Scott’s Favorite Films of 2019
It’s a whole new decade, friends. How about that?! This is going to sound crazy but the Oscars are at the end of the week (#OscarsSoEarly) so it’s time for me to look at 2019 and decide which films were my faves. I saw a lot of movies this last year, especially the last 2 months to get ready for this list. I really liked a lot of them but while looking at my list I’m struck by how none of the ones at the top of my list came out at the end of the year. What does that say? It must say something. Someone smarter than me should comment and tell me what it says. It was really tough for me to choose just 10 films so this will be the first year I am making a Top 12 list (with 3 honorable mentions). Maybe this will become a new thing for everyone’s top list. Probably not, but maybe. A few notes: these are my favorite films, not necessarily what I thought were the absolute best of the year. These are all the films I want to watch again over and over, or at least I’ll be thinking about them a lot. I thought Waves was phenomenal but for some reason, I haven’t thought about it much since seeing it. I also don’t care about making a “worst of” list. I think that’s lame and I want to celebrate the positive and not shit on people that made something or enjoyed that thing. I also have some “Honorable Mention” slots because those are fun. These slots aren’t my next favorite movies really. Otherwise, I’d just have a Top 15 list. They are just movies I want to say something about. That’s what those words mean, right? I want to honor them by mentioning them. This is also the first year I’ve tried to credit the artwork I’ve included, which is a thing I should have done in previous years but like, I didn’t think of it until now.
Warning: spoilers below!
If you don’t agree with something please comment and let me know what you think, as long as you’re cool about it. Again, positivity! Okay, let’s go!
(artwork: Nikos Borgis)
So like I said, this honorable mention is not one of my top favorites of the year but damn have I thought about it a bunch since seeing it. A group of young dancers have a lock-in type party and experience an accidental drug trip that goes very very wrong. Or maybe it’s about something else entirely and I missed the point. Who knows! It’s very intense and scary and most people I know would probably hate it, but that’s Gaspar Noe for you. If nothing else I highly recommend watching the first big dance scene. It’s one of the best parts of any movie this year.
HM) IT CHAPTER 2
(artwork: Narupiti Harunsong)
I never have much of a desire to see horror films when they’re in the theater and then when they’re released on DVD (or whatever) I’m like “You know what, that might be fun while eating ice cream”. So last month I finally watched both these chapters and really enjoyed them. The thing that really stands out to me is the casting of the adults for their kid doubles. Wow! It’s nuts how perfect it is. I had to Google some news articles to see if they were cast at the same time or adults first or what. (They were cast separately with children first. There’s also a rumor that the kids had input in who should play them, but I doubt that’s real.) Cousin Ziggy from The Wire and kid from Shazam is specifically a great pairing.
HM) AMERICAN FACTORY
I always put a documentary in my honorable mentions and this is one I’ve talked about a lot since watching it. It’s a great exploration of why China might be beating us in the global economy. And by great I mean terrifying. And by might I mean is. And by beating I mean producing more by exploiting their workers. But also Americans are a little bit lazy? My big question: will the Obama’s be at the Oscars (their company produced this nominated doc).
12) UNCUT GEMS
(artwork: Snollygoster Productions)
When I saw Dunkirk in IMAX it was the loudest movie I’d ever seen at the time. I think Uncut Gems now takes that prize but in a completely different way. There aren’t any explosions or airplane noises but there’s a lot of people yelling at once, which apparently hurts my eardrums more than the war stuff. Some amazing performances by everyone involved. Sandler obviously but also Eric Bogosian and whoever that super mean guy was. I gotta say after seeing this and Good Time, the Safdie Brothers have an interesting way of looking at death. The end of this movie is more haunting than any spider-clown could be.
11) PAIN AND GLORY
(artwork: Christophe LaPeirre)
There were a ton of amazing performances this year and I’m sure Joaquin Phoenix is going to win Best Actor but if I were voting my ballot would go to Antonio Banderas. It’s the best performance of his career and I love that he’s embracing his age in a way we haven’t yet seen from folks like Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt (yes they are only a couple years apart). Also, can somebody tell me how Almodóvar’s films always look so crisp and vibrant? Is it just good lighting? It’s like when I take a nice picture from my phone but then see other people’s photos from their phone and I’m like “How the hell did you make it look like that???”
This movie is fun. It’s like a stripper version of Wolf of Wall Street. I think they knew this when they made it because a Google search showed me that the film’s title in Argentina translates to “Swindlers of Wall Street”. That’s pretty great. Also, I don’t think I’m ever going to a strip club again. That’s scarier than a spider-clown.
(artwork: Sister Hyde)
I feel like now that Roger Deakins has finally won an Oscar he’s just going to keep winning them every year. And he should (this year at least). He made a smoky, bleak war zone look beautiful. I’m very proud of myself for the placement of my bathroom break during this film. I had to run out for a couple minutes and from what I can tell I didn’t miss a single thing except a baby. In a couple months, I’m going to rewatch and find out that it was a talking baby and told us all the meaning of life, but until then I’ll remain proud of my luck.
(artwork: Andrew Bannister)
To be honest, I’m not the biggest Bong Joon-Ho fan. I really like The Host but haven’t loved any of his other films. Parasite really is a great film from start to finish, however. It feels like he’s taken a very grounded dark comedy and directed it as a sci-fi film. Which totally works. It’s even better the second time through when you can pick up on the meaning behind certain lines or directing choices. “She always ate enough for two” is a great line that stands out upon rewatch. My bathroom break in this one was okay, although I missed the little kid doing something weird.
7) LITTLE WOMEN
(artwork: Sajad Safajooee)
Do we really need another remake of Little Women? Yes, apparently we do because this is thoroughly entertaining and the four sisters together are a delight. Killer job, Greta! The only weird part is Bob Odenkirk popping up an hour and a half into the movie, but that didn’t ruin anything for me. I just still assume he’s going to start a sketch, and yes I feel that in Better Call Saul, too. Laura Dern and Saoirse Ronan (yes I had to look up this spelling) are really fantastic but Florence Pugh is a goddamn stand out in this film. She blew me away so much I decided to watch Midsommar right after and was blown away again. (Midsommar should also get an honorable mention, but like, I can’t mention everything honorably can I?)
6) ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
(artwork: Snollygoster Productions)
I really love that while this totally feels like a Tarantino film, it’s as different a Tarantino film as we’ve ever had. The “day in the life” vibe of the first 2 acts is fascinating to watch. I don’t want to predict it winning Best Picture because I don’t want that documented for you to make fun of me next week, but I will say I wouldn’t be surprised if a film about a self-doubting, self-sabotaging actor and his would-be-sleazy-if-he-weren’t-Brad-Pitt buddy stopping the Manson Murders were chosen by the Academy as King of the Movies. Also I can’t remember where my bathroom break was here, but I know I had one. Somewhere during one the cowboy scenes. It didn’t ruin anything for me.
5) AVENGERS: ENDGAME
(artwork: Marie Bergeron)
If there’s one thing you know about me it’s that I have a dog. If there are two things you know about me it’s that I love the MCU. I want to believe they’re going to keep being amazing; just go and go until I’m an old man and the final Marvel Film, Galactus Eats Weapon X, ends and I pass away in my seat right before a comet hits the Earth. Maybe that will happen. Or maybe 2019 will have given us the final great Marvel films and the next few years will be a gradual nose dive into mediocrity. Scott, what happened to the positivity??? You’re right, Scott, lets’ bring that back. Endgame was great and I loved it. Obviously, these films aren’t made for everyone but for those of us that have been on board since Iron Man The First, this was such a great end to an era. Great job to everyone involved. AND I DID NOT need a bathroom break my first time watching it. Somehow I made it. It was because I was dehydrated. Very unhealthy of me.
4) JOJO RABBIT
(artwork: could not find but it’s amazing and I feel bad)
Has it become cliche or annoying to be obsessed with Taika Waititi yet? I hope not because right now I’m all in and can’t wait for anything he puts out. His next one is another one of those Marvel movies so if it’s bad, that’s going to be a double whammy for me. Scott, positivity! You’re right, Scott. Even with how excited I was to see Jojo Rabbit it lived up to my expectations and delivered a beautiful, funny and emotional film that Disney was skeptical about releasing but ended up earning an Oscar nod. And I have to mention how stylish those German duds Scarjo wore throughout the whole movie were. Shout out to (“Siri, who was the costume designer for Jojo Rabbit?”) Mayes C. Rubeo for killing it and for the Oscar nomination. You’d get my vote!
3) THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
I don’t think I’m smart enough to say how wonderful this film is. I think it’s a perfect movie and I think it’s possible that after seeing it again and thinking about it for another 6 months it could become an all-time favorite of mine. I’ve mentioned some great performances above but I think Jonathan Majors gives the hands-down best performance of the year in this film. There’s a moment towards the end of the film where he gets choked up and stops talking that is maybe the best moment I’ve ever seen from an actor in my life. Goddammit, this is a good film. Please watch it immediately, because I’m going to rewatch it as soon as I stop typing.
This film is extremely rewatchable. Great job to Olivia Wilde for making such a fun film where every single character is so likable. Even the jerks are likable. Even the serial killer is likable when he’s on screen. This film was such a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know much about it going in other than people were saying it was like Superbad. But I gotta say, it’s much better than Superbad. Damn, I’m comparing it to Superbad, which I said I wasn’t going to do. Crap. Okay here, I think the thing I really love about Booksmart is, even though it has similarities to another film I won’t mention here but did mention 3 times above, it wasn’t trying to be anything. It is 100% its own movie and I dig it 100%.
1) DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Oh dip! This is my favorite movie of the year! If we want to talk about positivity, this movie is so damn positive it makes me happy just thinking about it. It’s the most inspirational film of the year, both in theme and in the fact that it’s a comeback for not only Eddie Murphy but also Wesley Snipes. It’s no surprise to me that it’s written by the screenwriter of Ed Wood. I love how Rudy Ray Moore has the same confidence Ed Wood had; knowing he has a distinct passion to show the world. And I absolutely love the relationship he has with Lady Reed. I watched this on Netflix so I could pause this when I needed to take a bathroom break, which is great because there isn’t a moment I’d want to miss.
And there we have it! I wrote about my favorite movies and you read it! Thanks for sticking with it. Please leave comments if you agree or disagree or love me. Again, only positivity.
Let’s not be too hard on poor Brad Pitt. Love you, bye!