WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Even though 2018 wasn’t the greatest year for movies, we still got plenty of great films with gripping moments for every type of movie lover. Whether you were looking to cry or laugh or scream or feel nostalgic or just looking to connect, there was a movie for you and a damn good one too. I know I experienced lots of different emotions at the theater this year. And though there were too many to list, I wanted to give special recognition to these ten movie moments for moving me in ways I’ll never forget.
10.) Final Battle (“Ready Player One”)
Ready Player One comfortably sits in my top 20 favorite films of 2018. I had a blast with it. One reason I found it to be so much fun was seeing all the pop culture references throughout, be they more hidden or straight-up used to further the story. My peak nostalgia trip came during the final battle where seemingly all of pop culture clashed in a sprawling, Lord of the Rings-esque battle featuring a showdown between the Iron Giant and Mecha-Godzilla. THE IRON GIANT VS. MECHA-GODZILLA. Where else will you see such a nerdy dream match-up? Nowhere!
9.) The Death of X-Force (“Deadpool 2”)
This moment is special because it features an impressive level of commitment that I don’t think I’ve ever seen from a studio before. FOX spent a bulk of its marketing on introducing us to the X-Force, only to kill them off one-by-one shortly thereafter by way of a hilarious string of sight gags featuring a brisk cameo from the one and only Brad Pitt (because who else, right?). It was a ballsy move and one that left this superhero-loving film fan in stitches.
8.) Bathroom Brawl (“Mission: Impossible– Fallout”)
Mission: Impossible– Fallout was the most thrilling pure action flick I saw in 2018. I never tire of watching Tom Cruise throw himself off buildings, planes, helicopters, you name it. Yet my favorite moment in the film came not from a death-defying physical stunt, but rather a more grounded two-on-one fight between Cruise himself, the imposing Henry Cavill and stuntman-turned-actor Liang Yang. It’s tightly choreographed, well-edited, and makes fun use of its stylized environment. The whole sequence is as technical a marvel as a perfectly executed ensemble dance from Swan Lake. Bravo!
7.) Bathtub Birth (“A Quiet Place”)
A Quiet Place was a unique moviegoing experience. I could hear my stomach growling through most of the film it’s so quiet. And that is what made the bathtub birth scene all the more nerve-racking. Emily Blunt just happens to be giving birth the moment a hyper-auditory predator finds its way into her house. The look on Blunt’s face is one of true agony, as I imagine any woman would look in her situation. But going through childbirth completely silent? That’s a whole other level of intensity and I felt it… Emotionally, at least.
6.) Killmonger’s Last Words (“Black Panther”)
Black Panther was the first film of 2018 that enthralled me. It is the complete package: intriguing characters, compelling themes and exciting action. Still, one moment left me especially breathless and that was the death of Killmonger. Michael B. Jordan’s character is a viscous psychopath with a unquenchable thirst for death. Still, it’s impossible not to identify with him at least a little bit, which makes his final scene all the more meaningful when he chooses freedom through death over a life behind bars. Damn.
5.) Scream Bear (“Annihilation”)
Annihilation is a thinking person’s science fiction flick with heavy themes and haunting imagery, and yet nothing quite as haunting or unpleasant as the hideous “Scream Bear.” Part bear, part skeleton, all nightmare. When this monstrosity opens its jaws, the blood-curdling screams of its last victim are heard in place of a typical bear grown. The terrifying creature design coupled with those unholy howls makes for a hellish juxtaposition that you won’t soon un-see or un-hear.
4.) Snap! (“Avengers: Infinity War”)
A short few weeks after Black Panther, another Marvel movie left me speechless, but on a larger scale. After ten years and nearly 20 films, I’m pretty invested in most of these characters. So when Thanos finally filled out his gauntlet and got to snappin’, even though I knew it was coming, I still was not prepared. That’s a testament to just how powerful Marvel Studios’ storytelling has been and I can’t wait to see how it all works out in Endgame.
3.) Pool Duel (“The Strangers: Prey at Night”)
The Strangers: Prey at Night is a solid follow-up to the cult classic home invasion flick and it boasts one scene in particular that now stands as my favorite moment in the series overall. I’m speaking of course about the showdown at the trailer park pool, which pits the main male protagonist against the Man In the Mask. The set is colorfully lit, the cinematography is beautiful and the stakes are high. The two go blow for blow, leading up to the inevitable, heartbreaking conclusion.
2.) Garage Rap (“Blindspotting”)
The climax of Blindspotting is for sure a nail-biter, but it stands above most “will he or won’t he?” dilemmas in film. The intensity is heightened by Daveed Diggs’s rap, which is rich with compelling social and emotional context. Diggs’s character becomes a fountain of feelings, pouring out onto and holding a gun on the white cop who unnecessarily shot an innocent black man to death right in front of him earlier in the film. You don’t want him to pull the trigger, but you at least identify with why he so desperately wants to in the moment. That’s impactful storytelling.
1.) Car Ride From Hell (“Hereditary”)
Hereditary is one of my favorite films of 2018. It got under my skin and stayed with me in a way no other film from last year did. It’s full of haunting, challenging moments. No moment more-so than the infamous car ride when Alex Wolff’s character accidentally swerves off the road and into a telephone pole right as his little sister sticks her head out the window for some air. What happens next is so disturbing, I don’t even want to tell you what it is. But the next few minutes are spent simply on Wolff’s reaction and the look on his face churned my stomach backwards and front. It’s the single most emotionally taxing moment I had in theaters in 2018 and I enjoyed it with a dark, twisted appreciation.
What do you think of my favorite movie moments from 2018? Do you agree? What moments moved you at the movie theater last year? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below!