By Scott Pukos
Each year since I've been at The Little (I started in July 2015), I've compiled a list of my favorite Little movies of the year. The only requirement of the list is that the film must have debuted in the previous calendar year (2018 for this year's version), and must have screened at The Little at least once. These are not necessarily the most-award worthy pictures, just my favorites (though I certainly hope they win all the awards).
There are still a few films I want to watch before I finalize that list, but it the spirit of the recent Golden Globes and pending Oscar nominations, I do have some awards to hand out (superlatives, really). Here we go!
These two are heroes. Their charm and immense talent helped make Eighth Grade and Hearts Beat Loud two of the best films of the year. A movie with both of them together in starring roles is needed! And speaking of Clemons' underrated year...
Underrated film that makes me infinitely happy: Hearts Beat Loud
I wore a goofy smile on my face during most of the run time for this one. If I had to pick a surrogate fictional father, Nick Offerman's character in Hearts Beat Loud would be high on the list. Also, the music in this one is superb - it reminded me a little of early Chvrches records.
Best script: The Favourite
Each line of this wicked and witty look at the era of Queen Anne is wildly funny. It's the type of film that requires multiple viewing just to catch every royal zinger.
Most intense sequence: American Animals heist scene
This was a highly inventive and underrated picture. The combination of documentary and narrative storytelling to recall the real-life caper of rare books from a library in Kentucky surprised and delighted me. As for the heist itself (takes huge breath), what a scene! It's worth admission just for the surge of adrenaline that sequence provides.
Gloriously weird award: The gloriously weird ending of the smart, innovative Sorry to Bother You
No way am I even going to come close to ruining this one for you. Some will dislike the final act, but I loved the boldness of Boots Riley's debut film.
Best YA film: Science Fair
This documentary starts with the five most joyous minutes you'll see on screen. The rest of Science Fair is a delightful look at high school life, competition, and, yes, science. A charming film for people of all the ages.
Underrated film: The King
One of the (many) documentaries that blew me away in 2018 (a.k.a The Year of the Doc). This look at Elvis, America, and so much more, was gorgeously shot and terrifically captivating. I feel it got a little lost in the wake of the year's other top docs. Side note: The King screened as part of the One Take Film Festival last year. Need info on OTFF 2019?! (The correct answer is yes). OTFF.org has the dates, details, and info you need!
Best non-Little films: Spider-Man Into The Spider-verse, Annihilation, A Quiet Place, Game Night
Just in case you need some rental ideas during hours The Little is closed.
The award for movies I can't wait to watch: If Beale Street Could Talk (pictured) and On The Basis of Sex (the Ruth Bader Ginsburg origin story). Both open Friday (1/11)! Beale Street was listed at number two on CITY film critic Adam Lubitow's favorite films of the year list (an incredible 11 of the first 13 films listed screened, or will screen, at The Little).