2018’s Biggest Surprise Successes and Disappointing Blunders

The terms “best” and “worst” are, for the most part, subjective, especially when it comes to art. At the end of this year there will be plenty of sites/YouTube videos/annoying co-workers that tell you the top best and bottom worst movies of 2018. Most of these lists will mirror each other in some way or another. All the sites that have some ‘nerd’ clout will have Avengers: Infinity War on the list of “best movies” but the thing is, we all already knew it was going to be good before we bought the ticket. A lot of the “worst movies” will likely have films you never intended to see in the first place. So instead, I give you something different. Here are some movies that I went in with low expectations and got pleasantly surprised, and some movies I had hype for and missed the mark.


5 Surprisingly Satisfactory Films

Upgrade (June)


The first time I saw a trailer for this movie, I thought it was for Venom. Logan Marshall Green is the poor man’s Tom Hardy. But this movie actually makes it’s own way in a creepy and sadistic sort of way.  The character’s motivations aren’t specifically unique but the way the plot develops, is. Most action movies are about a badass guy who murders people in unbelievable ways that don’t make sense. Upgrade makes sense of it, and gives us some really gruesome action along the way.


Sorry To Bother You (July)


I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought the ticket. If there is anyone who has worked in the telemarketing game, or any low-level shitty job, this is a movie for you. The aspect of David Cross being Lakeeith Stanfield’s white voice is hilarious mixed with some really trippy visuals. The plot does go off the rails a bit towards the end but the story kind of sneaks by telling you about a dystopian society not far off from our own. And what happens when you put money and success over dignity and happiness.


Ready Player One (March)


After reading the book, I thought to myself “there is no fucking way a movie could get all the rights to these properties” and they didn’t. For the most part I think they changed almost every reference in the story. But the core elements still remained. The references were ones I got and were connected to. The nostalgia meter was so hard in this film that you feel like the movie was made just for you. And at the end of the day the message still holds true. Art is for entertainment, not profit.


Solo: A Star Wars Story (May)


If you have read anything on the internet at all in the past two years, you would know that “Star Wars is Dead!” at least that’s what the Fandom Menace has been shouting. Solo didn’t do too well in the box office compared to it’s massive budget and a lot of sites bent it over a barrel before they even saw the movie. But if you talk to anyone that actually went and saw the damn thing, you would know how much fun it is. It opens up the franchise and gives us some fun with the characters we love.


Teen Titans Go! To The Movie (July)


I never watched the TV show for this movie. I did watch a good chunk of the older, more serious Teen titans, but not so much of the anime style reboot. I went in expecting a kids movie and ended up getting a fanboy experience comparable only to Deadpool. It is 100% a movie meant for kids but there is a lot of effort put in for the parents too. This was a movie full of cameos, hidden reference’s, meta jokes at the franchises themselves, and commentary on the superhero movie genre as a whole. Plus the music was awesome.


5 Unfortunately Disappointing Movies

Happy Time Murders (August)


I am not really a fan of Melissa McCarthy but I did grow up with the shows and movies that made Jim Henson a god. I was actually really interested in an R rated film featuring the puppet styles that mirror Sesame Street and The Muppet’s. But other than a few scenes, that were already shown in the trailers, nothing about the movie was R rated. It also wasn’t very funny and tried way too hard to make metaphors for injustice. The mystery in the plot actually wasn’t too bad. It could have made a decent movie without all the gimmicks.


Pacific Rim- Uprising (March)


I loved the first Pacific Rim movie. I still send gifs of giant robots and reference “cancelling the apocalypse”. So when the second movie was announced along with John Boyega, I was pretty thrilled. There was some elements I really enjoyed and seeing more giant robots is always fun. But it’s obvious that the sequel was made by an entirely different studio/director with a different target audience in mind. The budget was far less the first and it shows. Plus the focus on children warriors was just off-putting. Hopefully there isn’t a third film in the franchise.


Fantastic Beasts and The Crimes of Grindelwald (November) 

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I’m a pretty big fan of the Harry Potter books and movies. When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out, it was a smash hit. I seriously loved the movie so much I watched it twice in a row. It was a breath of fresh air for the franchise and we get to move into new directions. Then this sequel came out and basically ruined all of that. The plot was bad and I have issues about some characters, but the biggest crime is that it locked the story directly to the Harry Potter movies now. We will just get 3 more movies of explanations instead of wonder and mystery.


The Cloverfield Paradox (February) 


During Super Bowl 52, Netflix dropped a trailer for the third movie in the Cloverfield Franchise. Furthermore, they hyped it up even more saying there was no wait and that people could watch this newly announced movie immediately after the game. I was excited, I loved the previous films. But what I loved about the films was how they created questions out of mystery and suspense. The Netflix film was a half-assed attempt at explaining all of the questions in previous movies while ham fisting random sci-fi tropes into a poorly written movie


Ocean’s Eight (June)


I loved the Ocean’s movies. Let me be more specific. I loved the Ocean’s 11 remake starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Ocean’s 12 wasn’t very good and 13 was okay for the most part. But that first movie still is one of the greatest heist films of all time. So when the female ‘reboot’ was announced, I was intrigued. Not because I care about the fact that they’re all women (there actually is a plot reason for it) but because I was hoping that with an all new cast, they could go back to the basics. Instead they made something like Ocean’s 12 where the plot twist is something you never would have seen coming and ultimately makes the entire plan kind of pointless.


Bonus Movie!

Black Panther (February)


Black Panther was one of the most successful movies of 2018, breaking multiple box office records. Many fans, old and new, praise this movie for its settings, characters, and social implications. It was probably better than most Marvel films… but for me, it had one huge disappointing feature. T’Challa, the main character of the movie, was so disappointing. Coming out of Captain America: Civil War, I thought Black Panther stole the movie. He was a super badass with triple kicks and awesome bruting dialogue. His solo film had a lot of positives, Including one of the most beloved villains.  So why did he suck as a hero? They made him crack jokes, replaced all the cool fighting with boom effects, and made everyone leave the theater side with Kilmonger more than him. I want the character to do well in future movies, but they might need to make him the badass he was in Civil War in order for me to care about his future movies.


Movies watched and year wasted by: Troy Smith

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