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Top 10 Movies You Missed in 2018

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake

Anyone who thinks they’ve watched every must-see movie this year may just want to double-check. For this list, we’re taking a look at movies released in 2018 that didn’t leave a huge impression at the box office, but deserve a second life. Our list includes “Mandy” (2018), “Upgrade” (2018), “BlacKkKlansman” (2018), “You Were Never Really Here” (2018), “Blindspotting” (2018), and more! Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Movies You Missed in 2018.


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Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Movies You Missed in 2018

Anyone who thinks they’ve watched every must-see movie this year may just want to double-check. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies You Missed in 2018.

For this list, we’re taking a look at movies released in 2018 that didn’t leave a huge impression at the box office, but deserve a second life.

#10: “Upgrade” (2018)

Like several other movies under the umbrella of Blumhouse Productions, “Upgrade” takes an assortment of different genres and throws them all into a blender. In addition to body horror, Leigh Whannell’s film has elements of sci-fi action, revenge fantasy, and black comedy. There’s even echoes of a superhero movie, as our protagonist is given enhanced speed, strength, and reflexes through an AI chip in his spine. Of course, since “Upgrade” had to compete with blockbuster superhero movies like “Deadpool 2,” it was bound to get lost in the summer shuffle. Nevertheless, its style, ambition, and compelling performances should not only help it to achieve cult status, but perhaps even pave the way for a sequel.

#9: “Tully” (2018)

Considering that director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody won over audiences everywhere with “Juno,” you’d think more people would’ve lined up to see their latest collaboration. Then again, the two also brought us “Young Adult,” which scored big with critics, but proved too cringe-worthy for mainstream viewers. “Tully” admittedly shares more in common with the latter film, and not just because it stars Charlize Theron. Anyone who appreciates uncomfortable comedy, however, will definitely enjoy “Tully” for its twisted sense of humor, not to mention its darkly relatable depiction of motherhood. Theron delivers yet another deeply effective performance while Mackenzie Davis continues to shine as one of our most underrated up-and-comers, as the titular nanny.

#8: “Mandy” (2018)

Having starred in one horrible movie after another in recent years, it’s not surprising that so many audiences have given up on Nicolas Cage. But between \“Mom and Dad” and especially “Mandy,” though, 2018 was a comeback year for the actor; and we can only hope a Cage-aissance is on the horizon. “Mandy” finds Cage at his absolute best: unrestrained and borderline comical, but still taking the role seriously enough to provide genuine dramatic weight. The fact that Cage’s character is named Red should also give audiences as idea of what they’re in store for, as director Panos Cosmatos drapes this wickedly entertaining acid trip in the color of blood… as well as blood!

#7: “Blindspotting” (2018)

2018 gave us several great films about racial tensions, and “Blindspotting” was among the best, as well as one of the most overlooked. What makes Carlos López Estrada’s film stand out is its surprisingly laid-back approach to this subject matter. While the movie’s themes of police brutality and racial profiling are always present, they’re often in the rearview mirror as the characters go through their daily routines. Every once in a while, though, our protagonists are given no choice but to confront prejudice. In addition to being timely and thought-provoking, “Blindspotting” is also a portrait of friendship, which makes sense since stars and screenwriters Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal have been buds since childhood.

#6: “You Were Never Really Here” (2018)

Although there have been rumors in the past, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see an official remake of or sequel to “Taxi Driver.” But “You Were Never Really Here” captures the same grit, audacity, and surreal nature of Martin Scorsese’s 1976 masterpiece. Joaquin Phoenix dissolves into the role of Joe, a tormented veteran who’s been forgotten by an uncaring society. When he gets caught up in a conspiracy involving sex trafficking, kidnapping, and murder, though, Joe emerges as an unsung savior. Much like Joe, Lynne Ramsay’s film flew under the radar, but anyone who had the pleasure of watching it was treated to a gripping psychological thriller with a powerful social subtext.

#5: “BlacKkKlansman” (2018)

Compared to some of Spike Lee’s other joints, “BlacKkKlansman” actually performed quite well at the box office. Still, not nearly enough people have discovered this stimulating adaptation of Ron Stallworth’s memoir. “BlacKkKlansman” manages to be one of the year’s funniest movies while also being one of the most provocatively concerning. This true story of an African-American detective’s infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan in the ‘70s is so wild that it’s hard not to smile throughout. At the same time, we’re reminded that the film’s depiction of racism doesn’t solely apply to the 1970s. If the movie’s disturbing ending demonstrates anything, it’s that the KKK’s dangerous mindset remains prevalent in today’s world.

#4: “First Reformed” (2018)

Joaquin Phoenix’s Joe isn’t the only character who warrants comparison to Travis Bickle. As Reverend Ernst Toller, Ethan Hawke portrays another suicidal man searching for a higher purpose in a neglectful world. The parallels between “First Reformed” and “Taxi Driver” aren’t surprising, as both films were scribed by Paul Schrader. Also serving as this film’s director, Schrader touches upon religion, the environment, and human morality. What prevents “First Reformed” from coming off as preachy is that it never provides easy answers. The film can be interpreted multiple ways, especially when it comes to Reverend Toller, who might be either a soldier sent from God or a lost soul who’s given into the Devil’s temptation.

#3: “Sorry to Bother You” (2018)

Who would’ve thought that a movie about telemarketing would end up being one of the year’s funniest and most inventive cinematic experiences. He may not be a household name, but you’ll definitely recognize Lakeith Stanfield from his consistently excellent work in film and television. Stanfield gives what might be his best performance yet as Cassius “Cash” Green, who believes he can excel at work by speaking with a “white voice” on the phone. Let’s just say that David Cross’ voice coming out of Stanfield’s mouth is far from the most bizarre thing in “Sorry to Bother You.” As absurd as the story gets, writer/director Boots Riley never loses sight of the larger themes at hand.

#2: “Eighth Grade” (2018)

Three films on this list were nominated for Best Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards, and “Eighth Grade” may be the most likely to go down as a contemporary classic. This is largely because writer/director Bo Burnham crafted a coming-of-age story that works on multiple levels. The film is spot-on in its portrayal of how technology has shaped today’s youth culture. When you look at the bigger picture, however, anyone who survived middle school can identify with this film’s themes of insecurity and isolation, whether you’re a member of Generation X, Y, or Z. The R rating might’ve prevented the film from reaching a wider audience, but “Eighth Grade” deserves an A for authenticity.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Three Identical Strangers” (2018)

“Revenge” (2018)

“The Endless” (2018)

“Searching” (2018)

“American Animals” (2018)

#1: “Bad Times at the El Royale” (2018)

Of all the films on this countdown, “Bad Times at the El Royale” was the most shocking financial disappointment. Maybe it was the 141-minute runtime, maybe it was the stiff competition, or maybe it was the vague ad campaign. Whatever the reason, audiences missed out on one of the year’s most stylish, atmospheric, and unpredictable ensemble pieces. Despite failing to recoup its $32 million budget, Drew Goddard is no stranger to cult classics. His previous directorial outing, “The Cabin in the Woods,” performed modestly at the box office, but has since become one of the decade’s most discussed movies. If this film can achieve similar success down the line, then let the good times roll.

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