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

Joker Review

Joker is a dark look at society’s ignorance of the mentally ill and one of the must watch movies of the year.

Score: 5 / 5

Comic book inspired movies for well over a decade now have been looking to be taken seriously not as just blockbusters but as art with more to tell then good versus evil. In all that time I can count the amount of films that deserve that recognition with two fingers. After the Joker I can say it’s up to three.

When it was announced that Director/writer Todd Phillips was making a Joker standalone movie my first thought was this would not work. How can you make a movie around a monster like that? It would feel dark in a way that doesn’t sit right with you. Well that’s exactly what the Joker is, but it’s in the way it’s told and by the masterful performance by Joaquin Phoenix that makes this a movie you can’t not watch.

Joker is about a mentally ill man named Arthur Fleck (played by Phoenix). Raised in a terrible environment all he wants is to make people laugh, to be a comedian. Throughout Joker Arthur comes to learn more about his past and is pushed by society to the point of suffocation. He is a mental powder keg that is just waiting for that one day that pushes him too far. If you have never seen a comic book movie or read a comic book, you’d still have no problem at all taking in this movie.

Once again Joaquin Phoenix is an artist at the highest level, delivering another performance that keeps you drawn to the screen. You can feel the constant battles going on in Arthur’s head, the pain that he can’t lessen, and the disturbing satisfaction he finds when he accepts what he believes is his purpose in the world. This is awards winning material here that I would be shocked does not get nominations at all the big end of year shows. Along with Phoenix is an excellent cast of supporting characters that never outshine the lead but compliment the energy he is firing off in all directions.

To complete this haunting tale is the combination of excellent cinematography and a score that perfectly captures the serious dark dance that is on display. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher’s shots rest on moments of Arthur fixated in some mental loop, while Hildur Guðnadóttir’s score builds the tension of the explosion that is bound to happen one way or another. Warner Bros wiliness to let a filmmaking team create such a disturbing tale on a character that could just be used for selling toys is bold and truly separates them from the Disney empire that is looking to consume the entire industry. The film landscape needs movies like these just as it does empty entertainment ones.

Joker is a no holding back look at a mentally unstable man that society tossed aside. It’s a chilling look at how we treat the mentally ill and the general lack of understanding or attempt at compassion. It’s a fictional example that in our real world we should be discussing mental illness, we should be doing more. Joker is a must see for that reason alone but add in that it is actually a well-crafted work of art just adds to the need that for a movie fan this is a must watch.