The 2018 Talkies: Talkhouse Film Contributors Share Their Top 10 Movies of the Year

A selection of poll ballots from filmmakers, including Bruce LaBruce, Megan Griffiths and James Marsh, who voted for their favorite movies of 2018.

Late last year, Talkhouse Film contributors and a select few friends of the site voted on their favorite theatrical releases of 2018; you can see the aggregated results here. Below are ballots from a selection of the filmmakers who took part in the voting process.

Vashti Anderson
1. Border
2. Tully
3. I Am Not a Witch
4. Shoplifters
5. Happy As Lazzaro
6. Roma
7. BlacKkKlansman
8. Eighth Grade
9. Wildlife
10. November

Tully, unlike other bullshit vanity projects about kids and aging, is EXACTLY what it’s like. The terrific writing shows deserved sensitivity to a flawed protagonist who is sleep deprived, on the edge and also loved. Border isn’t perfect, but it’s a fantastically visceral, daring film. I’ve never seen a sex scene that is so tied to the protagonist’s deepest desire; as much as it is about physical attraction, it is a manifestation of all that she has been longing for and wondering about.


Theo Anthony
1. Hale County This Morning, This Evening
2. The Task
3. Immortality for All: A Film Trilogy on Russian Cosmism
4. First Reformedda
5. Madeline’s Madeline
6. In the Realm of Perfection
7. Caniba
8. Combat Obscura
9. Roma / Phantom Thread (tie)
10. The Favourite / Annihilation (tie)

Hale County!


Rodney Ascher
1. The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci)
2. The Other Side of the Wind + They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (Orson Welles + Morgan Neville)
3. The Pain of Others + The Road Movie (Penny Lane + Dmitrii Kalashnikov)
4. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
5. Ralph Breaks the Internet (Rich Moore, Phil Johnston)
6. Final Deployment 4: Queen Battle Walkthrough + Amazon “Can You Feel It?” ad w/soundtrack replaced with the theme from Captain America: Winter Soldier (Nick Gibbons/Casper Kelly + Omar Najam)
7. Mandy (Panos Cosmotos)
8. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
9. First Man
10. You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay)

If you missed the “Can You Feel It?” remix, it’s here . Ditto for Final Deployment 4.

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
Video Essay: Post-Apocalypse Now


Sean Baker
1. Vox Lux
2. Let the Corpses Tan
3. Eighth Grade
4. Roma
5. Winter Brothers
6. The House That Jack Built
7. Border
8. Life and Nothing More
9. A Prayer Before Dawn
10. Shoplifters

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
Guillermo del Toro Talks with William Friedkin


Amy Berg
(in alphabetical order)
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Distant Barking of Dogs
Free Solo
If Beale Street Could Talk
Into the Okavango
Minding the Gap
Of Fathers and Sons
The Sentence

Still lots to see


Zach Clark
1. First Reformed (second viewing)
2. Knife + Heart
3. First Reformed (first viewing)
4. The Other Side of the Wind
5. Les Iles
6. The month I spent binging Filmstruck before it went away
7. Narcisister Organ Player
8. The Girl Can’t Help It/Scorpio Rising double feature I saw at Anthology Film Archives
9. Come Back Little Shiksa
10. Ash Wednesday, which I saw in a Liz Taylor retro at the Quad.

As usual, it’s December, and I’m woefully behind on the kinds of movies that usually end up on these things.


Stephen Cone
1. The Other Side of the Wind
2. Blockers
3. Leave No Trace
4. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
5. Annihilation
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Minding the Gap
8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
9. Private Life
10. Let the Sunshine In

Still several to see, but, as of December 27th at 11:57 PM, this is where I’m at.


David Dastmalchian
1. Roma
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
3. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
4. Eighth Grade
5. The Death of Stalin
6. A Quiet Place
7. Hereditary
8. The Party’s Just Beginning
9. Tully
10. Avengers: Infinity War

Roma is one of the greatest films ever made.

P.S. I didn’t get to see The Favourite until after I’d submitted my ballot. I loved this film and really hope people are seeing it. My favorite films lately have been usurping all of my expectations at every turn and this film achieved that with every plot twist and turn.

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
There was this great article about Buster Keaton and I think everyone should read it. Also, I think Joshua Burge should play Buster Keaton in a biopic someday.


Luke Davies
1. Roma
2. The Death of Stalin
3. Border
4. Paddington 2
5. If Beale Street Could Talk
6. Beautiful Boy
7. The Sisters Brothers
8. Early Man
9. Widows
10. Boy Erased

The Death of Stalin balances belly-laugh hilarity with a deep darkness, without ever losing is acerbic, freewheeling energy or Armando Iannucci’s glorious way with the English language. And Roma is one of those once-in-a-decade films that approaches the *actual* (as opposed to the simulated) sublime. UPDATE: Since I sent in my list, I saw Vice and The Favourite. I’d slot them in at 3 and 4.


Negin Farsad
1. Eighth Grade
2. The Death of Stalin
3. A Star is Born
4. Annihilation
5. Life of the Party
6. Game Night
7. A Quiet Place
8. Blockers
9. Widows
10. Leave No Trace

I don’t normally include so many comedies but this was actually a good year for it.

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
The Tale of Doing Everything Wrong to Make Something Right


Jeanie Finlay
1. Shoplifters
2. The Island
3. Phantom Thread
4. You Were Never Really Here
5. Leave No Trace
6. Shirkers
7. Cold War
8. American Animals
9. Faces Places
10. Mandy

I have always been a fan of Kore-eda’s intensely emotional filmmaking. Shoplifters effortlessly interwove the stories of a family of misfits and I was left with a profound feeling of intense melancholy a day after watching.


Nelson George
1. Roma
2. First Reformed
3. Amazing Grace
4. Black Panther
5. BlacKkKlansman
6. The Favourite
7. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
8. Cold War
9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
10. The Other Side of the Wind

Roma should be seen in theaters. Hope lots of people experienced that in this year.


Stuart Gordon
1. Stan and Ollie
2. Vice
3. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
4. Green Book
5. On the Basis of Sex
6. Free Solo
7. Bohemian Rhapsody
8. A Quiet Place
9. At Eternity’s Gate
10. BlacKkKlansman


Megan Griffiths
1. You Were Never Really Here (d. Lynne Ramsey)
2. Eighth Grade (d. Bo Burnham)
3. The Rider (d. Chloé Zhao)
4. Minding the Gap (d. Bing Liu)
5. Destroyer (d. Karyn Kusama)
6. Roma (d. Alfonso Cuarón)
7. Madeline’s Madeline (d. Josephine Decker)
8. Outside In (d. Lynn Shelton)
9. Leave No Trace (d. Debra Granik)
10. Sorry To Bother You (d. Boots Riley)

I want to mention a few outstanding performances in films that aren’t on this list. One from a veteran actor, Emma Thompson, who I have obviously loved for decades but whose power and grace in The Children Act was truly devastating (in a good way) to behold. Also, Amandla Stenberg who completely owned the screen in The Hate U Give. And John Gallagher Jr., who has a scene in The Miseducation Of Cameron Post that had such deep, real pathos that I completely forgot for a moment that I was watching a film. And I know it’s not really kosher to do it, but I can’t not call out the incredible work of Sophia Mitri Schloss, Melanie Lynskey, John Gallagher, Jr. (again,) Danielle Brooks, Tony Hale, Keith L. Williams and Tee Dennard in my own film Sadie – they are an incredibly gifted and generous ensemble and I was honored by their work.

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
Got to go with my conversation with Colin Trevorrow for the podcast


Ian Harnarine
1. Skate Kitchen (Crystal Moselle)
2. The Rider (Chloe Zhao)
3. Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
4. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
5. Burning (Lee Chang-dong)
6. Minding the Gap (Bing Liu)
7. BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
8. Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
9. Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker)
10. Shoplifters (Kore-eda Hirokazu)

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
Raphael Bob-Waksberg (BoJack Horseman) Talks with Adam Conover for the Talkhouse Podcast


Chad Hartigan
1. First Man
2. The Old Man and the Gun
3. The Death of Stalin
4. Custody
5. First Reformed
6. The Favourite
7. Shoplifters
8. The Workshop
9. The Rider
10. American Animals

Honorable Mention: Borg vs. McEnroe, Burning, The Captain, Eighth Grade, mid90s, Private Life, Roma, The Sisters Brothers, Wildlife, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


Pat Healy
1. A Star is Born
2. First Reformed
3. Mandy
4. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
5. Roma
6. Ready Player One
7. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
8. Green Book
9. The Old Man and The Gun
10. Three Identical Strangers


Jim Hemphill
1. Widows
2. A Star is Born
3. Vox Lux
4. Destroyer
5. First Reformed
6. Suspiria
7. Skyscraper
8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
9. You Were Never Really Here
10. If Beale Street Could Talk

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
Karyn Kusama’s essay on First Reformed beautifully summed up what makes that movie so essential, important, and satisfying.


Jim Hosking
1. Burning
2. Shoplifters
3. The Day After
4. Claire’s Camera
5. Custody
6. First Reformed
7. BlacKkKlansman
8. The Wife
9. Beautiful Boy
10. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

I have to say I have watched very few films this year. But two of my favourite filmmakers, Lee Chang-dong and Hong Sang-soo, both made films – hooray. I found the last moments of BlacKkKlansman truly shocking and powerful. Spike Lee blindsided me. Beyond that, Beautiful Boy made me cry. I have a son. I am more open to cinematic manipulation than I realised. I preferred The Wife to Hereditary! Hand me my pipe and slippers! Also I liked seeing Richard E. Grant. These are all very profound thoughts. Hold onto your hats. Honestly the best film I saw this year was Rebel Without A Cause.


Azazel Jacobs
(in alphabetical order)
A Bread Factory – Patrick Wang
An Elephant Sitting Still – Hu Bo
First Reformed – Paul Schrader
Nancy – Christina Choe
Private Life – Tamara Jenkins
Shoplifters – Hirokazu Kore-eda
The Sisters Brothers – Jacques Audiard
Tyrel – Sebastián Silva
Wildlife – Paul Dano
Zama – Lucrecia Martel


Bruce LaBruce
(in alphabetical order)
Hereditary / Mandy
I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
The Sisters Brothers
Vox Lux
Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Alix Lambert
1. Widows
2. The Rest I Make Up
3. Sorry to Bother You
4. Roma
5. Leave No Trace
6. The Favourite
7. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
8. Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
9. Black Panther
10. The Task


Jonathan Levine
1. First Reformed
2. The Favourite
3. Eighth Grade
4. A Quiet Place
5. A Star Is Born
6. Black Panther
7. Whitney
8. BlacKkKlansman
9. Game Night
10. Mission: Impossible – Fallout


Clay Liford
1. Eighth Grade
2. BlacKkKlansman
3. Damsel
4. Thoroughbreds
5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
6. Nancy
7. 1985
8. Sorry to Bother You
9. Annihilation
10. On Her Shoulders

It’s really tough picking just 10. Would love to also give a shout out to Don’t Leave Home and Support the Girls.


James Marsh
1. Roma
2. Shoplifters
3. Cold War
4. Climax
5. Zama
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Shirkers
8. Leave No Trace
9. Apostasy
10. Mandy

One film here is probably unfamiliar: Apostasy. which is a modest, piercing British film set amongst Jehovah’s Witnesses that dared to take religious beliefs seriously in a way that Bergman or Bresson might approve.

Favorite Talkhouse piece of 2018
Voyeurism and Half-lit Streets: Bette Gordon on Variety


Michael Pearce
1. The Favourite
2. You Were Never Really Here
3. The Rider
4. Mandy
5. Phantom Thread
6. Roma
7. Annihilation
8. Loveless
9. Happy as Lazzaro
10. The Old Man and the Gun


James Ponsoldt
1. The Rider
2. Shoplifters
3. Burning
4. Roma
5. Hale County This Morning, This Evening
6. Happy as Lazzaro
7. Zama
8. If Beale Street Could Talk
9. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
10. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Three hours after I finished watching Burning, my wife told me she was in labor. Four hours after that, we had a new son. Now, for me, Burning – which burrowed its way under my skin, unnerved me, and I still can’t shake – will forever be strangely, cosmically, cinematically connected to my child.

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
Blurring the Edges: Sharon Van Etten’s “Jupiter 4”


Alex Ross Perry
1. The Other Side of the Wind
2. Suspiria
3. First Reformed
4. Isle of Dogs
5. Widows
6. Wildlife
7. Ready Player One
8. Lean on Pete
9. November
10. CAM


Randy Russell
1. You Were Never Really Here
2. Sorry to Bother You
3. Zama
4. First Reformed
5. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
6. John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection
7. Nico, 1988
8. The Party
9. Free Solo
10. Let the Sunshine In


Leah Shore
1. Annihilation
2. Border
3. The Favourite
4. CAM
5. Diamantino
6. BlacKkKlansman
7. Mandy
8. Sorry To Bother You
9. Let the Corpses Tan
10. Eighth Grade

Annihilation was a phenomenal film down to the damn audio. It was just SO GOOD (except for the low part 3D animation/fx). YAS to the metaphorical womb, vaginal destructive references to bat…I cannot wait to see this guy’s next film! Unrelated to my scores, but, I strongly disliked the film Hereditary. It was a poor film from the way it was written with its predictable dialogue and plot to the way my eyes were forced to watch it like that scene from Clockwork Orange with those eye openers that forces you to keep your eyes open during torture. I cannot believe that film was made. My farts are better films. Way to rip off Rosemary’s Baby in the last scene and completely switch the POV entirely for no damn reason. CONFUSING MUCH? Okay. I’m done. Good day.

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
Best of 2018: Boots Riley Talks Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy


Aaron Stewart-Ahn
1. Long Day’s Journey Into Night
2. Burning
3. The Rider
4. Roma
5. Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse
6. The Night Comes For Us
7. If Beale Street Could Talk
8. You Were Never Really Here
9. Nancy
10. Shirkers

All of these films are of equal merit in their unique ways to me, and I’m still leaving out many films I admired (including Minding the Gap, Upgrade, Revenge, First Reformed, Hereditary and Operation Red Sea) and there are many I missed seeing. While debate rages about what cinema is becoming, simply enough it has felt like an exceptionally strong year for cinema globally, made by filmmakers with strong points of view.

Favorite Talkhouse Film piece of 2018
My favorite Talkhouse articles: Del Toro & Friedkin podcast and A Love Letter to Wanda by Christina Choe


Steve Taylor
1. The Rider
2. Shoplifters
3. The Death of Stalin
4. Roma
5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
6. Paddington 2
7. First Man
8. Black Panther
9. Eighth Grade
10. Sorry To Bother You

You had me until he strapped on the vest: First Reformed True Crimes: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Favorite Talkhouse piece of 2018
The conversation with Matt Berninger & Julien Baker


Brian Trenchard-Smith
1. A Quiet Place
2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
3. Bohemian Rhapsody
4. The Favourite
5. Venom
6. Journey’s End
7. A Star is Born
8. Outlaw King
9. Deadpool 2
10. Hitler’s Hollywood

Re: A Quiet Place – masterful handling of sustained suspense. Hitchcock would have applauded.


Joshua Z Weinstein
1. Shoplifters
2. Roma
3. Isle of Dogs
4. Let The Corpses Tan
5. BlacKkKlansman
6. Happy as Lazzaro
7. The Sisters Brothers
8. The Rider
9. The Other Side of the Wind
10. Black Panther

I also enjoyed seeing Paul Schrader continue to wrestle with themes that he has been writing about for his entire career in First Reformed and Melissa McCarthy’s straight performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me. I still have not watched If Beale Street Could Talk, The Favourite, and Monrovia, Indiana, which I am looking forward to. I am not sure if 2018 will be a year of films that I will ever want to return to, though. Maybe they too accurately reflect our reality and I needed more of an escape. This was a year that I watched a lot on Filmstruck, and it is sad to see the service end. I discovered films like Yi Yi, deeper cuts from Satyajit Ray, and rewatched Modern Times. But the big question I ask myself every year is, how do we prevent cinema from becoming like opera, some rarefied art form for urban elite? The idea of MoviePass was great and I know it got myself to the theater more than in past years, but there needs to be a more sustainable solution to building audiences and affordable ticket prices.


Rupert Wyatt
1. Roma
2. Isle of Dogs
3. Cold War
4. Paddington 2
5. A Prayer Before Dawn
6. You Were Never Really Here
7. Lean on Pete
8. Black Panther
9. First Reformed
10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

Love the filmmakers but not seen: The Favourite, The Rider, If Beale Street Could Talk, First Man, Widows, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Favorite Talkhouse piece of 2018
Lou Reed Talks Kanye West’s Yeezus might be from 2014 but in the year that the “Ye” showed everything rotten about Denmark, it’s worth remembering there’s a reason he has the platform. And the late great Lou Reed could see it.