Now that we’ve gotten the unpleasantness of the worst movies of 2019 out of the way (story HERE), we can focus on the great movies that came out this year. While this list is only five movies long, it could have easily been much longer and it doesn’t mean a that a project wasn’t great if you don’t see it here.
What’s not on here: The Irishman isn’t here. I love Scorsese and that legendary cast, but we’ve seen it before. The Two Popes was excellent and in a less competitive year would have made this list. Joker isn’t on here because it’s simply not a good movie. I’m breaking from the pack there. It was boring.
What is here: A lot of Scarlett Johansson. I didn’t realize it until I put the list down on paper but she had a stellar year. We’ve also got a lot of long films. Only one of the movies listed are below two hours and a pair of them fly past the two and a half hour point easily.
Honorable mention: The Farewell. Much love for that life affirming flim. I’ll be rooting for Awkwafina come awards season, and hopefully Lu Lu Wang gets more recognition for her direction. Toy Story 4 still demonstrates we love Buzz and Woody, and Knives Out revived the murder mystery genre for the time being.
Without further delay, here are my best movies of 2019:
Parasite: The great foreign movies can make you forget the subtitles are there, delivering such a powerful story we don’t even realize we’re not speaking the same language. This South Korean triumph hooks you from the beginning and doesn’t let go. It manages to be everything stretching from a smart comedy to a torturous suspense thriller, and the final 20 minutes will have you rethinking the journey of a poor family that infiltrates a wealthier and younger family, for weeks to come.
JoJo Rabbit: This clever film that actually goofs on the Nazis during the final months of World War II and their indoctrination of young children into a message of love was an easy winner for director Taika Waititi. It’s a truly unique fable that illustrates a young man’s journey through a fog of hate in an effort to try and find out if there is any good in the world instead of the hate being preached to him by the adults around him.
Marriage Story: The best acted movie of the year stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, in an absolutely heartbreaking tale of a family going through a painful divorce with the custody of their young son at stake. Laura Dern’s take as a divorce attorney also deserves a lot of credit in a film. There is nothing standing between you and these characters and they tear themselves apart in front of you. It’s not all bad, there are some redeeming qualities that really make the experience special.
Once upon a time…. in Hollywood: It’s one of Tarantino’s best, and whenever you throw Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt together in a story of two washed up actors fighting to remain relevant, you’ve got yourself something epic. It’s a slow but satisfying crawl up to a final sequence that got one of the biggest “pops” out of an audience I heard all year.
Avengers: Endgame: The payoff for an 11 year journey consisting of 22 films was everything we could have hoped for, and the box office demonstrated that with the highest grossing numbers of all time. We love these characters and this mythology and while we’ve got more coming, this is the high point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we’ll always remember.