Best Of

Best Movies of 2019

We made it everyone! 2019 is in the books at that means a time of movie reflection. What made this year more interesting for me is that this was the first year that I focused on seeing as many movies as I could. I kind of fell off at the end of this year (moving takes up a lot of time folks) but I made sure to make time for ones that really caught my eye. Anywhoooo, this year was pretty damn fantastic in terms of top notch movies that I left impressed with. In fact several will be in the running for my favorites of the decade. But let’s get to this year first. BEHOLD!

Parasite
If you follow film circles you have at least heard someone say that you should go see Parasite. Yeah you should listen to them, and to me. Parasite is the best movie the year and one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It’s blending of genres and switch from dark comedy to a disturbing drama is top notch. The writing is masterclass, and it’s an experience that by the end will leave you with a lot of feelings to unpack. This isn’t a movie you see every day or even every decade. Go watch this as soon as you can.

Knives Out
Knives Out is a modern murder mystery whoduunit that packs a great cast, excellent humor, and beautiful cinematography to make one of the most entertaining movies of the year. Even after you have watched it the first time, know the twists and turns, it’s the performances that will keep you coming back over and over.

1917
Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins gave us all one final present this year with 1917. The World War I drama takes us all on a tense, emotionally heavy journey through the trenches in a way that I haven’t seen committed to so beautifully on film. The entire movie is designed to appear as one continuous shot and it creates an experience unlike any movie I have seen before. That alone would have been enough to throw this on my list, but it’s also a great story performed by excellent actors that makes this one of the best.

Ready or Not
It’s taken 8 years, but not since The Cabin In The Woods have I seen a satirical horror movie that is both frightening and hilarious all wrapped into one. Like Knives Out this is a movie of a great performances playing a cast of one F-ed up family. It’s the lead Samara Weaving though that makes this movie such a fun ride. She’s funny, she’s badass, and by the end you’ll want her to kill every one of those psycho family members.

Booksmart
If there’s one comedy that I would recommend to see this year it’s Booksmart. Booksmart is one of those end of high school have to have one big night before college stories. You have seen them plenty of times, but this one is by far the best. It’s humor is smarter, the situations are funny yet realistic, and the messages feel more in tune with today’s sensibilities. The cast, crew, writers, and director Olivia Wilde knocked this one out of the park.

Us
Us is another original horror concept from Jordan Peele and it’s amazing. He carefully blends horror, with science fiction, and splashes of comedy to give us an experience that you haven’t seen before. It’s also a blast to watch as every actor plays two roles of the same character. That alone is something that begs to be watched, but the fact that the performances are wrapped around such an entertaining story only adds to the reason that this is one of the best movies of the year.

Avengers: Endgame
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is like the most expensive long running TV show that only plays in theaters, and Endgame was the season finale. It’s insane what they were able to pull off. It’s both an entertaining movie by itself but for those who have seen all the movies, it’s a masterpiece like no other. The callbacks, the remixes, the joy, the sadness, this movie tackles so many emotions and it ends in such a satisfying way. I don’t think we are ever going to see something like this again, and Mavel Studios deserves all the praise and heaps of cash for giving us this 11 year journey.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino movies have always been hit and miss with me. When they are good, they are damn good, when they are bad, I can’t even finish them. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is one of the good ones, one of his best actually. It may run a little long, but it has the genius pairing of Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. They both bring their A game to this one and are up there as my favorite performances from both actors. And then there is that one thing that Tarantino is really good at with climaxes that insanely fun to watch. This one has one of those.

Joker
The Joker is a heavy messed up movie. It’s not a movie that everyone can handle but for those who can it’s a very deep character study of a disturbed man that is looking to be the hero of his story even if it is only in his head. It’s the haunting performance from Joaquin Phoenix that makes this a movie that any movie fan should check out, just be prepared for a story that won’t make you feel too jazzed by the end.

Zombieland: Double Tap
There are some movies that you know aren’t for everyone and you can’t justify that it’s something everyone will find value in, but I really loved this movie. I was a fan of the first, and this one is somehow a funnier movie. Yeah it has some callback jokes, which only land some of the times. But the new characters they add in steal the show. The cast looks like they are having a blast, and it’s just fun to see a sequel to a movie from last decade that’s actually good. This is one of those movies that I’ll be watching again and again in the October season and that means it deserves this slot on my list.


Reviews

Avengers: Endgame – Spoiler Review

Disclaimer! If you are someone who has not seen Avengers: Endgame stop reading this review! Instead check out my spoiler free review linked right here. If you are still here understand that below is a review pulling specific plot points and moments from the film. You have been warned, let the spoiler filled review begin!

Score: 5/5

Avengers: Endgame is something I have never seen before on the big screen. Any expectation I had, it not only met, it leapfrogged over it and gave me more than I could have possibly thought. The amount of moments this film has is so large it’s hard to say which was my favorite or what made me feel the emotions more. It not only told a powerful story about overcoming failure but gave closure to characters that we have been watching for up to a decade. I’ve grown into an adult as this story has been playing out and what it gave me was so much more attachment to the characters, to the moments getting paid off, this is what TV shows usually get to do in a season finale, but movies? I have never experienced this at a movie theater. It boggles my mind and fills me with joy that Endgame exists, that the Marvel Cinematic Universe pulled it off and stuck a landing like those gold medalist gymnast in the Olympics. This is a spoiler review though so let’s dig into this once in a lifetime movie event.

As I said from the start what I love about this movie is how it tackled two huge things, the story of overcoming failures, and the personal journeys of all our main Avengers heroes. The plot opens with a 15 minute epilogue of Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos has snapped away half of all life in the Universe. Half our heroes, half of humanity, half of aliens from other worlds, everything. The heroes have lost, or have they? In this short post ending of the previous film the team of original Avengers plus a couple of tagalongs, blast off to find Thanos, kill him, and get the stones back. Reversing the whole damn last movie. Not only to they find him very quickly, they actually kill Thanos! With ease! Thor chops Thanos’s arm and head off! It’s crazy, but before the team arrived Thanos destroyed the stones. He didn’t need to win, he just needed to make sure they lost. And that’s what happened. Our heroes actually lost, completely. Where do we go from here?

Five. Years. Later. That slow reveal of the time jump. One word at a time, it blew my mind, the story possibilities, what did this mean for everyone? I was ready for a real character journey, and the movie doesn’t disappoint! Steve Rogers, and Natasha, they can’t move on. They keep themselves busy but they refuse to believe it’s over. Thor, believing he was the ultimate failure, lets himself go physically and mentally to drink. Bruce Banner, betters himself and combines his mind with the Hulk’s strength. Poor Clint Barton, who lost his whole family to the snap, became a murdering assassin. And Tony Stark out of all of them, moved on. He had a daughter with his wife Pepper Potts. Tony the one who could never let go found something more important. He found a future that allowed him to move past the loss. Seeing these different takes on everyone was great. Each of them processed the failure of saving the world differently and it shows just how human each of them are. It’s from the opportunity of time travel that the heroes have a chance to right the wrongs that have weighed down on them for five long years, and that is what sets the stage for a blast into MCU movies past.

This is a good moment to shift gears as it’s during the Ant-Man coined “Time Heist” that the movie really leans into giving back to the fans while still keeping true to the story at large. This middle third of the movie is insane when it comes to these callbacks. Captain America in an elevator eerily the same as in Winter Soldier, seeing the aftermath of Avengers from the viewpoint of Iron Man and Ant-Man commenting on the ridiculousness of the Hydra agents in disguise as Shield Agents. It’s not just poking fun at previous movies, it builds on them in very great ways.

A broken Thor has a moment with his dead mother who parts with him powerful wisdom to stop trying to be what he thinks he needs to be and just his best self. Hawkeye has to watch Natasha give up her life for him to rest on the moment, that just because he has lost his way he can get it back if nothing less than in her memory. Tony Stark gets to have a chance to speak to his father as a dad himself. He gets to have a moment to tell his father in a secret way that Howard Stark has a grandchild. While on the reverse Cap has to look from behind a window of the love of his life, still not getting his chance to be with her. After watching the movie a second time the foreshadowing of these two characters is extremely clear. Tony was getting closure and motivation, and Steve was reminded of what matters most in his world.

By the time our heroes come back with the stolen through time Infinity Stones, we have had great character building, amazing fan service moments, and great humor blended into this amazing drink that you won’t soon forget. Then Hulk snaps the dusted back into existence and Thanos wrecks the Avengers HQ, setting the stage for the most insane action set piece I have seen in a superhero movie. Captain America wielding Mjolnir! Cap, on your left! Avengers Assemble! Female heroine shot! There are just so many moments in this battle that it’s impossible to label them all, but I sure want to. Yet, it’s in the end where we get the ultimate ELEVEN YEAR payoff. Thanos proclaims “I am inevitable” Tony responds. “I. Am. Iron Man.” Snapping away Thanos and his entire army. Such an amazing call back and ending with Tony sacrificing himself to save the MCU that he started! It is chilling and beautiful, and you think, that’s a perfect no way top moment, but then the closing scene makes a run for this moment’s money! Captain America went back into the past and finally after over a hundred years, he got his dance with his one gal. God. Damn. The entire story team behind his movie are masters, and this movie will forever be their masterpiece.

This spoiler review was so hard to write because there are so many amazing moments. I miss so much that I loved! Here’s some more things that I liked reallllly fast!

Professor Hulk Selfie!

Ant-Man Tacos!

Grizzled Cap vs Boy Scout Cap!

America’s Ass!

Hulk No Like Stairs!

I could say so much more! But let me just close this rambling praise to this. Avengers: Endgame could have been just an good end to so much storytelling, and instead we got what will likely go down as the best conclusion to an on-screen superhero universe ever. Congratulations Marvel, you pulled it off.


Reviews

Avengers: Endgame – Spoiler Free Review

This is a spoiler free review for my more in depth thoughts check out my spoiler review also on this blog!

Score: 5/5


“Avengers: Endgame feels like a true love letter to the fans as well as the heroes that we have all watched over the past 11 years.”

Leaving the theater after Endgame my first major thought was how in the world can I review this as a standalone piece? How can I say if you just watched this movie that you’d love it the way I do? Well the answer I came up with is, I can’t. So I won’t. With that in mind I’ll give you my background on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU for short. I have seen every single movie in this bold melding of the movie and week to week TV episode experience. All 21 stories leading up to this final story. Is it required that you have watched every move in the MCU up to this point? No, but watching quite a few of them would greatly expand your experience at the theater when watching this masterstroke of a conclusion to this once in a lifetime movie industry event.  

Avengers: Endgame is special. It’s a movie that not only is telling a very clean cut story based on the previous Avengers film Infinity War, but also is closing the door on several characters that we as audience members have grown to know over the last 11 years. I don’t know if we are ever going to see something like this again in our lifetime and it’s absolutely crazy to me that the directors the Russo brothers pulled this thing off. It perfectly blends powerful moments, strengthened by callbacks to characters and threads from movies so long ago while still pushing the story forward. It’s quite ingenious how they took the whole MCU and used it as a playground to create some really stunning moments. Should we be surprised though? This is the team that gave us Civil War and Infinity War. Which speaking of that each of those movies had a moment that if you freeze frame looks like the big spread of a comic book cover. Well I can happily report that this film has one sequence that tops them all by a large margin. It was absolutely insane to watch and a must on the big screen.

The amount of emotion I felt as the movie played out had such a wild range. It’s deep, it’s heartful, and it’s weighty, while still being able to be fun and hopeful. Where the last film was really anchored around building up Thanos and his goal of attempting to “save” the universe from itself, this is the story that is all about the heroes we have been with for so long. I was always wondering how they would end this story of the original Avengers and the Infinity Stones and now that I have seen I have to say I’m very happy with how they tied it all up. It sure makes me wonder what the future films of the MCU will be like but this was the perfect send off to the original six Avengers all the way back in the 2012 release.

Does the movie feel like three hours? It actually feels like it’s six jammed into three. That’s not saying it feels rushed, it’s just they somehow packed that much movie into a manageable runtime. In terms of visuals it should be no shock that this film looks gorgeous. The special effects are top notch and it’s actually getting pretty damn scary how well they are able to make some things look so real. In terms of the score, they do a great job pulling from themes and cues from all over the MCU to make a very fun listen for the ears.

To say I loved this movie is a tad of understatement, this was one of the most satisfying visual stories I have ever watched in my life.