By Joshua Moyar ’19
I like movies.
Let me rephrase that. I really like movies. From June through August, I went to the movie theaters 13 times and saw 10 different films. There’s something about going to the movies that I just love – an experience that is only made better when the movie I’m seeing is truly great.
This year has provided us with some absolutely fantastic films. We’ve seen installments in all of the major franchises and have seen box office records getting smashed left and right. This summer saw the releases of blockbusters in all kinds of genres, many of which I saw for myself and am ready to rate.
So grab your popcorn, folks, and get ready for the best, and worst, movies of the summer of 2018, ranked so you know exactly what you should be streaming this fall.
10. “Slender Man” (PG-13)
Released Aug. 10
Upon watching the first trailer for “Slender Man,” I had already decided it was the worst movie I had ever seen. Why did I spend my money to go and see it? If my seventh grade self found out that there was a Slender Man movie and I wasn’t going to watch it, he would’ve been furious, so I figured I’d take one for the team.
As soon as the movie began, I knew my original prediction was correct. “Slender Man” lacks a cohesive plot, likable characters, a convincing villain, and a satisfying ending, but it does have… well… not much.
“Slender Man” failed in about every category when it came to the horror genre, but with a handful of friends and an empty theater, it became the best laugh-out-loud comedy of the summer.
9. “The Meg” (PG-13)
Released Aug. 10
“The Meg” is a Jason Statham movie about a giant shark. Whatever image you have just conjured up in your head is exactly what this movie actually is. Its plot is weak and its characters are shallow, but I went to the theater to see a Jason Statham movie about a giant shark and I saw a Jason Statham movie about a giant shark, so there is no room for me to complain.
8. “Incredibles 2” (PG)
Released June 15
“The Incredibles” came out in 2004. For the mathematically inadequate, that was 14 years ago. I saw “The Incredibles” for the first time when I was too young to even understand what was going on in it. Every time I watch it, I pick up on a detail I missed and to this day, I will say it’s the best Pixar movie.
“Incredibles 2” had a lot to live up to. After all, many loyal fans, me included, have been waiting more than a decade to see the Underminer get the beat down he deserved. With the reputation the first movie carried, is it any surprise that “Incredibles 2” was kind of a disappointment? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie. What upset me about “Incredibles 2” is that “The Incredibles” was so mature, dealing with the government and murder and suicide, while the sequel seemed like it had been baby-proofed to the extreme.
Although it gave up on the real world tone that the first movie embraced, “Incredibles 2” is still worth seeing if you cared as much about those characters as I did.
7. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (PG-13)
Released June 22
It’s tough to be a dinosaur kid trapped in a teenager’s body. There are only so many outlets for all of my useless, prehistoric knowledge, but ever since I was in elementary school, the “Jurassic” franchise has been one of those outlets. What kind of person doesn’t like watching giant reptiles with huge teeth and claws fighting in epic battles while the comparatively pathetic human beings run for their lives? I don’t want to meet that person. He sounds boring.
“Fallen Kingdom” definitely wasn’t as strong as the other movies in the “Jurassic” series. It felt a lot more like connective tissue between the first “Jurassic World” and the inevitable third installment than it did its own, independent story. While the characters were dry and the plot was murky, this movie provided the dinosaur fights that everyone came for and more. The climax of the movie placed the primordial beasts in the setting of a gothic-style manor in Northern California, a concept that I’m sure has never been done before and never will again; but, somehow, it worked.
Overall, “Fallen Kingdom” wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping for, but was just about what I was expecting. After all, I’ve never seen a movie with Jeff Goldblum in it that I didn’t like and I’m not about to start now.
6. “Ocean’s 8” (PG-13)
Released June 5
I was dragged to see this movie by a friend who is a huge fan of the “Ocean’s” series. I, on the other hand, had never seen a single one of the previous three films and honestly wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, this movie grabbed my attention early on and refused to let go.
The all-star cast of female actresses, which includes the likes of Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, and (that’s right) Rihanna, is the highlight of this movie and is definitely the main reason to go see it.
In my experience, there is nothing as exciting as a good old heist movie and “Ocean’s 8” is definitely one of them. Maybe I should check out the rest of the “Ocean’s” series.
5. “Hereditary” (R)
Released June 8
When you think about the greatest horror movies of all time, I’m sure very few of the ones that come to mind came out in the past ten years. The horror genre has been trading in plot elements for cheap scares all too often in the recent past. Luckily, this hasn’t been the case this past year, and movies like 2017’s “It” and this past spring’s “A Quiet Place” have shown us that a truly scary movie can have a solid plot with characters the audience genuinely cares about.
“Hereditary” is the next movie in this pattern, providing an air-tight sequence of events that the average viewer can follow, while being terrified the entire time. It was one of the most gut-wrenchingly disturbing movies I’ve ever seen, so if that’s your thing, I’d recommend giving “Hereditary” a watch.
“Hereditary” is also the only movie on this entire list that isn’t part of a franchise or based on some kind of source material, making it that much more impressive that it got as far as it did.
4.“Christopher Robin” (PG)
Released Aug. 3
I saw “Christopher Robin” its opening weekend with a friend of mine from St. Rita, and both of us were prepared to shed some manly tears. It was live-action Winnie the Pooh, after all. How could there be a dry eye left in the theater?
Unfortunately, if the goal of “Christopher Robin” was to take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster ride, it missed its mark. This movie was cute. Its characters were cute. Its plot was cute. That’s about all I can say. It never really pulled at my heartstrings in the way I was expecting.
“Christopher Robin” is a feel-good movie and nothing else. I enjoyed it because of its wacky characters that I still remember from my childhood, but when it came down to it, it lacked the substance found in some of the better Disney remakes.
3. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (PG-13)
Released July 20
Two of my most defining qualities are that I like musicals and I like seventies music, so it only seems natural that I’d love the “Mamma Mia!” movies. In reality, I didn’t even see the original “Mamma Mia!” until the day before I saw its sequel, and I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a fan.
As the credits rolled on the first “Mamma Mia!” and Netflix began suggesting other titles, way more questions filled my head than answers. I wouldn’t have been able to explain the plot to you mere seconds after it ended. I didn’t think any of the songs (all of which I was at least vaguely familiar with) sounded that great and was overall disappointed. “Mamma Mia!” is definitely overrated.
“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” makes “Mamma Mia!” seem like “Slender Man.” It’s a masterpiece. I didn’t understand what was going on in the first movie until I saw the sequel. “Here We Go Again” re-explains the entirety of its predecessor while enhancing the plot and providing some high quality ABBA. Honestly, if you’ve never seen this series, I’d recommend skipping the first one altogether. It really just makes the story more confusing.
2. “Crazy Rich Asians” (PG-13)
Released Aug. 15
I saw this movie for the same reason anyone sees any great movie: my friend read the book and said it was really good. Although I’m not typically big on romcoms, I gave in to this one after I heard so many good things, and let me tell you, it was worth it.
The stylistic choices of this movie are bold and well done. Every move is made with confidence that you don’t often see from movies that aren’t part of a larger franchise. It has a great cast and is entertaining from beginning to end. Rarely do I get as emotional as I did during this movie’s wedding scene and I’m not sure if I ever will again.
“Crazy Rich Asians” is an Oscar nominee if I ever saw one and is definitely the main reason for Singapore’s tourism spike that I’m sure is coming before the end of the year. Its mix of hysterical and touching moments was even able to distract me from how badly I needed to go to the bathroom the entire time.
1. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (PG-13)
Released July 6
Before I get too deep into “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I feel like I’m obligated to say that I am a huge Marvel fan, so this comes with a good deal of bias. With that out of the way, let me just say that this movie ROCKED! It was a total blast and I laughed more over the course of its two hours and five minutes than I did in all of this summer’s other movies combined.
Marvel Studios has produced some major money-makers this year, and while it has no hope of keeping up with “Infinity War” or “Black Panther,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp” definitely pulls its own weight. It has one of the best car chases in cinematic history and a cliffhanger ending that will bring back the pain of “Infinity War” you were just beginning to forget.
There you have it: a ranked list of what exactly you may have missed on the big screen this past summer.
Whether you prefer action movies or romantic comedies, horror flicks or animated films, you can’t deny that this season has been a successful one at the box office. Here’s hoping to an equally awesome fall!