We all know that there’s a big difference between the movies that win awards every year and those that find success at the box office. Don’t get us wrong, the films that everyone are proclaiming ‘the best of 2018’ right now are well worth watching, but they’re already getting a lot of love - what about the flicks we enjoyed that won’t make it onto any best of 2018 lists? Maybe they’re guilty pleasures full of laughter but little else, or perhaps they just weren’t that well-known. Whatever the reason, we’ve listed the movies we loved the most this year below and we want you to do the same. Read on to find out which films brought us the most joy this year and offer your own most loved movie of 2018 in the comment section below.
- The best movies of 2018
- What TV shows did you binge the most this year?
- Total Film magazine presents its top 20 films of 2018
It could have been the couple of glasses of wine I had after a long day, but I can’t remember the last time as laugh as much as I did when I watched Tag. I remember being intrigued by the premise - a group of grown men carry on a 20 year game of Tag popping up unexpectedly in each other lives to tag each other and run away - when the first trailer initially came out, but then it released in June with little fanfare and I missed it at the cinema. I finally got round to watching it at home a few months ago and got totally swept up in the ridiculousness of the plot. The cast is comedy gold - Jeremy Renner channelling his Hawkeye persona, Jon Hamm all serious and sauve, Jake Johnson reminding everyone that he should be in more things than just New Girl, and The Hangover’s Ed Helms doing what he does best. Isla Fisher is a particular highlight as Helms’ aggressive wife who’ll do anything to help her hubby win. The only way this film was ever going to work was if everyone leaned into the batshit craziness of it, and boy did they! As the characters proclaimed playing the game kept them young at heart, all I could think was how this film was giving me back my childhood. Funny, heart-warming, and with an ending that’ll bring a tear to your eye, it won’t be winning any awards, but Tag was the film I enjoyed the most this year. Oh, and did I mention it’s based on a true story? Lauren O’Callaghan
The First Purge
It's far from perfect, but The First Purge knows what its audience wants. That's a far cry from the first Purge movie, which misused its fascinating “12 hours of nationwide battle royale” backdrop for a forgettable home invasion horror. Watching The Purge franchise steadily grasp the interesting stories and societal parallels of its premise over the course of four films has been a movie-going pleasure; The First Purge completed that transformation from a tone deaf ‘what if rich people weren't rich enough to be safe’ scenario to stomach-turning social commentary on inequality. That said, there's no mistaking it: The First Purge is also unabashed wish fulfillment cinema for anybody who likes videos of Nazis getting punched in the face (especially the bit where a white supremacist raid is quite literally cut down in graphic slow motion). Despite leaning on stereotypical and formulaic ‘crazy guy wants to kill everybody’ tropes for many of the actual horror bits, The First Purge succeeds at making the series more relevant, dire, and even occasionally uplifting. Connor Sheridan
Ideal Home is not going to be remembered by anyone five years from now. It’s short, twee, and a little bit outdated, but it is very, very funny, anchored by two gusto performances from unlikely double act Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan. The pair play an affluent couple struggling to work through the strains of married life in New Mexico, with Coogan hamming up the scenery as TV cooking guru Erasmus Brumble and Rudd straight manning it as his partner, Paul Morgan. Things take a turn for the hectic when Erasmus’ grandson turns up out of the blue, looking for some new guardians and, well... hilarity ensues. Think of Ideal Home as an R-rated, modernist twist on the classic adoption drama, with a sharp, racy sense of humour ingrained into almost every line of Andrew Fleming’s script. There’s moments where it gets a bit too sentimental for its own good, and Coogan’s character sometimes feels like he's just arrived from the set of Little Britain, but when Ideal Home plays to the comedic strengths of its lead stars, it’s genuine laugh out loud material. Alex Avard
Leave No Trace
The title Leave No Trace is sadly fitting, given that its impact on the box office was pretty much negligible. While the film is getting recognition from critics groups’ awards, it’s a hidden gem that I strongly feel deserves to be seen more widely. It’s such a pared-back work that it’s hard to say too much about it in terms of plot. All you really need to know is that it concerns father and daughter Will (Ben Foster) and Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), who are living off the grid in an Oregon park; Will’s unable to assimilate back into society owing to the effects of his PTSD. It’s a quiet, unshowy but startlingly humane film. Foster delivers a career-best performance, channelling his trademark intensity inwards into a contained pressure-cooker of emotion. He’s matched by newcomer McKenzie, a remarkably authentic and empathetic presence who is clearly a huge talent to watch. Director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) mines deep reserves of feelings in Will and Tom’s laconic exchanges and self-sufficient existence. If it’s starting to sound boring, I urge you to give it a go – it’s immensely gripping from its opening scene of mushroom foraging (honestly), and it’ll linger with you long after its running time. Matt Maytum
He might not be an Avenger, but Padman (AKA Arunachalam Muruganantham) is the kind of hero the world really needs. Renamed Lakshmikant Chauhan for this full-hearted Bollywood biopic, Lakshmi is a metal worker who’s horrified to learn that his wife Gayatri (Sacred Games’ Radhika Apte) and women across India are forced to use unhygienic rags during their periods due to patriarchal taboos surrounding the discussion of menstruation and the obscene cost of sanitary pads. Developing a simple machine to produce low-cost sanitary pads, and travelling across the country to promote their use, Lakshmi finds himself at the forefront of a revolution in feminine hygiene. Like many-a-Bollywood film, Padman wears its heart on its sleeve, and while it might not be subtle, its charms prove irresistible. Akshay Kumar is supremely likeable as the obstinate, blindly optimistic social entrepreneur who risks humiliation (and more) to challenge centuries of societal norms. Tackling an important, progressive issue with a breezy romanticism, Padman would be admirable enough for its efforts to educate; that it’s also thigh-slapping entertaining makes it essential. But be warned – the top notch tunes will be echoing around your cranial cavity for months. The best bit? You can watch it right now on Netflix. Jordan Farley
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
I wanted to say Patti Cake$ - a sort-of feminist 8-Mile reboot set in Walmart country with irresistible rhymes and genuinely warm characters - but it turns out that came out in late 2017 and our Entertainment Editor will veto me like Franklin D Roosevelt if this sentence ever sees the light of day. So instead I'd like to express respect for the uncompromising, glacial, yet resonant Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot by polarising auteur Gus Van Sant, before laying down my vote for the real film of the year: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Full disclosure, I watched this in an open-air cinema on a Greek island, which has a pretty heavy bearing on my feelings - but that's exactly the point. At an 11pm showing, on a warm summer evening while supping a Mythos lager, my young kids, elderly strangers, teenagers and well, everyone, joined in song; albeit for a brief chorus, to celebrate a goofy film that is joy itself. It's about the convictions, uncertainties, and decisions that make us who we are; and how love and family can conquer all - helped in no small part by postcard-perfect Greek scenery and ABBA’s irresistible anthems. 2018, in a wider context, has been awful. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again feels like its antidote; 1 hour and 54 minutes of unity, where no problems feel insurmountable. Dan Dawkins
Not exactly a guilty pleasure movie for me this year, but a film that resonated with me a lot this year is Tully. Charlize Theron stars as a forty-something mother of three who's finding motherhood incredibly hard, to the point she finally accepts help from her ridiculously rich brother in the form of a night nanny. It's an incredibly fresh look at the difficulties of motherhood, and from what I've heard from my friends with children, rather honest too. It's from the same director / writer duo that brought you Juno, which just gives you an idea of how on the nose it can be about emotions, and the way Tully deals with the ordinary. And Theron is fantastic in it, creating an incredibly multi-faceted character in mother Marlo who feels like someone you'd see on the school run, or quite possibly could turn out to be one day. Her relationship with night nanny - the titular Tully - can feel a little trite at times, but the reward at the end of the movie is more than enough to keep you pushing through the manic-dream pixie stereotypes and moments that pang of 'too good to be true'. This is a powerful narrative of parenthood that has stuck with me all year. Sam Loveridge
If you're fed up of waiting around for Game of Thrones, and have watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy more times than you've had hot dinners, then Outlaw King is a must watch for anyone close to becoming a White Walker this winter. It stars a lot of familiar faces, from my favorite Captain, Chris Pine, to my kick-ass hidden bromance legend that is Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Outlaw King is a heart-pumping historic movie about a crowned king being exiled from his own country, and then deciding to seek revenge by returning with a army of outcast bandits. I won't go into spoiler territory but straight out of the gate, character personalities are easily decided, and the story is easy to follow - which gives you a chance to take in the incredible cinematography and battle scenes - all directed by the talented David Mackenzie. Towards the end it all rounds-up to an exhilarating final battle, which I can officially put up there with the standards of The Two Towers. Axes are being thrown, heads being chopped, horses being catapulted into mid air with the throw of a perfectly timed spear; this battle was so epic, I had to go back once I finished the movie to watch it all over again. Plus, Taylor-Johnson's acting in this was beyond phenomenal, he plays a psychotic, loyal warrior who likes to go so bat shit crazy in battles that I genuinely got goosebumps just watching him strike fear in opponents' eyes with one death defying stare. Watch it, and thank me later. Brandon Saltalamacchia
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
As one of his sons lovingly jokes in the film, Fred Rogers was basically the second coming of Jesus Christ. With his PBS television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, this former Presbyterian minister turned children's TV into one of the most positive forces of good and kindness you can imagine in the modern world, and helped kids accept themselves and process all the troubling things that crop up in daily life. Won't You Be My Neighbor? is a fantastic documentary weaving together clips of Rogers and interviews with some of the many, many people he affected in a deeply important, enriching, and empowering way. So many of Rogers' lessons still hold true in this tumultuous day and age, and his show was responsible for tons of broadcasting breakthroughs that I was never even aware of. This documentary is so touching, it could make a robot feel empathy, and I truly believe it to be the greatest movie of 2018. Everyone deserves to hear Mister Rogers' classic closing line: "You've made this day a special day, by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are." Lucas Sullivan
The Death of Stalin
I'm going to hell. When I'm at the gates there's going to be a screen playing my greatest hits, and alongside that time when I hid under my sister's bed for 20 minutes whispering her name to convince her that her bedroom was haunted is going to be clips of me laughing my ass off at The Death of Stalin. The comedy is about as dark as it gets, showing how the powerful men of the Soviet union scrambled to claim power after the death of Stalin (duh), leading to backstabbing, the deaths of innocent civilians (one of the rare somber bits of the movie), and man-corsets. Darkly mixing comedic moments with the Great Purge (the era when Stalin and his posse issued 'shooting lists' that the military police followed nightly), it's based on real events and exposes the ridiculous self-censorship and culture of fear Stalin created among his peers. Such dark comedy could only be pulled off by a stellar cast with a strong grip on the ironic, and The Death of Stalin doesn't disappoint: Steve Buscemi, a very northern Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Jeffrey Tambor, Simon Russell Beale, and Rupert Friend deliver hilarious performances while making you detest them at the same time. It's truly one of the best films of the year. So watch it, please - if only so I have some company in the pits of hell. Zoe Delahunty-Light
Horror is what makes my withered heart beat the fastest, and my top three for 2018 are Hereditary - utterly startling and incredibly traumatic - Suspiria, and Ghost Stories. All three played with the rules of horror and, more importantly, pulled it off. Hereditary in particular is one of my favorite horror experiences of the last few years, but I just don't know if I can bring myself to watch it again anytime soon. Suspiria gets a special mention for making me actually care about interpretive dance, and Ghost Stories made me wish we could clone Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman so they could make twice as many movies. My other big movie favorites? The Ritual (which came out in the UK in 2017 but hit Netflix in the States this year) confirmed my suspicions that there's basically never ever a good enough reason to go hiking. Ever. And To All The Boys I've Loved Before and Paddington 2 brought me back to sanity and sunshine when I'd overdosed on the horror. Rachel Weber