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Best Movie Memories of 2018

2018 was one of the most fruitful in terms of my movie watching and my writing. While, I am atrociously behind in this blog, it still motivated to write and refine my criticism more than I would have without. Also, 2018 itself was one of the best years of cinema after the strong years of both 2016 and 2017, but these films were almost just a supplement to the literally hundreds of films that I saw last year as I explored Giallo, Japanese exploitation, early silent comedies, and so much more. The more I explore, the more and more I realize just how vast cinema really is and how I am constantly just scratching at the surface, which is kind of depressing yet also exciting. Below are my most memorable moments watching movies, mostly in cinema.

Annihilation

Paramount really botched this release, probably because they were being extra cautious after the box office disaster of Mother! (which would have benefited from a much more limited release). It’s too bad that few people could see this movie in a theater, but I was lucky enough to do so. The beauty of the design and the world created in the Shimmer is like seeing a Symbolist painting come to life, but even more than that was the sound design and the booming score that shook me to my core in the theater. It must have been what the people who watched 2001: A Space Odyssey first must have felt like because it was exhilarating and frightening, just like a lot of the best cinema.

Widows

I saw Widows in the multiplex with people who were clearly expecting probably an Ocean’s 8-like movie and most probably had no idea who Steve McQueen was. I think I needed this reality check because I rarely get to see the reactions to so-called “arty” films in person. The audience was enthusiastic, and I heard audible gasps when some shocking developments occurred, and some of the audience members were loudly urging Viola Davis’ character to not *SPOILER* forgive her husband who had betrayed her and were cheering when she planted the gun on his dad body to make him look like the murderer and burglar.” *END SPOILER*

Bohemian Rhapsody

This movie had so many flaws, and Bryan Singer and whoever ended up taking over for him really really needed to see Walk Hard, which effectively skewered all the cliches and mistakes of the musician biopic that riddle this movie. However, when Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury took the stage at Wembley, I found myself singing along, a definite first for me in my whole moviegoing history. It didn’t necessarily make me like the movie better, but at least for those fifteen minutes or so, I turned my critical brain off, which I guess is to its credit.

Having an artist comment on my work

I know more than anyone that the audience for my blog is small, which I am fine with for now. That is why any acknowledgment of my writing is always quite validating, and the most memorable had to be when Kahyun Kim commented on my review for Joy Joy Nails on Twitter, an excellent short film about the immigrant life of some Asian (mostly Korean) women in a nail salon. She and the other actresses were so convincing and the movie felt lived-in that it made me want to see more work from all of them and director Joey Ally.

Watching Christmas Crush

I feel like it was only this year that I realized the joy of watching bad movies with other people. I have had so many movie nights that have gone horribly wrong when I overestimated my audience and picked something that was just not suited to the taste or patience of mostly non-cinephiles. But if I pick a bad movie and declare it’s a bad movie, the pressure can be off me and everyone can have a good time just laughing. Christmas Crush is in the Hallmark family of generic entertainment. The movie is also quite entertainingly terrible - terrible acting, contrived story, godawful music, middle-aged actors playing their teenage selves, etc. Not only did my wife and I had a great time making fun of this movie, but so did a whole bunch of her friends when we had them over for Christmas.

 

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