365 days in cinema


Cardinal Communications USA

“The Rider” received a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes amd a 92 percent on Metacritic.

Aaron Condron, Journalism Student

In the last year, there have been hundreds of movies released, each one having its own virtues and downfalls. This year has been a remarkable one in the cinema, with “Black Panther” bringing racial diversity to Marvel, “A Star is Born” sweeping the box office as Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, and “Incredibles 2” grossing the most of any animated film ever. However, what were truly the best movies in the last 365 days? Andy Heller, writer of Fat Dude Digs Flicks, lists his top five.

  1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a documentary about beloved children’s TV host Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers, which is “so optimistic and shows how love can really bring people together.” The film is simple, relying on footage from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” or firsthand accounts of his life over recreation whenever possible, but this does not detract from the film’s emotional power. “It will make you laugh and make you cry, but mostly it will make you smile because of all the potential good that can come from this world.”

  1. First Reformed

“First Reformed” is a thriller about a disturbed priest trying to carry the world on his shoulders after meeting an unstable activist and his pregnant wife. The movie “stars Ethan Hawke in one of his greatest performances yet,” said Heller, “but it does not deal with lightweight subject matter and can be bleak and scary in very non-horror movie ways.” Toller is trying to survive some of the worst trauma one could receive, and, when piled on top of his own issues, leads him to his breaking point.

  1. The Rider

One of few theatrically released films shot in South Dakota, “The Rider” deals with finding purpose in life as Brady, a young cowboy played by Brady Jandreau, tries to find a new passion after being told he can no longer compete on the Rodeo Circuit. Chloe Zhou made an interesting choice in the direction of this film, in that no trained actors were cast in the movie. As a result, “the performances can feel a little wooden at times, but Brady Jandreau, the lead actor, is a force to be reckoned with,” said Heller. “The film is quiet and raw, and is definitely one of the best movies of the year that most people missed.”

  1. A Star is Born

A Star is Born” is a re-re-remake, as it is the fourth time the same story has been put on the silver screen, but, under the direction of award-winning actor and, for the first time, director Bradley Cooper, the movie is better than ever. This is the story of Jackson Maine, a drunk, stressed out country singer, who meets Alli, played by Lady Gaga, an aspiring but nervous singer who’s down on her luck. “In the hands of Bradley Cooper and with the talent of Lady Gaga,” said Heller, “A Star is Born is both one of the most fun and enjoyable experiences at the movie theater this year, while also being one of the most heartbreaking. It is an emotional experience best seen on the big screen with an invested audience watching it with you.”

  1. Three Identical Strangers

“Imagine you go to college only to meet someone who says they know someone who looks exactly like you. They call them up and arrange a meeting for the two of you. Sure enough, you look alike. You sound alike. As it turns out, you were twins separated at birth. Now, imagine there’s a third.” “Three Identical Strangers,” a story of nature vs. nurture, is a fascinating story about three identical twins who were separated at a young age. “The mystery behind it all is shocking,” said Heller. “The film goes into some deep, dark places, but this is one best seen knowing as little as possible.”