Five Movies of 2018 Better Than Green Book
Posted by Anna Khan
February 28, 2019
At the Oscars last weekend, there were a lot of historic wins. Black Panther won three Oscars and is the first movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to win any. No female directors were nominated in the feature directing category, but for the first time in Oscars history, women won all the best short film categories of the night. Spike Lee, arguably one of, if not the most, prominent Black American directors, collected his first competitive Oscar in his three-decade-long career. Mexico took home its first win for best foreign language film with Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. To top it all off, Olivia Colman won best actress for portraying a lesbian queen of England. All in all, some really great and progressive wins until we got to best picture.
I won’t go into the plethora of reasons why Green Book didn’t deserve to win best picture (all the other more worthy contenders, the lazy white-savior trope, the “we’re all the same on the inside” messaging that would’ve been revolutionary in the 1950s, the complete disregard for accurately portraying the sole major Black character, the mediocrity of the story itself), but it disheartens me to think that this win could paint Green Book as the best movie of 2018 when there were so many innovative stories told in the last year. So, I want to highlight some of those movies not nominated for Oscars but remarkable in their own right.
The Hate U Give
I definitely recommend reading the wonderful novel written by Angie Thomas first, although the film itself was even more gripping during scenes that, translated onto film, were exactly as uncomfortable as they needed to be. The plot follows a Black girl who sees one of her oldest friends get murdered by a police officer and the struggles that follow. I won’t give too much away, but this a must see for every single person in America, especially those unwilling to face the reality of what #BlackLivesMatters really means.
Sorry To Bother You
An amazingly weird movie, it’s hard to talk about it without spoiling anything. The movie catapults into the bizarre very fast, and any fan of weird science-fiction will love it. However, the film deals with race relations, class differences, and the perils of capitalism better than almost anything I’ve ever seen. If you’re confused, you should be. And you should see this movie.
This movie takes place only on screens – laptops, phones, etc. – and follows a man searching for his missing daughter. In addition to the inventive cinematography, the family is East Asian with the father played by the underrated John Cho and no issues arise because of the family’s race. They are simply people with a problem any family could relate to, and it only makes it all more exciting to see Asian-Americans in such a compelling story full of twists and turns.
I can’t talk about this movie without addressing the horrifying remarks from Liam Neeson last month. That being said, I encourage you to not let his comments deter you from seeing this film. It’s a popcorn thriller starring great Black actors like Viola Davis, Brian Tyree Henry, Cynthia Erivo and Daniel Kaluuya to name a few, directed by British Black director Steve McQueen. This is such a fun movie to watch, and if you’re not convinced yet, the screenplay was written by writer of Gone Girl Gillian Flynn, so you know this is going to be an intense film.
Support the Girls
The premise of a group of women working at a sports bar in the vein of Hooters might sound like the recipe for a casually misogynistic comedy, but this movie shows us the women’s stories through their own eyes. That aspect itself makes the movie quietly revolutionary as it explores what it means to live in a cisgender male world, everyday America. Plus, the cast is lead by Regina Hall in a fantastic performance.
These are only a handful of the great films of 2018. And the historic wins at the Oscars shouldn’t be taken lightly — progress is happening. Giving voices to underrepresented groups only gives way to more creativity in the medium of film. It feels like a cliche, but diversity truly is the greatest strength our country has.