With 2019 coming to a close, here are my top 10 films of the year.
2019 was one of the best years for cinema in a long time. Thinking about this list, it was a challenge deciding which film was going to go where since there were a lot of movies I enjoyed watching this year. These are my favorites of the year, along with some honorable mentions.
10. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Many viewers saw this movie and said it didn’t live up to its predecessors in a variety of ways. I happen to be one who disagrees since I believe this is the best animated film of the year and should win the “Best Animated Feature” award at the Oscars next year. I believe it’s an extremely satisfying finale to one of the best trilogies of the decade. It has visually stunning animation, a heartfelt and charming story, and great characters to carry it through. I hope some other films in this series do end up happening, although it did end on a great note. If it were to stop, then I’d be okay with it.
9. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is one of the best feel-good films I’ve seen all year. Tom Hanks really embodies the character of Mister Rogers and has proven, once again, why he’s arguably the greatest actor of all time. An Oscar nomination is highly likely. However, what impacted me the most about this film is the story, considering it tells it from a perspective of another individual and how Misters Rogers’ kindness and care changed his life for the better. It’s a movie about forgiveness and how holding on to hate and anger only takes a toll on you. A must watch!
Joker is a film people are still discussing and I believe it’ll be the topic of many conversations for years to come. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t expecting much from it since Todd Phillips really hasn’t directed anything that has impressed me. The only thing this movie had going for it is Joaquin Phoenix, who truly is one of the best actors working today. I can also say after the first viewing of this, I was a bit iffy on it. But, it has definitely grown on me the more I think about it. Phoenix’s performance as Arthur Fleck/Joker is, without a doubt, the best performance of the year. If he doesn’t win “Best Actor,” it’s a robbery.
I also enjoyed the different take on the character and how it’s somewhat relevant to our society. I’m not justifying someone going full Joker either, but it does say a lot about how some people turn their backs on those seeking help. Joker requires multiple viewings, in my opinion, but it’s definitely one of the best films of the year.
7. Spider-Man: Far From Home
I think I enjoyed Spider-Man: Far From Home more than most. In my opinion, it’s one of the best live-action Spider-Man films ever made for a lot of reasons. For one, I believe this is the performance where Tom Holland truly embodies the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I’m not stating he wasn’t great in the others, but he really makes it his own in this one. I also think Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck/Mysterio delivers one of the best villains we have seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. Lastly, I also think it’s a great tribute to not only Tony Stark/Iron Man, but all the films that came before it. It’s not only a surprisingly fantastic finale to phase three of the MCU, but a great starting point for everything to come after it.
6. Uncut Gems
If Adam Sandler were to turn in more performances like this, which he has shown shades of in the past (Punch-Drunk Love and The Meyerowitz Stories), I wouldn’t be as critical of his films. Let’s be honest; most of his recent efforts are pretty trash. But, moving forward, he needs to do more things like Uncut Gems. There hasn’t been a film I’ve seen this year where I was genuinely in awe of all the stupid decisions the protagonist was making. I was constantly anxious and on the edge of my seat watching Sandler go to work as Howard Ratner in this film. He’s another one who needs to, at the very least, be considered come awards season. Kevin Garnett is also surprisingly great in this movie.
5. Jojo Rabbit
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t very excited to see Jojo Rabbit. I saw the trailer and it didn’t catch my attention. But, I’m a huge fan of Taika Waititi and what he’s been doing lately. Plus, the cast is great. Little did I know it would be one of the best films of the year. It’s mostly a comedic satire on a very depressing time in history. At the same time, it’s a heartfelt drama about realizing that sometimes, the way you feel about something or a person/group of people may be wrong. It may not be for everyone, but it was definitely a movie I genuinely enjoyed.
4. Marriage Story
Noah Baumbach is a fantastic storyteller and although I recognize his movies may not be for everyone, you can’t deny how gifted of a filmmaker he is. With that being said, I think Marriage Story is some of his best work to date. It’s a brutally honest film about the trails and tribulations a couple can go through in marriage and it doesn’t sugar coat it at all. What stands out the most are the brilliant performances from the leads, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. This is the best either has ever been and come Oscar time, they should get plenty of love.
3. FORD V. FERRARI
I was not expecting to enjoy FORD V. FERRARI as much as I did. It surpassed my expectations in almost every way imaginable and it’s, without a doubt, one of the best movies of the year. It may not be as good as Logan, but it’s pretty close and an extremely worthy follow-up to it. James Mangold continues to impress. The performances are remarkable, especially from Christian Bale. An Oscar nomination is a lock at this point. This film delivers incredible car racing sequences, which are some of the best I’ve ever seen, a ton of humor, a couple of tearjerking moments, and fantastic cinematography and visual effects, which is the standout here. If you haven’t seen it, please do so.
2. Avengers: Endgame
Seeing all that transpired in Avengers: Infinity War, the wait for Endgame was pretty brutal. I wasn’t sure what to expect, if I’m being honest. But wow, did this movie deliver in almost every aspect. In my opinion, it’s the best film the MCU has ever produced and the payoff is so worth it after all of these years. This is definitely Steve Rogers/Captain America and Tony Stark/Iron Man’s movie and the more you see it, the more you realize how great of a tribute it is to those characters after all they’ve done for these movies this past decade. It’s bittersweet knowing Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. probably won’t return, but with the MCU, never say never. I also have to give credit to Josh Brolin as Thanos, who delivers the greatest villain I’ve ever seen in a superhero film. It’s a shame he’s probably gone too, but I think he has a better chance at returning than the others.
Parasite is a movie that came completely out of left field. Director Bong Joon-ho has been doing this for quite awhile and has created some fantastic features, specifically The Host and Snowpiercer. However, without a doubt, this is his best film to date. Parasite is an absolutely jaw-dropping experience and I was not ready for it at all. It’s hard to put this film in a box in terms of its genre since it creates so many tones throughout the watch. It’s a comedy, a drama, a thriller, and in some cases, a horror movie all at once. I can’t recommend this movie enough and it’s the best movie of the year, for sure.
- Richard Jewell
- Long Shot
- Dark Waters
- Toy Story 4
- Alita: Battle Angel
What are some of your favorite films of the year? Feel free to discuss below!