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Best of 2018 #5: Eighth Grade, Mandy, Mission Impossible – Fallout, Chappaquiddick

5) Troy’s Pick – Eighth Grade

The fallout of being at busy as a movie site is that you can’t always cover everything you want. Troy enjoyed the holy hell out of Eighth Grade. While he wanted to say more about it, that will have to wait for another time. Check out his brief review from last year. Click here!

5) Daniel’s Pick – Mandy

If heavy metal had collectively birthed a film, it wouldn’t be the movie that is actually titled Heavy Metal. It wouldn’t be Fade to Black, Trick or Treat, or Rock N Roll Nightmare either (although all of those are great too). Nope, it would be Mandy. If you could have peaked into my metal, horror, and fantasy fueled dreams as a teenager, it’d look a lot like what Panos Cosmatos and Nic Cage cooked up here.

Look, this film isn’t for everyone and I fully understand why many utterly despise it. As for me? I couldn’t get enough. Acid-damaged demon bikers! Loony cultists! Bill Duke! King Crimson! Rage Cage! It’s like Don Coscarelli, Clive Barker, and Richard Stanley had a metal-loving baby who doesn’t quite have a grip on reality. Mandy has my battle axe for all eternity.

5) Mike Flynn’s Pick – Mission Impossible – Fallout

In its sixth installment, Mission: Impossible transcends so far beyond the layman concept of a classic TV spy thriller revamped with Tom Cruise that it’s almost unfair to consider this part of the long-running franchise. Nevertheless, it’s arguably the first entry of the series that ties together the legacy of a series that started as a big-time entry into the TV-reboot gauntlet in 1996.

After the triumph of the franchise-recalibrating Rogue Nation, Cruise, whose method-acting approach to stunt work makes Jackie Chan look like acrophobic, and director Christopher McQuarrie have an iron grip on the interest of their audience.

They unveil an IMAX-filmed HALO jump sequence that would be the climax of most action movies in the first half-hour of Mission: Impossible Fallout—and it’s not even in the top five most daring moments in the film. Fallout isn’t obligated to deliver a story that has never been told before. Instead, we get a two and a half-hour IV drip of adrenaline that could care less about taking its foot off the gas.

Just when you think this movie has maxed out—no plot-driven scene ends without some form of mayhem as the punchline—it gets bigger. Louder. More insane. By the time the end arrives, the only logical next step would be for Mission: Impossible 7 to involve Ethan Hunt and the gang fighting alien hackers intent on barbecuing Earth with a stolen meganuke presumed lost in orbit by the Reagan administration in 1986.

When you have a film with action as big and authentic as this, snarking about Michael Bay and the Fast and the Furious series is, no pun intended, impossible. To sweeten the deal, Fallout manages to tie together the series’ many characters in a manner that was previously only tangential. Stalwarts like Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson come back. Ving Rhames, the only actor besides Cruise to appear in every entry, is not rendered irrelevant by Henry Cavill.

Clavill gleefully treats Fallout the way Garfield looks at a tray of lasagna with his sneering pro-wrestling villainy and contractually obligated mustache. Even Alec Baldwin, free of his SNL Trump wig as the screaming bureaucrat, is handed tasks involving ass-kicking.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is top-shelf blockbuster filmmaking where the kitchen sink is not the end-all, be-all answer to everything. Video games can’t even pull off this kind of pandemonium. Hell, Cruise could use this as his Unforgiven moment and call it a day on action movies. Then again, considering how each successive entry has broken a glass ceiling, replaced it with a stronger one, and broken it again, why stop now?

5) Jamie’s Pick – Chappaquiddick

Jamie loves Chappaquiddick. Finally, somebody is going to make those awful Kennedys pay for their crimes? If the Woke Kids can cancel John Wayne, Jamie can cancel Teddy Kennedy.

Eighth Grade Mandy Mission Impossible Fallout Chappaquiddick

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