Best Movies of 2018... So Far

Eric Kohn of Indiewire said if the Oscars were voted on now, Black Panther would probably win Best Picture. It just won Movie of the Year at the MTV Movie + TV Awards, as well as Best Movie at the BET Awards. The Oscar nominations are seven months away. A lot can happen in that time but what helps Black Panther is the support of the critics along with undeniable box office numbers. When it opened in February, it smashed a bunch of weekend records. It earned $202 million in that weekend. As of July 1, it's earned $699 million domestically. As it's still in theaters after five months, it could creep past $700 million. It won't surpass Avatar (2009), which stands at $760 million, but it is enough to have Black Panther be the third-highest grossing movie in the United States for 2018. It's cracked the top-ten on the global scene as currently the ninth-highest worldwide.

Like Black Panther, the four biggest movies of 2018 are all super-hero flicks. Avengers: Infinity War is the other notable one. It's the fourth-highest worldwide. In fact, it's now the fourth blockbuster in history to cross two billion in the global box office. But, most movies aren't going to bank that much. Most won't even clear $100 million. However, there is a weird nether region of movies that made between 100 and 300 million but depending on the property is considered either a success or a bomb.

Solo: A Star Wars Story has made $208 million thus far. Of the 10 movies within the Star Wars franchise, Solo is ranked at the bottom. By the time that it's done in theaters, it will probably be ranked number 9, but of the movies made in the past 20 years, that's practically a failure. The last three Star Wars movies all made over $400 million. This latest is only going to do half that, proving that the franchise maybe isn't the juggernaut that it might have seemed last year.

A Quiet Place took in $187 million, less than Solo, but it's considered to be a greater success than that Star Wars entry. The reason is because it only cost $17 million to make, so it brought back 100-times what was paid. A Quiet Place also proved that John Krasinski, known for his comedic role in The Office, could also direct a movie. It's also the only film in the top ten that is wholly original. It's not based on any property. It's not a book, a comic book or a sequel. Krasinski's film is also the only solid success that Paramount Pictures has had in a year and a half. The upcoming Mission: Impossible - Fallout might change that, but the studio has been crashing with almost every movie that it's launched. The way Paramount sold Annihilation and The Cloverfield Paradox to Netflix seems indicative of its financial difficulties.

Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs ignited online chatter about Asian representation in Hollywood, which is a conversation that's only gotten more intense over the past couple of years. Basically, Asian representation is slim to none in the United States. It is beyond rare to have an Asian or Asian-American as the lead of a major Hollywood production. It's just as rare to have an Asian-American director of a major production.

There are of course plenty of Asian actors and directors who aren't born in the U.S. but who are making great films in their countries of origin or on the independent film scene here in America. One such director is ChloƩ Zhao, a Chinese filmmaker who released the critically acclaimed The Rider about an injured rodeo performer, but the relationship between the main actor and a horse is crucial. Coincidentally, a week or two after Zhao's film came out, Lean on Pete hit select cities, and that movie was also about a boy and his horse.

Saoirse Ronan was nominated for her third Academy Award this year for Lady Bird, but she also had two new films come out, one right after the other literally. Both films were romantic period pieces where Ronan was opposite the same actor. In The Seagull, the adaptation of the Anton Chekhov play, she was star-crossed with a boy named Konstantin, played by Billy Howle. In On Chesil Beach, the adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel, she was engaged to a boy named Edward, also played by Billy Howle.

It'll be curious if Ronan gets another nomination this year, but, in terms of Oscar talk, Ethan Hawke has had people saying he should be up for Best Actor for First Reformed. Toni Collette has been catching notices as a possible Best Actress for Hereditary. The clear frontrunner for Best Documentary is the profile of Fred Rogers called Won't You Be My Neighbor?.

Of the ton of people invited into the Academy, I wasn't one, but if I were, here are my list of movies that I think deserve that kind of attention.

Best Theatrically Releases

BEING BLACK ENOUGH OR (HOW TO KILL A BLACK MAN) by Devin Rice
ANNIHILATION by Alex Garland
THE STRANGE ONES by Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein
OH LUCY! by Atsuko Hirayanagi
A QUIET PLACE by John Krasinski
GAME NIGHT by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
SATURDAY CHURCH by Damon Cardasis
CHAPPAQUIDDICK by John Curran
THE SEAGULL by Michael Mayer
IN BETWEEN by Maysaloun Hamoud
HEREDITARY by Ari Aster
THE MISANDRISTS by Bruce LaBruce

The following list of movies are ones from 2017 that I overlooked. Some have already won Oscars. Some have been considered for Oscars. Most went totally under the radar, but it's still a list that I needed to make.

Best DVD/VOD Releases

QUEST by Jonathan Olshefski
DAYVEON by Amman Abbasi
ICARUS by Bryan Fogel
THE PASS by Ben A. Williams
PRINCESS CYD by Stephen Cone
PLAY THE DEVIL by Maria Govan
A FANTASTIC WOMAN by SebastiƔn Lelio
MARY AND THE WITCH'S FLOWER by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
VOYAGE by Scud

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