Best sleeper films of last year


Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Oscars® backstage during the live ABC Telecast of The 89th Oscars® at the Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 26, 2017.

Alex Gonzales, Staff Editor

After this last year’s Oscars concluded, awards were ceremoniously awarded to the most deserving movies of 2018, along with some questionable picks.

Every year, these choices are accompanied by controversy and often upset film enthusiasts everywhere.

While we can all agree that all the movies picked by the Academy are often amazing, enjoyable films, there are just some movies that are completely overlooked despite their artistic merit. So whether you are just getting into film or are a long-time, film enthusiast here’s a list of films that were Oscar worthy if not Oscar winners.

1. Eighth Grade








Eighth Grade is a film about thirteen-year-old Kayla who is trying to make it through the last disastrous week of middle school.

This amazing movie truly speaks to the coming of age genre by realistically defining the hurdles of this difficult, once-in-a-lifetime transition, yet, director Bo Burnham represents the moment with ease.

The writing accurately portrays the pressures of growing up as a young adolescent in the modern era so well that even actress Molly Ringwald tweeted that Eighth Grade is, “the best movie about adolescence I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe ever.”  Those words carry some weight coming from one of the most iconic actresses who starred in the series 1980’s movies from director John Hughes that would define teen films for decades to come.

The film itself was recognized for numerous awards including a nomination at the Golden Globes. It’s hard to understand how the Academy missed out on such a great movie.

2.) Beautiful Boy








A beautiful movie indeed, Beautiful Boy touches on the very important topic of drug use in a visceral, intimate, often exhausting way by telling the story of a real-life drug addict, Nicholas Sheff, played by actor Timothee Chalamet.

Viewers follow Nick’s father David Sheff, played by Steve Carell, who is desperately trying to understand his son’s addiction and help him transform from a destructive, drug-addict into the loving child he once knew. As the movie progresses you see the hurt and hardships that not only an addict but their entire family goes through. Director Felix Van Groeningen presents this movie in such a genuine and raw way that you feel as if you share personal history with Nick and his father. You feel for him and hurt for his family.

This movie was nominated for six different awards including a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor by Timothee Chalamet.

3.) Boy Erased








This is another true story based on the memoir by a small town teen, Jared Eamons, who is outed to his religious mother and pastor father as being gay. With the fear of losing friends, family, and their community, Jared’s parents strongly pressure him into attending a conversion therapy program. Here, Jared strongly questions his religion and his “superiors” around him and begins his own journey to accepting himself and gradually gains his own voice.

This is a slow burning film but yet, that’s what truly brings out the grueling reality of this story. Actor Joel Edgerton is amazing, and narrative, which jumps between past to present allows the audience is allowed to piece together how all of the events unfolded. The feel of the film is intimate and powerful; it’s like someone is telling their most painful story to you, and as you progress further, they begin to trust you and become more honest about what they reveal. The narrative withholds, then gradually reveals what Jared is afraid to say, giving the viewer the experience of how difficult it is to hide who you really are and move forward.

It’s the importance of showing not telling that makes a great movie and this is exactly what Boy erased does. The film was also nominated for 11 different awards for its stellar cast of actors and actresses.

4.) Mid90s









With his directorial debut, Jonah Hill gives us a story set in the 90’s about a thirteen-year-old boy Stevie, played by Sunny Suljic, doing what should be easy – getting through his summer vacation. Yet, in the effort to escape a troubled life at home, Stevie gravitates to a group of older teenagers at a skate shop who draw him into some even more questionable situations than he was faced with before.

For being Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, this movie is phenomenal. The movie doesn’t even feel like a movie after a while. Eventually, it just becomes a camera following a group of real teens, all living their own difficult lives. While some teens may not find that this story resonates with them specifically, it is a story that truly portrays issues or choices most teens will confront at some point in their everyday lives.

While Mid90s has only been nominated for two awards, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards for Best Young Performer and Independent Spirit Award for Best Editing, it is definitely an underappreciated movie that deserves more recognition than it received.