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.


Us Review

Us, is a masterpiece of horror suspense, mixing terrific performances, a fresh premise, a haunting score, and visuals that will stick in your mind well after you have left the theater.

Score: 5/5

Holy hell. I… need to collect myself. Even after a whole evening of time to process what I just watched the brilliance of Us is still taking hold of my brain. Where do I even begin? Well let’s get it out of the way. This is a masterclass horror suspense movie that if you like well crafted art you HAVE to watch this movie. There’s no debating it, you have to.

Us follows Adelaide Wilson, played by the talented Lupita Nyong’o, and her family who are getting terrorized by doppelgangers who want nothing short of their deaths. That’s the simplest way of describing this plot, but it’s so much more. I refuse to spoil anything else about the plot of this movie in specifics, it’s something that everyone should experience for themselves. As the film unravels you learn more and more of the extent of this horror scenario, that it bleeds into a thriller with even more to say. This isn’t just horror for horror’s sake though, there is depth to the journey that Adelaide goes through as the story unfolds. Twists and turns aplenty and it leads to a tense ending that is just… so… great.

I could gush endlessly just on the plot, but this movie has a whole whole lot more going on. Starting with the fact that the main cast are playing two roles throughout the whole film! Lupita Nyong’o deserves award nominations next year for these performances. Every look, every movement, every sound, she delivers a performance I couldn’t take my attention away from. This praise goes out to the rest of the family as well. Winston Duke, who plays Adelaide’s husband Gabe Wilson, is another favorite because of the humor he brings to the table. Which works so beautifully to balance out the pure darkness that the movie would have fallen into. It’s a work of genius by writer/director/producer Jordan Peele that allows the movie to breath and not overwhelm the audience. Rounding out the family are Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, playing the daughter and son of Adelaide respectfully. Evan Alex’s performance of Jason Wilson’s doppelganger Pluto is particularly disturbing.

Excellent plot, superb cast, could there be more? Oh so much more. The score, my god the score, paired with the soundtrack selection this is one of those scores that tells the story just as much as anything else. It sets the mood of each scene perfectly, never feeling out of place or leading you on in an intrusive way. Paired with this is cinematography and shot composition that is a treat to the eyes and mind. Peele littered this movie with easter eggs to so much horror iconography. Which brings me to another point. You can’t just watch it once. Just once you miss out on finding all of these easter eggs, but more importantly you miss out on deconstructing all the visual queues that the movie sets up in leading to the conclusion of the film.

If you are a fan of movies, do yourself a favor and see this movie, give yourself a couple of days, and then see it again. It’s that kind of movie. Now for those with a dislike of horror, this isn’t a pop-up scare movie, or one that just revels in gore. It has balance, almost to a scientific level of precision. So come on, experience Us and then you can thank me later for the recommendation. You’re welcome.