The Top Ten Films For 2019
For most film sites, a top ten, year-end list is a thing to behold, a collection of minds, and personalities, operating together as one to tell you what they thought about what they covered during the previous year.
Mostly what we did was list the top movies we’ve actually seen this year in no particular order and then wrote about them in no particular order.
Here’s the list from 2019:
- Avengers: Endgame
- Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
- Ford v Ferrari
- The Irishman
- Knives Out
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Rambo: Last Blood
- Terminator: Dark Fate
By the way, “we’ve seen it” doesn’t mean “we watched it and didn’t shit on it” or “we wrote a lot of nicey-nicey posts about it.”
“We’ve seen it” means we thought the film was interesting and relevant enough to grab your attention and to write about it.
This means that all these write-ups come from people who cared enough to watch the films in question and to send their very best to you at the end of the year.
This kind of clear-eyed analysis is what makes us the best non-shilling entertainment/film/geek site on the Internet right now.
You can be assured we’ll continue to deliver the same brand promise in 2020. Ok, let’s get into it.
Avengers: Endgame is both the end of the MCU, the end of cinema and the end of Western Civilization.
We have chosen the form of our destructor in order to make said destruction as palatable and pain-free as possible.
Is it entertaining? Sure. Things happen. Someone read that Cat In The Tree book.
But it is absolutely cold and calculated, devoid of all inspiration, creativity and even thought. But so is almost everything else, right, so what’s the problem?
The key difference here, where it becomes something, not just plastic but nefarious, is in social engineering. Talentless but very serious push-button-bitch “director” Squint Russo turns up in his own movie to give kids a good taste of the kinder, gentler suburban homosexuality.
The failed pop signer Brie Larson is given completely unearned moments of badassery in order to set up her role at the future of the franchise. A nakedly political and cringe-inducing “Look At Us” girl-power moment appears to be ported straight from an En Vogue video circa 1999.
Fuck this movie.
Fuck the MCU.
If you disagree you are a cheese-eating, mousefucker who needs to go to a group therapy session and cry about how you cry with your boyfriend.
Martin Scorsese has been running around—along with a few other directors who have had enough—calling comic book-based, superhero movies, “theme park ride” movies that aren’t cinema.
Well, part of this was to generate interest in his Netflix film, The Irishman, and the $200 million dollar film with a de-aged De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino, it feels like an auteurs own version of a theme park ride that goes on too long.
Sure, the band is back together, and the beats are all there from Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino, and even a touch of The Departed is in there, and it feels overall like Scorsese’s final word on the mafia genre he built his career on, and—it falls flat in the middle and coasts to the end.
Pacino drops a monster performance, out acting every person in every scene with him, without being the overwrought Al Pacino we’ve been used to since Scent of A Woman, but that alone isn’t enough for someone to wonder if this film couldn’t have been done better using younger actors in flashbacks, rather than leveraging technology that may one day be used to “deep fake” Christopher Reeves’s head onto Michael B. Jordan’s body for a future Superman film.
But if you’re looking for a break from the MCU madness—and an argument that those films have had a deeper influence on viewers, filmmakers, distributors, and others, that even Scorsese and Copolla have to acknowledge—The Irishman is that break.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
In Tom Holland’s 5th total, 2nd stand-alone, go around as the titular web-slinger the action indeed took us far from home…if you live in NYC that is.
Facing Jake Gyllenhal in his best role since Brokeback Mountain as Mysterio the man with an army of nearly magical drones. While under the guise of being an average high schooler on a fancy field trip young Peter had to not only save the ancient city of Venice but also his fledgling relationship with MJ.
Peter was helped along the way by Ned who is the best character in any of these yet overall the whole thing played like an homage to Iron Man. I didn’t like it but I think they are deliberately skewing younger. It was made for $160 million and made $1.13 Billion and the sequel is due out 2021 so what do I know.
Watching the trailer for Knives Out makes you wonder how the hell this movie made any money and then you watch it and it all comes home.
From Chris Evans launching his post-Captain America career to Daniel Craig acting like he’s never even heard of James Bond before, this movie is what Agatha Christie was looking for from Kenneth Branagh and didn’t get.
Rian Johnson—who ruined Star Wars because he thought the characters were low rent and not interesting—actually cares about these characters and the nature of the “whodunit?” MacGuffin that drives the film to its predictable conclusion.
Knives Out is for an audience that doesn’t care about the MCU, never cared about Disney after about the age of five, and likes their tea warm, their Downton Abbey sounding vaguely English, and their Little Women actresses in intimate roles.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Skywalker was one of few, if not only, movies ever to be both highly anticipated and highly avoided by fans.
Though not the franchises best, it was also not the complete disaster that most readers here thought it was going to be and had some good things to like once the story finally settled down halfway through.
Even though the movie needs you to shut off your brain in order for some parts of it to work, it unexpectedly gave each of the original trilogy’s main characters nice final moments before they finally said goodbye to everyone forever, which is probably one of the best things you could have asked the movie to do.
Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
Bad news; Hollywood has lost its balls.
It seems like too many agendas are being pushed onto filmmakers in an attempt to be un-inclusive and appeal to everyone and their mother.
The good news is Quentin Tarantino doesn’t give a fuck about you or your Momma. He just wants to tell his story, and Sony happily let him with no strings attached.
The result is an all-timer of a film, as well as a love letter to the town (and era) that serves as the home of the medium.
With Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, Tarantino has his sights locked in on woke Hollywood, and his historical revisionism of August 8, 1969, makes me wonder what type of beautiful world we would live in had there really been a Cliff Booth next door…
Written from the heart, shot through the eye of a master, and acted by the best in the business, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is here to save us all from the goddamned hippies.
Ford v Ferrari
Just when you thought Americans couldn’t make movies like this anymore, you get Ford v Ferrari.
Possibly the least “Matt Damon” level of acting in Matt Damon’s career, he pulls it off as Carroll Shelby, creator of the Ford Shelby, and winner of Le Mans and the guy who told Henry Ford III that they could hire him and his expertise to get a shot…a shot…at maybe driving at Le Mans.
But not winning it.
Christian Bale pisses excellence in his role as Ken Miles, but the real star moment of the film comes when Shelby takes Ford out in his new car that has a shot at Le Mans and Ford cries in the car. The grown man who opened the film by threatening everyone at the Ford Company with being fired if they didn’t come up with an idea as good as the one his grandfather had.
Ford cries because that’s the moment that all entrepreneurs, creatives, and all others should be chasing for their entire lives: A brief moment of perfection in the sun when it all comes together, all the work, the sweat, the blood and the anger, and the sublime takes over the regular ridiculous for one brief moment.
Turns out that Americans can make cars–and movies–that give the hope of that sensation still.
Rambo: Last Blood
Rambo: Last Blood, is the most violent, subversive, and unrepentant action movie of the year, and it’s also the most pointless.
Why did Sly make this film?
Part of the problem with Stallone is that he can’t leave well enough alone with past acts of excellence—Rocky being the other example—and seems to have only had two good ideas ever as a filmmaker.
Sure, the kills are great and the end sequence with the Mexican drug army getting killed in the tunnels that honeycomb Rambo’s property is invigorating but other than the thrill, there’s no there, there.
That’s really too bad because to watch Rambo cut through Mexico with a treacherous swath would have been a real cultural and film making risk, which if you watch the sequences in Mexico, the suspicion you’re left with is that Stallone wanted to make a film where Rambo takes on the Mexican drug cartels in Mexico, but he made the story decision to move the fight north of the border.
Rambo: Last Blood is exactly what it claims to be: Stallone’s swan song to the Rambo character. And it’s a helluva swan song.
But, rest assured, Rambo will somehow return to life.
I only thoroughly enjoyed 5 films this year and liked one more enough to give it a thumbs up. Those films I loved are Joker, Endgame, The Lighthouse, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, Richard Jewell and Shazam got the slightly enthusiastic thumb.
For the most part, the rest were fucking garbage in a garbage year at the box office from a garbage, woke industry.
Amongst those films, there were two works of art, Joker and The Lighthouse.
Joker was not a superhero movie. Joker was not a Hollywood movie from any era but the mid 70’s. Joker could have been a Scorsese movie circa 1974.
Joker was part King of Comedy, part Mean Streets and part Taxi Driver. It was shot as if by the very same cinematographer did it through Scorsese’s lens.
It was not a copy but a loving wholly original homage from one hell of a creator who’s been making dopey dick joke films for the last 15 years.
Joaquin Phoenix deserves an Oscar, Todd Phillips deserves two as does the cinematographer. And I hope they never make a sequel. It’s a near-perfect film and shows what The Batman could be in the right hands but never will.
Joker is the best film of 2019. Rupert Pupkin lives on.
Terminator: Dark Fate
I rarely walk out of films, I even finish most films I start on Netflix. And I believe I’ve only walked out of a handful of films in the thee-AY-ter.
Now, add Terminator: Dark Fate to my shortlist of films I’ve bolted out on.
Truth be told, I didn’t pay to see it. At the time it came out I was working at a film festival gig in a multiplex. And when the gig was over, I snuck in and watched it. All by myself. No one else was in the IMAX auditorium. On a Friday evening!
But boy is it awful. I thought Genisys was the low point. I was actually pining for the logic and moral complexity of that piece of crap.
Then there’s Linda Hamilton. When the trailer came out, I made a few cracks on Film Goblin talkbacks about how wretched she looks.
All I could think about while watching her is how she and Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver and… I don’t know… maybe Angela Bassett (like, you know, as the Morgan Freeman female counterpart token), should all team up and do one of those old fart-type movies like Road Hogs or Last Vegas.
So… when was the walkout moment?
When they recruit Arnold: he’s old and has a gray beard with nary an explanation and got a family because he’s learned to love as a Terminator.
Dark Fate’s a tiresome pile-on of the same repetitive chase shit we’ve seen five times previously, never mind copycats like Logan and The Matrix and Jupiter Ascending and the whole Chosen One v. Killer genre.
So I just said: “Life’s too short. That highway’s a callin.”
That’s the end of 2019.