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The five movies I enjoyed most in 2018.

What do you know,  it’s the last day of 2018! How time flies. If you are not in prison, that is. Many good things happened to me this year. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, I made my first Creamy Shrimp Alfredo Pasta and I saw BlacKKlansman. Yes, it’s been a good year. 

There is, of course, the trifling matter of good health and preservation of life. But what is the point of being in fine fettle if you can’t eat acres of popcorn and watch movies? Indeed, what will be the point of such salubrity? You’d do well to remember that no matter how hard you try, you are not going to get out of life alive. Remember that in your romance with broccoli and cucumber. 

Well, if it appears queer to you that in the dying hours of 2018, I am thinking about movies, then you don’t know me. You see, I’m rarely imbued with good sense. I should perhaps be in church ushering in the New Year with adura kabiti kabiti. The thought had occurred to me. But those fine folks in Samoa, Christmas Island and New Zealand ruined it for me. They welcomed the New Year a good twelve hours ahead of me and stole my thunder. I’m not going to put new wine in an old skin. Or old wine in new skin. Or, never mind. 

Talking about church, here’s a good Christian joke for you:

Q: How do you make holy water?

A: You boil the hell out of it.

Ha ha ha.

So to the movies that I greatly enjoyed in 2018.

Last night I went to see Up North starring Banky W and Adesua Etomi. There were some nice aerial shots of Bauchi and Yankari Game Reserve. As for the movie itself, well, let’s just say Nollywood is making progress and that is very pleasing. 

While I was at the cinema, I also thought about King of Boys, easily the best Nigerian movie of the year. And then my mind went to the top five movies I really enjoyed in 2018.

My list is subjective. As such lists usually are. What I was looking out for in any movie were a strong plot, strong characterisation and sheer enjoyability. Movie critics may well be derisive of my simplistic barometer.  But I don’t care. I know the movies I enjoyed. They want to dissect stuff, they should be in a Biology class. I’m sure there’s some toad out there begging to be dismembered.

Obviously, I value craft and art in movies. But I’m not going to be shedding tears as big as cucumbers if the sound design, cinematography or costume isn’t perfect enough for Mr & Mrs Critik.  

So, in no particular order, below are the top five movies that I absolutely loved in 2018.

Crazy Rich Asians

Genre: Romance Comedy-Drama.

Warner Bros

Geez, who ever knew Chinese dudes had swag? Aren’t they supposed to be these super-smart, super-hardworking and conservative sapiens everyone want to befriend? Where did they get the idea of a bachelor party on a container ship in the middle of nowhere? Chairman Mao won’t be happy.

This movie’s got it all: emotion, drama, humour and some gorgeous pictures. And with all the wealth on display, you’d think the movie was shot for more than the $30m it cost. Goodly, its made $238m at the worldwide box office.

While the plot was otherwise predictable, the journey through it was greatly entertaining. Wildly hilarious too. Big shout out to Ken Jeong ( Mr Chow in The Hangover) and Awkwafina (sticky-finger Constance in Oceans 8). One of my best lines in the movie ( I’m a sucker for witty lines) was by Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina) describing the love of Chinese men for their mothers: “Chinese boys think their mothers fart Chanel No.5.” 

Wicked.

The movie makes you smile, makes you feel good. Expect some warm feelings to course through your veins.

And that wedding scene? The best wedding scene in a movie, end of. Absolutely gorgeous and stirring. That Kina Grannis messed with my emotions with her “Can’t Help Falling In Love” soundtrack.

Ultimately, Crazy Riches Asians isn’t going to end well for me. Sooner or later, the missus is going to see the movie and she’ll think about our wedding – well, our joining-together. I’ve never heard the last of how I robbed her of grandness on ‘the most important day in her life.’

Sweetheart, the most important day in your life was when you accepted Jesus into your life. Don’t believe the lie of the devil!

BlacKKlansman

Genre: Biographical Comedy-Drama

Write Spike Lee off at your peril. Set in the 70s, BlacKKlanman is true, if a hilariously facetious, true story of how Colorado Springs’ first African American cop Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) infiltrated, manipulated and compromised the Ku Klux Klan because, well, he could speak both “King’s English and jive.”

How does a black dude impersonate a white dude and infiltrate the KKK? Well, you’ve gotta watch the movie to find out.

What I found so pleasurable about the movie was how Spike Lee deftly balanced the serious issue of race and white supremacy with entertaining humour. Much like how Jordan Peel deftly balanced horror, racism and humour in Get Out (them brothers are killing it out there).

As a person of colour (as if everyone isn’t), when you watch BlacKKlansman, you are not filled with righteous indignation. Your blood doesn’t boil. You still find it within you to laugh and chuckle. That was the beauty of BlacKKlansman. You are justly pissed. But not pissed enough not to enjoy the flick. That was the genius of Mr Lee.   

This is one film you should see.

Red Sparrow

Genre: Thriller.

I confess. I’m a spy-film mongrel. For much of my senior secondary and undergraduate days, I suckled at the breasts of messers Ludlum, Follett, Clancy and van Lustbader. So, it is perhaps not unexpected that I would enjoy a good spy flick.

Red Sparrow is full of suspense, bloodletting and graphic nudity. It is visceral and perpetually foreboding. And it feels real. You get the feeling that this is how things go down in the real spook world. Perhaps why the Skripals were poisoned in Salisbury. You fear and respect Russia more.

Red Sparrow doesn’t do ‘M’ and pretty boy 007. Nor does it condone I-can-do-all-things Ethan Hunt. In Red Sparrow, the tradecraft is gritty,  dirty and violent. The villains don’t give a spiel before killing you. They just get on with it like vodka in Prague. In tone and mood, I draw a similar parallel between it and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Loved that flick too. Star-studded. Full English Monty. 

Jennifer Lawrence gives one of her best performances. Babe is proving to be a seriously talented and multi-role actress.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Genre: Drama

Fox Searchlight

OK. So Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri isn’t a 2018 movie. It’s 2017. But I just saw it this year. So it qualifies to go on my list. It’s my blog after all. That and plus it’s a darned good movie.

You’ve got to love the vituperative and cussing Mildred Hayes (Francis McDormand). Not that I approve of Mildred’s colourful language, of course. But it wasn’t my daughter that got raped and killed. It was Mildred’s. 

Of all the movies on my list, I’d say the characterisation in this one is the best. It was therefore fitting that McDormand won Best Actress and Sam Rockwell won Best Supporting Actor at the 90th Academy Awards. Good plot too. 

This movie strummed at my heartstrings. It will for anyone who’s lost a loved one. The search for closure can be long. If you are the discerning type though, you’ll also recognise the good moral message of forgiveness, redemption and eschewing bitterness. That appealed to my sentiments. 

And the title of the movie? Best ever!

Surprised there hasn’t been a Three Billboards Outside Chibok, Borno. 

Funny how everyone seems to have forgotten about those girls.

Avengers: Infinity War

Genre: Sci-Fi/Superhero

Marvel

Pssst. Would it be heretical if I say I enjoyed Infinity War more than Black Panther? It won’t? Great!

Hey, everyone! Listen up. I enjoyed Infinity War more than Black Panther!

You knew this was serious when Thanos snapped Lokis spine like a matchstick, killed the all-seeing Heimdall and kicked Hulk’s butt. Royally. Anyone that can kick Hulk’s butt like so must be a very bad guy.

Thanos may be the Master of all Villainy, but with his characterisation, you do feel sympathy for him. You feel there’s something human and emotional about him. It’s the way he speaks, the calmness with which he goes about being up to no good. You don’t abhor him like Steppenwolf.  Which goes to show the beauty of the movie’s cast and characterisation. 

What Infinity War lacked in novelty of plot, it made up for in sheer enjoyability and action. There was literally no boring picosecond. I suppose an agglomeration of Earth’s favourite heroes can’t be boring. There was just too much awesomeness crammed into the movie. 

Let’s hope Avengers: Endgame (April 2019) doesn’t drop us to a valley from the Everest Infinity War took us.  We can’t wait.

So, which were your favourite movies in 2018? And which ones are you looking forward to seeing in 2019?

Honourable mentions:

  • Sicario: Day of the Soldado (Benicio Del Toro can do no wrong. Ever)
  • Ocean’s Eight (Any thieving sibling of Danny Ocean has got my love anyday)
  • Deadpool 2 (Funniest movie of the year.)

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