There’s often a divide between critics and audiences on the ways that many films are perceived. Oftentimes, I’m asked about the watchability of many films I love, including The Florida Project, Blue Valentine, and more. Those movies are fantastic. They’re also movies I can only watch once a year if that. There are many who try to address the difference between what is your favorite film of the year, and what is the best. A lot of movies earn their classic status due to their rewatchability, and this is how movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, and more become all-timers. So let’s have that discussion now. With weeks to go until each of our writers unveil their best of 2018, here’s a look at many of the most rewatchable movies of the year.
25. Summer of ’84 (Review)
One of my favorite indie hits of the year, Summer of ’84 really clicks into place as a piece of 1980’s nostalgia. While movies like Ready Player One function as an Easter Egg equivalent to “Where’s Waldo,” Summer of ’84 takes the beats of popular films and comes into its own. However, it’s ending is what makes it a really awesome film, turning the nostalgia on its head. It’s creepy, scary, and a love-letter to the history of kids finding out their neighbors are evil as hell.
24. The Christmas Chronicles
Few movies were more Gif-able than The Christmas Chronicles. Really, this all comes down to Dad-O Claus from Kurt Russell. He’s so much fun, and it’s great to watch the actor really play up his charisma. The reason this makes the list over other more popular movies is it’s Christmas movie status. I fully expect to enjoy this one every year moving forward, especially with the accessibility of Netflix.
23. Mandy (Review)
An insane metal movie, featuring the awesome Nic Cage, should make this become a great cult hit. There’s a beauty to the cinematography that really helps it stand out as one of the visually striking movies of the year. The score from Jóhann Jóhannsson really hits it out of the park. Ultimately, it’s Cage and the beginning of an exciting career from Panos Cosmatos that will help this movie live on.
22. Creed II (Review)
Sports movies are great, and no franchise has lived on because of the repeat viewings like the Rocky franchise. Creed burns bright with repeat viewings, and while its sequel isn’t as good, it is still a crowdpleaser. There’s a lot to like out of Michael B. Jordan again, but it’s the addition of the Dragos (Dolph Lundgren & Florian Munteanu) and a larger role for Tessa Thompson that helps the movie come to life.
21. A Star Is Born (Review)
It’s one of the biggest hits of the year, and will also be a huge favorite to win Best Picture. So why so low? Frankly, who is going to want to rewatch this over and over again? The soundtrack can blast through your Spotify playlist, but few viewers are going to willingly jump into a movie that ends as grimly as this one does. The Artist has mostly disappeared in the years since its release, and while this movie makes a lot of sense at this moment, it feels doubtful we’ll be returning to this when more upbeat and fun movies existed in 2018. Despite all that negativity, Gaga fans are going to keep this movie in the popular culture in some capacity, and Bradley Cooper’s voice will forever be a relic of the year. You’ll want to look at it one more time.
20. A Quiet Place (Review)
One of the very best theater experiences of all time, A Quiet Place really shines. Sadly, the acoustics of home video will make this nearly impossible to revisit. Still, a deeply emotional monster film will always have a rewatchability to it. With Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, and the emerging stars Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe rounding out the cast, this one will continue to be a pop horror movie that audiences enjoy.
19. Hearts Beat Loud (Review)
A loving story about music and it’s transformative power, Hearts Beat Loud should have been one of the movies of the year. A far more upbeat and loving story than A Star Is Born, Hearts Beat Loud really shines. Unlike the love ballads of A Star Is Born, the alternative music of Hearts feels far more contemporary. It’s a movie that’s ultimately a story of the love between a father and daughter, and it becomes one of the most heartfelt movies of the year.
18. Widows (Review)
A heist film will always play, but a movie with the pace of Widows feels destined to become a prestige rewatchable. In the vein of The Town and The Departed, Widows feels like an adult drama that will only grow legs in the years to come. Viola Davis leads the ensemble and with a mixture of respected veterans and emerging stars like Daniel Kaluuya, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo, the action/drama says a lot about America in 2018.
17. Eighth Grade (Review)
One of the most sincere films of the year, Bo Burnham clearly established he has a great career ahead. Elsie Fisher delivers one of the very best performances of the year and her vulnerability helps to sell the movie. It’s the universal feelings the movie dives into, including loneliness, growing up, and self-doubt, that makes it a movie that I’ll share with my kids someday. Teen movies like this one can have a really long shelf-life, and when the movie is as well made as Eighth Grade, it makes it easier to return.
16. Mary Poppins Returns (Review)
A fun and fancy-free story, Mary Poppins Returns gets a huge boost from the Disney machine. It’s a fun musical, featuring some real talent in Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The music might not be as instantly iconic as the original, but look for it to grow on audiences in the years to come. While it’s a bit of a retread of the original, it is more lighthearted at times. As movies like The Greatest Showman have proved over the years, a light-hearted romp in a musical really speaks to audiences.
15. Bad Times at the El Royale (Review)
A crazy trip to purgatory has never felt so stylized. This position is really anchored by Drew Goddard‘s ability to handle ensembles with flare, and he shockingly found a way to make the group work incredibly well. Every character gets their due and even those who go out early still get plenty of showy moments before biting the dust. Ultimately, a cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Cynthia Erivo, and Jon Hamm will always feel rewatchable. Surprisingly good performances from Dakota Johnson and Lewis Pullman reward audiences for their faith. With a lot of substance on the table, expect this one to make your movie rotation like Reservoir Dogs and The Big Lebowski have in the past.
14. Hereditary (Review)
One of the horror achievements of the century, Hereditary will certainly be rewatchable in my household. It’s got the upside of a film like The Shining, with dozens of potential interpretations for the film. There’s also enough drama to just watch Toni Colette do work, and she delivers an all-timer of a performance. However, the horror bias will stop many from ranking this movie higher, and many other audiences simply hated the movie. As a movie my family and I didn’t stop talking about over Christmas, I think this one has a really high upside in the long term.
13. Aquaman (Review)
Whether or not you like the DC Universe, Aquaman was a breath of fresh air for fans of comic book movies. It’s still a step down from Marvel’s lowest tier of movies, but the big action setpieces should make this one continue to pop in the year’s to come. It’s colorful (plus) features high-level fantasy storytelling (plus plus), and has one of the biggest monsters ever shown in a film (biggest plus). It’s ridiculously terrible in its dialogue, but that’s almost part of the charm. Like the Joel Schumacher Batman films, you can find some ridiculous fun out of the movie. Momoa having fun throughout the film will also make it very easy to jump back into the movie.
12. The Favourite (Review)
Costume dramas are rarely rewatchable. In most cases, they’re just too dry. Yet a supercharged film with a script dripping in vulgarity and hilariously quotable dialogue makes The Favourite one of the most unique films of the year. The trio of Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman, and Emma Stone also adds to the movie. Stone is now establishing her as the surprise superstar of her generation, and Weisz looks like she’s got a chance to be one of the great actresses of all time. Meanwhile, Colman is about to take up the mantle of Queen Elizabeth for the next two years of The Crown. Expect all three to become mainstays for the awards scene moving forward.
11. Set It Up
A fun little romantic comedy for audiences in their 20s, Set It Up works on several levels. First, it really seems to understand millennials in the workplace today. The push to break through and become successful is something everyone under the age of 35 is constantly stressing over right now. However, we also get two great star-making turns, helping solidify that Glenn Powell and Zoey Deutch have a chance to become the next Stone/Gosling. Trust, Powell is a movie-star.
10. Teen Titans Go! to the Movies (Review)
Perhaps the most surprising comedy film of 2018 was the emergence of the hyper-meta Teen Titans Go! to the Movies. The movie featured some amazingly catchy music, including an amazing track from Michael Boulton of all people. It’s also packed to the brim with jokes about the superhero film industry, even going so far as they say that “Aqua-Manatee” will get a film in the upcoming madness. A loving surprise, Teen Go! to the Movies can be appreciated by anyone.
9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Review)
The Coen Brothers are two of the greatest directors in the history of American film. Every one of their movies can be instantly rewatchable, if for no other than they load their movies with imagery worthy of a college course and complex allegorical narratives. Their most recent work, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, does not instantly scream the brilliance of their pinnacle work. Yet the choice to tell six different stories, each taking on its own tone and visuals from the Western American storybook. With Netflix making the film endlessly accessible, you can turn on a fifteen-minute segment and check out. It’s an easy movie to jump into at any point or to throw on for your friends at a party without disrupting the night. In many ways, it is the easiest way to show the Coen’s brilliance.
8. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Review)
One of two teen comedies to really show the genre still has legs, To All the Boys I Loved Before was a massive hit for Netflix. The two stars, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, are now everywhere. Centineo starred in a pair of these films for Netflix this year, and while the second was a flop, he’s now a massive internet sensation. His character is so popular, the fictional Peter Kavinsky might be the 2nd most famous Peter of all time (behind Peter Parker). A sequel is on the way, and I’m surrounded by people who have already watched the movie five times (or more). A sensation, expect the fever to continue for years to come.
7. Love, Simon (Review)
One of the strongest romantic high school comedies in years, Love, Simon really deserves to be in the awards hunt. Nick Robinson proved that he could really sell as a lead actor, and unlike most romantic comedies, the entire movie lives and dies on his singular performance. Greg Berlanti really works great as a director here, cashing in his clout from the “Arrow/Flash-Verse” to make the first LGBTQ studio romantic comedy. This film also boasts some really moving performances from Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, and Katherine Langford. One of the funniest scripts of the year feels like a John Hughes movie and it was amazing to feel that way again. It might be the best high school movie since Mean Girls.
6. Avengers: Infinity War (Review)
A seismic moment in comic film history, and it showed in the box office. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Infinity War is that it actually lived up to the hype. The Snap is one of the iconic moments of the year in cinema, and while it is unclear how the conclusion will come, this movie stands magnificently as one of the best transition films in history (up against the Back to the Future Part II and Empire Strikes Back style movies). Thanos became one of the most layered villains in the modern superhero age, and the Summer of Brolin really lived up to the hype.
5. Paddington 2
No movie will put a bigger smile on your face than the incredibly beautiful Paddington 2. Secretly one of the best movies of the year, Paddington 2 showed off that a movie can be saccharine and sweet, but still be extremely well made. The all-star cast is technically led by Ben Whishaw, who had an absolutely stellar year on TV and on the big screen. However, the true superstar of the film has to be the grimy and meta performance from Hugh Grant. It is not often you watch an actor take a role that wrestles with their own legacies, and the actor simply shines. For anyone who has ever liked a Grant-led film, this will be a ball of a time. Even if you don’t like him, the movie recalls the zany silliness of a Wes Anderson film, and with the production design making the film look like one as well, this one is joyously amazing to watch.
4. Crazy Rich Asians (Review)
A surprisingly visual wonder for a studio romantic comedy, Crazy Rich Asians represented the first film of its kind to feature a majority Asian descendent cast since The Joy Luck Club in 1993. The gamble roll with the director of Now You See Me 2 and a couple of the Step Up films paid off. John Chu assembled an incredibly talented cast, featuring future household names in Constance Wu, Gemma Chan, and Sonoya Mizuno. Henry Golding and Awkwafina became two of the breakout stars of the year, and Michelle Yeoh reminded audiences that she is just as regal as Meryl Streep. This movie features a lot of talent, and you’re doing yourself a disservice by not turning it on this second.
3. Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Review)
Arguably the best action movie since Mad Max: Fury Road, Mission: Impossible – Fallout feels like a career triumph for Tom Cruise. There’s are a lot of memorable sequences of the year, including the amazing bathroom fight, the HALO jump, and the chase through Paris. More importantly, the movie should help crown a new generation of stars. That’s surprising, especially considering the “team” features return performances from Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg. However, we got a career-redefining performance from Henry Cavill, who finally clicked in my mind as an action star. Vanessa Kirby and Rebecca Ferguson continue to break through in a big way, and Sean Harris should be villains in every movie forever. Once again, it comes down to Cruise and his incredible skill as a movie star.
2. Black Panther (Review)
The film of the year remains one of the most rewatchable films you’ll ever see. One, it’s the crown jewel of the MCU and the most complete movie of the year. Chadwick Boseman shines in the titular role, but all eyes are on Michael B. Jordan. His Killmonger is one of the very best villains in a comic book film since Heath Ledger as The Joker. The cast also features a mix of generational talents, and could be the deepest cast in a film this year. With stars like Lupita N’yongo, Danai Gurira, Angela Basset, When Daniel Kaluuya, the star of Get Out might be the 7th or 8th best part of your movie, you know you’re cooking with fire.
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Review)
It’s a bright shining accomplishment that is funny, dramatic, and beautiful, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will surely be one of the most rewatchable films of the year. There is so much to get out of the newest and incredibly meta entry to the Spider-Man cinematic history. The story of a kid named Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) resonates with audiences, playing with what it means to become a hero. The message that anyone, from any place, can become Spider-Man feels like an incredibly beautiful and loving message to end 2018. You can make a difference in your community, and you can become the hero you’re waiting to emerge. No film gets as beautiful a message. Add in the unique animation, the fact it is an animated film and the under two-hour run-time, you’ve got the easy rewatch for years to come.