly think this one may end up being my favorite).
Stay tuned the rest of the week to read about our favorite video games and TV of 2018! And remember to let us know what your favorites of the year were, here in the comments or on any of our social media.