Out of 74 movies, I wanted to pick a few that really stood out, and then talk briefly about a few that I really didn’t enjoy. I went to the theater quite a bit this year, as I live pretty close to one with couch-seats and luckily have a few film-buddies to meet up with. Other films that I didn’t get a chance to see while they were on the big screen were rented at home or watched through a myriad of streaming services I’ve accrued over the years.
In no particular order, here are ten films that really stood out to me.
A real delight of failure and crushed dreams.
A family of criminals gets to be perfectly human.
Nicole Kidman is a badass drunk detective.
Under the boarrrrddddwalk. Boardwalk.
The best breakup film ever.
I cried quite a bit—major family feelings.
The world is getting hotter, and Ethan Hawke is too, inexplicably.
Cool buddy comedy with a talented younger cast.
Eat the rich.
Honorable mention: Ford Vs. Ferrari.
Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker
Look, I don’t want to spoil this for anyone who cares, but has somehow not seen the film yet. I was super disappointed in how the series ended, and what a raw deal Rose got. Did we need yet another droid? It’s particularly sad that with the Mandolorian really succeeding as a tv show, this is the pap we get in theaters. Demi is better at tearing this apart than I am.
Wow. Even as a fan of crap action films, this was a letdown.
Hobbes & Shaw
Listen, I love the Fast & Furious series like a warm blanket—it has cars, explosions, family, and little-to-no-complexity. Some of that was still present in this film, but they managed to hamstring the only female protagonist, and replace all the joy with ball jokes.
I don’t know why I expected this to be great, but it was just hokey as hell.
I know, right? I hated the new Star Wars and the end of the Avenger’s duology? I’m obviously a monster. Unfortunately, this movie was much like Rise of Skywalker in that it mistook random scenes of characters folks recognize for a plot or joy. It takes more than seeing Spider-Man appear on screen for me to be excited these days—just look at the incredible Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse for tips on how to do this well. I think some plot lines do better in multiple comics, and not on the silver screen. Smaller, more fun superhero films in 2020, please.
Wow, 2019 was a great year for films! If you want to read longer reviews of the above films, visit my movies page. I didn’t set out to watch more films this year, but with Amazon Prime, Criterion, Kanopy, iTunes, and Netflix, it was super easy to watch most of the stuff I wanted to see. I finally upgraded to a 4K TV and 4K Apple TV too, so I will likely watch even more things at my house without trekking to the land of empty cola machines and questionable curly fries.
Looking towards next year, the films I’m currently most excited about are:
A Promising Young Woman
Revenge films? Yes please.
One of the coolest X-Men teams ever, in the theater.
No Time to Die
I honestly love James Bond films, and I can’t pretend otherwise.
I don’t know why I love Resident Evil movies so much, but the fact that Paul W.S. Anderson has moved to a new video game adaptation has me stoked.
The David Lynch version of Dune, in all of its weirdness, was one of the movies I watched on repeat as a child. I know, that explains a lot, right? I can’t wait to see what Denis Villeneuve does with the subject matter. The spice must flow!