I’ve already published the consensus list of the Indiana Film Journalists’ 2018 top movies. Here’s mine:
- The Hate U Give: An accessible story that matters, a screenplay that goes well beyond the traditional comfort zone of most mainstream movies that deal with race in America (yes, I’m looking at you, “Green Book”), and some of the best performances of the year.
- Eighth Grade: The most intensely suspenseful survival film of the year. There was no character in any film this year that I was more concerned about from beginning to end.
- First Reformed: Ethan Hawke could be the most underrated film actor in America (see also 2015’s “Born to Be Blue” and many others). And here he’s given plenty to work with.
- Won’t You Be My Neighbor?: My top three were each harrowing in their own way. This one is quite the opposite–a film with smiles baked in. Okay, tears, too.
- If Beale Street Could Talk: My single favorite scene in any film this year is the meeting of the parents here. Thankfully, that scene has a many other strong ones before and after, adding up to a rare literary adaptation that gets the tone of the book just right while still being a movie.
- The Sisters Brothers: I don’t see this damn entertaining western showing up on many lists. For me, it was a rare oater that balanced suspense, humor, and great characters. Plus, a spot-on ending.
- Three Identical Strangers: I’m glad I knew nothing about this documentary going in, the better to take a ride that starts out joyfully, turns into a mystery, goes dark, and is packed with very human twists and turns.
- Minding the Gap: Almost turned it off because, you know, another skateboarder movie. So glad I stuck with it.
- At Eternity’s Gate: The Vincent van Gogh story has been told many times. This one does it beautifully with an emphasis on character and creation rather than melodrama.
- Support the Girls: A delight of an under-the-radar workplace dramedy. Who’d have thought a movie about a day in the life of the staff and customers at a faux-Hooters could be so smart and endearing.
If we lived in a world with a base-15 numbering system, I’d also include Leave No Trace, Roma, On Her Shoulders, and Paddington 2.