2018 in Review: “Hidden Gem” Films

Andrew Mello, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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Every year, so many movies are released that sometimes some truly great work is lost in the masses. The movies on this list may have gone (mostly) unnoticed, but they really didn’t deserve all the negligence they received. So, here are seven movies you should’ve seen, but probably didn’t.

 

American Made

I’m gonna start off by cheating a little bit by including something from last year that I didn’t know about until this year. Starring Tom Cruise as the real-life drug/gun tycoon Barry Seal, American Made is one of the craziest and most unbelievable true stories I’ve ever witnessed on the big screen.

Beginning as an airline pilot, Seal finds his way to becoming the go-to guy for Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel, all while working on the other side as an FBI informant. American Made is interesting, both in its real-life implications and also as a very well-told story.

 

Hereditary

I watch a lot of different types of movies, but one of my favorite genres is horror. Being scared in a theater with 30 other people is an experience I always seek, but now I’ve built a strong resilience to the cheap scares; most new entries leave me emotionless, sitting calmly in my seat. Hereditary is different.

This was easily the tensest I’ve ever been watching a horror movie, and while I don’t want to give any more away, I can’t recommend this movie enough to anyone who likes a good scare.

 

Searching

This is the one movie on the list I’ve reviewed, and I still only have positive things to say about it. Searching is about a single father desperately trying to find his teenage daughter, while simultaneously coming to terms with the fact that she may be gone forever. As a thriller, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The whole movie is shown through various screens, computers, phones, security cameras, and FaceTime videos; the creativity in each scene goes beyond simply pointing a phone camera at an event.

 

Sorry to Bother You

This is a strange movie to see, but it’s even stranger to talk about. I could start with Boots Riley’s amazing directorial debut or the expertly underlaid themes of racism in the United States, but there are so many interesting things to discuss that there is just not enough space in this piece. All I can say is that if you’re looking for something unconventional, look no further than Sorry to Bother You.

 

Mid90s

While this movie caught the eye of certain groups online, the hype died down with a pretty mediocre reception upon release. But I was immediately hooked by the very purposeful aesthetic of burn-out high schoolers, taking part in drugs, scrap fights, and most of all, skateboarding.

The story of “Sunburn” is very touching, as long as you follow along with his young emotions, beat-for-beat. This very heartfelt throwback to director Jonah Hill’s childhood is well worth a viewing simply for these feelings of nostalgia, no matter when you grew up.

 

Widows

Widows is Steve McQueen’s passion project about four widowed women fighting back against the well-organized crime syndicate that their husbands stole from, and their plan of a heist to set them straight for the rest of their lives. While it didn’t flop, Widows sadly underperformed at the box office, making only a bit over its budget.

The most saddening part is the fact that that this kind of movie is exactly what we need right now. Almost all the leads are women of color, a group often underrepresented in this industry. People wanted more female-led action movies, but now they’re letting a really good one flicker out to see a bad Fantastic Beasts sequel instead. Go out and see Widows, not just to vote with your wallet on what you want to see more of, but also because it’s a fantastic movie that deserves more praise.

 

This piece also appears in our December 2018 print edition.