ACRN’s Top 10 Movies of 2018

1. BlacKkKlansman, [Focus Features; 2018]

By Jessica Jones, Staff Writer

Set in the 1970s during the middle of the civil rights movement, black police officer Ron Stallworth infiltrates a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan by posing as a white man. Based on a true story, this film depicts the real-life events of what occurred in Colorado Springs. Spike Lee’s signature directing style is easily recognizable in this film. Hilarious, tense humbling and an excellent soundtrack all in one movie, it’s no wonder this film was locked in at number one this year.

2. Black Panther, [Marvel; 2018]

By Ceara Kelly, Contributor

Black Panther could have been just another superhero movie, full of overdone fights and no plot whatsoever, but somehow, Marvel Studios escaped their monotony and made one of the best films of the year. The almost spy movie feel was refreshing and fun. Even superhero haters flocked to the theaters and left having thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Visually there was never a dull moment, and the plot was surprisingly meaningful. Black Panther achieved what studios said would never work–a successful black superhero movie, opening the doors to even more diverse media. Social success aside, the movie truly defied the genre and went well above everyone’s expectations with an amazing soundtrack, directing and acting. Hardly a flaw can be found. Not many movies can say that, certainly not Marvel movies, but Black Panther isn’t just a Marvel movie.

3. Eighth Grade, [A24; 2018]

By Taylor Linzinmeir, Contributor

Comedian Bo Burnham’s directorial debut Eighth Grade starring Elsie Fisher is an honest coming-of-age film for the social media era. With only a $2 million budget and 27-day shoot, Eighth Grade became one of the most talked about and highly rated films of 2018, and even landed Elsie Fisher a Golden Globe nomination. Burnham, stand up comedian and former YouTuber, shares his struggle with anxiety through the story of 13-year-old Kayla as she tackles her last week of middle school. With inspiration behind the film coming from Burnham studying young YouTubers who pour their hearts out to an online audience, Eighth Grade is an uncomfortably accurate portrait of the awkwardness of adolescence in the modern age. Adding to the precision of the film is the original soundtrack by Anna Meredith featuring harsh and abrasive songs that coincide with the emotional landscape of the film. Although the setting of this story is specific, the subject of social anxiety makes the movie relatable to viewers of all ages.

4. Isle of Dogs, [Fox Searchlight; 2018]

By Maria Lubanovic, Copy Editor

From intense stop-motion animation to an interesting and well-written story, Isle of Dogs is a great example of why people shouldn’t discard animation just because it is generally labeled as a genre for children. This is no talking animal Disney film. Isle of Dogs follows a boy’s quest to find his dog after all of the dogs in the country were sent to a trash island. Isle of Dogs covers themes of authoritarianism, dictatorship and the danger of groupthink, all through telling the story of a child who wants to find his dog. The film has a definite sense of culture and style, using no subtitles for Japanese-speaking humans and English for the dogs. Wes Anderson uses his iconic film techniques and has a definite written edge with its deadpan humor and darker themes. The music is beautiful and emotional, and the voice acting is well done, but the best part of this movie is the stop-motion animation.

5. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, [Beachside; 2018]

By Andrew Breazeale, Staff Writer

As a story that tackles LGBTQ issues, this movie is not only one of the best movies of the year, but also one of the most important. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a story of a young girl who, after being caught with another girl, is sent to a conversion therapy camp to rid her of her “disease.” What makes this movie so special is its focus on the effect these camps have on impressionable youths. Although subtle in its execution, the movie displays scenes of mental torment and suicide, driving home the point that these camps don’t work and only cause pain, even if children aren’t being physically beaten.

With a powerful performance from lead Chloe Grace Moretz and a flowing plot that doesn’t get too invasive, this movie couldn’t be more important to today’s youth. This film demonstrates the power that an individual holds over their fate, tactfully showing how anyone can decide who they are and how they are going to live their lives. This powerful message is shown through the eyes of the young actors in the movie, pointing out that the movie is tailored to a younger audience. A relevant and honest movie about issues affecting thousands of youths today, this movie is decidedly one of the best and most influential movies of the year.

6. Mid90s, [A24; 2018]

By Andrew Breazeale, Staff Writer

Mid90s is the story of a young boy named Stevie and his adventures with his new rebel skater friends. As the first movie that Jonah Hill directed, a lot was expected of the film, and it completely delivered. Hill’s personal anecdotes and character development are the backbone of this film, coming together to create an immersive film that transports the audience back to a time when things felt much simpler. The realistic elements of this movie, like the 4:3 aspect ratio and the 90s era soundtrack, serve to take us back to that time, plunging the audience into the movie as if they were a part of it.

We take a meandering stroll through Stevie’s new angsty life, relating heavily to every painful and uncomfortable new experience he has. Hill was able to accurately create a story that anyone could enjoy and relate to but in a unique way. Mid90s effectively avoids the clichés that most other movies fall into, using original ideas and pure creativity to continuously surprise the audience as well as keep them hooked. One of the most original movies of the year, Mid90s leaves the audience with a yearning for childhood and a sense of accomplishment for having survived adolescence.

7. Bohemian Rhapsody, [20th Century Fox; 2018]

By Jessica Jones, Staff Writer

Queen fans, rejoice! This stunning movie showcases the trials and tribulations of the world famous pop-rock band in a fast-paced biopic. Only changing the timeline a bit, this film will transport you back in time to the ages of sex, drugs and a whole lot of rock ’n’ roll. Rami Malek perfectly portrays frontman Freddie Mercury, nailing the performance given in their recreation of the 1985 Live Aid concert. This movie was essentially built around the music, so expect to be singing the band’s entire discography after watching. This is one movie from 2018 that you don’t want to miss.

8. The Incredibles 2, [Walt Disney; 2018]

By Ceara Kelly, Contributor

It took 14 years, but god was it worth the wait for Incredibles 2. Nostalgia alone made this one of the best movies of the year, but when it managed to escape the deadly animated sequels curse, it assured its place on this list. Its focus on Elastigirl rather than Mr. Incredible mixed with the concept of superhero family drama leads to a thrilling and downright hilarious movie. Pixar played just as much to the fans from all those years ago as they did to the kids of today.

The same classic sly adult humor slipped in with plenty of references to the past film without ruining it for the younger audience altogether. For as amazing as the first film’s animation, it looks awful compared to the sequel. Incredibles 2 flaunts the development in 3D animation, constantly using those “hardest things to animate” from the first film like they’re nothing now. Fantastic puns, great storytelling and actually surprising twists earned the Incredibles 2 a spot on this list. All that’s left is wondering if the Parr family will ever catch the Underminer.

9. Sorry to Bother You, [Annapurna; 2018]

By Kwase Lane, Staff Writer

The premise of a story where one sells their soul is nowhere near a revolutionary idea; however, almost everything else in this movie is. It’s hard to talk about the more bombastic moments of the film without giving away major plot points. Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on the film takes a hard left turn, but it never manages to lose viewers. As surreal as the events are, they all manage to make sense in the world of the movie. Underneath all of the strange and sometimes nightmarish ornamentation is a wonderful tale about succeeding as an African-American and the dangers that this can carry with it. Sorry to Bother You is subtly hilarious, horrifying and insightful–what else could you ask for in a film?

10A Quiet Place, [Paramount; 2018]

By Emily DiAlbert, Copy Editor

How far would you go to protect your family? In director and actor John Krasinski’s case, he’d take a vow of silence.

A Quiet Place, deemed the most innovative horror movie since The Blair Witch Project, follows the terrors and triumphs of one of the few families still alive in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by blind, super-hearing monsters. After already losing their youngest child to a monster, Lee Abbott (Krasinski) and wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) dedicate their everyday to keeping their two remaining children (and one on the way) alive and safe, which means teaching them everything they need to know about hiding from – and defeating – the monsters. Things go as smoothly as they can in an unpredictable setting until Evelyn goes into labor. What follows will leave you in tears of joy and relief but also of pure heartbreak.

A Quiet Place features stellar acting, captivating special effects and breathtaking visuals. Additionally, the almost-silent film incorporates the use of American Sign Language as well as a deaf actress (Millicent Simmonds). With a storyline that simultaneously jump-scares you shitless while also pulling on your heartstrings, A Quiet Place is one 2018 film that will leave you anything but silent.

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