Thinking of my Top Ten of 2019 was difficult—2019 was a year of “endings” in a big bad way. Games and Saga’s alike ended, TV shows finally had a winter, and views were askewed one last time (for now).
I only managed to see 73 movies in 2019 (compared to 68 in 2018), which is shy of the 100 I had aimed for. Out of those, 36 of them were new, or available to me, in 2019 (compared to 43 in 2018). Going into 2020, I hope to hit 100 movies watched, with at least 50 of them being new to me, but despite having a low creative output year in 2019, I did very much enjoy going to the movies in 2019. With all the available services, I’m hoping to meet or exceed my goals—while also enjoying some of the great films I missed in 2019.
10. The Intruder (dir. Deon Taylor)
Once again, in the interest of keeping this list lively, The Intruder stood out as a movie I really enjoyed this year. It’s a completely satisfying thriller, with great performances and a satisfying story. The end is a bit whack, but not enough to ruin it.
9. Joker (dir. Todd Phillips)
If I’m being honest, these last two spots could have had some films from my honorable mentions, but I was trying to avoid “I love comic book movies”. Yes, Joker is a comic book movie, but only on the loosest of definitions (in my opinion). Joker is a fine movie. I liked it. But, I don’t love it. It’s not the Joker movie I necessarily wanted, but I’m not even sure I know what that would be… except that it wouldn’t be exactly this. The performances are top-notch though and it’s definitely a movie you should watch.
8. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (dir. J.J. Abrams)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had A LOT to live up to. Not just in the sense of the Skywalker Saga, but as a saga ending story. In the same year, we also closed a BIG chapter of the MCU with Avengers: Endgame. I will likely have a podcast episode and lengthy post about Star Wars soon, so to keep things short and sweet: The Rise of Skywalker is a Star Wars movie. I enjoyed myself, it had emotion, and there were laser swords. Endgame did it better, but it won’t stop me from watching this one over and over either.
7. Alita: Battle Angel (dir. Robert Rodriguez)
A surprise movie for me. I had ZERO desire to see Alita: Battle Angel, but wanted to go to the movies one night and, bless AMC’s A-List’s heart, just randomly bought a ticket for it. Alita may have been my first Dolby Cinema theater experience and it was great! I loved the performances, the action, everything. I’d love to see more of this world too!
6. It Chapter Two (dir. Andy Muschietti)
IT Chapter Two works as both a stand-alone movie and a sequel. You don’t need to see IT to see this—the sequel recaps enough to get you through it. However, IT Chapter Two loses the same sense of horror the first one had. But Bill Hader’s performance? ::chef’s kiss::
5. Good Boys (dir. Gene Stupnitsky)
Good Boys is interesting in that it captures being a pre-teen boy accurately, if not embellished, but accurate. It’s a movie that I think, if it were not rated R, would be a great watch for my son (who is getting close and closer to pre-teen status). The catch? This movie is a better movie because it’s rated R.
4. Happy Death Day 2U (dir. Christopher Landon)
I loved the first movie and Happy Death Day 2U didn’t disappoint. I love that it built the world out a little bit and semi-switched genres from horror to sci-fi.
3. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (dir. Kevin Smith)
Does this one stick out? Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is EXACTLY what you expect. It’s also exactly the movie I needed in 2019. I am the Kevin Smith fan that has something to love about each and every one of his movies. Reboot is probably the movie the connected to me the most on this list, and I know it’s chop full of problems—there are things I would have done differently for sure, but this movie is worth the price of admission for the Ben Affleck scene alone. And, yeah, I realize the rest of my list may be made up of movies that are better made, but Jay and Silent Bob Reboot hit ME in ways that most of these films didn’t. Snoogans.
2. Pokémon Detective Pikachu (dir. Rob Letterman)
I can’t believe how much I liked Detective Pikachu. I read plenty of complaints about this film that I just didn’t understand—comparing it to being meta like Deadpool is incorrect. This film is chop full of world-building the establishes that Pokemon are part of it and that, in 2019, they’ve made cartoons, card games, and more off of these adorable creatures.
Avengers: Endgame, while not perfect, did something no other franchise has done: took the stories of 21 previous movies over the course of 11 years, and wrap it up. In a year that saw other franchises come to some sort of end, Endgame did it best.
The following list didn’t make it into my top ten for one reason or another. The most common reason was that they were either another superhero movie or a live-action remake.
- Captain Marvel – I very much enjoyed this one, but it wasn’t my favorite Marvel movie of 2019. Heck, it’s wasn’t even my favorite Captain Marvel movie of 2019…
- Shazam! – So much fun. Not that Marvel’s take wasn’t, but the childlike wonder that Zachary Levi brought to the titular character was perfection. If I wanted to fill my list with nothing by this genre; this would have been a top 5 movie for sure.
- Aladdin – I had a lot of doubts about this one, but I was so very happy with the end product here. Will Smith’s Genie pays homage to Robin Williams but isn’t imitating it. Mena Massoud’s Aladdin is just as charming as the animated counterpart and Naomi Scott’s Jasmine is changed just enough that I wish this version of the film was from her point of view.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home – What’s not to like about this movie? It’s the perfect follow up to Avengers: Endgame and may even be better than Homecoming.
- Zombieland: Double Tap – Sometimes nostalgia is all you need.
- Glass – I enjoyed this a bunch. It just wasn’t as good as Unbreakable or Split. I’m still not sure how I feel about that ending.
- The Lion King – This gets an honorable mention for its beauty. We didn’t need this remake… it had nothing new to say.
- Frozen II – I love this world, but I don’t know that I enjoyed it as much as anything else on my list. Solid follow up though (and my daughter LOVED it).