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!

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.

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.

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 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.

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.


Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood Review

Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood’s pairing of Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt is genius and also happens to be one of the best movies of the year.

Score: 4.5 / 5

From that first trailer, I was always interested watching the pairing of Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Well after seeing this movie, I can say that this pairing works so damn well. Their performances of friends / co-workers are the heart of this movie and when they are playing off each it’s a joy to watch. But then, this isn’t just a pairing of two amazing actors, this is a Quentin Tarantino film, which in itself can either lead to some very interesting beats or something maybe a little self-indulgent.

Make no mistake this is Tarantino going full Tarantino. Playing with all the techniques and styles he has used in the past and then some. For some this could very easily pull you out of the movie, but I enjoyed the sampling on display that Tarantino decided to use throughout. If I had to give one fault to this movie, it has to do with the length, but let’s get back to that later.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, follow the fading TV actor, Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt man best friend Cliff Booth (Pitt) at the end of the 60’s. Dalton also happens to be the next door neighbor of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). This bit is important in that while the story is more focused on Dalton’s attempt to save his career and Booth’s misadventures with time off, it also ties in a revisionists take on the murder of Sharon Tate and her friends at the hands of the Manson cult.

What ensues is three plot lines following Dalton, Booth, and Tate through 1969 up to that fateful night. This is where that whole length issue comes into play for me. I am a huge fan of Margot Robbie, but at least to me, I felt that the Sharon Tate C-story line was more filler than anything else. The scenes add at least 20 minutes to a 2 hour and 41 minute run time, when they didn’t really add to what was the more interesting plot of Dalton and Booth. Their stories propelled the plot forward while Tate’s was just… there? You don’t really see growth or much of anything of consequence from the Tate content other than it ties to Manson murders. But then this could have been accomplished in half the time or less. That said I do enjoy Margot Robbie’s performance, it just felt like extra fluff that I would imagine in a longer cut for big fans of the movie, and not for a theatrical run.

Speaking of Robbie, the cast as a whole is just jam packed with great talent. From top to bottom, everyone is a great actor that just elevates the entire film. I constantly would think to myself “I know that guy! I’ve seen her before!”. It helped give extra energy to every scene. Out of everyone though, DiCaprio is on another level in this movie. His TV actor on the decline Dalton was such an interesting character to watch, and his scenes were my favorites by a mile. There’s a particular sequence where he is acting as the villain of the week in a new western show (opposite the excellent Timothy Olyphant – WATCH JUSTIFIED people!) that for me was the crown jewel of acting in this movie.

Equally, the climax of the movie made up for the extraneous length with such a perfect payoff between, Dalton, Booth, and the Manson “family”. The build up to what occurs is tense, and what follows is a hilarious exploding finish that still finds a way to nicely tie into the friendship of Dalton and Booth.

This is easily my favorite movie of the summer so far and one of the best of the year, so if you don’t mind some of Tarantino’s quirkiness or a movie almost pushing closer to the three hour mark, you owe to yourself to give this excellent film a watch in a theater near you.