The 50 Greatest Movie Moments Of 2018

In the cold doldrums of January, with the multiplexes still mostly dormant, there's only one thing for movie fans to do: look back at the previous year. And that's what the /Film staff spent much of the past week doing as we assembled to create a list of the 50 greatest movie moments of 2018. First, we debated and argued and fought for which movie moments belonged on the list (all recorded in podcast form for your listening pleasure) and then we voted on the order.

The result? A list of 50 scenes, sequences, lines of dialogue, and shots that reflect what moved us, thrilled us, chilled us and gave us life in 2018.

Two notes. First of all, this list is full of spoilers. If you see a title for a movie you haven't seen, please feel free to skim right on past it. Second, before you bother to ask "Hey, where is [insert moment not on the list]?", note that we recorded three hours of debate (linked above) that explains why every single item on this list is here and why so many others were left out. That'll probably answer your question.

50. The War on Cybertron - Bumblebee

We've seen Cybertron in the Michael Bay Transformers movies, but it wasn't my Cybertron. As much as I loved the groundbreaking visual effects animation that brought Optimus Prime and the Autobots to life in his original film, it wasn't the Transformers that I grew up with. The opening minutes of Travis Knight's Bumblebee take us to the now mythical war on Cybertron and present us with Transformers designs closer to the look of the generation one series that I and many others grew up with. Seeing these distinctive figures on the big screen brought me happiness I didn't know I was even looking for. And starting this story off with a bang showed that Knight had the right cinematic chops from his animation empire at Laika to take the reins from Bay before course correcting the franchise in a more character-centric direction. (Peter Sciretta)

49. Eddie Brock Gets in the Lobster Tank - Venom

Venom is terrible. The direction is pedestrian, the script is laughably bad, and the plot feels borrowed from the late 1990s. But there's one thing the movie has going for it: Tom Hardy. Hardy's performance as Eddie Brock/Venom is bonkers, and watching him run wild makes the movie worth seeing. The best representation of Hardy's gonzo performance comes midway through the movie. Eddie, infected/possessed with an alien ooze known as a symbiote, storms into a fancy restaurant where his ex-fiance Anne (Michelle Williams) is dining with her new beau (Reid Scott). Eddie is desperately trying to explain things to Anne, but he's so frazzled due to his symbiote issue that he acts like a madman. He stutters, stammers behaves like someone having a bad acid trip. In the midst of all this, Eddie proclaims he's very hot, and proceeds to climb into a lobster tank to cool down. This is hilarious on its own, but it becomes even funnier when you learn that Hardy actually improvised this entire idea. "That was something that we hadn't planned," Venom director Ruben Fleischer said. "We went to rehearse the scene at the set, and the production designer had planned for a giant lobster tank in the middle of the restaurant. And Tom goes, 'Well, I must get in that [if] there's going to be a giant lobster tank. Of course I'm going to go in it!'"  (Chris Evangelista)

48. The Brother Fucker - A Simple Favor

"Everybody has a dark side. Some of us are better hiding it than others." So says Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick), while drunkenly chatting with her new friend Emily (Blake Lively). In A Simple Favor, Emily is vulgar and uninhibited – the complete opposite of the friendly, awkward, somewhat mousy Stephanie. While conversing over martinis, Emily not-so-politely points out how plain and boring Stephanie is, to which Stephanie replies that she, too, has had her wild moments. Not letting the moment slip away, Emily dares Stephanie to tell her the wildest thing she's ever done. And that's when things get surprisingly dark. Paul Feig's twisted comedy isn't afraid to go to dark places, but Stephanie's confession is a kind of tipping point – the moment when the movie starts to shift into more disturbing territory. Stephanie tells a story about how she met her long-lost brother. Her father died while she was a senior in high school, and a strange, handsome boy showed up to the funeral. That boy just happened to be her half-brother – the product of an affair her father had. As the story continues, Stephanie reveals that she and her half-brother ended up kissing when they were alone together. "It's so gross," Stephanie slurs, insisting again that they only kissed. And yet as she's talking, Feig cuts to a flashback that shows the siblings went well beyond kissing, climbing into bed together. Emily sees through the rouse, and proceeds to call Stephanie a "Brother Fucker." The scene is both weirdly twisted and laugh-out-loud hilarious – the combination of Kendrick's boozy performance, mixed with Feig's cutting to the past, and Lively's unmitigated joy at hearing the story, all combine to form one of the most memorable movie moments of 2018. (Chris Evangelista)

47. Atlanna’s One-Take Fight - Aquaman

2018 was filled with a lot of cool one shot action sequences. Even the comedy film Game Night had one. However, the most impressive "one-shot" action scene of the year comes from director James Wan, and most people might not even believe it was accomplished in one take. The action sequence happens in the first act of Aquaman, as Nicole Kidman's Atlanna has washed ashore on our world and given birth to Arthur. Atlantian soldiers arrive to reclaim her and the action sequence is one of the coolest, slickest scenes of the year and one of the most badass female fight scenes of all time. (Peter Sciretta)

46. The Live-Aid Concert - Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody has been heavily-criticized by film critics for leaning too heavily on the established tried and true musical biopic. And while it's predictable and lacks a fresh take, audiences have mostly loved the Freddie Mercury biopic. The most interesting moment comes in the third act of this film, as Freddie has learned that his life is coming to an end and begs his former bandmates to reunite for one of the biggest concerts in history. We know what happens as we've probably all seen the footage from that Live Aid performance, but I don't think anyone expected it to be presented the way it was in the film. Usually musical biopics are a clip show of the best moments, and in this finale, the best moment was the whole concert, recreated and dramatized in a way that's only fitting for the big screen. It would have been easy to play it out on one hit song and freeze frame or dissolve to black, but the choice to show the multi-song performance in its entirety was exciting. (Peter Sciretta)

45. Susie Dances and a Woman Dies - Suspiria

Luca Guadagnino's spartan direction is what makes the film's first burst of brutality so shocking. During Susie's (Dakota Johnson) first rehearsal with the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Co., she unknowingly becomes the bearer of a spell that inflicts violent physical torture on Olga, a student of the dance academy attempting to leave in protest of their treatment of a missing student. As Susie's dance routine becomes increasingly aggressive, Olga gets thrown around the empty mirrored studio that she's trapped in, her bones crunching and her organs rupturing — her own body attacking her as she helplessly resists. It's a grotesque display of body horror that is made all the more stark by the pristine studio in which the crime takes place, and the euphoria with which Susie performs this unnerving dance. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

44. Elizabeth Debicki Buys a Gun and Eats a Hot Dog - Widows

Steve McQueen's Widows is one of the most underrated movies of 2018, and features one of the most-overlooked performances. In a mighty impressive cast, Elizabeth Debicki is the true standout (and I'm not just saying that because she physically towers over every other member of the cast). Debicki is one of the eponymous widows, who band together to pull of a heist after their thieving husbands are killed. Debicki's character, Alice, starts out as one of the least self-assertive members of the crew – her husband was abusive to her, and her only real family member left – her mother – is abusive as well. She's spent a life being walked all over. But when she get recruited to pull off the heist, she begins to take control of herself. The first sign of her emerging confidence comes when Alice has to go score some guns for the job. She travels to a gun show, and rather than purchase the guns herself, she picks a woman out of the crowd, approaches her, and spins a story about being a mail order bride afraid of her husband. The woman seems suspicious at first, then relents, buying Alice the guns. Here, McQueen cuts to a shot outside the gun show, where we see Alice strutting away, guns in tow, taking a big, satisfying bite of a hot dog. It's funny and wildly rewarding. Debicki manages to make Alice the most likable and rounded member of the gang, and watching her grow more and more confident is part of what makes Widows so entertaining.   (Chris Evangelista)

43. The Car Scene - Eighth Grade

This was one of the most uncomfortable movie moments of 2018. Bo Burnham's coming of age film perfectly captures the extreme awkwardness of middle school, a universal experience that often leaves you on the edge of your seat, like a good horror film, wanting to scream advice at the character on screen. In this moment, Kayla (played by breakout star Elsie Fisher) finds herself alone with an older high school boy in the backseat of his car. But the fact that you can't scream advice to her (that would be rude, in a movie theater, please don't)makes it all that more worse. She doesn't have the hindsight to know what we do. She has no idea how much worse this scene could have been, what kind of terrible long-lasting effect it could left on her. We know, and that's why it's so very effective. (Peter Sciretta)

42. Cassius Discovers Steve Lift’s True Plan - Sorry to Bother You

Sorry to Bother You is an unconventional movie to say the least, but all of its early quirks and eccentricities – the "white voice," dropping in on people during phone calls, etc. – pale in comparison to what lead character Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers in the bowels of billionaire businessman Steve Lift (Armie Hammer)'s mansion. I won't spoil the twist in case you still haven't seen the film, but when that curtain is pulled back and Cassius learns what's really going on at WorryFree, it's the biggest shock moment of the film and a heightened warning from first-time writer/director Boots Riley. (Ben Pearson)

41. Burning the Swimsuit (If Someone Loves You) - Shoplifters

In a film overflowing with empathy, it's hard to pinpoint one scene in Shoplifters that stands above the rest. But the scene that captures Hirokazu Kore-eda's profound affirmation of the enduring power of love is when the film's pseudo-family, upon learning that their latest adoptee Yuri (Miyu Sasaki) was regularly hit by her parents who bought her clothes as penance, symbolically burn a shoplifted swimsuit in their backyard. "This is what someone does when they love you," the family's "mother" Nobuyo (Sakura Ando) says, tears welling up as she wraps Yuri in a tight embrace as if to shield her from the cruelty of the world that they all have had to endure. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

40. The Kitchen Fight - Upgrade

Here's a thought experiment for you: what if Venom was good? Because Leigh Whannell's Upgrade does everything Venom does, but better, on a tiny budget, and maybe even while wearing heels (no judging here). About a third of the way through the film, Logan Marshall-Green's character sets out to track down the men who killed his wife and left him in a wheelchair, using an advanced A.I. implanted in his spine to allow him to walk again. When he corners a bad guy in a nasty kitchen, that A.I. volunteers to take control of his entire body to win the fight. Cue a brutal, nasty and hilarious action scene where a man's body decimates his opponent in increasingly shocking ways while his face remains shocked, dismayed, and even apologetic toward the carnage his limbs are causing. It's the perfect blend of black comedy and ultra-violent action. (Jacob Hall)

39. The Sunset Dance Scene - Burning

Midway through Lee Chang-dong's epic drama/thriller Burning, the three main characters have an unexpected gathering. There's lonely Jongsu (Ah-in Yoo), and then there's Haemi (Jong-seo Jun), the girl he loves. But Haemi is with the handsome, mysterious Ben (Steven Yeun). The characters are together at Jongsu's rundown family farm, sitting outside, sharing wine and pot as the sun goes down. The sound of Miles Davis performing Générique drifts out from Ben's car, and suddenly, Haemi rises. She doffs her shirt, and slowly twirls about, topless in the quickening darkness. The two men watch – Ben, amused; Jongsu, puzzled. This woman is, in many ways, an object to both of them. Jongsu may think he loves Haemi, but she has no real agency in his mind. She's a conquest. And as for Ben, well...he has other, more disturbing plans. And the night comes on, to the point where all we can see of Haemi is a silhouette. A faceless, featureless black shape, moving slowly out of the blue and into the black.  (Chris Evangelista)

38. Star-Lord Meets the Avengers - Avengers: Infinity War

Yes, one of the big draws of Avengers: Infinity War is how characters from every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are coming together to face the life-threatening villain Thanos. But perhaps the best meeting of superheroes comes when Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and some of his fellow Guardians of the Galaxy meet Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) for the first time. It's a great but quick action scene, but it's also a hilarious clash of egos and personalities with some always funny one-liners from Peter Quill. It's even better than when the Guardians of the Galaxy met Thor earlier in the movie. (Ethan Anderton)

37. The Most Powerful Cut - Minding the Gap

Director Bing Liu's Minding the Gap may appear to be a documentary about skateboarding, but it's actually a quiet, heartbreaking exploration of the effects of domestic violence. The moment we're highlighting concerns a speech from one of Bing's friends Zack, a guy who has a history of fighting with his girlfriend. During a moment of reflection, it seems as if Zack is making a self-aware breakthrough...but his progress comes crashing down when he ends with the phrase "bitches need to get slapped sometimes, you know?" The film then cuts to Bing interviewing his own mother, herself a survivor of domestic violence, and the power in that cut – the film drawing a straight line from Zack's justification to the lasting trauma of a victim – struck me as one of the most powerful cuts in any movie of 2018. (Ben Pearson) 

36. Mr. Rogers’ Testimony - Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Even though this is a moment that was famous long before this documentary came together, it's a touching, powerful moment that shows us the power of words, even in the face of insurmountable odds and adversity. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood host Fred Rogers provides a moving testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee in 1969 to stop the funding for public television and shows like his from having their budget cut in half. Somehow he convinces Senator John O. Pastore to let them keep their budget, and the rest is history. (Ethan Anderton)Note: The above clip is the full testimony from Fred Rogers rather than the edited clip from the documentary itself.

35. The Death of X-Force - Deadpool 2

Easily one of the most surprising and shocking moments of 2018, Deadpool 2 pulled the rug out from everyone with this hilarious gag. After marketing the hell out of the arrival of X-Force in the sequel, the movie suddenly and gruesomely dispatches with nearly every single member of the mutant team by killing them one-by-one. It's unexpected, laugh-out-loud funny, and it's true to the spirit of the Merc with a Mouth's irreverent comedy. (Ethan Anderton)

34. The Fake-out Ending - Vice

There are plenty of moments of great satire throughout the eviscerating biopic that is Vice. But easily the funniest moment is when the movie gives us a fake-out ending that wraps the story up where we wished Dick Cheney's time in government truly came to an end. After Bill Clinton is voted into office, Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) steps away from politics and becomes the CEO of Halliburton while his wife Lynne (Amy Adams) raises golden retrievers and writes books. It paints a happy ending where Cheney stays out of politics for the rest of his life, complete with epilogue text wrapping up their story. And then the credits start to roll. But suddenly they get interrupted by a phone ringing, the phone call that invites him to become George W. Bush's running mate in 2000. It's a brilliant moment of satire that brings a hearty chuckle. (Ethan Anderton)

33. The Birth Sequence - A Quiet Place

Giving birth in a world in which a single sound could be your doom is both idiotic and defiant. Doing so with a sound-hunting alien lurking only feet away could, in the wrong hands, seem just plain silly. Thankfully, this climactic scene in A Quiet Place is played completely straight by the always-amazing Emily Blunt, whose face of tortured pain and intense resolve completely sells the reality of the moment, reeling us in after the whole movie has led to this precarious scenario. It's one of the most tense sequences in the movie, and the image of Blunt in that bathtub, hands covering her mouth, is so strong that it was used as the centerpiece of all of the film's marketing. (Ben Pearson)

32. Vanellope Meets the Disney Princesses - Ralph Breaks the Internet

Princess Vanellope from the arcade game Sugar Rush walks into a room filled with all of the Disney Princesses... This sounds like the beginning of some joke, but somehow it's a scene in the Wreck-It Ralph sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet. I think most people would agree that it is the highlight of the entire movie, allowing Disney to make fun of themselves, their characters, worlds and stories in the context of a meta internet movie. Perhaps some people would say it's the only great thing in this otherwise fine sequel and I would argue that it is among the most hilarious scenes of this year. Sure, it's branding and self referential, but it's also subversive and makes some jokes that you wouldn't expect Disney Animation to endorse. And as a Disney fanatic, the fact that they got all of the original voice actors to reprise their roles makes it all the more special. I personally would love to see Disney find a way to expand this sequence into a movie, an epic Avengers-style crossover of the Disney fairytale movies. (Peter Sciretta)

31. The Apartment Fight - The Night Comes For Us

Here it is: the most violent action scene ever made. Timo Tjahjanto's action opus has not a care in the world for humanity and every action scene is rife with severed limbs, impaled heads, exploded torsos, and spilled guts. It's straight-up horror violence applied to an action movie where each scene is so elaborately choreographed that it's difficult to see how everyone on screen isn't actually killing one another. However, the best scene arrives relatively early when a literal army of machete-wielding thugs raid an apartment to kill a little girl who witnessed a massacre, with a handful of protectors using the front entrance as a bottleneck to keep them at bay. Imagine all the ways people have died in an action movie...and then try to imagine a dozen more that you've never seen before, because Tjahjanto's bloodthirsty filmmaking invents new ways to tear human beings asunder. It's gripping, terrifying, sickening, and unlike any action scene you have ever seen. (Jacob Hall)

30. The Mahjong Game - Crazy Rich Asians

It's amazing that the best scene of Crazy Rich Asians wasn't even in Kevin Kwan's book. But as wisely added by director Jon M. Chu the scene encapsulates the tense divide between Asians and Asian Americans that Crazy Rich Asians had elegantly depicted. Rachel (Constance Wu) and Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) play a game of mahjong over Nick, but the ends up not being about getting the guy. Instead, it's about Rachel coming to terms with her cultural identity as an Asian-American woman — one that Eleanor had spent the entirety of the film dismissing as inferior. But when Rachel shows her hand — that Nick had proposed to her — and intentionally loses the game, she walks away with the assurance that she, "a poor, raised-by-a-single-mother, low class, immigrant nobody," didn't need to prove her worth to Eleanor or anyone else. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

29. Jack Hock’s Final Request - Can You Ever Forgive Me?

At the end of Can You Ever Forgive Me?, author Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) decides to write a book about her misadventures in forging letters of famous authors for loads of cash. Throughout the film, her only real friend has been Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant), but the two have had a big falling out due to two different events – Lee's cat dies while Jack is supposed to be watching it, and Jack later flips and rats Lee out when he gets caught helping her with her scheme. But now, time has passed, and the two meet in the same bar they've frequented many times. The minute Jack enters, it's clear he's not well. He is, in fact, dying of AIDS. The conversation between the two is understandably tense, but little by little, the old friends come around to one another again. Lee asks Jack's permission to include him in her book – an idea Jack seems resistant about at first. But eventually, he relents, on one condition. "Can you make me 29, with perfect skin?" he asks "And don't make me sound stupid." On paper, this line could be played for laughs. A deliberately funny, over-the-top delivery would tip it into comedy territory. But Richard E. Grant, who is a force to be reckoned with in the movie, does something different. He delivers the line with heartbreaking, almost pathetic earnestness. His voice cracks, and we hear the sadness within. He knows that by the time Lee's book is ready, he'll be dead – and he doesn't want to be immortalized as a buffoon; as comic relief; as old, and unwell. He wants to be forever young. And who can blame him?   (Chris Evangelista)

28. The Underwater Suicide Attempt - You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here is an astonishingly subdued film for its story about a hitman who targets pedophiles that traffic young girls. It favors lingering shots of a bloodbath's aftermath and intense close-ups of Joaquin Phoenix's face over style — except in the late-act underwater suicide attempt that sees Phoenix's Joe undergoing a figurative resurrection. Joe's weary, dejected dive into the water as he attempts to join his dead mother is spectacularly haunting, but even more so when he sees a vision of Nina, the young girl who he failed to save in the face of a city-wide conspiracy. Here, like in the rest of the film, You Were Never Really Here never hand-holds you in depicting Joe's revelation that his salvation is not in death but in compassion. He simply swims to the surface and you are left to read the tumult of emotions on Joe's face, and bathe in the elegant beauty of director Lynne Ramsay's lyrical visuals. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

27. The Dance Party - The Favourite

The Favourite walks a razor-thin line between satire and historical drama, and it's never clearer than in its ridiculous dance scene. During a ball thrown in Queen Anne's (Olivia Colman) honor, she watches on with irritation as her close friend and bully, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), performs what can only be described as a breakdancing duet with Baron Samuel Masham (Joe Alwyn). The two engage in an energetic dance while remaining completely stone-faced, Samuel laying down some inarguably modern b-boy moves while clad in a wig and breeches. It's a hysterical scene that both subverts our expectations of those ritzy dance scenes that populate every period piece, while fitting in perfectly with the film's distorted funhouse vision of history. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

26. The Ending - First Reformed

Several films from 2018 reflected the terrifying, cataclysmic point we now find ourselves in as a society, but none were quite as effective as Paul Schrader's First Reformed. Ethan Hawke is magnificent as a reverend in the midst of a existential, and spiritual, crisis. The crisis only deepens when he inherits a suicide vest from one of his dead parishioners. Throughout the film, Schrader keeps teasing a big event – an anniversary service for the reverend's historic church. As he grows more and more disillusioned and angry, we begin to connect the dots: that suicide vest is just waiting to be used... And then Schrader throws us a curveball. Hawke straps the vest on in his apartment, and is about to head into the ceremony, poised to explode. But before he can get there, he spots the widow (Amanda Seyfried) of the man who made the vest. Hawke's character has fallen in love with her – although he never actually says so, and Schrader keeps things strictly platonic for almost the entire movie. Unable to kill Seyfried's character with the other parishioners, Hawke has a breakdown, wraps his body in barbed wire, and proceeds to pour himself a tall glass of Drano. And then what happens next? Well, on screen, we suddenly see Seyfried's character in the doorway of the apartment, right before Hawke can drink the poisonous liquid. The two characters rush towards each other and kiss passionately as Schrader's camera swirls around them. But is any of this real? Or is this one final fantasy of a dying man? It's up to you to decide. Schrader makes a big deal of illustrating that the door to Hawke's apartment is locked – someone else tries to open it at one point, with no luck. And yet, Seyfried's character gains entrance. "I've planned it both ways. When we tested it, I would ask people, 'Is he alive, or is he dead? 'Cause I wanted to keep it at 50/50," the director said. "So we slightly changed the edit. I took out the action where she steps into the room. When you see her step in the room, it makes you think that she actually is there. But when she's just there, she may be a vision." But what does it all mean? It's a haunting, mind-blowing ending that burns itself into your brain, the images staying there long after Schrader has cut to black.   (Chris Evangelista)

25. Rain on the Roof Song - Paddington 2

There's an unreserved joy in watching Hugh Grant's vanity-free performance in Paddington 2: he dons a dog suit, a nun outfit, he dresses in drag all in the service of a role that could be easily written off as a cartoonish villain. But it all pales in comparison to the final end-credits scene where he performs an elaborate musical number in a pink, bedazzled prison uniform. Accompanied by his exuberant fellow prisoners (all of whom have undergone an attitude change after meeting Paddington) Grant's self-involved Pat Buchanan finally gets the applause he was craving — all he needed was a "captive audience." It's an endlessly joyful, eye-popping scene that takes you by surprise and solidifies Paddington 2 as the happiest movie of 2018. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

24. The Cheddar Goblin and the Bathroom Breakdown - Mandy

Midway through Panos Cosmatos' heavy metal-flavored revenge odyssey, Nicolas Cage's Red sees a surreal commercial featuring a macaroni and cheese-puking goblin. And then he goes into the bathroom and has an uncomfortably long emotional breakdown, performed in a heightened, strange, and truly shattering manner that only an actor as left field as Cage could make possible. It's the moment where the film's entire dynamic changes, the hinge upon which the dreamy first half becomes a fantastical nightmare. All of the demonic bikers and chainsaw fights of the second half only work because of this bizarre pair of scenes, which prepare us for what's to come. (In fact, I found these scenes so important to the film, so affecting, that I have already written at length about them.) (Jacob Hall)

23. The Final Five Minutes - BlacKkKlansman

There's a lot that should piss you off about the story at the center of BlacKkKlansman, mostly because of the unbridled racism on display from the white supremacists being targeted by black undercover cop Ron Stallworth (John David Washington). But nothing is more infuriating than the final five minutes, when the actions of the Ku Klux Klan from the 1970s are echoed in present day by way of real world news footage from the riots in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump's refusal to outright condemn such hate. Even Martin Scorsese said this ending "transcends the medium" of film, and for that, it's truly iconic. (Ethan Anderton)

22. The Stan Lee Cameo - Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Normally a cameo would be too minuscule to make it onto a list of our favorite movie moments of the year, but this one is kind of special. We've seen a few dozen cameos from Stan Lee over the years, but this one (unless you count his appearance in Mallrats as a cameo) is his most perfect of all. Sure, it takes on extra meaning and emotion as he recently passed away, but this moment perfectly captures not only the "anyone can wear the mask" theme of the film ("It always fits, eventually") but also the oldtimey huckster side of Stan the Man that we loved. He will be missed and this cameo (andthe  movie) is the most fitting tribute to his legacy. (Peter Sciretta)

21. The Death of Surly Joe - The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Coen brothers' Netflix western is a mixed bag, with some of the six segments proving funnier, more illuminating, and simply more fun to watch than others. For better or worse, the whole film peaks early with its first segment, which follows a singing cowboy named Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson) who looks like he wandered out of a 1950s country album cover. His good nature and cheesy clothing (contrasted against the otherwise realistic depiction of the American West seen around him) makes his penchant for sudden and violent murder all the more shocking. In the best scene in the film, and possibly the funniest moment of 2018, he dispatches an aggressive gambler played by the great Clancy Brown by banging his boot on the poker table, sending a loose board flying into the air, hitting the man's revolver, and forcing him to repeatedly shoot himself in the head. It's literally the kind of gag you'd see Bugs Bunny pull against Elmer Fudd, only the man on the receiving end of the violence is very, very dead when it's over. And, of course, Buster commemorates the moment with a song. (Jacob Hall)

20. The Pregnancy Reveal - If Beale Street Could Talk

In a movie full of impassioned, emotional scenes powered by remarkable performances, one of the standouts comes early in the movie when Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne) and her family (Regina King, Colman Domingo, and Teyonah Parris) announce her pregnancy by her incarcerated boyfriend Fonny (Stephan James) to his family. This is a tense meeting since Fonny's mother, Mrs. Hunt (Aunjanue Ellis) and her two daughters Adrienne and Sheila (Ebony Obsidian and Dominique Thorne), are extremely judgmental and stuck-up in their treatment of the Rivers family, even though their father Frank (Michael Beach) is much more laid back. This results in one of the most venomous and hot-blooded pregnancy reveals, and it's perfectly acted, as you can see in a brief clip from towards the end of the entire scene. (Ethan Anderton)

19. Josie Turns Into a Flower - Annihilation

"Ventress wants to face it," Josie (Tessa Thompson) says to Lena (Natalie Portman) as she wanders into a sun-dappled field filled with mysterious foliage. "You want to fight it. But I don't think I want either of those things." The action in Annihilation comes to a halt in a rare moment of tranquility as Lena and Josie observe the strange flower-covered trees shaped like humans in mid-stride. Josie sheds her jacket and displays the scars of dozens of cuts on her arms — scars that begin sprouting flowers as Lena chases after her. But Josie quickly disappears, apparently the latest in the dozens of humans who have given into the Shimmer and accepted some form of peace. It's an unsettling and beautiful moment that captures the meeting point of self-destruction and self-acceptance. It doesn't feel like Josie is giving up "the fight," in fact, it feels like she's the only one wise enough to accept her place in this strange circle of life. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

18. Judy Greer’s “Gotcha” Moment - Halloween

For years, Hollywood has been short-changing Judy Greer. Time and time again, she pops-up in thankless roles, always delivering a memorable performance in the process. Oddly enough, David Gordon Green's Halloween was the film that decided to finally give Greer something to do, with spectacular results. Greer plays Karen, the daughter of Halloween final girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Karen and Laurie are estranged, primarily because Laurie raised her daughter to be a survivalist, on the odds that Michael Myers ever came back for another killing spree. Sure enough, Michael does come back. And after spending the entire movie doubting her mother's sanity, Karen finally sees Laurie was right all this time. It all culminates in a killer moment: Karen, hidden away in Laurie's panic room basement as Michael Myers stalks around upstairs, spots her old rifle. The rifle Laurie trained her to use. She readers the weapon, and then has a breakdown. Weeping, she proclaims she can't do it – she can't pull the trigger. This proclamation causes Michael to pop into frame, ready to kill. "Gotcha," Karen says, and fires. It's a hell of a moment, both for the way Green stages it, and for the way Greer performs it. It's almost as if the movie knows how accustomed we've become to Judy Greer being sidelined in other movies. We, like Michael Myers, come to believe she really won't pull that trigger. But she can. And does.  (Chris Evangelista)

17. The Bear Monster - Annihilation

The appearance of the most disturbing movie monster of the last several years makes this list for being one of the most bizarre, horrifying elements of an unforgettable film. When one of the female scientists is stolen from the group and killed, a mutated bear creature with skeletal faces on its head soon returns to hunt the survivors, calling out to them using the distorted voice of their fallen friend. The effect is chilling, making you wonder what kind of madman could even dream up something so unsettling. While the movie is based on a book by Jeff VanderMeer, the bear monster was the brainchild of writer/director Alex Garland, who elevated this sci-fi story to a whole new level. (Ben Pearson)

16. The Opening Scene - Searching

Recalling the tear-inducing opening of Pixar's Up, the computer mystery thriller Searching opens by introducing us to the Kim family through their Windows computers. We watch as the characters create accounts for themselves, upload heartwarming videos to YouTube, share smiles and memorable moments from Margot's childhood, and then sadly begin setting hospital visits and researching ways to beat cancer when the family matriarch gets sick. The scene is expertly executed, as co-writer/director Aneesh Chaganty manipulates our emotions in a way that feels completely organic and never cheap. The removal of a calendar appointment has never felt so heartbreaking. (Ben Pearson)

15. Collin’s Final Rap - Blindspotting

Late in Blindspotting, Collin (Daveed Diggs) finds himself alone in a room with the white police officer who gunned down an unarmed black man much earlier in the film. Collin saw it happen and it's stuck with him. He can't shake it. It's rattled him to his core. And even though he is just days removed from escaping his parole and is officially a free man, he points a gun at the officer. And then he begins to rap. The film previously established that Collin raps to himself, an ongoing personal monologue that he seems indulge while walking alone or lost in thought, but here, he lets it all out. He raps about his fears and his angers and his anxieties, about his changing hometown of Oakland and how others view him. It escalates and escalates, leaving you to wonder if Collin will pull that trigger when he's done, or if he can't stop rapping because this wave of unleashed emotion is the only thing keeping him from opening fire. Diggs, a skilled hip-hop artist, proves himself to be a brilliant film actor in this moment...a moment that feels like so many of 2018's tragedies and anxieties wrapped up into a not-so-tidy bow. (Jacob Hall)

14. Shopping for a Crib - Roma

Roma is one of the best movies of the year, but perhaps the most gripping scene is one that brings together the pregnancy and impending birth of the housemaid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) with the ongoing drama of the background protests against the government that have been tearing through the streets. A violent protest breaks out as Cleo is shopping for a crib, and suddenly the war brewing between protesters and police outside collides with the personal struggle of Cleo, and it comes to a suspenseful head when the man who got her pregnant ends up pointing a gun at her as violence bursts into the store. The juxtaposition of the story of Cleo and her family of employment and the backdrop of Mexico's history suddenly clashes in one of the most intense and incredibly shot sequences of the year. (Ethan Anderton)

13. Neil Armstrong Lands on the Moon - First Man

We've all seen footage of the moon landing. We've all seen Neil Armstrong exit the Apollo 11 capsule and set foot on that gray soil for the first time. It's been played so much, so often, that it's been drained of his wonder and power. What Damien Chazelle's First Man does so brilliantly is that is restores the danger and magic of the moment – it puts us in that astronaut suit with Neil and let's us experience the vast emptiness of the moon, the total silence, the alien nature of it all. It restores the grandeur of one of the greatest achievements in human history. And then, later in the mission, Neil walks to a nearby crater, reveals (only to us, the audience) that he's brought a memento belonging to his dead daughter, and drops it into the darkness as a tribute (a moment that may have actually happened, according to Armstrong's biographer). Suddenly, the grandiosity of it all becomes personal and Neil's painful journey reaches its heart-wrenching climax. He has left a human stamp upon the cosmos. His daughter is gone, but she will forever be part of the universe. (Jacob Hall)

12. Charlie Loses Her Head - Hereditary

Hereditary is the scariest and most upsetting film of 2018 and it lays its cards on the table early. After suffering an allergic reaction at a party, young Charlie struggles to breathe as her brother drives way too fast down a dark road to get her to the hospital. Gasping for air, she opens a window, sticks her head out and...thunk. We barely see it happen. Her brother pulls over, unable to bring himself to look in the front seat. He drives home, silent and traumatized. We don't see her body, but we do hear the anguished screams of her mother. And just when you think director Ari Aster is sparing us, the film cuts to close-up of Charlie's severed head, lying in the dirt, a literal feast for the ants. Hereditary's supernatural horrors begin to emerge after this moment, but this is the scene that sets the tone: yes, we're going there. Are you sure you want to continue? (Jacob Hall)

11. The HALO Jump - Mission: Impossible — Fallout

The action scenes in Mission: Impossible – Fallout are unrelenting and exhilarating, and the highlight for me is the Halo jump sequence. It's impossible to watch this sequence, or any of these sequences, without thinking about the filmmaking and the stunts required to bring them to life. It's possible that the other action sequences are better on a cinematic story level, but I can't watch this sequence without imagining the work that went into it. Not just that Tom Cruise somehow talked a studio into letting him HALO jump in a scene, but the fact that he convinced the studio to let him jump out of that plane over 100 times to gather the necessary footage. It's mind-boggling to think about the insane choreography that required Cruise and the cameraman to be in the right focal length and distance to capture it all. The sequence is spliced together containing two separate single one shots that are some of the most impressive to ever hit the big screen. (Peter Sciretta)

10. “Oh no…he died!” - Game Night

In a movie full of standout laughs, this one takes the cake. You know it's a good joke when it can still make you laugh even though it was all over the movie's marketing. The way Rachel McAdams laments the death of a threatening henchman sucked into a plane engine just before he was about to kill her is adorable and hilarious. No one ever feels bad when a character like that dies, so this moment is cute, but in a dark way. (Ethan Anderton)

9. Erik Killmonger’s Final Words - Black Panther

If Black Panther was written by George R.R. Martin, the villain Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) probably would have died after saying something mundane to illustrate the idea that death can come at any second. But writers Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole know they're working with theatrical characters and momentous tableaus, so they give their villain an epic farewell. "Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from ships," Killmonger says to T'Challa as they look out over Wakanda. "They knew death was better than bondage." Those last words are imbued with a lifetime of pain, passion, and intelligence, resulting in arguably the most impactful villain death in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Ben Pearson)

8. The First “Shallow” Performance — A Star is Born

Lady Gaga's Ally steps hesitantly steps on stage as Bradley Cooper's Jackson Maine growls through the first few bars of a song that she had written on the fly the night before in a deserted parking lot. She croons through a few verses before launching into a primal scream — raw, impassioned vocalizing that sends chills down your spine. At that moment, the song — and the film itself — reaches an overpowering crescendo. It's a moment that screams pure cinema: as the culmination of Ally and Jackson's tentative flirtation, as a spontaneous musical duet reminiscent of classic Hollywood musicals, as the birth of a star. It's a supernova explosion that's dazzling to watch, and the effects of which leave you on a high for the rest of the film. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

7. Daniel’s Prison Story – If Beale Street Could Talk

There's so much to marvel over in Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk, but one scene in particular is impossible to overlook. Lovers Fonny (Stephan James) and Tish (KiKi Layne) run into Fonny's old Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry), and invite him back to their apartment for dinner. Daniel is recently out of jail, and when we first meet him, he's larger-than-life – all smiles, backslaps, and loud jokes. But as the night wears on, the character's pleasant demeanor gives way to despair. The subject of his incarceration comes up, and it becomes clear that Daniel was imprisoned for two years for a crime he didn't commit – a terrible fate that always befalls Fonny in the film. Jenkins lets the scene unfold as long as it needs to, letting Henry do almost all of the heavy lifting as the darkened room fills up with smoke. It's heartbreaking as we watch Henry's performance tumble into regret, and anger, and hopelessness. "Maybe I'd feel different if I had done something and got caught," Daniel says. "But I didn't do nothing. They were just playing with me, man, because they could. And I'm lucky it was only two years, you dig? Because they can do with you whatever they want. Whatever they want." Fonny attempts to console his friend, but it's not easy. "I appreciate it," Daniel says to Fonny's attempts at comfort. "But you don't know, the worst thing, man, the worst thing, is that they can make you so fucking scared. Just...scared, man." Here, both men grow silent, and Jenkins lets us stay in that silence for what seems like a very, very long time. The weight of the world, and the weight of institutional racism that plagues them, is pressing down on these men, and there's nothing they can do about it.  (Chris Evangelista)

6. The Beach Scene - Roma

There is no scene this year more heart-wrenching than the beach scene in Roma. It's the denouement of the film's languid slow burn through the trials and travails of Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), the maid of an upper-class family in Mexico City who had undergone the tragic stillborn birth of her baby. Having gone mute in shock, Cleo travels with the family for a beachside holiday, and at one point is left to watch the children swimming in the shallows. But the two children are nearly carried off by the strong current and Cleo dashes into the water, despite not knowing how to swim herself, and drags them ashore. The rest of the family returns and they all collapse in a weeping pile as Cleo confesses that she had wished for her child not to be born. It's a devastating moment that channels all the film's dormant emotions into one scene and finally offers catharsis for the quietly grieving Cleo. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

5. Miles Takes a Leap of Faith - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

After experiencing pain, hardship, and loss, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) suits up as his own version of Spider-Man in this triumphant moment from one of the year's best films. Miles' take on Spidey isn't like any that have come before: with an assist from Peter Parker's Aunt May, he's incorporated his street art passion into the costume design; he's rocking Jordans; and he's wearing a hoodie over his suit. His leap from a tall building is a cathartic moment representing his acceptance of the responsibility of being this universe's hero – and it's also just a fucking cool shot. The camera inverts as Miles plummets to the ground below, turning his fall into a glorious ascent. Welcome to the big leagues, kid. (Ben Pearson)

4. The Bathroom Fight - Mission: Impossible — Fallout

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is full of incredible action sequences, as evidenced by the fact that three moments from the movie appear on this list. But this is the only one featuring expertly choreographed hand-to-hand combat that is fast-paced, crisp, unique, and intense. But more importantly, it's also coherently shot and edited so that you can see and understand exactly what's going on, no matter how fast Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill and Liang Yang (who is also one of the Praetorian Guards from the big lightsaber battle in Star Wars: The Last Jedi) are during this fight. (Ethan Anderton)

3. Showdown in the Lighthouse - Annihilation

Annihilation is dense, fascinating science fiction from its first frames, but its intentions remain as cloudy and mysterious as the dangerous as the "shimmer" that has transformed a stretch of land into an increasingly alien environment. Everyone can bring their own interpretation to the events of the film and to what director Alex Garland is trying to say and no one would be wrong. That's the horrific beauty of it all. So when Natalie Portman's Lena enters the lighthouse in the film's third act and encounters a shapeshifting alien entity that mimics her every move, blocks her every escape attempt, and takes on her appearance, we're all allowed to bring our own interpretation. And yet, I can't help but read the scene as the most accurate and chilling depiction of one's battle with mental illness I've ever seen on screen – it's Lena's depression made literal. A creature she cannot understand that looks like her and knows her intimately enough to block all attempts at progress. A force that causes great harm with a chilling lack of reason or emotion. A battle against oneself, a version of you that looks like you but will always stand in your way, always hurt you, and always keep you from achieving what you need to move on, recover, and be well. I have thought about this scene every single day since seeing Annihilation nearly a year ago. (Jacob Hall)

2. Thanos Snaps His Fingers - Avengers: Infinity War

This moment is not just one of the best movie moments of the year, but a moment that will be remembered for as long as we watch movies. Ten years and almost twenty films led up to this story and the Avengers' confrontation with Thanos has been teased for almost as long. And then the end of the film completely subverts the expectations of moviegoers. Sure, many were speculating who would die leading up to this epic film, but few people aside from the most hardcore comic book readers believed that a company like Disney would actually have the guts to "dust" half off the goddamn universe. You can say that this was essentially part one of a two part movie, but most moviegoers did not go into this movie knowing or thinking about that – I can attest from the reactions that I witnessed in my screenings in the cynical industry town that is Los Angeles. But I guess the real question is: will this moment be lessened when the Avengers somehow restore order in the upcoming sequel? While I'm sure some of the casualties will remain and there will be some lasting consequences to this war, a lot of the status quo will be restored. While it's hard to predict what affect Endgame will have on the legacy of Infinity War, or this moment in particular, I can tell you that experiencing this snap in a theater packed with excited fans was pure shock and excitement. For someone who has always chased the Empire Strikes Back ending and loves a really great cliffhanger, this was as satisfying as endings get. (Peter Sciretta)

1. The Helicopter Chase - Mission: Impossible — Fallout

In a blockbuster full of improbable, unbelievable stunts, perhaps none is more impressive than the helicopter chase, which begins with Tom Cruise leaping onto a hanging payload, scaling a rope to the vehicle (while it's in mid-air, mind you), throwing two men out of the helicopter, and then flying the damn thing for real. The back-and-forth in the scene is masterful: the failed payload drop, Cruise's eye contact with Henry Cavill as he calls him a prick, swooping through the mountains, and the glorious crash leading to the clifftop fight. It's a truly jaw-dropping piece of action filmmaking, made all the more impressive by the knowledge that it wasn't filmed on a sound stage. (Ben Pearson)