Monday, April 13, 2020

Best and Worst of 2019 Movies

2019 has come and gone, and it took me a far while to catch with as many movies as I wanted to. I finally felt before the entire year is completely over, it's time to choose my picks of best and worst films. From Staler Than Expired Bread to My Soul Needed This, and everything in-between, here's my 2019 of movie-going in review.

This post contains slight spoilers for Knives Out, The Lighthouse, and Avengers: Endgame.

Worst of 2019

I Survived Because He’s Hot: Keanu Reeves, Always Be My Maybe

Keanu Reeves dominated 2019 with John Wick: Chapter 3 Antebellum and Toy Story 4. But he took the internet by storm with his cameo in Always Be My Maybe. As much as I wanted to like the film, he was the only thing that saved it. Because he's hot.

Staler Than Expired Bread: Joker

I say this as someone who lives in lower-middle class society watching our government and the 1% ruin our lives, and has mental health issues: Joker is a psuedo-woke Taxi Driver dressed up as a psuedo-woke comic book movie that's not dramatic, groundbreaking, clever, entertaining, or has anything going for it in any way. But he does get into a fridge for no reason? So there's that. My full review is here.

Botched Scene: Staircase Dance, Joker

I ultimately looked forward to the staircase dance....and then the song is by a pedophile and reminds me of drunk fans doing the wave at football games?? It doesn't fit the tone of the scene, Joker's mindset, or even Hildur's score at all. Since I'm stuck in self-quarantine, I did my best to find alternatives with TNT by AC/DC above andLet's Dance by David Bowie. I'm still not happy but anything is better than the movie version.

Best Acting Off A Brick Wall: Bill Hader in It: Chapter 2

After the first chapter did so well, the second part falls to pieces. Bill Hader (and the rest of the cast, I guess) acts off a brick wall i.e. the lifeless script. I was just so disappointed in the direction of the sequel, which you guys probably already know from this post.

Characters Who Deserved Better: Women
Runner-Up: Mike Hanlon, IT: Chapter 2

While sexism has always been around, I feel like Captain Marvel drew out every incel out of their basementBrie Larson doesn't have anything against white men, but her campaign for more diverse critics led to Captain Marvel being ripped to shreds. It didn't help that the MCU completely forgot about her for 22 movies, and then failed to include her more in Avengers: Endgame after all the hype. No matter what she did or does now, it adds fuel to the fire. And the backlash has continued not just with female-led films being silenced by zero promotion from studios, but directors who were snubbed  during award show season despite producing astounding films. The incels have come out in droves, and they're here to stay. And for the first time in forever, I'm just tired of being a female nerd and all the impossible boxes we fail to fill and the goalposts that are always moving.

I'm Going to Have to Bleach My Brain After: The Perfection

The Perfection released confused and shocked praise of critics, and honestly, I just didn't get this at all. Its a cool revenge flick, but the direction, writing, pacing, and special-effects is all over the place. It's gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous, but it's hilarious that directors like Scorsese and Coppola (after calling out Marvel) shares the same platform as this and reality shows on Netflix.

Overrated: 1917

As a World War I and II history buff as a teen, I feel like 10 years ago this would've been my go-to pick. The film lays out so many moving pieces, it never looks or feels like any effort was put into the production at all. As stunning as the production is, I struggled to feel as many tugs of emotion as others had. 1917 is far from boring, but I felt removed from the story, stuck like I was playing Call of Duty or questioning what the behind-the-scenes process was. My full letterboxd review is here.

Go Ahead, Take My Movie Buff Card Away: Jojo Rabbit

I loved the acting, production, costume design, and Taika's ideas. Given that he won a Best Adapted Screenplay, and became the first indigenous person to do so, my opinion isn't worth a whole lot. But I went into length on why on letterboxd. (To be honest, ya'll might not want to read it if you love it a lot.) I feel like a few simple tweaks to the story would've made me fall head over heels. But similar to Thor: Ragnarok, the actors are in an entirely better movie than the one Taika pulls off.

I CAN'T EVEN: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The underpants gnomes running the Star Wars sequels at Disney:

Phase 1: Fansservice
Phase 2....
Phase 3: profit off the shattered hopes of millions fans.

My full review is here.

Favorites of 2019

#RelationshipGoals: Jo and writing

Director Greta Gerwig weaved such a beautiful love letter to Louisa May Alcott, women, love, and ambition, it was hard for me not to get emotional throughout the movie. Instinctively, my sister turned to me at the end when Jo's novel was getting published and asked if I was okay because I want to be a writer (lol) and was crying a little too much. Jo and writing is #relationshipgoals.

Wow, This Was Actually Fun: Ready Or Not

The trailers made this look so over-the-top. But the movie was suspenseful, action-packed, and hilarious. It's nice to just have fun at the movies, who would've guessed? My quick review is here.

My Soul Needed This: Fighting With My Family

Even though this is a prime example of men writing a woman's story and inserting themselves into it to make certain moments inaccurate (*cough The Rock cough*), it was a blast seeing Fighting with My Family. Not only is it hysterical and heartwarming, it was so much fun entering the ring again from a developmental angle that wasn't as soul-crushing as The Wrestler. I was taken back to my teen years where I was much more involved with WWE and seeing this with wrestling fans was one of my favorite experiences in 2019. My full review is here.

Best Scene: "Avengers....Assemble", Avengers: Endgame
Runner-Up: The Last Dance, Avengers: Endgame

In so many theaters, this scene in a theater became a football stadium of fans erupting into cheers. With or without an audience reaction like this one for Avengers: Endgame, this is one of the biggest movies in film history, one that will probably never happen again. Even more than that, The Russos ensured the anticipation from Infinity War's fall-out would be worth it by balancing fan-service with hearty moments and action between dozens of characters.  From Thor, Iron Man and Captain America teaming up against Thanos, to Captain's shield breaking, to "I am Iron Man," this is ten years of cinema in the making. And it was worth every second. 

Best Ensemble: Parasite 

If every performance in two David O'Russell films (American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook) can get nominated, despite how messy his films are, there's no reason why the cast of Parasite couldn't have been recognized too. While the plot was predictable, Boon Joon-ho elevates the suspense to an insane palpable level, and it wouldn't work without the chemistry between the Kim or Park family.

Performance By a Young Actor: Noah Jupe, Honey Boy
Runner-Up: Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit

In the underrated Honey Boy, Shia Labeouf made his writing debut opening up about his life as a film star and the abusive relationship with his father. Labeouf plays his own father without any ego, while Noah Jupe captures Labeouf as a child on the cusp of his Even Stevens fame. The role requires a lot of maturity as his father swings between being loving and cruel, and Jupe does a wonderful job.

Supporting Actor: Chris Evans, Knives Out
Runner-Up: Chris Hemsworth, Avengers: Endgame

Evans filmed Knives Out back-to-back with Endgame, and he sheds all of his mannerisms from playing Cap. Ransom's conniving, ignorant, and snide, literally walking into the joint and making himself the center of Harlan's death. Against his favor, the script focuses on him much more than the other Thrombeys, so the film doesn't even out the 'who dun it' aspect a lot. But Evans's chemistry gels seamlessly with Ana and Daniel from the first half of the movie, and they become a real trifecta together. Evans is that little something extra that Knives Out wouldn't have worked without.

Supporting Actress: Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
Runner-Up: Beanie Feinstein, Kate Delyn, Booksmart

The Farewell's plot is pretty straightforward, and from the get-go, it's difficult to not be emotionally drawn into the story. I was truly blown away by Zhao Shuzhen. She pulls you into her embrace on her own by her own signature warmth, friendliness, and concern for her family, and the love they have for her. It's an effervescent and tender performance next to Awkwafina.

Actress: Ana De Armas, Knives Out
Runner-Up: Lupita N’Yongo, Us

A character with a kind heart is sometimes translated into being so foolishly naive, it's hard to have a real human connection with them. But Johnson also writes Marta as clever, hardworking, and loving, and as a reflection of what's going on today with immigration in the U.S.. To his credit and privilege, Johnson writes about the latter just enough to make a point but not to make Marta into a caricature or cringe-worthy satire (though I could've done with the vomiting lie detector characteristic). Knives Out needed someone you could be invested in after the first twist is revealed. The main reason why the film works is Ana's grounded performance.

Actor: Robert Pattinson, The Lighthouse
Runner-Up: Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

The Lighthouse is A LOT of movie that is both predictably over-the-top with flashy symbolism and refreshingly cerebral. What truly carried the film for me was Pattinson totally losing himself in the role, acting circles around Dafoe's Horatio McAllister impersonation and the dizzying storytelling by Richard Eggars. Similar to Parasite, the story isn't entirely new, but its the first time in a while where a character naturally descends into madness instead of an actor projecting it. Pattinson truly loves offbeat films, so it's going to be difficult in the coming years to decide where and how he avoids the Edward Cullen typecasting best. The Lighthouse will be at the top of the list.

Best Movie: Tie- Little Women and Dolemite is My Name

Here's my ranking of films I saw in 2019 and my idea of the real Best Picture nominees.

I've spoken about Little Women quite a lot, and I think those posts sum up my feelings more than just regurgitating everything again. So as low-budget as Rudy's movies were, the movie doesn't cut corners. Every single thing about the story is having fun while also honoring iblack film history, and showing the forgotten joy of creating something you believe in and the risk to make it all happen. While focusing on clowns that climb into refrigerators for no reason to praising themselves for fictionally rewriting Hollywood history, the Academy fell asleep on this from costume design to Murphy's performance. Dolemite is My Name is a perfect biopic. I'm gonna die mad about the snubs but happy that it was made so I can enjoy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment