My 10 Favorite Movies of 2019
The cinema of 2019 had a little bit of everything, from artistically compelling independent films to massively entertaining blockbusters. While there were more than enough mediocre and even bad movies, I found it harder than usual to pick my ten favorite movies of the year. But I dug deep, made some painful decisions and came up with a list I feel proud of.
FYI, this is not a “Best Movies of 2019” list, as I haven’t seen every movie that came out last year. These are the ten films I enjoyed the most, got the most out of or gave me the best time. Here we go.
10. “Knives Out”
Writer/director Rian Johnson’s who-done-it is an immensely entertaining experience, at times tense, hilarious, absurd and macabre. With sterling performances from the likes of Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis and some sharp writing from Johnson, “Knives Out” packs a lot of fun into a fleetly-paced 130 minutes.
9. “Ford v Ferrari”
Director James Mangold’s love letter to American ingenuity is an exhilarating epic held together by terrific acting from Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Mangold captures the thrill of racing around a track and the pure sensation of speed without losing sight of his characters. The result is a movie that gets your pulse racing one scene and hits you in the feels the next.
8. “Dolomite is My Name”
When was the last time Eddie Murphy was this good? Murphy pours his whole personality into this biopic about the rise of comedian and rap progenitor Rudy Ray Moore and delivers his best performance since “Bowfinger.” Wesley Snipes is also jaw-droppingly awesome in this. “Dolomite” may be crude, vulgar and not for everybody, but it’s also funny, inspiring and a testament to how good Murphy can be when he’s dialed in. Easily the best movie I saw from Netflix this year.
Inspired by Martin Scorcese’s “King of Comedy,” “Joker” is some dark stuff, delving deeply into the broken psychology of protagonist Arthur Fleck. Joaquin Phoenix gives a powerful performance as Fleck, giving us a character who’s seriously sick and whose actions make sense in a truly terrifying way.
6. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
An engrossing adventure into 70s Hollywood, the best way to describe this film is to say it’s a Quentin Tarantino flick. That describes not only the content you can expect to see on screen but also the skill and quality with which that content is rendered.
5. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
The story isn’t well-crafted, the human characters aren’t compelling and the dialogue is lousy. So what? There’s so much awesome kaiju action in this flick that all the other flaws are forgotten. This movie is great blockbuster spectacle and whisked back to my childhood, sitting on my grandma’s living room floor watching Japanese monster movies. I loved it!
4. “Jay & Silent Bob Reboot”
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Kevin Smith’s iconic stoners and this movie was just as likely to stink as be good. Luckily, this reboot/remake/sequel that tells essentially the same story as “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back” is almost as funny as it’s predecessor while adding a heaping helping of heart and maturity.
A funny, heartfelt story about friendship and confronting change, “Booksmart” soars on the strength of the performances of Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, as well as terrific writing and direction from Olivia Wilde. Far more the “the female ‘Superbad,’” this movie illuminates the anxiety everyone feels when anticipating change.
2. “Fighting with My Family”
If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the year that a movie made by WWE Studios about the rise of a pro wrestling superstar would be one of my favorite movies of 2019, I would’ve laughed myself to an early grave. Yet, this film is so funny, of great characters and inspiring, it completely won me over and I’m still thinking about it months later.
This story about a mediocre musician using the songs of the Beatles to rise to fame in a world that has mysteriously forgotten the Fab Four is almost everything I love about movies. It’s funny, well-written and features terrific acting from Himesh Patel and Lily James. It’s also full of fantastic music (obviously) and it tugs at the heartstrings. Add in a chase scene through a mall and a couple of explosions and it would be a perfect film.
Thanks to Fat Cats in Rexburg for providing screenings for movie reviews on EastIdahoNews.com.