I had a friend tell me they thought 2018 was a bland and bad year for movies. I disagree vehemently. I think you just have to know where to look. Sure, a lot of great movies are stuck in limited release. But most of them will be streaming by the end of the year. So I always suggest using the New Year to catch up on those you missed that you think you might like.
You want some skating movies with deep feeling? Minding the Gap (Hulu), Skate Kitchen, and mid90s. Maybe some music movies about following a dream with vastly different outcomes? Vox Lux, A Star Is Born, and Hearts Beat Loud. How about some badass women discovering or wrestling with themselves? Annihilation, Suspiria, and Eighth Grade. Maybe including Eighth Grade there is a stretch. But, the point is that these movies are all good and deserve to be seen. Here’s my list of favorites from 2018 before I get started into 2019.
First Reformed (Amazon Prime)
Annihilation (Amazon Prime & Hulu)
You Were Never Really Here (Amazon Prime)
Hereditary (Amazon Prime)
The House That Jack Built
Eighth Grade (Amazon Prime)
Leave No Trace (Amazon Prime)
Private Life (Netflix)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix)
Minding the Gap (Hulu)
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
If Beale Street Could Talk
That’s only twenty movies. I could keep going. Movies are always good. Sometimes they just take a few minutes to find.
Now, here are my lists.
MOVIES FOR EVERYBODY
Glass (January 18th)
I liked Unbreakable and Split so I expect to like this. You can’t add Sarah Paulson and it be worse. It will make a lot of money and probably have a twist at the end. I am glad to be in a space where Shyamalan is trusted somewhat again.
Captain Marvel (March 8th)
Brie Larson is one of our greatest acting talents. She is now going to be an even bigger star and be one of the most famous people on earth if she wasn’t already. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.
John Wick: Chapter 3 (May 17th)
Keanu is our greatest action star and he is back with a cast that has added Halle Berry and Jason Mantzoukas among others. These movies are beautiful to look at and in a crazy world where seemingly most people are assassins? I’m not sure. But go have fun in the theater to this ridiculousness.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31st)
I think this movie is going to be the blockbuster of the year. Based on the first trailer and the cast. Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga as parents to Millie Bobby Brown as giant creatures try to claim dominance of our planet. This has a different director than the first one and the color scheme switching from red to turquoise and other shades of green/blue is a welcome change.
Men In Black: International (June 14th)
I love this franchise as much as much as some grown adults love Marvel movies. This is an expansion of the universe with Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. This will be fun and you will hear a lot about it.
Toy Story 4 (June 21st)
There’s nothing to say here except be prepared to cry all the tears your body is capable of and reckon with your mortality while also feeling like a kid again.
Grudge (June 21st)
I wonder if this release date will stick but maybe it’s counter programming for Toy Story. The director is an art house guy who makes very dark and TWISTED things so moving to slightly more accessible fare should prove to be a great move.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5th)
If you liked Homecoming then here you go. I think this will be the best version of Spider-Man we will get and now you add Jake Gyllenhaal as the fish bowl man Mysterio. I’m all in!
IT: Chapter Two (September 6th)
Now it will be the adults turn to get scared. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader headline the older cast. I think this will be even better than the first. Wish it came out closer to Halloween.
Joker (October 4th)
Joaquin Phoenix won’t be able to match Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight but he doesn’t have to do that. He is maybe our best working actor and the fact he did this means he has an interesting take on it. I’m ready.
Charlie’s Angels (November 1st)
Kristen Stewart directed by Elizabeth Banks making a fun action movie reboot is not something I knew I wanted but I sure do now.
New Terminator Movie without a Title (November 1st)
Mackenzie Davis and the return of Linda Hamilton. Yes please. Let’s get this franchise back on track that it was only on during Judgement Day and they haven’t recaptured since.
MOVIES FOR ME!
(they also might be for you, but they are definitely for me)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (TBA)
Quentin Tarantino’s ninth movie is rumored to be a return to his Pulp Fiction style of crime stories in LA but this time it comes with a lot of true to add to that crime. Charles Manson, old western TV show stars, and 60’s turning to 70’s panic is surely to be the center stage here. Then you add in that it makes Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt team up as actor and stuntman that are present for the Sharon Tate murder. This will be the most talked about movie of 2019 once summer hits. I’m ready for all that brings.
The Irishman (TBA)
Martin Scorsese’s reunion with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci had to be with a mob movie about the man who claims to have killed Jimmy Hoffa. Al Pacino plays Hoffa. It has a ton of other great actors. They are using deaging tech that has had a decade to improve after The Curious Case of Benjamin Button made huge strides. It will be on Netflix but should get the theater treatment like Roma and others have gotten.
Ad Astra (TBA)
Brad Pitt is in two of my top three most anticipated films of the year. This one he plays Tommy Lee Jones son who goes searching for him in space. Director of underseen near masterpiece The Lost City of Z is back with what will most likely be one of the most stunning movies of the year.
Knives Out (November 27th)
The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, he also made Brick which you should see, took a break from creating the next trilogy of the most famous franchise in the world to make a fun murder mystery with a stacked cast that includes Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, and many more.
Uncut Gems (TBA)
I hope Adam Sandler starts making a movie with great directors every two years. In 2017 he was the best part of Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories, on Netflix, and now he joins up with the Safdie brothers who made Good Time for a New York crime dark comedy about jewelry and an NBA player.
Us (March 15th)
Jordan Peele is back two years after his huge hit Get Out made such an impression the Sunken Place is just a normal thing people understand in culture. This one looks less about race and more about how we are our own worst enemies. Lupita Nyong’o stars as the mother of a couple on a trip that might be interrupted by their dopplegangers? It looks great.
Little Women (December 25th)
Greta Gerwig making her adaptation of the famous novel with a cast of Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet, Meryl Streep and more. Gerwig always puts so much of herself in her work that I know this may be faithful to the book but will have her all over it.
This one is purely based on faith of this writer/director. Trey Edward Shults, Krisha and It Comes at Night, has made a romantic musical starring Lucas Hedges and Sterling K. Brown, among others, about couples navigating modern love. I would’ve never pegged this guy as a musical man but now when I think about how his camera moves and the way he loves his characters I can see it.
The Lighthouse (TBA)
Director of The \/\/itch Robert Eggers has made a black and white old fashioned terror with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Dafoe is only credited as “Old”. I’m fully invested.
Lucy In The Sky (TBA)
Natalie Portman was in two of my 5 favorite films of last year and from the sounds of this one she might be able to get there again. A story of an astronaut that returns to earth and starts losing grip with what she knew. It also has Jon Hamm, Zazie Beets, Dan Stevens, and is directed by Fargo TV Series and Legion creator Noah Hawley.
OTHERS TO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THAT ALMOST MADE MY LIST
The Woman in the Window - Agoraphobic Amy Adams witnesses a crime from her window, based on a book that is adapted by Tracy Letts. LET’S TALK LETTS!
Zola - Magazine article turned movie about a stripper on a road trip to Florida
Velvet Buzzsaw - the group behind the movie Nightcrawler make a art thriller on Netflix Feb 1st
Noah Baumbach Movie - not titled yet divorce comedy with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver
Jojo Rabbit - young Nazi boy dealing with complicated feelings during WW2 resorts to his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, who is played by director of the movie Taika Waititi who made Thor: Ragnarok.
Climax - Provacateur Gasper Noe is back with an acid trip horror dance movie.
High Life - Claire Denis directs Robert Pattinson and Juliette Bincoche in space
Antlers - Jesse Plemons and Keri Russell in a small town thriller
Midsommar - Florence Pugh goes on a trip with her boyfriend where things go wrong from the director of Hereditary
The Nest - Jude Law and Carrie Coon move into an English house and things change. Don’t you love these specific details!
There are so many potentially good movies coming out in 2019. I won’t put a bunch of titles here as a giant list but I will say to keep an eye out for releases and if you liked a movie see what that director or actor is doing in the future. Movies can help us gain empathy by showing us things from different perspectives. If you are ever curious what to look for coming up feel free to ask me. I love this stuff. Be kind and see movies.
Major McKeithen studies acting & improv at the Second City and iO in Chicago. You can follow him on twitter to request snippets of his Chronicles of Riddick fanfic.