December 20, 2018: Best Movies of the Year (Of the Ones We Reviewed)

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A Brief History

On December 20, 2018, we take a look back at the 30 some movies we saw at the theaters, almost all of which were reviewed on this site.  (Avengers: Infinity War was not reviewed, but was discussed in our article “May 6, 2018: Marvel’s Infinity War; What if Thanos’s Plan Came to Pass?”)  Rather than list every movie we reviewed, we will list our 5 favorites of the bunch in the order of preference.  We will limit ourselves to only 5 movies, because in all honesty, that is hard enough!  Please feel free to comment on our choices and to name the movies you believe are the best of the year, both from our pages and all other movies.

Questions for Students (and others): Which of these movies have you seen?  What is your favorite genre of films?  Do you prefer the Marvel or the DC movies?  Did you see any movies you really did not like?

Digging Deeper

1. Aquaman.


Perhaps the psychological effect known as “recency” has something to do with it, as this film is the most recent we have previewed, but it is the one Major Dan liked the best.  Eye popping special effects, superheroes, supervillains, fantastic creatures.  Aquaman premiers across the country on December 21, 2018, and we predict it will be an enormous hit.  Lots of action, lots of eye candy.  Even a few laughs.  Look out, Marvel, DC is back!

2. The Girl in the Spider’s Web.


Lots and lots of action, shooting, explosions, stabbings and intrigue, exactly what this particular movie goer likes best.  If you want some sort of feel good, heart strings tugging movie, go see something else.  This follow up to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) is a worthy sequel and contains the backstory to the main character as well.  The use of all sorts of high-tech booby traps and gadgets (think James Bond, Enemy of the State, and the like) is also pretty cool, even if their complexity makes you wonder how she could afford all that stuff.

3. Deadpool 2.


After getting a big kick out of Deadpool (2016), it is not surprising we would like the sequel.  Ryan Reynolds in the title role is one funny guy, and the combination of humor with action fills 2 of our main goals in movies (the other being horror/suspense).  Colorful, full of action, witty, and downright entertaining, we think almost anyone would love the movie.  Morena Baccarin, one of our favorite contemporary actresses as Vanessa adds a great dimension to the movie, as does the propensity for breaking the 4th wall.

4. Den of Thieves.


If we are not watching action/adventure or horror, we also get into movies containing combat or the world of crime, especially “heist” type movies.  If you like films such as The Italian Job, Reservoir Dogs, Armored, Ocean’s Eleven, and the like, you will certainly also like this nifty film.  The tension and dynamics among a gang of crooks oozes into the audience as each movie goer wonders which thief has what hidden agenda.

5. Assassination Nation.


Getting down to #5 is not easy, since so many of the other films brought us thrills, laughs, and terror galore as well.  Sorry Mile 22, you know we love Marky Mark and secret operations films, sorry Rampage, you know we love The Rock and his special brand of humor in the middle of action, and sorry Venom, a truly nifty movie with a really different main monster.  Infinity War, Tomb Raider, Unsane, Hunter Killer, and others demand inclusion, but we are self-limiting our list to only 5!  We can even apologize to The Meg, campy entertainment at its best.  And yet, Assassination Nation beats out these and other worthy contenders as it blends horror and comedy about as well as the 2 genres can be blended.  Centering on modern devils, the computer and social media, we can relate to the insidious nature of misuse of those modern tools.  As we are bombarded with news seemingly everyday of new hacks and misuses of our online information, a story about using social media to “assassinate” the character of people and bare their innermost secrets is not all that far fetched.  Of course, the murderous reaction is, we hope, a bit far fetched!  This sleeper is a great, entertaining movie of contemporary times.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Cousins, Marc. The Story of Film.  Pavilion, 2013.

The Story of Film (Hardcover)


List Price: $34.95 USD
New From: $27.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $23.99 USD In Stock
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Lewis, Jon. American Film: A History. W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.

American Film: A History (Paperback)


New From: $85.65 USD In Stock
Used from: $81.65 USD In Stock
buy now

The featured image in this article is a poster for Aquaman from http://www.impawards.com/2018/aquaman_ver11_xlg.html.  The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Warner Bros., the publisher, DC Entertainment, or the graphic artist.  It is believed that the use of scaled-down, low-resolution images of posters to provide critical commentary on the film, event, etc. in question or of the poster itself, not solely for illustration qualifies as fair use under the copyright law of the United States.  The image is used for identification in the context of critical commentary of the work, product or service for which it serves as poster art. It makes a significant contribution to the user’s understanding of the article, which could not practically be conveyed by words alone.  Use for this purpose does not compete with the purposes of the original artwork, namely the creator providing graphic design services, and in turn the marketing of the promoted item.  As film poster art, the image is not replaceable by free content; any other image that shows the same artwork or poster would also be copyrighted, and any version that is not true to the original would be inadequate for identification or commentary.  All DC Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 2018 DC Comics, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.