Matthew Monagle’s Top 10 Films of 2018

1) Burning

Youth, obsession, and mortality all intersect in the hardest film of 2018 to shake.

2) The Rider

The powerful story of a broken cowboy who must move beyond – not reclaim – his family tradition.

3) Leave No Trace

Ben Foster is incredible as a man who knows his daughter is paying for his sins and yet cannot change.

4) What They Had

There are countless film about family and coming home; this one is just executed flawlessly.

5) Cam

One of the year's best thrillers is definitely not here for your preconceived notions about online sex work.

6) Roma

A film packed with visual information but grounded in a singular performance from its breakout star.

7) Eighth Grade

Captures the uncertainty and unhappiness of adolescence in exquisite detail.

8) Sorry To Bother You

One of 2018's smartest films is also its most absurd. Here's to following talented filmmakers off the rails.

9) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

An absolutely staggering work of animation. Relentlessly, aggressively beautiful from moment one.

10) First Reformed

Fear and faith often go hand-in-hand, which is something First Reformed captures all too well.


Near Misses

1985, The Guilty, Prospect

Most Overrated

Mid90s, Hereditary, BlacKkKlansman

Most Underrated

Bomb City, 1985, The Endless

Wild Card

From debilitating memories (Leave No Trace, Burning, The Rider) to loss (First Reformed, Roma, What They Had), 2018 was a banner year for characters left numb by personal trauma.


Acting Kudos (Male)

Robert Pattinson (Damsel), Steven Yeun (Burning), Jackie Long (Bodied)

Acting Kudos (Female)

Jessie Buckley (Beast), Regina Hall (Support the Girls), Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)

Best Director

Chloé Zhao (The Rider), Lee Chang-dong (Burning), Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)

Best Original Screenplay

Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You); Isa Mazzei (Cam); Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk); Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?); Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini (Leave No Trace)

TV Series/Event

The Terror

Worst Film

The Possession of Hannah Grace: Uninspired studio horror is the absolute worst.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Matthew Monagle
The Bikeriders
Jeff Nichols finds poignancy in the rise and fall of a motorcycle gang

June 21, 2024

Bad Boys: Ride or Die
Miami’s bad boy police officers embrace getting older

June 7, 2024

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle