We didn't think it would happen, but 2018, the year that felt a decade long, is indeed over. So much happened in the 365-day span it feels almost impossible to recount, forget keep track of — and that's not even including all the music, movies, and other media that came out in the midst of all the drama. So here's a helpful list of
27 underrated 2018 movies streaming now. You may have missed them in theaters or you may not even have known they existed — either way, they're available to watch right now.
There's just two Oscar-nominated films on this list (
First Reformed, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) and no huge blockbusters. To clue you into some under-the-radar gems, the focus is on those great movies that were lost in the flurry of awards-season furor ( Happy As Lazzaro) or too niche or oddball to gain much more than a cult following ( Mandy, Support The Girls, The Night Comes For Us, Sorry To Bother You). There are also several fascinating documentaries released last year that aren't Free Solo or Won't You Be My Neighbor, such as McQueen, Mercury 13, and Catwalk: Tales From The Cat Show Circuit).
So catch up on what you missed last year by streaming some of these underrated 2018 releases — and, at least by you, they won't be underrated anymore.
Sandy Tan was determined to make a movie. In 1992, still a teenager, she did, with the help of her shady mentor Georges. Singapore's first feature-length road/slasher movie didn't see the light of day after Georges disappeared with all the footage and materials, but over 20 years later, Sandy tracks it down.
Streaming on Netflix. 2 'Annihilation'
I don't know why people stayed away from this big-budget studio sci-fi movie featuring a killer cast (Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Lee), interesting ideas on identity and being, and some truly unsettling moments, but maybe now that stakes are lower people will appreciate what it was reaching for.
Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime. 3 'Cam'
The Netflix thriller
CAM turns online identity issues into genuinely creepy horror, while managing to portray sex work as work, but if you haven't seen this tale of a camgirl who gets locked out of her hard-earned account by her own doppelgänger, check it out. Streaming on Netflix. 4 'Upgrade'
Left utterly paralyzed by a brutal mugging, Grey Trace is offered a chance to test a new AI body implant. Now armed with super-strength, he decides to get revenge on those who hurt him.
Streaming on MaxGo. 5 'Thunder Road'
Cop Jim Cummings, already going through a divorce and custody battle, loses it after the death of his mother and on-the-job difficulties.
Streaming on Amazon Prime. 6 'The Wild Boys'
Glittery, gender-swapping, and raunchy, this film follows five "boys" (grown women) taken to an enchanted isle by a Dutch sea captain after they commit a terrible crime.
Streaming on Kanopy. 7 'Happy As Lazzaro'
A weird and sweet take on the story of The Prince and the Pauper, this oddball tale of feudal farm work and time-travel is a delightsome fairy tale.
Streaming on Netflix. 8 'The Night Comes For Us'
A hired killer turns on his employers to save a young girl, knowing they'll come for him and everyone he knows. The brutal fight work might put some off, but for others it's the main draw.
Streaming on Netflix. 9 'Madeline's Madeline'
Madeline spends most of her time doing deeply intimate work with a close-knit theater group, partly to avoid her overbearing mother (Miranda July), but when troupe leader and surrogate mom starts using Madeline's life as focus for their next piece, Madeline's already fragmented world breaks further apart.
Streaming on Amazon Prime. 10 'McQueen'
Saying that this documentary follows the life and work of fashion designer Alexander McQueen is like saying an Alexander McQueen piece is just clothing. This intimate look at his creative process and career will make his 2010 death feel all the more tragic.
Streaming on Amazon Prime. 11 'Mandy'
This hallucinogenic black metal tale of revenge follows Red (Nicholas Cage) as he hunts down a demonic biker gang and the hippie cult that hired them to avenge Mandy.
Streaming on Hoopla and Shudder. 12 'Support The Girls'
Lisa (Regina Hall), General Manager of "breastaurant" Double Whammies, is going through a day bad enough to wear down even her optimism, exacerbated by and on behalf of the employees she looks out for.
Streaming on Hulu. 13 'The Miseducation Of Cameron Post' This 90s-set indie film stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Cameron, a teens sent to a conversion camp. Streaming on Kanopy. 14 'First Reformed'
Written and directed by Paul Schrader (
Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Mishima) this drama about a priest in a small upstate NY church who becomes obsessed with a coming ecological disaster was shamefully only awarded one Oscar nomination. Streaming on Amazon Prime. 15 'Sorry To Bother You'
Anyone scraping by on a dispiriting hourly job will relate to Cash (Lakeith Stanfield) taking on telemarketing work to make ends meet. When a co-worker lets him in on the secret — using his "white-guy voice" — he rockets to success, putting him at odds with his friends who are working to unionize the place. Then it gets weird.
Streaming on Hulu. 16 'Catwalk: Tales From The Cat Show Circuit'
Is the world getting you down? Check out this delightful doc on cat shows, where competition is fierce and the participants seem vaguely aware of what's going on.
Streaming on Netflix. 17 'Private Life'
If you like your rom-coms sweet but without treacle, this tale of an older couple navigating infertility and adoption options, starring the amazing Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti, will hit the spot.
Streaming on Netflix. 18 'Inland Sea'
A remote fishing village in the twilight of its way of life gets loving documentation in this film.
Streaming on Mubi. 19 'Solar Walk'
This charming animated film is a short look at creation in and through space.
Streaming on Kanopy. 20 'The Other Side Of The Wind'
A kitchen-sink of Hollywood history, this hybrid film-mockumentary was started by Orson Welles back in 1970 and continued throughout the decade, becoming stuck in legal quagmire in the '80s. Welles never gave up trying to complete it, and in 2018, it was finally finished.
Streaming on Netflix. 21 'Mercury 13'
This documentary follows the group of women who underwent rigorous testing to become astronauts through the '50s and '60s, only to have their dreams crushed when NASA was decided only men would be astronauts. It's a peek at a world that could have been, where men and women alike stepped into the future on the same plane... but of course, that didn't happen.
Streaming on Netflix. 22 'The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs'
The Coen Brothers anthology covers a full range of tall tales from the Old West, including a first for them — the fairly straightforward and sweet love story 'The Gal Who Got Rattled" Don't worry, their trademark cynicism's still there.
Streaming on Netflix. 23 'Kusama: Infinity'
Artist Yayoi Kusama's unapologetically bold and sexual early art so thoroughly overworked her she left New York and returned to Japan,
checking herself into The Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill. She still lives voluntarily there to this day, and in the meantime has created an enormous, wildly surreal and wide body of work which includes her famous "dot" pieces and infinity rooms. Streaming on Hulu. 24 'Apostle'
This slow burn of a horror film follows family black sheep Thomas to a cult's isolated island, as he tries to find and bring back his wayward sister. What he uncovers is a far more sinister operation.
Streaming on Netflix. 25 'Thirst Street'
Still coming to terms with her boyfriend's suicide, flight attendant Gina falls hard for smooth French strip club manager Jerome. Gina up and moves to Paris to be with him, setting up a tangle of desperate actions and obsessions noting the humor without resorting to mockery.
Streaming on Amazon Prime. 26 'Love, Gilda'
This loving testament and deep exploration into the life and work of comedian Gilda Radner is told as much through those she inspired, including Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Bill Hader, and Maya Rudolph, as it is through her own words.
Streaming on Hulu. 27 'Filmworker'
Leon Vitali gave up a promising career as an actor to become Stanley Kubrick's right hand man. This documentary following his career hidden by the dazzle of a film titan raises questions about the reality behind so-called auteurism, devotion to art, and the many forms it can take.
Streaming on Netflix.
One of the benefits of streaming is being able to access exactly these kind of word-of-mouth, seems-interesting films post-fact. So take advantage of it!