Alright, folks, I watched a lot of movies this year, and for some reason I didn’t talk about ANY of them because college is hard and I hate ad revenue (that’s a joke, advertisers plz help me, I’m a college student).
I have 12 honorable mentions, which I’ll say a sentence or two about, and then I’ll do the top 10. Enjoy, and seriously, let me know what you think! My favorite thing on this website is engaging with you wonderful readers so please please please let me know your thoughts 🙂
Good Boys – While some people might boil this down to be Superbad with a middle schooler Fortnite reskin, I actually think the script is pretty tight, and the movie genuinely had me laughing throughout!
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – While I agree that the movie is as clunky as a Gonk droid, I still had a fun time and it’s my list and I can do whatever I want dammit! Babu Frik is the MVP, and Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren literally save what otherwise could be the worst Star Wars ever. I laughed, I cheered, and I cried like a baby at the end. For all its faults, the theater experience was amazing, and I think that has to count for something.
Ready or Not – In laws can be scary, and this movie makes them even scarier. Somehow, the movie managed to balance horror and comedy really well, but sometimes those two things can step on each others’ toes.
The Irishman – Damn, Marty, you’re gonna let two Marvel movies beat you in a list? Seriously, though, I actually liked the movie, but it’s so long and drawn out for a movie ultimately about Robert DeNiro’s bromance with two opposing sides and his daughter’s (who gets like one line in the movie) eyes influencing his decision. Yes, the acting is really really good (Al Pacino especially is brilliant), but I just didn’t think this movie had to be this long. I’d rather see Thanos on a farm just going about his day for three and a half hours.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – Keanu Reeves knife fight. Keanu Reeves knife fight. KEANU REEVES KNIFE FIGHT.
Spider-Man: Far From Home – “Now this is an Avengers level threat.” Seriously, Far From Home is a perfect epilogue to the Infinity Saga.
Booksmart – Much like last year’s Eighth Grade, Booksmart is a really smart take on the classic high school comedy we know and love.
Hustlers – J Lo absolutely nailed it in this movie. Please give her an Oscar. I just really want to see that acceptance speech. UPDATE: she didn’t get nominated, and it really is a tragedy.
Dolemite is My Name – I missed Eddie Murphy, man, and he’s so good in this movie! He’s absolutely magnetic to watch on screen.
Ford v Ferrari – My mans Matt and Christian just nailed these roles so well that it was really really hard to put this out of the top 10. I like cars, especially when in the first 10 minutes, a baked potato drives one.
The Lighthouse – Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson have scenes in this movie that will make your spine tingle. Much like director Robert Egger’s previous film, The Witch, The Lighthouse can at times feel pretentious. However, you have to give it to Eggers and the production and costume design teams for crafting something magical that I think will last for years to come.
Ask Dr. Ruth – I watched this with my girlfriend, and both of us didn’t really know too much about Dr. Ruth because her prominent TV appearances happened a little before our time (where my late millennials/early zoomers at). However, Ask Dr. Ruth is a brilliant and wholesome documentary that really just makes you appreciate how much this person contributed to society in a sort of Mister Rogers kind of way. I switched this around a few times with the number 10 slot, but I went with that movie by just a slight margin sadly.
TOP TEN HERE WE GO
10. Brittany Runs a Marathon
I kind of feel bad that this movie flew a lot of radars because had this come out in December, I think Jillian Bell would have been in talks for a best actress nomination. As someone who has personally struggled with body image issues, this movie just hit me really hard. This movie is super fun even if you don’t like running because it’s an ode to those who try try try until they succeed. If you love movies like Rocky, you’ll love this!
Alright, so I don’t think I should use this article to rant about how it seems like half the people who watched this movie either missed the point or are just oblivious to the horrifying nature of the movie. Also, I don’t think Joker is particularly original even though its absolutely incredible since it practically steals from Martin Scorcesse’s The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver. However, in a vacuum, Joker sends a powerful message to everyone about how a lack of compassion in this world can twist someone vulnerable into becoming a monster. Joaquin Phoenix is transcendent as Arthur Fleck, and his performance is undoubtedly going to go down in history as one of the best lead performances of the 2010’s.
8. Uncut Gems
I’ve always thought that Adam Sandler could be an amazing dramatic actor (if you’ve seen Punch Drunk Love, you know what I’m talking about), but Uncut Gems balances Sandler’s acting chops with a chaotic world that brutalizes risk and glorifies reward. I love how this movie is somehow both incredibly fast paced, but also sort of meditative at times. Sandler was robbed of an Oscar nomination, nothing can change my mind. Kevin Garnett is actually really good as an actor as well even though he’s playing himself. Also, Julia Fox, a newcomer to movies, is incredible and 100% goes toe to toe with Sandler. The Sadfie Brothers directed the hell out of this and intentionally cranked my anxiety to 110% and I really don’t care. Also, the movie takes place in 2012, and an unfamous Weeknd is in this so take that how you will.
Similar to how Joker examines Gotham as a broken society that blames the disenfranchised and champions the privileged, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite does the same with its South Korean society. I actually honestly had to watch it twice to appreciate the metaphors and all, but that’s what I love about Parasite. It’s great on a surface level, but if you go a level deeper, you’ll find all these parallels between the lower and upper class. Bong Joon Ho is practically a lock for Best Director this year, and it’s very well deserved.
6. Knives Out
Full disclaimer, I love The Last Jedi – don’t hate me. Rian Johnson’s next movie, Knives Out, is a bonifide instant classic whodunnit. We don’t get these kinds of movies anymore because they’re hard to sell, and it’s hard to balance an ensemble cast as good as this. However, Johnson absolutely nails this by distinguishing each member of the Thrombey family and utilizing immaculate production design. I had so much fun watching this movie, and just to sell you more: Daniel Craig’s southern accent is amazing and Chris Evans has one of the most fashionable sweaters I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard people call this out as a whodunnit for the Trump era, but I personally think this will stand long after the orange gets kicked out of his house.
TOP FIVE MOVIES OF 2019 – GO SEE THESE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY
Fun fact, I actually cried in four out of the five of these movies!
5. Little Women
Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women was always going to be good, but I didn’t realize it would be so timely for 2019/2020. I’m shocked Gerwig wasn’t nominated for Best Director at the Oscars because had she been nominated, I think she would’ve had a very high chance of winning. There are so many moving pieces and this amazing ensemble cast (shoutout to Saorise Ronan and Florence Pugh who both give some of the best monologue scenes this year!), and Gerwig’s decision to cut between the past and the present shouldn’t work on paper. However, the movie somehow magically walks the tightrope by presenting something that seems sort of boring to me on paper (I’m not the biggest fan of movies set in the 1800s) and making it seem so vibrant and relevant for the world today. Each of the four March sisters talk over each other and actually act like a family, and I found myself relating to every character in the movie because everyone feels like a real person. I cried twice, nuff said.
Sam Mendes’ made-to-look-like-one-shot war movie is easily my favorite movie about WWI (I guess I would put Wonder Woman in a close second?). Like seriously, see this on the biggest screen you can, and your mind will be blown. It’s an ode to courage and never backing down in the face of extreme adversity. I’ve never been so scared of a battlefield in my whole life. Even the smallest roadblock in this movie is presented in such a visceral and scary way. Since we only follow our two leads for the whole movie, there isn’t any typical war movie flashback scene. There’s literally no time to rest for these characters, but we still learn so much about them through their actions. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, and I’m so glad I watched this.
3. Jojo Rabbit
Jojo Rabbit asks the question: Where does hate come from? The answer isn’t so simple, and this movie makes it very clear that no one is born with hatred towards a certain group of people. Director Taika Waititi did the impossible by making a movie about Hitler actually funny and heartbreaking and heartwarming and so much more. I don’t get the argument that politics shouldn’t be in movies because after all, movies are a reflection of our society, and I think we needed this movie now more than ever. Scarlett Johannson particularly gives an incredible performance as Jojo’s mother. Also, Jojo himself, Roman Griffin Davis, is a revelation and turns in one of the best child performances I’ve ever seen (like right up there with Eighth Grade and The Sixth Sense).
2. Marriage Story
Noah Baumbach’s story of a couple going through a divorce is the most heartbreaking love story I’ve ever seen (and I’m not even married). Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson (again?) practically invent acting in this movie, and it’s sad that neither of them are going to win Oscars because they both truly deserve it. I love this movie so much because nothing is black-and-white. These are both good people at heart, they just didn’t work together because reasons I don’t want to spoil if you haven’t seen the movie. It’s on Netflix, if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d highly recommend it as long as you have a box of tissues for your tears. There’s are three scenes in this movie that absolutely broke me: one each with Adam and Scarlett, and yes, *that* scene – the one that’s been getting clipped on Twitter a billion times. This is also one of the only Hollywood movies in recent memory that both my parents loved because 99.9% of the time they have different movie tastes (for Hollywood, when it comes to Bollywood they’re pretty similar), and I just thought that was funny.
1. Avengers: Endgame
What can I say about Endgame that hasn’t been said already? It’s a cinematic achievement that works as big screen spectacle, a breakdown of hero mythology, and an emotional experience. Everyone is acting at their top notch in this movie with Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannson (again!?), and Chris Hemsworth especially giving standout performances. There are so many amazing twists and turns in this movie that my first viewing was a theatrical journey I’ll never forget. There are so many moments that are destined to become engraved in pop culture history (I love you 3000, part of the journey is the end, whatever it takes, no amount of money ever bought a second of time, the portal scene, America’s ass, some people move on but not us, I am Iron Man, the list goes on and on). Every character in this movie has a great moment, and every scene just builds at a breakneck pace. It’s over three hours long, but there isn’t an ounce of fat on this script. This is the most comic book of all comic book movies, and it feels like a giant love letter to everything Stan Lee built with Marvel. This whole saga shouldn’t have worked on paper. There are far too many moving parts to execute correctly, let alone create a franchise that I think will define my generation. This is my favorite comic book movie, and it was a cultural moment that earned its place in cinema history. Somehow, Endgame pulled off impossible odds and did whatever it took to be the best movie of the year.
So yeah those are my top 10! Noticeably absent from this list is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. This is sadly my least favorite Quentin Tarantino movie, and I don’t think it’s particularly bad. I just don’t think a setting equals a full movie, and the idea of dropping two fictional characters during the events of 1969’s Manson murder of Sharon Tate. The acting is exceptional, but I just didn’t really notice a through-line during the movie. It felt like an HBO miniseries of Leo and Brad Pitt doing wacky adventures strung together as a movie. Also, I don’t hate Tarantino’s revisionist history idea, Inglorious Bastards is my favorite of his movies. Had Leo and Pitt been more involved with Sharon Tate’s life, I think this could have been one of Tarantino’s best.
What do you think about this list? Like I said, please feel free to let me know your thoughts! Thanks so much 🙂