2019’s Best 5 Movies (According to me…)
2019 was an interesting year. Because of the added work I’ve been doing writing-wise, my usual fervor for movie-going was muted slightly this year. I still saw several films, but not even close to the amount I’ve watched in previous years. I saw some great ones though, and some dumpy ones too (plus a few just safely in the realm of ‘meh).
I present to you my top 5 movies of 2019!
But first, some honorable mentions. I still really enjoyed these few and wanted to say something of them. They just don’t quite make the cut and are still very enjoyable;
Glass – Release: Jan 18
Continuing his great performance from Split a year or two prior, James McAvoy leads a stellar cast in the third (and final?) genre-bending thriller also starring Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy and the return of Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis from Unbreakable. I am a fan of these movies, but they also suffer from the overall tone each one carried, in which the characters go around so drab and monotone most of the time. I really appreciate a somber take on superheroes, but I feel Glass goes too far with that and so it doesn’t quite make it into my top 5.
Alita: Battle Angel – Release: Feb 14
This movie released right around the same time as Captain Marvel. So close, in fact, that many people were comparing the two (in terms of both being female-led sci-fi action movies) almost constantly. I, for one, enjoyed Alita much, much, more than Captain Marvel for its sheer inventiveness in world building and really cool cyber-punk esthetics. Where it lost points, however, was how it was blatantly just setting things up for sequels/franchise, and as far as I understand there is still zero movement to making more, which is disappointing.
Us – Release: Mar 22
I consider myself a fan of Jordan Peele’s filmmaking. Get Out was one of my favourite movies of 2017, and it’s one of my favourite thrillers period. So I was looking forward to Us. It’s good. Great, even. But I just didn’t feel the tension in it I did with Get Out, despite the creepy reality that the plot unfolds in. I would still recommend seeing it, but just don’t expect quite the polished gem that Get Out was.
Brightburn – Release: May 24
I was looking forward to a horror approach to superheroes. After all, the concept of a being like Superman existing in the world should really be a terrifying notion! This movie approaches that concept and does it well. I have one glaring issue with it though, in how it all begins to go downhill. I really wish they’d made it along the lines of the kid trying to do good, but failing at every turn. Or constantly derailed by corrupt humans and demoralizing him in some way. Something like that. What the actual plot ends up doing was just disappointing to me, too easy.
IT: Chapter 2 – Release: Sep 06
I really like this movie. It is one of my all-time favorite book so I would have thought it’d make it into the top 5 no problem. But it just didn’t quite squeak its way in because of a lack of charm. The first It had a ton of charm from the kids involved. The child Losers Club facing off against Pennywise simply packed more punch than the club as adults. There was also too much of a ‘fetch quest’ blueprint to this one, which made it seem far too long. Having said that, I’ve heard rumors of a super-cut version of both films merging into one and interspersed more like the book, to be released at some point. If they do that, I’m in!
Ok, on to the TOP 5!!
5) Godzilla: King Of The Monsters – Release: May 31
This is pure guilty pleasure for me. I love Godzilla and other Kaiju-type films. I rented all the old Toho films from Blockbuster and have really enjoyed these Godzilla and Kong films. Yes, their human characters are dull with next to zero depth, but they are not the focus. These movies are about watching giant monsters pummel eachother and watching Godzilla fight Ghidorah on the big screen brought a smile to my face. Looking forward to Godzilla vs Kong!
4) Avengers Endgame – Release: Apr 26
I have a controversial take on Endgame. I felt Infinity War was better. There, I said it. The first third-to-half of the film was excellent, with the survivors living in their grief and regret. That was a powerful take on the franchise. But when they (spoilers) brought literally everyone back that had been dusted, it just felt hollow. The one or two characters to stay dead in this story were because they had nothing to do with the snap. Also, the end fight against Thanos and his army felt very overblown, and pointless. They could have been fighting an army of scarecrows and it would have been the same. It just felt like a big distraction. BUT!! There is so much respect to be had for this franchise, which has pulled off what most thought impossible for its shared universe between dozens of movies at this point. I am cautiously optimistic where the saga goes from here, but the Infinity Saga as it is was quite wonderful.
3) Doctor Sleep – Release: Nov 08
So there is indeed a Stephen King adaptation on this year’s list, and it wasn’t at all the one I thought would be! I went into Doctor Sleep with low expectations. I didn’t know how they would adapt the more recent book and yet stay faithful to the Shining adaptation (which historically was never a good adaptation of the book to begin with). I didn’t think it was possible. But, damn you Mike Flanagan, you proved me wrong. They completely surprised me with how well this film went. My only real nit pick was the little-to-no delving into the history of the true-nots, and the full deal of Rose the Hat. But holy crap was it good!
2) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – Release: Jul 26
Bravo. Tarantino’s revisionist history version of 60s era Hollywood was fantastic, with great performances from all involved. Yeah it’s not historically accurate. It’s not supposed to be. This is a love letter to the end of old Hollywood during the time of the new blood like Kubrik and others. It’s a love letter and a swan song rolled into one, and it’s fantastic.
1) Joker – Release: Oct 04
Joaquin Phoenix pulled off possibly the best acting performance I’ve ever seen, and I’m trying not to overstate that but it’s true. His performance alone is the reason this is my number one movie of 2019, and the numbers show. Rated R movies rarely do extremely well at the box office but holy cow has Joker ever been successful. One thing I’ll say is that, yes, it could just as easily been an original drama about a man named Arthur Fleck’s decent into madness. It didn’t need to be about the Joker, and therefore the attachment to Batman. But regardless, Joker stands on its own legs, and stands on them well. I loved every minute of it.
Well, there you have it. My top 5 flicks of 2019! There were a handful of other movies released this year I wanted to see but haven’t yet, including Jumanji 2, Knives Out, Honey Boy, The Current War, and The Lighthouse. I’ll get to them.
There are plenty of films I want to see in 2020, but I’d say my most anticipated is Dune in December. Onward to 2020!