28 December 2018

Twenty GREATteen: Top Movie Moments

Alright ladies and gentlemen, we're almost at the end of 2018, which means a ton of retrospective lists thrown your way. We'll get to our Top Films of the Year eventually, maybe even before New Year's Eve, but we want to take a moment and reconcile all the other fun stuff we got this year! Let's start with all the best scenes, some from terrible movies, some from great movies, but all from movies.

Best Movie Moments of 2018

Avengers: Infinity War - Thor & Rocket

So you could have a lot from this movie. The snap, Thor's arrival, the Soul Stone, bubble gun, "I don't feel so well", a lot of it was instantly iconic. However, the best scene in the movie is when it slows down a bit and Thor actually reflects on the tragedy in his life, something that THOR: Ragnarok (2017) was too fast-paced and goofy to do. It's a quiet conversation between Thor and Rocket Raccoon of all people. It's all pain covered by ego and a fine performance from Hemsworth.

Black Panther - Killmonger steals the mask

This is another film full of possible moments. The best, most clever, most character-driven scene though, is our introduction to Eric Killmonger. I love how the expectations of each character shifts dramatically as the white / black power structure is revealed, exploited, and turned on its head.

Upgrade - STEM takes over

This was a super underrated movie this year about a paralyzed man whose body is taken over by a computer chip that makes him a badass. The cool thing about scenes like this is watching Logan Marshall-Green's horrified face as it doesn't line up with the brutality his body is achieving. It reminds me a bit of Venom (2018), not the least because Logan Marshall-Green looks exactly like Tom Hardy. Anyway, the enigmatic camera work sucks you into the scene as the STEM chip takes over. It's darkly fun, horrifying, and sweet.

Hold the Dark - Iraq

Hold the Dark, a long contemplative movie about wolves eating children in Alaska that somehow isn't that great has a handful of spectacular moments, including an oft-talked about shootout in an old barn, but the mid-film break to focus on Alexander Skarsgard in Iraq really did it for me. The cold righteousness, the American domineering presence, the lone cigarette. It all captures chaos and war in an ironically noble way.

VICE - Mid-Movie Credits

This one just dropped, but I've never seen a movie so drip with dry sarcasm as when just before Dick Cheney gets the call from George W., the movie paused and presents an alternate history where he never entered politics again and spent the rest of his life peacefully fishing with his family. As the film's credits literally start to roll on this saccharine ending, we get a big "JUST KIDDING" and Adam McKay's playfully insane romp through the VP's life rolls on.

Hereditary - Watch Out for that Sign!

Spoiler here and I won't even link the clip because I can't deal with it, but there's nothing like a weird-looking little kid sticking her face out the window and getting bashed by a street sign. Like everything in this movie it's depressing, intense, and played perfectly.

Blindspotting - Rap Scene

I haven't seen this movie nor do I really know what it's about, but it's got to be some kind of white cop killing black folk movie, but all those complicated feelings about the issue are wrapped up in this one four-minute-long rap by Daveed Diggs. I knew this dude from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and this is all sorts of amazing acting. It'll grab you by the pooper.

Sorry to Bother You - Horses

This scene is better left unwatched if you have't yet seen Boots Reilly's Sorry to Bother You because it's that moment where the film completely comes off the rails and you can't tell if it's a dream or not. From there the film gets insane and bonkers but always stays thematically coherent. A close runner-up is this scene, which captures white appropriation and mindless pop more than anything else in any movie ever.

BlacKkKlansman - Final Phone Call

There are a lot of great moments as BlacKkKlansman draws to its focal point - from the ironic deaths of KKK members to the final phone call between Ron Stallworth and David Duke where he blatantly exhibits a vocal tick that Duke had previously espoused to Stallworth as emblematic of the Negro persuasion. Duke's hypocrisy is revealed once more, Stallworth has his last laugh, and then of course, the film goes on to show that despite this small victory, not a whole lot else has changed in succeeding forty years.

Bohemian Rhapsody - LiveAID

This flick has appeared on a decent amount of year-end lists, and whether folks loved it or hated it, we can call agree that the ending Live AID sequence is phenomenal. It uses the event as the apex of Freddie Mercury's career - that wasn't really true, but it works great for the narrative the film was trying to tell. It's meticulously recreated and a true stunner for those of us who didn't experience the concert firsthand or those of us who forgot how great of a band Queen really was.

Annihilation - That Bear

There are a lot of pretty insane body horror moments in Annihilation, but nothing beats the Bear. As the weird alien bubble is mixing up genes and souls and whatever else, somehow Tuva Novotny's character Cassie gets absorbed or at least copied by a big scary scull bear who then roams around the room of our other protagonists. We're at a loss for the madness taking place within the bubble and what exactly is going on, but that's part of what makes the Lovecraftian horror of the film so effective. Damn that scream...

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Leap of Faith

Stan Lee's cameo (likely to be one of his last) is a good candidate here, but this scene choked me up. Miles Morales finally ascends to become the Spider-Man he can be - claiming his own spin on the suit, fulfilling the Leap of Faith forshadowing, and expressing more than any other film has the actual thrill and danger you must feel jumping off a building and hoping your web shooters latch on to something. In a close to perfect movie, a close to perfect scene.

Deadpool 2 - High Wind Advisory

The second Deadpool movie starts to take aim at superhero team-ups, recruiting a who's who of modern trendy actors like Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgard, and Brad Pitt and promptly kills them all in a horrible skydiving scene. It's a subtle play - from Shatterstar who is trying so hard to be cooler than everyone else (killed by his own cool hair blocking his view of helicopter blades) to poor Peter, his last act of nobility killed by acidy spit. It's what Suicide Squad (2016) tried so hard to achieve. Of course, Domino and her luck lands perfectly and the entire scene is set up by continuous wind advisories. It's a fantastic moment.

What did you dig this year? Stay tuned for more movie stuff and maybe even some reviews!

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