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BYO Criminally Overlooked 2018 Movies

56 Responses to “BYO Criminally Overlooked 2018 Movies”

  1. David Adams says:


  2. Derek L says:

    I truly enjoyed Thunder Road.

  3. Koutchboom says:

    Isle Of Dogs. Everyone had a lukewarm take because woke cultural appropriation came first on this soon to be beloved classic.

    Shot In The Dark is getting no mentions.

    The Director And The Jedi (better than that actual movie).

    Kin, people demand original movies except when they get them.

    American Animals, white boy angst is a last decades fad but this is some Fight Club level cult building thing.

  4. Sideshow Bill says:

    Isle Of Dogs
    Ghost Stories

  5. Stella's Boy says:

    Strangers: Prey at Night
    Mile 22

  6. Geoff says:

    I think Annihilation was a truly fantastic movie that’s apparently getting forgotten during awards season but never even had the chance to be seen on the big screen in most countries earlier this year.

    Beyond that, Sorry to Bother You and Revenge….yeah I’ll see just about anything with Tessa Thompson at this point.

  7. Hcat says:

    Was going to express fear that The Rider and Death of Stalin were going to be lost in the year end conversation. And Lo and behold the Globe nominations come out and they are nowhere to be seen.

    Surprised to see Bohemian and Star is Born in drama category, those are pretty straight forward musicals no?

    And wow, no broadcast series at all in the top two categories. I thought This is Us would hold the ground.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    I second all of those Geoff. Good picks. I’ll add The Rider, The Endless, and Hold the Dark.

  9. movieman says:

    In no particular order:

    Lean on Pete (provided my most cathartic movie cry of the year)
    The Rider
    You Were Never Really Here
    Isle of Dogs (even as Wes’ live-action films continue to find larger and larger theatrical audiences, his stop-motion animated marvels still struggle at the box office)
    First Man
    Science Fair
    The Other Side of the Wind (c’mon, people! Orson Welles’ at long last completed final film should have been met with more than just a collective shrug)
    The King
    Hal (one of my favorite filmmaker docs about one of my favorite directors)
    Never Goin’ Back (the best femme-centered stoner comedy since “Smiley Face”)
    The Sisters Brothers

  10. Sideshow Bill says:

    Annihilation is my favorite film of the year and therefore didn’t think of it as overlooked but yea, it was.

    And glad to see at least one other person on the Suspiria train, movieman. Respect ✊

  11. Dr Wally Rises says:

    ‘Ignored’ is stretching the definition, but all of these deserved more success than they received:

    Hold the Dark.
    First Man.
    Solo : A Star Wars Story
    Game Night.
    The Mercy.
    A Simple Favor.

  12. Geoff says:

    Good call on Death of Stalin HCAT – I almost forgot that movie myself, would LOVE to see Steve Buscemi get his first Oscar nomination. He was fantastic in that film.

  13. Geoff says:

    Unsane too, yeah that was a fun little thriller – makes me want to catch up on Logan Lucky too since Soderbergh apparently never went away….

    And I don’t know if it’s REALLY overlooked technically since the reviews were strong and all of the hipsters have been singing its praises….and this is the definition of a niche film but I really enjoyed Mandy – would be too much to ask for an acting nod for Nicholas Cage and I get why but….the film also had incredibly Oscar-worth sound design.

  14. movieman says:

    I like “Unsane” and love “The Death of Stalin,” although the latter was at least critically revered and did solid niche (i.e., arthouse) biz. Probably the best it could hope for really.
    Greatly enjoyed “A Simple Favor,” although it did quite nicely and got generally favorable reviews. The most “criminally overlooked” thing about it was how Blake Lively’s pretty freaking great performance has gotten zero awards traction.
    For me, Lively seems like the next logical step in evolution from Jessica Lange to Robin Wright.
    I wish her well, and a long, successful career.
    P.S.= Yeah, agree that “Solo” was underrated. I still think it was the best “Star Wars”-for-kids movie since “Return of the Jedi.”
    “Game Night” has already built up such a cult-ish following that I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually spawns a sequel. (Stranger things have happened, right?)
    “Mandy” got a lot of (critical) love and has cult immortality written all over it. Can’t imagine anything (e.g., Oscar recognition) more in its future, though.
    P.P.S.= “Logan Lucky” is great! Definitely worth checking out, Geoff. It would have definitely headlined my “criminally overlooked” list of 2017 films.

  15. scoots says:

    ‘The Death Of Stalin’ was a BAFTA nom last year making it a little dusty as a possibility for Oscar consideration…. I’m pretty sure it’s out of the race…

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    Can You Ever Forgive Me

  17. movieman says:

    I love “Forgive Me?,” and am kind of shocked that it didn’t create more of a ripple after opening to solid, even rave (in many cases, including mine) reviews.

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    Same here. Saw it today. So good.

  19. leahnz says:

    still no ‘i told u so’ thread so this will have to do i guess.

    so weird how most of the best/freshest take/most heart-rending and compelling movies this year were written-and/or-directed by women and yet i’d wager not a single one will be up for a ‘major’ award in this farcical awards season circle jerk, wank on

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    I agree leah. On that note, can’t believe I forgot to mention Private Life. A masterpiece and easily one of the year’s best.

  21. leahnz says:

    ha i finally saw ‘private life’ last night on the ‘flix (our netflix here is pretty shit but at least we’re getting the new stuff in a timely fashion) after a re-watch of ‘savages’ recently (RIP PSH, he and linney as sibs are entirely believable)
    PL is such a lovely, melancholy, funny, heartbreaking family drama, so well written/conceived (pun intended bah dum dum psh) and executed, i keep thinking about it today. jenkins is a truly gifted film-maker, rock on.

    (and i’ve seen ‘can you ever forgive me’ now 3 times, which is a LOT, but i’m absolutely fascinated by it)

    also, ‘TREASON’S GREETINGS’ Individual 1, you rat-fucking POS
    (maybe this malignant narcissist will finally be held to account for something but i’m not holding my breath)

  22. Stella's Boy says:

    Jenkins is amazing. I’m also a huge fan of The Savages. Private Life, The Rider, and Can You Ever Forgive Me are easily three of the best movies I’ve seen this year. They deserve way more recognition. They have received some, but not enough.

  23. leahnz says:

    leave no trace
    you were never really here

    (eta re the latter, i watched this for i think the third time with my son – who hadn’t seen it yet – the other day, and he was so disturbed by it, i’ve never seen him like that… i was disturbed that he was so disturbed. ‘leave no trace’ made him very sad)

  24. Sideshow Bill says:


    Just watched it. Holy hell. That was a blast.

  25. Stella's Boy says:

    Yes for You Were Never Really Here. Loved it. Still need to see Leave No Trace.

    I need to watch The Night Comes for Us. That director had a horror movie drop recently that I watched. May the Devil Take You. It’s pretty good.

  26. leahnz says:

    hopefully more people will take the opportunity to see granik’s ‘leave no trace’, such a beautiful, painful, gentle meditation on fathers and daughters, love and the inevitable separation of the parent/child bond, finding the strength to forge your own path, post-war ptsd and the pressure to conform, and the contrasting beauty and harsh reality of living rough in nature. the end just quietly destroys me.

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    I already wanted to see it but now I’m really going to make it a priority.

  28. Sideshow Bill says:

    Leave No Trace is one I forgot about but I’m on it.

    And I might watch May The Devil Take You tonight

  29. Sideshow Bill says:

    The Night Comes For Us is way over the top. Not Shoot Em Up level but the carnage and bodily damage is cartoonish. But it’s also well choreographed, creative and week shot and edited. It’s just fun and relentless. The plot is nothing special. But who cares. A lot of The Raid guys are in it.

    This reminds me I have yet to watch The Villainess, or Yakuza Apocalypse. I was hyped for Villainess but forgot about it.

  30. palmtree says:

    I thought Mid90s was the kind of sweet, simple, but yet affecting (and yes, nostalgic) movie that I really wanted to see. Critics didn’t really agree. But even if no one else liked it, it brought a certain kind of indie movie charm back that I’d been craving. And it did it well too.

  31. Stella's Boy says:

    Leave No Trace is pretty wonderful. The two leads are outstanding and it’s so nicely observed and moving. Slow and low-key, but those are attributes in this case. Some of those people seemed like real people and not professional actors. Really liked it.

  32. movieman says:

    I liked, but didn’t love “Trace.”
    “Winter’s Bone” is the superior Granik movie.
    I found the tween actress who played the daughter awfully wan. Seemed like a pretty blah, uninflected performance to me.
    She’s definitely no J-Law.
    The movie rested entirely on Ben Foster’s shoulders. But he was up to the task.
    Of course, my “good-but-not-great” response may have been impacted by having to watch an online screener which is NEVER the best way to see any movie.

  33. Hcat says:

    That’s a giant writedown for Verizon.

    They should have named it Oaf Media, amIright?

  34. Not joking says:

    The Cloverfield Paradox – utterly crazy, derivative as hell, but a real guilty pleasure far more entertaining than the terrible reviews would lead you to believe.

  35. Hcat says:

    I sorta despise Disney in general and am not particularly happy with their stewardship of the Star Wars franchise (though they certainly haven’t done any worse than Lucas did back in the aughts). But the idea of putting Carl Weathers into the universe is a giant positive step, and that he might share screentime with Werner fucking Herzog rubs the belly of my minds pleasure center.

  36. Triple Option says:

    There were a few socially conscious films that came out within weeks of each other Blackkklansman has made the most noise. Sorry to Bother You I thought did ok at the time but it’s been crickets ever since. The one that’s been forgotten that’s the most sorrowful for me was Blindspotting.

    I thought it was pretty solid but admit to having trouble recalling the title. But parts of that movie still come to mind.

  37. EGood says:

    Most Overlooked Movies (that I saw)

    Suspiria (Tilda Swinton deserves an Oscar nom for playing three roles)
    Wildlife (Carey Mulligan gave the best performance by an actor all year)
    Sorry to Bother You
    Widows (critically acclaimed but for some reason never clicked with audiences)

  38. movieman says:

    EGood- Totally agree about Swinton deserving an Oscar nomination for “Suspiria:” but what category does she belong in?
    Best Supporting Actress or Best Supporting Actor?
    Also agree about Mulligan (giving the performance of the year) and “Widows.” (“Annihilation,” too, for that matter which was my first four-star studio release of 2018.)
    I was puzzled by the lack of heat in even the favorable reviews of Steve McQueen’s movie.
    For me, it was his best work to date, clicking on nearly every level (heist flick; sociological treatise; feminist manifesto; etc.), and I was delighted that every member of its incredibly rich and diverse cast (Brian Tyree Henry; Robert Duvall; Carrie Coon; et al) had great moments.
    Plus, I never saw that twist coming.
    “Sorry to Bother You” was the movie “Bamboozled” wanted to be (but wasn’t). The only thing that kept me from going whole-hog was the ending which I had some problems with.
    Also very good-and almost completely forgotten about–was “Blindspotting.”

  39. Stella's Boy says:

    Science Fair. An inspirational, hopeful, funny, poignant, and just plain outstanding doc. One of the best times I had at the movies all year.

  40. movieman says:

    Totally agree w/ your “Science Fair” pick, SB.
    I really thought it was going to be an “R.B.G.” (or “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”) style sleeper hit.
    But I guess they needed a more savvy (SPC, Focus, Searchlight, A24) distributer.
    Ditto “Minding the Gap” which really deserved to become a “Hoop Dreams”-ish sensation. (For my money, it’s actually a better film than “Hoop Dreams.” Sorry, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel’s ghosts.)

  41. Stella's Boy says:

    I thought so too, movieman. The audience ate it up and it’s such a crowd pleaser. Not an expert on doc distribution, but it seems like they left money on the table. I need to see Minding the Gap. Have read nothing but raves.

  42. YancySkancy says:

    I suppose Support the Girls can’t be said to be “criminally” overlooked, since it got some love from a couple of critics’ groups. But I guarantee it will be criminally overlooked by the Oscars.

  43. movieman says:

    SB: I think “Science Fair” may have suffered from National Geographic’s inattention.
    They put all of their marketing muscle into selling “Free Solo” (a good, but inferior doc as far as I’m concerned) this fall and had nothing left over for “Science Fair.”
    The result? “Solo” was one of the top-grossing docs (and indies!) of the year while “Science Fair” was a theatrical also ran.
    With a little bit of luck, perhaps “SF” will eventually find a large and appreciative audience on cable.
    “Gap” is fantastic: beautifully done and emotionally wrenching! Only “The Rider” and “Lean on Pete” coaxed more tears from my eye sockets this year, lol.

  44. Stella's Boy says:

    That makes sense re: Science Fair. I’m up for a good cry. I think it’s on Hulu? Will seek it out.

  45. Stella's Boy says:

    Holy shit movieman you weren’t kidding. Just finished it. So, so good. And I definitely cried. Happy that it made the doc short list and hope it gets a nom. Really special movie. I knew within five minutes that I’d love it and I didn’t want it to end. Good luck Zach, Keire, and Bing.

  46. movieman says:

    Glad you liked it, SB!
    Yep, it’s definitely one of those rare films you don’t want to end.
    I wanted to stick with those guys just to make sure everything worked out for them.
    Here’s hoping it receives a well-deserved Oscar nomination.

  47. Stella's Boy says:

    It’s not perfect but I enjoyed Assassination Nation, especially the second half (starts out pretty slow).

  48. movieman says:

    It’s a little late to the party, but I finally caught up with “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and actually preferred it to the similarly-themed “Boy Erased.”
    John Gallagher Jr. and Jennifer Ehle may lack the marquee luster of Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, but I liked their performances better. And Chloe Grace Moretz is every bit as good as (the excellent) Lucas Hedges.
    Sasha Stone lived up to her “American Honey” promise, too. Anxious to see her in the “Hellboy” reboot.

  49. Christian says:

    I loved “American Honey,” but that’s Sasha Lane, not Sasha Stone, Movieman. The film ranked high on my top 20 list the year it was released.

    Which reminds me: I can’t put off my 2018 Top 20 list any longer. Tonight’s the night to write. If I don’t finish, I hope to at least make a major dent in it.

    We need a thread for our Top 10 lists,

  50. movieman says:

    Mea culpa, Christian.
    And I could’ve sworn that I double-checked IMDB before writing that previous post. At least I didn’t say “Sasha Grey.”
    A 10-best thread would be cool although I’m still putting the finishing touches on mine. (Haven’t even started composing my worst list, lol.)

  51. movieman says:

    2 movies I really enjoyed that stalled at the box office–and got lost in the fall movie shuffle–were “White Boy Rick” and “Bad Times at the El Royale.”
    They represent the sort of medium-budgeted studio films that were the industry’s bread and butter once upon a time, but are now an endangered species.
    I hope both find large, enthusiastic followings on home video/cable.

  52. movieman says:

    I just watched the French Holocaust drama “A Bag of Marbles” and thought it was pretty terrific.
    It’s the kind of story that’s already been done to death, and I was reluctant to even give it a try despite generally positive reviews when it opened last spring.
    But I’m very glad that I did: found it immensely satisfying in an old-fashioned (French) movie-movie sort of way.
    30 years ago it would’ve been released by Orion Classics and played for six months at a NY arthouse like the Paris. (Hell, 25 years ago Miramax could have released it to comparable domestic a-house glory.)
    Now it’s barely distributed (in the U.S.) at all.
    Has anybody else seen it?

  53. movieman says:

    Not sure whether it’s been “underrated” or “overlooked” yet–it just opened last week–but Lebanon’s neorealist marvel “Capernaum” is pretty damn extraordinary. Felt like a new millennium “Pixote,” and I liked it more than the Hector Babenco movie.
    It marks a giant leap forward by Nadine Labaki over previous films like “Caramel” and “Where Do We Go Now?”
    I know that it sounds like a bit like a slog (I avoided my screener for weeks), but
    it’s anything but. If you have the chance to see it, GO!

  54. movieman says:

    Here’s one that was definitely underrated: Rupert Everett’s “Oscar Wilde in decline” biopic, “The Happy Prince.”
    This is another movie that would have made a huge splash 25-30 years ago, but now seems lost in time.
    Definitely worth seeking out when it hits home video.

  55. Christian says:

    I think I was the only person knocked out by “The Little Stranger.” Curiously, I forgot about it when compiling my year-end Best list, but I blame that omission on you guys, not the movie, for not keeping it in the conversation beyond its two-week theatrical run. :)

  56. Sideshow Bill says:

    The Clovehitch Killer. Just watched it last night. A rare serial killer thriller with fully-fleshed out characters and lives, and resists the easy ending. It doesn’t really give the audience what it wants. It gives the characters what they want and it impressive and devastating.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin