Best Movies of 2019

Best Dramas

  1. 1917 – A masterpiece. Yes, its epic-yet-intimate single-shot look, accomplished by meticulous planning and execution, is brilliant, but more importantly it engages us at the deepest level. I haven’t been this impacted by the sheer humanity of a film since Schindler’s List.
  2. Parasite This genre-twisting dramedy is utterly fascinating. We don’t know who to trust or what to expect, but we care about each of them. A breakthrough for acclaimed Korean director Bong Joon-ho. Classism sucks!
  3. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – This moving story of forgiving what’s wrong and encouraging what’s right didn’t make the Oscar list, but it should have. It’s a feel-good movie that goes through the darkness to get there. Director Marielle Stiles Heller’s Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood-inspired approach is disarmingly apt.
  4. Dark Waters – Another Oscar oversight. This real-life drama of a lawyer’s years-long struggle to expose the crimes of chemical giant DuPont, is powerfully told and beautifully acted.
  5. Ford v Ferrari – A satisfyingly old-fashioned action drama (except for the profanity), centered on two great performances, and building to a stirring race sequence conclusion.

Best Comedies

  1. Jojo Rabbit – Like Parasite, Jojo breaks rules, as do all of writer-director Taita Waitiki’s films. Yes, it’s quirky and funny, dancing along the edges of insensitivity (never quite falling in), but it’s also unexpectedly touching. My favorite comedy, and one of my favorite films, of the year.
  2. Knives Out – This neo-traditional whodunnit is well plotted, and full of delightfully eccentric characters and laughs. The mystery is fun if not brilliant, and the ending is satisfying. Is there a sequel in the works? Duh!
  3. Toy Story 4 – We didn’t think another conclusion was needed but, hey, we got to spend a little more time with the Toys we love! And it lays the groundwork for Toy Story: The Next Generation. Hmm…
  4. The Upside – I was dubious about this remake of the French film The Intouchables, but Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston give hilarious and tender life to this solid American version.

Best Action Movies

  1. Joker – We’re loath to take the journey with a protagonist who’s moving inexorably toward violence and insanity—and yet we do. Joaquin Phoenix squeezes poignance from Joker’s final efforts to remain human. And along the way, writer-director Todd Phillips indicts the society that has pushed him here.
  2. Captain Marvel – Unlike many of my peers, I tend to prefer superhero “origin” stories to their action-heavy follow-ups. No Wonder Woman wannabe, the Captain (Brie Larson) has a will and style of her own. A satisfying start from filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan K. Fleck.
  3. Shazam – I was a major Chuck fan, so I’m delighted to see it’s talented star Zachary Levi nail the lead in a hit movie! Shazam is a bit too long and a little uneven, but all-in-all it’s a great launch for this sweetly down-to-earth superhero.
  4. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Rise had so many loose ends to tie up! As a result, there was no way it was going to be “a fresh new take.” Still, it brings a satisfying conclusion to the Gen 3 character arcs. And, yes, I got choked up when Rey came “home” to Tatooine. Coming soon: Star Wars: A Fresh New Take?

Honorable Mentions

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – See it for the first 2/3rds, and for Leo and Brad. I’m just so tired of Tarantino’s obsession with revenge fantasies. I thought Once might be different, but in the end, well, forget it Jake, it’s Tarantino.
  • The Irishman – Yes, there’s a shattered loyalty theme, but unlike Joker, Scorsese’s violent mob characters are content with being sociopaths. Nothing really changes.
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home – One of the better S-M re-re-re-reboots. And Tom Holland is adorable.
  • Judy – Two words: Renée Zellweger. Solid film, great acting.
  • Bombshell – See this docudrama, too, for its acting, especially Charlize Theron.
  • Marriage Story – A thoughtful and sadly real story about people who don’t know how to make marriage work. Neither, I suspect, do the filmmakers.
  • Avengers: Endgame – I’ll miss these guys, even as I anticipate what’s next!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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27 Responses to Best Movies of 2019

  1. Mark Johnson says:

    I was totally absorbed in 1917 from start to fo finish. A beautiful and intimate portrayal about the devastation of war. Loved Parasite too. Inventive. Wacky. Bizarre. A wild ride!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Romika says:

    Parasite… oh man! This movie is beyond my capabilities. I’m so blown by this piece of arts, and I know words can never be enough to describe what all has been addressed and how.
    I’m just glad they managed to market this gem well enough, so that people like me got to see it. Every minute of it was worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim Smyth says:

    We have not been out to the movies in a while, I really want to see several on your list-Knives Out, Jojo Rabbit, and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood for sure. Maybe this weekend we can catch one of those!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Literally, the only movies I’ve seen on your list are 1917 (twice), Star Wars, and Endgame. 1917 was brilliant and emotional. The other two were just fun, except for the final Tony Stark scene – that was emotional. I’ve wanted to see several others, but it takes an hour to drive to the theater, and that’s a long way if you’ve got nothing else to do in town.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. revruss1220 says:

    Thanks for the reviews, Mitch. I trust your opinions more than most professional reviewers. There are still a few on this list we need to see… particularly Parasite. Being the violence-averse people we are, we have stayed away from Joker and The Irishman. But they keep showing up on everyone’s “Best of 2019” lists, so maybe we should grit our teeth and check them out. A movie on my list of the best of 2019 is The Farewell. Poignant and funny and poses some really important questions about living and dying.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reely Bernie says:

    Amen, Mitch. Parasite had a throw-away ending, Joker plagiarized two Scorsese films, and The Irishman was so long, I think I’m still watching it. 1917 was film defined, visually, audibly, and emotionally.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Erika says:

    My son is sitting in the theatre right now watching 1917. I am curious about what he will tell me.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Stevey says:

    Sweet list! Would like to see one on animated movies of 2019…. Spider man: Into the Spider verse was off the chains!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. badfinger20 says:

    1917 I really liked it because of the way they filmed it. I’ve always loved Orson Welle’s movie Touch of Evil because of the uncut first scene.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. M.B. Henry says:

    I was also shocked that Dark Waters didn’t get a bit more attention – I thought that was one of the best movies of the year. 1917 and JoJo were probably top two though, and I also really liked Harriet which I was surprised we didn’t see more award attention for.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thoroughly enjoyed Knives Out! Can’t wait to watch 1917.. I managed to catch less than a quarter of these, so, plenty of good films to add to the watch list!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m very eager to see “1917.”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thanks for doing this, Mitch! My husband and I are always looking for a good movie, and we’ve been disappointed. (We don’t always agree with the reviews.) But I know enough about you, your film-making background, and your values that I will keep this list for future reference.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Helen says:

    Wow, I really haven’t seen enough of the films on your list! Absolutely must check out Parasite, but I think your list will be good for getting through a bit of time stuck indoors! For me, I thought Jojo Rabbit was stunning; so moving and thoughtful but with some absolutely hilarious moments. I just caught Knives Out too, and found it very refreshing! Now to catch up with the rest of your list!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Mr. Blue says:

    1917 blew me away. I was not all that enamored with the ‘one shot’ idea. Felt a little bit like directors loving on themselves and their own abilities, but dang if it didn’t tell that story like nothing I could have expected.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Really Good Choices there, have seen most of them and couldn’t disagree with you. Great job

    Liked by 2 people

  17. scalesandsapphires says:

    Really good choice here!
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    Liked by 3 people

  18. This movie was straight out simple with no much cinematographic effect, it really portrayed the nineties.

    Liked by 2 people

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