Alfred Hitchcock once said about making movies: "Give them pleasure. The same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare." Well, then, we really need movies more than ever. This year there were way too many comic book adaptations, but there were some welcome surprises on screen as well. Here's the ones that gave me pleasure and the others that only added to the nightmare.
Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series (David Lynch): This Showtime limited series was 18 hours of pure unadulterated David Lynch. A nightmarish, blackly comic glimpse of his id. It is indeed a movie to me. And possibly the most adventurous, audacious, berserk filmmaking I've had the pleasure of experiencing in front of a screen this year.
My Friend Dahmer (Marc Meyers):Ross Lynch gives a haunted, sad, scary, and unforgettable performance as young (future serial killer) Jeffrey Dahmer in this electrifying film based on the graphic novel by Derf Backderf.
Wonderstruck (Todd Haynes): Two storylines in different eras collide in director Todd Haynes' mysterious, magical, and infinitely moving new film.
The Florida Project (Sean Baker): Our Gang for the twenty tens set in the garishly colored motels just outside Disneyworld, where the kids of deadbeat parents run wild. Willem Dafoe is perfect as the gruff manager of the motel who keeps a vigilant eye on those little rascals.
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright): There's a fabulous, free-wheeling spirit to this high-octane action film about Baby (Ansel Elgort), a getaway driver for bank robbers. Edgar Wright pumps this film with such energy and music that the result is massively entertaining.
Frantz (Francois Ozon): There is an aching melancholy at the heart of director Francois Ozon's exquisite and haunting remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1932 film Broken Lullaby about a woman who lost her fiancé in World War 1 who sees a mysterious Frenchman leaving flowers on his grave.
Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino): Based on a novel by André Aciman, it's an extraordinary, gorgeous, heart-shredding film with an utterly fearless performance by Timothée Chalamet as a young man who one summer falls for his father's assistant (Armie Hammer). Yes, it is actually as good as people say it is.
Get Out! (Jordan Peele): A terrific "race" horror movie about a young man's (Daniel Kaluuya) horrific and fateful visit to meet his girlfriend's family. Seeing this with a vocal audience going crazy was so exhilarating and satisfying.
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A Ghost Story (David Lowery) A mournful and poetic film about a restless spirit (wearing a sheet with the eye holes cut out) played by Mark Ruffalo who is forced to silently and helplessly watch as life moves on without him. I was quite surprised at how moved I was at the end of this strange film.
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig): A comic triumph from writer/director Greta Gerwig about the emotional roller coaster a young girl (Saoirse Ronan) navigates during her final year of Catholic High School in Sacramento, California. Laurie Metcalf is just wonderful as her over-critical mother.
Other runner-ups: Marjorie Prime, Wind River, Thor: Ragnorok, BPM: Beats Per Minute, Detroit, Okja, Tom Of Finland, The Shape Of Water, Don't Breathe, The Villainess, Lady Macbeth, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Blade Of The Immortal.
The Mummy. There's not enough tana leaves to bring this bloated bore back to life.
Baywatch. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the theater.
The Dark Tower. I once vociferously said that I could watch the wonderful actor Idris Elba in anything. I now take that back.
47 Meters Down. Toothless shark movie with Mandy Moore that bored me to the goddamn gills.
Rings. Unnecessary reboot of the Japanese chiller about a cursed video, whose ad should have read: "First You Watch It, Then You Cry."
Fifty Shades Darker. A Lifetime TV movie with but with light paddling. My safe word is: Stupid.
The Shack. A father (Sam Worthington), whose child was killed by a serial killer, travels to the shack where the murder took place and meets Jesus. I'm not kidding. This could be a recruiting movie for Atheism.
Assholes. I'd love to watch the poor soul putting this title up on the marquee. I admit I was intrigued about seeing a movie concerning a warped couple who are bound by their love of poppers and anuses. Some of it is appalling. It just isn't that funny. And that's a big problem and a pain in the ass.
Murder On The Orient Express. There's more mystery and danger riding the F train then this all-star snore.
Wish Upon. You know what I wish? I don't have to see any more, crappy, agonizingly un-scary, horror movies like this in 2018.