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The Best Movies of Summer 2018

We were lucky enough to see a lot of great movies this summer. Here are the very best of them.
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By  · Published on September 8th, 2018

5. Sorry to Bother You

Sorry To Bother You

With Boots Riley’s debut feature, he has crafted a world that is strikingly similar to our own but stretched and warped in bold new directions that we are otherwise unaccustomed to in modern cinema. Sorry To Bother You tells the story of Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield) as he makes ends meet by working in a telemarketing call center, and with the aid of an affected “white voice” (David Cross as Cash’s alter-ego), Cash quickly rises the ranks to the elusive “power caller” where his eyes are quickly opened to the corporate world that controls the hidden machinations of this brash new society. And with Stanfield as both our mirror and our eyes, we have a pulse to follow through this Orwellian nightmare of our present and not too distant future. But is it Orwellian? Or is it rather simply Wells-ian, of the HG variety? The left turn the film takes in its final act, encroaching on Dr. Moreau territory, is blissful cinematic absurdity that would make Eugene Ionesco proud. I don’t feel hyperbolic in saying that a film like this comes along perhaps once in a generation. A work that is so electrifyingly fresh while also challenging the very nature of how we perceive modern storytelling. (Jacob Trussell)

4. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Wont You Be My Neighbor

If you’ve been reading every entry on this list, you’ll notice a theme with the films I’ve tackled — they’re all part and parcel with spreading joy in the world. With that in mind, here’s something I learned about Fred Rogers from this superb documentary. Fred Rogers weighed himself every day of his “adult life.” And every day, through meticulous diet and exercise, he weighed 143-pounds. 143 was his favorite number because, as he explained, “One is ‘I,’ four (‘L,’ ‘O,’ ‘V,’ ‘E’), three (‘Y,’ ‘O,’ ‘U’): ‘I love you.'” I fucking sobbed through this movie. (Neil Miller)

3. Hereditary


The praise for Ari Aster’s feature debut has been excessive since its Sundance premiere, but as one of those early voices impressed and darkly pleased by its nightmarish accomplishments I’m happy to say it has held up in the many months since. A grim tale about family legacies, the film is an exercise in slowly increasing tension to the point of bursting before finally letting it out in a series of grotesque and harrowing sequences. It’s gruesome and nerve-wracking, and at times viewers have no option but to nervously giggle as their eyes widen, but as the film moves towards its end it’s with real horror at what’s unfolding. Add in a pair of stellar performances from Toni Collette and Alex Wolff, and you have an extremely memorable horror film that, while not for everyone, will still leave many of us scarred. (Rob Hunter)

2. Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade

You might be surprised by Bo Burnham’s feature film debut if you only know him for his vines. Or his YouTube songs. Or his standup. Maybe nothing could prepare you for the deep honesty and empathy of Eighth Grade, a funny but mostly profoundly relatable exploration of adolescence that anyone who’s been 14 knows all too well. But maybe that surprise is unfair. When Burnham first made a name for himself, he wasn’t far past eighth grade himself, and he’s maintained an innate knack for the awkward, particularly the kind that comes with youth. But his work has also developed a real sense of gravity that balances the comedy in a newly mature way — this is probably no better demonstrated than by the final number of his 2016 Netflix special Make Happy.  It makes perfect sense, then, that his most recent undertaking should examine the terrifying and uncomfortable state of being a teenager, from the more refined but still well-informed perspective of early adulthood. And it makes perfect sense that he should move to a new medium because he’s already proven himself to be good at everything else he does. Bo Burnham is a special type of talent, and Eighth Grade shows that he has a capacity for compassion and insight, while still being genuinely charming and funny. In a summer of strong films, it’s my favorite, and I can’t wait for Burnham’s next unexpected venture. (Liz Baessler)

1. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Mission Impossible Fallout

Much like a Tom Cruise sprint, the Mission: Impossible franchise shows no signs of slowing down. This summer Fallout kicked down our doors, reloaded its fists, and socked us with a series-best. The first direct sequel in the franchise, Fallout sees Ethan “I’ll figure it out” Hunt up against old villains, international conspiracies, and his own guilt about what (or who) he’s actually willing to sacrifice for the greater good. But plot shmot, this is a Mission: Impossible film, baby! We’re here to see how Tom Cruise is going to Tom Cruise his way out of Parisian bike chases, HALO jumps, and helicopter brawls. Mark my words, 80% of the best action scenes of 2018 will be from this film. The action is refined, rhythmic, and lucid; a kinetic narrative that never loses us in the flurry of firearms and fists. The audience I saw the film with was so enthralled that we clapped after every set-piece like we’d just witnessed a magic trick. And in a way, we kinda did! Fallout is the definition of cinematic spectacle. It’s an escape that leaves you buzzing as you exit the theater. Fallout isn’t just one of the best films of the summer, it’s one of the best films of the year. (Meg Shields)

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