Sometimes, you don’t know how special a movie is until you look back at it 20 years later, and go, “Omo, this film is a classic.”
While it’s easy to talk about the best films of the year, this article is about the movies we’ll look back at a decade from now with a newfound appreciation for just how iconic they are.
Eyimofe is about life in Lagos, and it doesn’t glamorise or gloss over the realities of the average Lagosian (who doesn’t have an influential last name, access to funds or connections in the city). It’s the poignant story of two Nigerians and their very different journeys to japa from Nigeria and escape its wahala. I can already picture students studying and writing about this movie when millennials start using walking sticks.
The Lost Okoroshi
A man wakes up and realises he’s now a masquerade. This is the insane plot that drives Abba T Makama’s The Lost Okoroshi, and as ridiculous as it sounds, he manages to make it work. I refuse to spoil the movie, but watch it with an open mind and you’ll get why generations to come will look back and say, “WTF?” but in a good way.
The Wedding Party
The film that started Nollywood’s obsession with ensemble comedies. A hilarious cast of old and new Nollywood players? Check. Two leads with chemistry so hot they actually married in real life? Check. Sola Sobowale and Ireti Doyle dragging each other? Double check. The Wedding Party was, and still is, THAT GIRL.
Lionheart, Genevieve Nnaji’s love letter to Enugu, is one of the most beautifully shot Nollywood films ever. Genevieve replaces overcomplicated storylines and unnecessary characters with a simple story about a woman willing to do anything (including work with her hilarious but annoying uncle) to ensure her family’s legacy is protected. Lionheart was everything and more.
King of Boys
A film about a female mob boss who has all the male politicians shook and panicking? Eniola Salami of King of Boys was girl-bossing, gate-keeping and gal-gadot-ing all over a fictional Lagos, and the audience rooted for her all the way. Until someone does a better crime mob project, King of Boys will go down as Nollywood’s The Godfather, and that’s on period.
Juju Stories isn’t just a movie but a full-on experience. Divided into three parts, it covers three different scary AF stories that’ll shake you to your core and make you second guess eating yam ever again. A nod to Nollywood’s unhinged juju-inspired films era, this is one horror project people will still talk about years from now.
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You can be a successful woman killing it in all aspects of your life, and everyone will still focus on whether or not you have a marital home to return to. This is the story of Dakore Egbuson’s Isoken. Before Jadesola Osiberu started producing films with bombs and car chase scenes, she made this cute-ass romcom. And it worked so well, it’s still the standard six years later.
If you’ve endured life in an NYSC camp in a remote town, then you’d relate to the struggles of Banky W’s Bassey in Up North. Bassey, a proper ajebo, experiences the culture shock of a lifetime when he’s posted to Bauchi and has to get used to life there. Up North shows a different side of northern Nigeria the media has drowned out with negative coverage.
The Delivery Boy
A suicide bomber has a chance encounter with a prostitute trying to raise money for her brother’s surgery. What could go wrong? The Delivery Boy was one of the best films of 2018, anchored by Jammal Ibrahim’s brilliant performance. His breakout role as Amir makes me wonder why he isn’t in more films. Also, Nollywood needs to make more thrillers about actual social issues.
Before The Wedding Party or Chief Daddy, there was Fifty, EbonyLife’s first foray into films. It follows the complicated lives of four women turning 50. From infidelity and abuse to having sugar babies, this film was nuanced and intentional, covering many relatable topics. The only issue is they hoped to convince us Dakore Egbuson, Nse Ikpe Etim, Omoni Oboli and Iretiola Doyle were in their 50s back in 2015. How?
Rita Dominic as an Abuja secretary who’s the author and finisher of everyone’s contract-chasing dreams? Inject it. Even though the central love story between Linda Ejiofor and Femi Jacob’s characters dragged out for too long, Rita Dominic’s performance carries the film like Agege bread from start to finish making it one of Nollywood’s funniest movies of all time.
For Maria: Ebun Pataki
For Maria: Ebun Pataki saved Nollywood in 2022, when everyone was dragging the industry for another disastrous ensemble comedy. Delving into the rarely spoken about subject of postpartum depression, the film started a serious conversation on and offline.
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