If there was something about 2018 that wasn’t terrible, it was the movies. Superhero flicks are still going strong, the horror genre got some great additions, and Pixar had one of its best films in years.
So if you want to sit on the couch and procrastinate on those New Year’s resolutions a bit longer while eating a whole pizza by yourself, I suggest watching one of my five favorite films of the year while you do it.
Keep in mind, I am not declaring Oscar predictions here — only my personal recommendations based on what I enjoyed the most.
• “Deadpool 2” — Ryan Reynolds continues to be one of the best things to come out of Canada since maple syrup.
• “Mission Impossible: Fallout” — I still haven’t seen half of the prequels to this movie, but I loved every second of this one.
5. “Ready Player One”
To this millennial who grew up on Indiana Jones movies, “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws” and “E.T.,” the only thing more nostalgic than a movie loaded with ’80s/’90s pop-culture references was seeing a Steven Spielberg movie that conveyed the same wide-eyed feeling of wonder and adventurous spirit as his greatest blockbusters.
In 2018, one of the best cinematic villains in recent memory also became the patron saint to those of us who prefer our pets to other people. #ThanosDidNothingWrong
3. “The Incredibles 2”
One of the year’s best superhero movies came in the form of Pixar’s long-awaited animated sequel — which, in my opinion, is better than the first movie. A fantastic, must-see family film.
A perfect slow burn of a film that will scare even the most hardened of horror movie aficionados. Toni Collette’s performance is just fantastic, and the third act is nothing short of terrifying. Not for the faint of heart.
If I ever cross paths with President Barack Obama, perhaps we can strike up a conversation about how much we both loved Alex Garland’s sci-fi horror film, which he declared his top movie of the year. The cast is excellent, the visuals are both beautiful and eerily creepy, and there’s a horrifying scene in the second act that scared the bejesus out of me.
Now, it wouldn’t be a New Year’s celebration without something to look forward to.
“Stranger Things” and “Game of Thrones” will make their return to television in 2019, but the theaters are going to be jam-packed with some highly anticipated hits.
Here are my top picks. Most of these have previews available that you can check out online.
5 (tie). “Pet Sematary” and “It: Chapter 2”
Stephen King’s literary universe continues to crawl and float to the silver screen, with the sequel to 2017’s “It” covering the other half of Stephen King’s book, and a fresh and very creepy-looking remake of “Pet Sematary.”
The incredibly talented Jordan Peele releases the follow-up to his 2017 writing/directing debut, “Get Out,” with another social horror film. This one is about a family being stalked by twisted alternate versions of themselves.
3. “Star Wars:
J.J. Abrams returns to the director’s chair after Rian Johnson’s divisive “The Last Jedi.” This will be the climactic finale of the Rey/Kylo Ren saga. It also will mark the final appearance of the late Carrie Fisher, whose story arc as Leia has been completed with previously unseen footage cut from the previous entries.
The final chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, and part two of the finale of all finales. It seems only fitting that the world’s biggest superhero saga ends the same year as “Game of Thrones.”
1. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
Though 2014’s Godzilla wasn’t bad, it wasn’t ideal. However, its sequel looks to be a huge movie in every way it can be, with the titular Godzilla facing off against longtime kaiju favorites Rodan, Mothra and the massive King Ghidorah. Every shot in the previews demonstrates the scale of destruction and size of the creatures in a monster-laden brawl that appears to be of truly epic proportions. It also stars “Stranger Things” leading lady Millie Bobby Brown and is directed by Mike Dougherty (who was the filmmaker behind one of my favorite horror comedies, “Krampus”). Well, I’m excited anyway.
Happy New Year, everybody!
George Haerle reviews films for Grays Harbor News Group and lives in Cosmopolis.