It’s that time again, time to list the top films of the previous year. For The Best List, I have compiled the TOP 20 of my favorite films of 2019. Like every year, some movies I just never got the chance of seeing. So if you really liked a film and don’t see it on here, it’s either because I hated it, wasn’t enough room or I just didn’t see it.
So let’s begin, shall we?
TOP 20 BEST FILMS OF 2019!
20. The Fanatic – Why is possibly the worst film of 2019 on my best list? Well, because it’s so bad, it practically dares me to not include it. John Travolta acts his heart out in this awful terrible movie. The first lines of dialogue are him rushing through a conversation because he says I have to go poop. That’s our first line, I gotta go poop. And it only gets more bizarre and batshit from there. But I’ll leave that for when I talk about it again in my worst list. Because of course it made the worst list!
19. Shaft – I was so uninterested in this film, it wasn’t even close to being on my radar. But when it left theaters, I thought why not give it a shot. I even rewatched the other Shaft film with Samuel L. Jackson, just so I knew what was going on in the sequel. Turns out that wasn’t necessary, as this works as a standalone film. Which is good, since that film sucks. You might be thinking, well doesn’t this film suck too? I’ve seen it pop up on just about every worst of the year list. Well they’re wrong, damn it! This film is hilarious as hell, Samuel L Jackson is incredible in this, as he plays this hardboiled detective that doesn’t care if he offends you with his out of touch ways. The action is also really well done, and honestly that’s all I wanted from a movie about Shaft. Make the character cool and have him kick some ass. Mission accomplished.
18. Glass – The final film in a trilogy that didn’t even know it was a trilogy. M. Night took some serious risks with this one, especially with the ending, which I won’t get into. The ending alone I think is why I’ve seen it show up on some worst lists. As divisive as it might be, I enjoyed it. The first 10 or some minutes of the film is exactly what you’d expect from a superhero movie. Maybe that’s what people expected from the whole film, but M. Night just had other ideas.
17. Child’s Play – I am a pretty big Chucky/Child’s Play fan, so when I heard that they were remaking the original, I was less than enthusiastic about it. Especially when I found out the original writer and the voice of Chucky were not being included, who both have been with the franchise since the start. Since I had to see this for a review anyway, I wanted to go in with an open mind, and I was shocked at how much I ended up loving this new vision for Chucky. It was honestly maybe the best horror comedy of the year. The dark humor was pitch perfect and the gore, not over the top but still enough to quench the thirst of those gore hounds.
16. The Furies – A little known to me horror film that ended up blowing away all the other horror films I watched during Horror Month. It takes the idea of what if the survivor girl had to team up with her slasher, to fight in a battle royal of other survivor girls and slashers. The killers all looked unique in their own way, it had some great kills and the leading ladies were great, just a fun slasher film worth checking out. If you missed this one during Horror Month, see it now, what are you waiting for! Currently I think it is either streaming on Netflix or Amazon, so check this one out.
15. Driven – I knew a little bit about DeLorean from a documentary I watched when I was younger. Like every kid, you had a fascination about the car itself because of Back to the Future. And to learn that it was a real life car you could buy also fascinated me. I’m also a big Jason Sudeikis fan, even when he is punching Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian. Jason Sudeikis steals this movie as this slightly shady pilot looking for his next score. He plays what he plays best, a lovable asshole.
14. Plus One – Hands down the best romantic comedy of 2019. I’m a giant fan of the Hulu series PEN15 and when I saw that one of the leading ladies was on this, I had to see this movie and it did not disappoint. I’m a sucker for romantic comedies and this one hit all the right spots. Unlike just about every shitty romantic teen comedy Netflix original movies that came out in 2019. Make sure you check this one out, it is currently streaming on Hulu. And while you’re there, check out PEN15.
13. Parasite – This film wins for best foreign film most likely to be a Hollywood remake. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film, the concept seemed interesting, but I wasn’t sure where it was all going. I do feel the film slightly falls apart at the end as the film was wondering where it was going as well. But this is another example of another great film from this director.
12. Polar – This was a lot higher on my list originally. This is Netflix’s answer to the John Wick franchise. People seemed to hate this one, but I was overjoyed by the over the top violence and action. Not to mention Mads Mikkelsen is so fucking badass in this that I pray for more sequels, as this film ends a bit open ended.
11. Ford v Ferrari – The film felt very much like an Oscar bait film. Like the only reason they were making it, was so they could win awards. So it’s a bit cookie cutter generic by that sense. However, when they actually get to the racing part, it’s pretty thrilling and well executed. Even if it is a bit Oscar bait, that still doesn’t mean the performances aren’t damn good.
THE TOP 10 BEST FILMS OF 2019
10. The Irishman – No one does a mob movie like Martin Scorsese. He even brings back his old cast of regulars, de-aging them to fit the part. Yes the film is 3 and a half hours long, but minus the ending credits, it’s only like 3 hours and 18 minutes long. As much as I did enjoy this film, it isn’t perfect. I felt the story basically got hijacked once Jimmy Hoffa showed up. Other characters also seemed to fade away into the background as well. Aside from that, I’d still put this one right up there with Casino and Goodfellas.
9. Midsommar – I was not planning on enjoying this movie. I hated Hereditary, finding it unintentionally hilarious. Midsommar seemed like another film that would bore me, but it ended up having the opposite reaction, almost like I was unknowingly indoctrinated into its cult. I think I realized almost from the start I was going to enjoy this film, as it opens with the most gut wrenching set of events imaginable. I have a weak spot for horror films dealing with cults. It’s the only thing that really scares me. Ghosts aren’t real, the devil isn’t real, demons don’t exist, if aliens do I’m not frightened by them. But what is real, are people in fucked up religious cults. I loved how the main character Dani is sad throughout the entire film and at the end when she finally smiles, it’s at the most horrific thing possible. I also love the fact that clearly their beliefs are bullshit, their gospel is written in crayon by this deformed man-child and yet they take to it like it’s holy scripture. There’s just so much I found myself loving about this movie.
8. Ad Astra –Don’t let the trailers fool you, this isn’t some dumb space action film. Sure there is some action in it, but really this is a journey of self-discovery, full of internal strife and contemplation. It’s Apocalypse Now in space. IMAX theaters were made to play films like this, as the visuals are incredible. Hell, step it up a notch and make it an IMAX dome theater, so you get that full floating in outer space experience. Brad Pitt gives yet another stellar performance making this the first of two films with him in it on this list.
7. Uncut Gems – I’ve always been a Adam Sandler fan. But man does he make some terrible comedies sometimes. But when he steps into serious drama territory, he always manages to pull it off. Not all the time, but usually it’s leaps and bounds better than anything he releases straight to Netflix, like he’s been doing for the last 5 years or so. In Uncut Gems, he is unapologetically a scum bag. This isn’t a film where you root for him to succeed. Though you don’t want him to fail either, you find yourself just wanting him to make better choices as his decisions are the absolute worst. The film had to be inspired by Bad Lieutenant, both share unlikable lead characters, I mean, Adam Sandler’s character Howard is no LT, Harvey Keitel’s character who was a murdering, racists, rapist, but the two films and characters do have a lot in common. Hell, they even end the same way.
6. Jojo Rabbit – I’ve seen every film from director Taika Waititi, that includes The Mandalorian, and Jojo Rabbit is hands down the best thing he has ever done. It masterfully balances the humorous with tragic seriousness. That scene alone with the butterfly and the shoes. Just wow.
5. The Peanut Butter Falcon – Every so often you get a film that just makes you feel good. This is that film. You have to be a cold hearted person to not like this movie, as I feel this film could win over just about anyone. Shia LaBeouf is absolutely fantastic in this, giving an Oscar worthy performance.
4. Alita: Battle Angel – This was my top pick for favorite film of the year. But it was still early in the year, so like Polar, it moved a bit away from its original placing. Still, this film was incredible. And it sparked my newfound love for Rosa Salazar. I feel not too many saw this one in theaters, which is a shame for many reasons. One being it just didn’t seem to look as good on Blu-ray as it did in the theater. In the theater the CGI looked impressive, but at home it looked slightly wonky at times. And when your main character is 100% CGI with giant anime eyes, you kind of need some realism to ground it. That still doesn’t take away from all the film’s positives, which include like I mentioned Rosa Salazar. And let’s not ignore the role Robert Rodriguez played, bringing this world to life. I always hark on RR for not learning from his filmmaking mistakes, but maybe he’s finally learning, delivering a fantastic action sci-fi film worthy of the original source material.
3. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – What can I say, only Quentin Tarantino and ONLY Quentin Tarantino could out beat my love for this movie. This was the number one pick after Alita, but I had to take a step back and take notice that I have yet to go out and buy any of the John Wick films on Blu-ray. Yes, that has to do with the fact the franchise is still going, with a 4th John Wick film coming next year, along with a forth Matrix film, which I don’t think anyone was asking for. With each Wick film, we get less story, but dive in deeper into the film’s mythos, as there seems to be an unending collective of assassins almost everywhere. You can’t spit without hitting a trained killer in this universe. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a film franchise that focuses less of plot and more on the world building. The world they built is so damn interesting, that we really don’t care. The action here is also amped all the way up to 11, no, scratch that. We hit 11 two movies ago. Now it’s at 20.
2. Joker – Can you imagine what this film would be if Jared Leto’s Joker was the Joker we got? And the fact he tried his best to try and kill this project for them not using him to play the character is also hilarious. At first, I was kind of wary about giving Joker a backstory. He works so well just being an unknown element. And to pull back the veil a bit, I was afraid it might weaken the character. I was wrong of course, as this ended up being a fantastic character study of an unstable man getting pushed too far. I like that Joker isn’t some criminal mastermind or supervillain. Arthur is just a regular guy, and nothing is scarier than unstable people. Case and point the hyped up mass hysteria the media and critics built up behind this movie, fearing Aurora style theater shootings. Trust me, we don’t need a Joker film to inspire people to shoot up anything, as 2019 was basically the year of mass shootings.
1. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – This is kind of a given, as no matter what, this film was going to be at the top of my Best list, as I am an unapologetic Quentin Tarantino fan. But even given my bias, this film still belongs on here, as I absolutely loved this movie. This is QT’s love letter to old Hollywood. Unlike his previous movies, this one scraps a strong narrative and delivers us characters instead. QT has created two more iconic characters with Rick Dalton and his stuntman Cliff. Rick is a dying breed, an aging actor fighting the new hippy wave and the new Hollywood that’s leaving him behind. Cliff on the other hand is a bit more of a puzzle, as he might be a wife killer (mostly likely is) and embraces the hippy lifestyle a bit more than Rick does. QT told a story about how he came up with the plot to Once Upon a Time, an aging action star actor, he never said who, though I’m guessing it was Kurt Russell, came to Quentin and asked if his long time stuntman could be used in some way. And just by looking at these two, both wearing the same outfit, you could tell there was a bond there, but somewhere along the way their lives took different paths. They’ve been on a journey together and this was basically the end of that journey. And that germed its way into QT’s head. Is this the best film Tarantino has made? No, well, on a technical stand point yes it is. It also has a maturity level not usually seen if some of his films or at least not since Jackie Brown. And then there is that over the top ending, the final puzzle piece to really bring home that yes you are watching a Quentin Tarantino film and yes you rejoiced at seeing Cliff bash a lady’s face in into the fireplace mantel. I don’t know what QT’s last film will be, but whatever it is or whenever it comes out, you can be sure it too will be number one on my list.
So that does it for my Best List. Now all that is left is the dreaded Worst List. Expect to see that one next week!
Want EARLY access to our videos, uploads, and movie/script reviews? Members get them FIRST! Follow this link to our Discussion Forum.
And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.