List

2018 Staff Picks: Movies and TV

By Skokie Staff Bibliocommons Adult Services

Our expert staff take a look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • A Kid Like Jake

    2018

    This beautiful drama is about two parents attempting to navigate the high stakes world of elite Manhattan preschools, and the pressures they feel to label their child gender non-conforming in order to get him into the school of their choice. I'd say this movie is for anyone who cares about trans, gender-fluid, or gender-non-conforming children, but it's also for all parents pained by the many ways our society and our own attitudes pressure children to conform, hurting them in the process. Recommended by Jarrett.

    Get this item
  • Annihilation

    2018

    This movie is based on the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, and shares the name of the first book in the series. Annihilation is a deep, if somewhat abstract, dive into human nature, biology, and identity. Although I believe the book was more interesting, I felt Natalie Portman did a stellar job portraying the lead character. It's a thriller reminiscent of the Lost series, in both good and bad ways. Recommended by Miguel.

    Get this item
  • Eighth Grade

    2018

    One of those movies that doesn't create headlines like the big blockbusters but is great! Very heartwarming and revealing. Recommended by Mary.

    Get this item
  • Crazy Ex-girlfriend: The Complete Third Season

    2018

    Very few shows on television realistically portray what it is like to live with a mental illness. With catchy songs, humor, and charismatic actors, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's third season does just that. Rebecca's struggles with her mental illness, and her joy at finally having the correct diagnosis, make her my favorite character on television. Recommended by Lynnanne.

    Get this item
  • Crazy Rich Asians (DVD)

    2018

    This is the movie that I will always be in the mood to watch. It's sounds like a cliché, but I laughed, I cried, I'm going to buy the movie so I can watch it anytime I want. It's not cheesy, but it is smart. Plus it's opulent eye candy. And I didn't even read the book (don't tell my boss). Recommended by Allyson.

    Get this item
  • Deadpool 2

    2018

    Yes, one of my year's favorites! As a non-comic book movie person, the Deadpool movies are perfectly sarcastic, sardonic, and wonderfully, beautifully hilarious. I found this sequel even stronger than the original. Recommended by Cecilia.

    Get this item
  • The Durrells in Corfu: The Complete Third Season

    2018

    Season two has finally arrived and the cast is strong, the storyline as complicated as ever, and the characters as quirky and delightful as you'd want—only another year has gone by. No matter what your mood when you sit down to watch this, I guarantee that the sunny, gorgeous location of Corfu, with this very eccentric family, will warm your spirits and delight your senses. A British family in the throngs of change and growth in a location that they are really starting to appreciate. Recommended by Mary.

    Get this item
  • Black Panther

    2018

    I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That being said, I was starting to have trouble telling some of the movies apart. That's why I was so glad to see Black Panther. Aside from being a great movie, Black Panther, along with Thor: Ragnarok (2017), avoids the formulaic aspects of Marvel films. This is the first Marvel movie that really stands out for me. Plus it has a soundtrack that I've been listening to over and over.

    Recommended by Lynnanne, Allyson, and Katy.

    Get this item
  • First Reformed

    2018

    Ethan Hawke outdoes himself in this film where he plays a pastor at a sparsely attended old church who questions whether God will forgive humanity for destroying the earth. There are scenes of great depth that invaded my dreams for days and it is acted with raw honesty. It all hurtles towards a moment of great violence that can only be rescued and avoided by love. Recommended by Jarrett.

    Get this item
  • The Heart Guy: Series 2

    2018

    Charming, witty, well plotted, well-acted, with a setting in rural Australia. Funny, tragic, heart-warming and thoroughly enjoyable. Recommended by Mary.

    Get this item
  • Juliet, Naked

    2018

    This movie is a rare thing—a smart, tender, and funny comedy/romance. It is based on a Nick Hornby novel. Chris O’Dowd is Duncan, an immature and obsessed fan of a singer that has withdrawn from public life for many years. Duncan’s obsession reveals how extended adolescence can stunt a fully lived life. Duncan’s neglected girlfriend, Annie, connects with the singer through a stinging review of a recently found lost track. They forge a tenuous relationship which forces everyone involved to reconsider their lives. Recommended by Terry.

    Get this item
  • Keep the Change

    2018

    This funny, sweet, and unique movie pulled me right in. David and Sarah, both played by nonprofessional actors, meet in a support group for adults with disabilities. David is tightly-wound and given to inappropriate jokes. Sarah is effervescent and unabashed, and challenges David in ways he's always avoided. This is Israel's feature debut. I look forward to seeing her future work! Recommended by Lukie.

    Get this item
  • Leave No Trace

    2018

    This focuses on a father and daughter living on the fringes of society; their fierce bond and love for one another; and how each copes with a change neither was looking for nor wanted. I find this premise fascinating and revealing. Factor in knockout performances from the two lead actors, superb direction, and gorgeous cinematography; here is one the best reasons to support filmmaking. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • Love, Simon

    2018

    A poignant high school love story set in one of the wealthiest suburbs I've seen on film. It doesn't matter because the story of a caring family and great friends never gets old. Best family movie since Christmas Vacation. Based on the excellent book, Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Recommended by Mike and Katy.

    Get this item
  • The Miracle Season

    2018

    I played volleyball in high school and I grew up in the Midwest so I was particularly interested in seeing this take on the Iowa City West High School volleyball team that won the state title two years in a row after losing their star player in a moped accident. The film is based on actual historical facts. Watch through the end credits to see photos of the team, coach, family, and community as they came together during a time of great loss. What is spectacular about this movie is the acting and sensitive and nuanced portrayal of how the team survived, grew, and triumphed over an extremely tragic death in a family besieged with painful situations. Very inspiring and moving. Recommended by Mary.

    Get this item
  • Paddington 2

    2018

    Hugh Grant steals the show as Paddington's nemesis and foil. Tons of fun with some great humor adults will appreciate. Recommended by Cecilia.

    Get this item
  • Searching (DVD)

    2018

    A mystery/thriller, from first-time director Aneesh Chaganty, showing a father’s search for his missing 16-year-old daughter and delving into her online history. The viewer sees everything through a laptop and various electronic devices. This is so original in its execution, my eyes stayed glued to the screen. Recommended by Sharon

    Get this item
  • The Americans: The Complete Final Season

    2018

    What an ending to an incredible series. Twists! Turns! Incredible wigs! 1980's music! It's been hard finding a series to fill the void left behind. Fun fact: This is the first TV series that my dad (who usually doesn't get invested in TV shows) ever binge-watched. It's that good! Recommended by Allyson.

    Get this item
  • The Good Place: The Complete Second Season

    2018

    The best show on television got even better with the second season. I love the mix of snarky humor, philosophical debates, and how unafraid the show is to constantly change their story arcs. At its heart is the question that we all wrestle with: What makes a good person and what makes us human? Recommended by Lynnanne.

    Get this item
  • The Insult

    2018

    Prejudice, resentment, and ego propel two men, a right-wing Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee, to criminal court where, as it turns out, to add fuel to the fire, the opposing lawyers are a father and daughter. This is a riveting and timely story, difficult to watch at moments, but that culminates with the men achieving a semblance of understanding and equality. Co-written by the director, himself a Christian, and Touma, a Muslim woman. Recommended by Lukie.

    Get this item
  • The Rider

    2018

    Based on a true story, filmed on the Pine Ridge Reservation, using non-professional actors playing characters close to themselves, this story explores what happens when a Lakota cowboy suffers a traumatic head injury that completely derails his life. Brady Landreau delivers a breakout performance, while filmmaker Chloe Zhao keeps everything beautiful and pure. Unique and universal at once, here is storytelling at its cinematic best that reminds me why I love movies. Recommended by Sharon.

    Get this item
  • The Shape of Water

    2018

    A sweet, innocent, yet highly unconventional love story that made my heart sing with passion. The premise might seem unbelievable, but del Toro's direction and Sally Hawkins' acting inspire that anything is possible! Recommended by Cecilia.

    Get this item
  • The Tunnel: Vengeance, The Complete Third Season

    2018

    Astounding conclusion to the series. Fantastic acting and intricate plotline. Recommended by Mary.

    Get this item
  • Truman

    2017

    Julian has decided to end treatment for his terminal cancer when he receives a surprise visit from an old friend, Tomas. Bittersweet and occasionally quarrelsome in mood, the two very different men navigate the awkwardness of their friendship, the lurking end of life, and search for a new home for Julian's beloved dog, Truman. Sensitive but not sentimental, I think men will like this movie as much as women. Recommended by Lukie.

    Get this item
  • Upgrade

    2018

    A hidden gem of 2018 sci-fi, Upgrade delves into the not-so-distant future where human-computer augmentation is as real as our smart watches. With impressive action sequences and a peppering of dark humor, the film left me thinking of ramifications of artificial intelligence in our increasingly digital world, long after the credits had rolled. Recommended by Miguel.

    Get this item
  • Sorry to Bother You

    2018

    I don't know how to begin describing this movie; perhaps equal parts Get Out and Dear White People with a hint of Office Space. The absurdist dark comedic approach to race relations had me scratching my head and laughing simultaneously. Recommended by Miguel.

    Get this item
  • Isle of Dogs

    2018

    An animated science-fiction comedy drama that tugged on my heart-strings and made me hop on to petfinder.com immediately afterwards. It's funny, touching, endearing, and presents the high-quality, symmetric, and quirky cinema you'd expect from Wes Anderson. Recommended by Miguel.

    Get this item
  • Hotel Artemis

    2018

    Although not as refined cinematically or thematically, I feel this film could fit right into the John Wick Cinematic Universe. And yes, I just made that up; one can hope. Set in a post-apocalyptic L.A. the film does a respectable job of creating a lawless-criminal laden vibe, with an engaging mix of comedy, action, and Jeff Goldblum. It pulled on my sci-fi inclinations, and although it won't be winning any awards come February, it's a nice popcorn flick for us sci-fi fans. Recommended by Miguel.

    Get this item
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?

    2018

    I'm not crying, you're crying! This is the Mr. Rogers documentary my inner child was hoping for. Spanning the birth of Mr. Rogers as we know him, as well as the inner workings of Fred himself, this documentary excellently outlines the values and mission of a man who truly wanted to help make the world a better place. Recommended by Miguel.

    Get this item