AJ’s Top 10 of 2019

Before I get to my top 10 of the year list (which I guess you can just determine by the photo above), I’ve got a quick rant.

I went through the first nine or so months of this year thinking 2019 would be the worst year of movies this decade. I was petrified that when January 1, 2020 came rolling around, I would have to name Avengers: Endgame the best movie of the year.

Thankfully, I realized I was wrong when all of my favorite movies of the year came rolling out between October and December – but at what cost?

I get it – the end-of-year Awards season sprint is real, but I don’t think it’s ever come off as strong as it has this year. Let’s not forget 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road won five Oscars, despite an H1 release date. Get Out went on to win Best Screenplay in 2018, while Black Panther took home four trophies in 2019 – and both of these hits came out in February.

All I’m trying to say is that studios do not need to release all their best movies at the end of the year. It’s exhausting to be a film buff for the first part of the year and consistently see garbage, then have to wait multiple months to see something of merit.

So, in the off chance someone with decision making power in a movie studio is reading this, please distribute your films more evenly in the 2020’s.

Thanks for reading my rant, and enjoy the Top 10 list!

10. Luce

Every year, a few awesome movies slip through the cracks in the eyes of the public. This year, one of them was Luce. The movie follows a high schooler who was adopted by a white American couple after serving as an African child soldier in his youth. When a teacher perceives Luce’s behavior as questionable, things spiral out of control in one of the most fascinating did-he-or-didn’t-he movies I’ve ever seen.

9. Doctor Sleep

Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of this Shining sequel cements him as a filmmaker to watch in this new decade. It holds nothing back in its briskly paced and exciting exploration of what happens to Danny Torrence as an adult, and I didn’t realize how badly I needed this movie in my life until I experienced it first hand.

8. Bombshell

I admittedly went into Bombshell a bit skeptical, expecting an overtly political message movie. Instead, what I saw was a timely, brilliantly acted film, edited so well that it left me in awe.

7. Honey Boy

Honey Boy‘s exploration of the father-son relationship is uplifting, gut-wrenching, saddening, and painfully honest. While it’s at times too therapeutic for Shia – at the film’s expense – it doesn’t overshadow the power of the screenplay, the sincerity of the direction, or the performances of LaBeouf and Noah Jupe.

6. Avengers: Endgame

Gotta give credit where credit’s due. I still think Infinity War is the superior film, but Endgame stands for something greater – and executes well enough to leave Marvel’s millions of fans immensely satisfied thanks to a euphoric final battle, prefaced by an exhilarating adventure and followed by a beautiful sendoff to some of the most popular characters we’ve seen in the past eleven years.

5. Richard Jewell

Another under-seen and under-appreciated gem, Richard Jewell is written, directed, and edited to a T, taking us through the systematic unraveling of a man’s life. Interwoven with heart, humor, relevance, and standout performances from Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell silently demands your attention – and you should listen.

4. Marriage Story

I was fortunate enough to see Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story on the big screen, which made his heartbreaking tale even more immersive. I knew this movie was making my Top 10 when the apartment fight scene was playing out in front of me, where I had to take a moment and make myself aware of what I was watching. Also, Adam Driver is quite possibly career-best.

3. Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit handles its subject matter with a beautiful balance of humor and heart, and boasts star-making performances from young actors Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie. This is also the movie that made me an official Taika Waititi fan.

2. 1917

Sam Mendes, man. Holy crap. I kid you not – there was one scene in this movie that was so amazing that I almost cried during it. A masterpiece in every way, it’s the movie from this year that I’m most excited to rewatch. I toyed with making it my number one, but in my heart, I couldn’t take the spot away from…

1. Parasite

Can you believe it? I can’t. A foreign film is my number one movie of the year. I was floored by its screenplay, production design, themes, direction, and acting. And…that’s all I can really say without giving too much away, since I strongly suggest going into this movie as blindly as possible.