Normally I would do a top ten list and count down the movies I had seen in the past year. However, as I talked about here about two years ago, our society no longer has the ability to put out good movies, barring rare and isolated exceptions. So, I stopped seeing movies on a regular basis a while back and I’ve been very happy with the result.
I can’t create annual top ten lists anymore since Hollywood can’t make ten good movies in a year. They can make about three to five. That’s how many I can tell you were really good in 2019.
Here they are in no particular order; the five really good movies I saw in 2019.
The Marvel franchise is the one near-consistent exception to the “Hollywood can’t make good movies anymore” condition. Avengers: Endgame was not perfect, but it was still fantastic. The “Five Years Later” caption really surprised me, and having a movie actually surprise me these days is a pretty rare event. The action, script, acting, and callbacks were all fantastic. I think the movie was a little light on action and could have used some more, but that’s a minor complaint.
I really don’t like how a random rat saved the universe (by accidentally walking over a button and bringing Ant-Man back into our universe). That was lazy writing. However, other than that, I have no real big problems with the story.
The time travel concept where going back in time creates a different universe is interesting. You can even kill your past self, and nothing happens to you (which Nebula actually did). I think the traditional time travel concepts make for a more interesting story and are beautifully done in movies like Primer and Terminator. If you went back in time and were free to do whatever you wanted, you’d essentially be a god. I discuss time travel here.
I liked Infinity War much more than I did Endgame. Infinity War is one of the most impressive movies ever made, but Endgame was still good.
Marvel movies are starting to show cracks of badness, however. Captain Marvel was pretty shitty and the future Marvel movies are looking pretty bad (Natalie Portman is going to be the new Thor? Really? Great.) Marvel’s reign may be over. We’ll see.
Ford v Ferrari
Wow. I was surprised at how great this movie was. I wasn’t expecting to like it this much.
What a fantastic Alpha Male movie. Most movies today don’t have a single Alpha Male character in them (and if they do they are portrayed badly), but Ford v Ferrari has about five of them, and they’re all interesting. Car racing movies tend to be cliché and tired, but Ford v Ferrari kept me engaged throughout the entire run time, and that’s no small feat since this is a very long movie.
The movie is mostly about Alpha Male friendship. Christian Bale plays a flawed Alpha and watching him navigate this character was really interesting. I think Bale doesn’t get the credit he deserves as an actor since being Batman. He’s really, really good. Matt Damon is somewhat irritating in real life but in this movie, he was fantastic; I forgot it was Matt Damon (thankfully).
The racing scenes were really impressive and often induced a real emotional response.
I highly recommend this movie.
I absolutely loved this movie, but I admit I’m very biased. I reviewed it here.
Another amazing installment in the John Wick series; these movies are as close to flawless action movies as you can get. They really are a gift. I reviewed this movie here.
And my favorite movie of 2019 was…
Like with Ford v Ferrari, I was shocked I liked this movie as much as I did. I figured I’d enjoy it a little, but I had no idea I’d walk out of the movie theater thinking it was the best movie I had seen all year. And it was.
I don’t even like horror movies. I think horror movies are immature and stupid. Evil ghost faces are not scary. Weird kids are not scary. Jump scares aren’t scary! When you jolt from a jump scare that’s not fear, that’s reflex. Actual fear is when the movie is quiet and you’re freaked the fuck out. Now that’s a quality horror movie. But, alas, Hollywood can’t make those anymore (with rare exception; Hereditary was a good horror movie). Today, horror movies are full of jump scares to scare all the teenage girls in the audience. Stupid.
Doctor Sleep is good because it’s not really a horror movie, at least not in the traditional sense. It’s a sequel to a horror movie (The Shining), and it’s certainly a disturbing movie, in that really horrible things happen to all kinds of innocent people. But the goal of the movie isn’t really to scare you. Instead, it’s just a really good story with really compelling acting and characters.
This is amazing considering that just about every Steven King movie adaptation is dreadful. The Pet Sematary remake was lame. That god damned Dark Tower movie was a travesty. The IT movies were average and overrated.
On the other hand, Doctor Sleep is one of those near-perfect movies where everything makes sense. You actually give a shit about the characters, the ending is really fun, the villains are very well defined and have clear goals, all the characters are flawed (and thus interesting), the script is realistic, and the direction is fantastic.
I can’t believe I like a horror movie this much and a Steven King movie this much, but I do. Doctor Sleep is the best movie I’ve seen all year. It was fucking great.
Movies That Were Okay but Not Great
There were five more movies I saw in 2019 that were okay but not nearly good enough to be what I consider best of the year.
Joker was good. Not great, but good. I think it’s a little overrated because a lot of SJW types don’t like it, therefore all the anti-SJW guys think the movie is better than it actually is. That being said, the movie was still good and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance was impressive. I really liked how it made Gotham City look like a trash heap. Very well done. And to be fair to the anti-SJW’s, it does take balls these days for people in Hollywood to make a movie that doesn’t lean heavily in the left-wing direction, so they get kudos for that.
Brightburn was mildly fun. The idea of a purely evil Superman kid is interesting. I was surprised such an idea got greenlit (both for creative reasons and legal reasons). It was a lower budget movie, but they made it work. Again, I don’t like horror movies, so I think some of the gore in this movie was just there to be gory, but I still liked the film. I’m looking more forward to a sequel than this actual movie, if they make one (and I think they should).
Godzilla: King of All Monsters was really fun. I grew up with Godzilla and had toys of him, King Ghidorah and Rodan. All three of these monsters were front and center in this movie. Like Pacific Rim, this movie made my inner little boy very happy. The problem with the movie is that the trailers lied to us; instead of showcasing tons of monsters it just showcased four of them. It also had the usual failing of all monster movies in that it spent way too much time focusing on very boring human characters when all I wanted to see was Godzilla smashing buildings and shit. But hey, we have to set our expectations accordingly these days.
The Irishman was very well done, of course. It just wasn’t nearly as good as other Scorsese films. It was fun to see Pesci again and DeNiro gives his best performance in many, many years.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was done by my favorite director in the modern era, Quentin Tarantino. Just like The Irishman, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a well done movie but probably the weakest film that director has ever done. The scene with Bruce Lee was really fun, and DiCaprio is underrated as an actor the same way Bale is.
Looking at the movie release schedule for 2020, I sadly only saw two movies that I’m really excited to see (Tenet and The King’s Man). Historically they’re would be at least 15-20 movies I’d be excited about.
Oh well. The good news is that it seems Hollywood is now able to make good TV shows instead of movies. Dark Crystal – Age of Resistance and The Mandalorian are both surprisingly good (for the most part; episode 4 of Mandalorian was really bad). I should probably do my next movie article on cool TV shows rather than movies…