I only went to the movies twice last year and it was only to see Fifty Shades Darker and Get Out. This year, I went to the movies nine times and paid ten dollars for a ticket (courtesy of my student discount). Every movie I saw this year had representation in their movie. Almost every movie is made for Caucasian audiences and films starring a cast that is ethnic is labeled as a "Black", "Asian", or "Hispanic" movie. Those films get the backing of small studios because of the never-ending tale that "ethnic movies don't sell in America". Well, they proved that wrong twenty times over this year. Here's a short list of films that have come out this year that included diversity within their casts.
1. "Crazy Rich Asians"
Based on the best selling book, "Crazy Rich Asians" came out this summer and broke box office records. This is the first time since 1998 that we've had an all Asian cast in the huge motion picture film. The movie was distributed through Warner Brothers and the movie introduces so many newcomers in Hollywood. The filmed grossed $238 million dollars worldwide and was number one at the box office for four weeks straight. We not only got the see Asian culture on the screen in the location of Singapore, we saw familiar struggles and life stages that we all go through. Family traditions, cultural expectations, and the overall meaning of sacrificing for love. This is probably a rom-com favorite for our generation and the sequel will most definitely be the same.
2. "Black Panther"
One of the most anticipated movies of 2018, "Black Panther" came out in February and broke barriers. The Marvel movie paid homage to Africa ad it's culture and introduced the first mainstream black superhero. The cast included notable and newcomer actors while having a black director a the helm. The movie made $1.3 billion dollars within the first month of release, $700 domestically, and is in the running to receive a nomination from the Academy for Best Picture at the Oscars. This movie almost didn't happen but hope prevailed and now little boys and girls have a superhero they can see in themselves.
3. "Love, Simon"
"Love, Simon" is based on the best selling novel and was distributed by Fox Studios this year. I got to see this movie at an early screening and it is one of my favorites of the year. The story is about high school sophomore Simon whoos in the closet and struggles to come out as a gay man in 2018. This movie tells the true story of what people go through coming out regardless of gender, age, or orientation. I've spoken to people and friends who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and they commend the studio for putting out this movie and the original story of the book because there hasn't been a mainstream movie to do so.
4. Avengers Infinity War
This movie was ten years in the making and in those ten years, we've gotten superhero representation in all spheres. We've gotten strong and powerful superheroes that represent real people in the world today. Black Panther, Gamora, Black Widow, Falcon, Captain America, Okoye. Audiences have their own superhero that they can see themselves as on screen. The movie not only broke box office records, but they also broke movies rules and barriers.
"Widows" is being called the movie Ocean's 8 should've been and I agree with them. The movie is about four widows who finish the heist job their husbands left behind. The cast consists of Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Dibecki, and Cynthia Erivo. This wasn't only a diverse cast but was a powerful female cast that leads this film. All these women and characters brought their ability and A-Game to the table and made a great movie.
6. "To All The Boys I Loved Before"
This movie came out on Netflix this summer but it's one of the most binge-watched movies on the platform of the year. It's a YA (Young Adult) novel that was adapted into a movie and has an Asian lead starring Lauran Conard as Laura Jean Covey. The movie is a non-cheesy millennial romantic comedy that has a non-white lead actress that is actually represented as it is in the book. The film was already green-lighted for a sequel and there are two more books in the series. So Laura Jean will be part of our Netflix list for a long time.
7. "A Wrinkle In Time"
The story of "A Wrinkle In Time" was brought to the screen by acclaimed director Ava Deuvanay and was distributed through Disney. Granted it wasn't one of the favorites of 2018, the film had a great story that was expanded in the cats. The lead character was helmed by Storm Reid, a fellow Atlanta native, as the character Meg and included the supporting characters of Oprah, Resse Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling.
8. "Creed 2"
One of the most anticipated movies and sequels of 2018. Creed 2 is the eighth movie and second movie in the Creed trilogy. People gravitated to this movie because it wasn't just another Rocky, the torch has been passed to Michael B. Jordan to be the leader of this franchise. We have him starring as the lead character as well as Tessa Thompson as the lead actress who isn't just the boxer's wife but a love interest who both supports her man and has her own dreams and career that she pursues. We get to watch Black Love, The importance of family, and the break down of toxic masculinity in athletes all wrapped into one movie and it was amazing.
9. "The Hate U Give"
I highly recommend watching this movie. "The Hate U Give" is based on the best selling novel by Angie Thomas and stars Amandla Steinberg as the lead actress. 20th Century Fox distributed the film and was released this past October. The movie tells the story of what happens in a community as well as a city when a young black man is shot and the aftermath. The movie isn't just a black film, it's a movie that depicts the times that we live in and the types of people we interact within society. The cast did a phenomenal job telling the story from page to screen and should definitely be seen in theaters.