By The Pajiba Staff | Film | December 24, 2018 |
By The Pajiba Staff | Film | December 24, 2018 |
Publisher’s Note: Personally, this is my favorite year-end list. Though the title of this annual post has changed throughout the years, the spirit of it remains the same: These are not necessarily the “best” movies, but often the movies we’re most likely to return to over and over. They’re the most rewatchable movies of the year. Our couch-and-pajamas films, the movies we’ll watch on rainy days, or the movies we’re most likely to introduce to dates (movies in our annual top 10 Best Films are not included herein).
Here they are, in no particular order (except that Crazy Rich Asians definitely suits this list the best).
Crazy Rich Asians — Crazy Rich Asians is simply a goddamn joy to watch, a deliciously funny, lusciously globe-hopping film that simultaneously explores the responsibilities of family hierarchy and piety as well as individual desire and ambition. It is nuanced, it is complex, it is ridiculous, it is stupendous. You’ll fall in love with nearly every damn person in this movie. In every way possible, Crazy Rich Asians is a success and a delight. — Roxana Hadadi
Blockers — This is not a female-led Superbad, and it is not lady American Pie. It is its own unique comedy that just happens to explore female sexuality in ways that male sexuality has been explored for decades. It’s a great parenting comedy. It’s a great high-school sex comedy. It’s a great friendship comedy. Blockers is hysterical, one of the funniest studio comedies in years. It is also substantive and progressive. It hits squarely upon the double standard for women when it comes to sex, and it does so in heartfelt and wildly hilarious ways. It’s also an R-Rated sex comedy that doesn’t hit a single sour note and manages to be fantastically subversive without being offensive. It is terrific. — Dustin Rowles
Love Simon — There is nothing groundbreaking about this story, aside from the fact that it exists on such a wide scale. It is sweet, and lovely, and wonderful. It’s a Molly Ringwald movie, or a Julia Stiles movie, only its lead is a boy, and the object of his affection is another boy, and the movie so refreshingly doesn’t treat that distinction any differently than if it were a boy and a girl, and the audience probably won’t treat that distinction any differently, either. And the fact that so many high school kids can watch this movie and see themselves in it the same way I saw myself in John Cusack movies brings me more joy than I have felt from a coming-of-age rom-com in a very, very long time. See it. It will bring you happiness. — Dustin Rowles
Paddington 2 — The world can be cruel. But we can choose to be better. As Paddington declares, “If we are kind and polite, the world will be right.” This may sound like a childish adage. But through Paddington 2 it proves not just a rejuvenating message of hope, but also an aspirational challenge to its audience. True to its deeply delightful predecessor, this sensational sequel offers a rollicking adventure, full of heart, color, whimsy, and pitch-perfect comedy. But more than that, it’ll inspire you to be a better person. — Kristy Puchko
The Spy Who Dumped Me — The main thing to know about The Spy Who Dumped Me is that it’s rated R for a reason. Not because it’s especially bawdy or raunchy in the humor department —- though it is like 50 percent comedy, and some of it is raunch. But it’s that other 50 percent that might surprise you. It’s just a bloody shoot-em-up. And I don’t mean that there’s, like, a couple of gunfights. I mean that the film veers from comedy into action and back again like a playground see-saw. And those action bits are proper bone-crunching splatterfests. I love blood and punching and grunting and car chases and blasty shoot-outs where the bad guys have piss poor aim. That’s my fucking JAM. So having that all swirled into a female buddy comedy like some sort of marble rye of genres just straight-up did it for me. But it only worked because the movie DID go hard in both directions. Neither the comedy nor the action was toned down in lieu of the other. — Tori Preston
Ocean’s 8 — Getting an in-continuity, all-female addition to the Ocean’s franchise is a neat idea. Getting one that stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean (sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean), plus Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, and goddamn Rihanna as her con crew? That is some shit to be excited about. And it works! It’s fun! It’ll put a smile on your face! I’m glad it’s a thing that exists, so please go see it and throw all of your money at it! Because getting a cast of women of this caliber and diversity together to play funny, smart, capable, and interesting characters is exciting, and Ocean’s 8 a great start. — Tori Preston
Game Night Creative partners John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have made their most successful film to date, directing the Mark Perez-penned action-comedy Game Night. Daley and Goldstein have brought together an impeccable ensemble who makes the most out of every silly setup. Playing another self-involved jerk, Jason Bateman’s cozy in his niche, and cruises competently. But Rachem McAdams shines, her eyes alive with excitement whether she’s wielding a gun about to push tough guys into a submissive “child’s pose,” or if she’s giving a go at curbside emergency surgery. Her charisma and comedic timing make McAdams the film’s true star, even though its plot often sidles back to Max and his need to best his older, more handsome, more successful brother. If you’re looking for a rapturously funny film with a crackerjack cast, Game Night’s a winner. — Kristy Puchko
Old Man and the Gun — The Old Man & the Gun ends up being a fitting homage to Robert Redford, who over his entire career has defined a certain sort of American masculinity. That sandy blond hair and that chiseled jaw and that smile, oh damn, that smile! Redford’s no-nonsense directness and awareness of his WASP-y looks—and how to either play into them or work against them—were used to great effect in The Great Gatsby and Jeremiah Johnson and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men and The Way We Were and The Sting and Three Days of the Condor and Spy Game and The Natural and The Horse Whisperer and All is Lost and Pete’s Dragon and yes, even Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Redford is an American legend, full stop, and he uses all of his tricks in The Old Man & the Gun to win you over and to sweep you up and to break your heart. By the end of The Old Man & the Gun, you’ll understand how sobering and self-aware and lovely, a reflection on a life lived and reckoned with and experienced, in happiness and in sadness, in selfishness and in generosity. What a fitting sendoff for Redford; what a phenomenal final performance. — Roxana Hadadi
Sisters Brothers — Based on the award-winning novel by Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers can best be described, as the book was to me by a friend, as ‘Cormac McCarthy with jokes’. The sheer oddness of the tone — veering from goofy to bleak to melancholic to sweet and back again — could so easily have sent this film soaring into chaos. That Audiard manages to make these switches seem entirely organic is a testament to his surgeon-like precision. This kind of plot is nothing new for film or the Western genre but the devil is in the details. The central narrative takes giddy detours into asides such as Eli discovering a toothbrush for the first time or their introduction to indoor bathrooms. There are gunfights a-plenty but this is primarily a film about men in the wilderness talking about their feelings and finding companionship when it’s needed the most. — Kayleigh Donaldson
Mission Impossible — Fallout — The film feels like a rabbit warren of twists and turns, replete with betrayals and backstabbing and while the surprises are telegraphed, the execution is so satisfying that it doesn’t even matter. The action scenes are breathless and often almost exhausting to sit through, with a palpable tension and terrific choreography. It’s enjoyable, it’s funny, it’s exhilarating as hell, and it features a cast that knows exactly how to hit the right notes. No, there isn’t a ton of emotional depth (and if anything, the film’s ending is a bit emotionally manipulative), but it doesn’t need to be. It’s firmly grounded in its self-awareness, and it takes its business of “damn good action movie” very seriously. And while the plot often feels like a bit of spycraft novel gobbledygook, it’s forgivable in favor of the fact that Fallout makes no bones about what it is: a beautifully crafted ode to action films. — TK