The Best FILMS OF 2019
1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Quentin Tarantino said a lot on his rounds for this movie, including the threat that he will only be directing one more film (and he's backing away from that being his R-rated Star Trek idea, to no the surprise of absolutely no one). So, this could end up being the last "big" movie from QT. If so, I'd say it's a fitting finish. It's also the best movie of the year.
2. Uncut Gems. Adam Sandler goes full throttle nuts in what is easily the best performance within the best film of his career.
3. Midsommar. The horror genre had a banner year thanks very much in part to Ari Aster, who took much of the terror out of the night and put it in broad daylight for this warped breakup movie. Florence Pugh, who gets my vote for Performer of the Year thanks to this, Little Women and Fighting With My Family, establishes herself as a sure bet if she's in your movie.
4. The Lighthouse. While more of a psychological thriller, there's plenty of horror in watching farty Willem DaFoe and squirmy Robert Pattinson driving each other crazy on a remote island during a lighthouse watching stint.
5. Marriage Story. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver break hearts in Noah Baumbach's best movie to date, courtesy of Netflix.
6. Waves. Startling performances all around and a tremendous visual flair make this a solid step forward for director Trey Edward Shults (It Comes at Night). Taylor Russell and Kelvin Harrison Jr. (also great in this year's Luce) sparkle in this film.
7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The year's most heartwarming story, with Tom Hanks playing Fred Roger and director Marielle Heller creating sweet vibes.
8. Honey Boy. Shia LeBeouf returned with a vengeance this year, supplying both the screenplay and a gripping performance as his own dad in this autobiographical take on his pre-adolescent and teen years. Talk about public therapy. Produced by Amazon and coming to streaming soon.
9. Us. As I said above, horror had a nice year, and Jordan Peele continues his march away from comedy guy towards scary guy with this chilling doppelganger thriller.
10. Dolemite Is My Name. Eddie Murphy's triumphant return to comedy is also a solid dramatic offering from the master, who is enjoying a nice renaissance at the moment. His best work in many years, and yet another Netflix film. Bravo for his recent SNL hosting gig, too.
THE WORST FILMS OF 2019
1. Star Wars: Episode IX–The Rise of Skywalker. The Force Awakens was written by Lawrence Kasdan, the guy who wrote The Empire Strikes Back. This one was co-written by J.J. Abrams and the meathead hack who penned Batman v Superman.
That's right, they handed the storytelling power for one of cinema's all-time great storylines over to the man who crapped that monstrosity out of his computer. You thought the Return of the Jedi Ewok hoedown was a bad conclusion to the first trilogy? Well, say hello to Palpatine's Hellraiser Disco Rave Extravaganza.
2. Rambo: Last Blood. It's been fun seeing Rocky again in the Creed films. As for Sylvester Stallone's other HGH enhanced alter-ego, the last two efforts in the series have seen, let's say, diminishing returns as his hair got shorter. (Just like Samson in the Bible!)
3. Glass. Just when M. Night Shyamalan was starting to restore faith in his abilities, he unleashes this, a case study in how not to invent a movie franchise on the fly.
4. Cats. So I was watching this and just trying to stay alive. Suddenly, things picked up a bit when a song that actually contained a pretty melody sprang from the speakers. As it turns out, it was the song Taylor Swift wrote, a blossoming flower in the middle of Andrew Lloyd Webber's sewage dump. Taylor came out of the sky later in the film as a CGI human cat monster and tried to save the movie, but all was lost by then.
5. Yesterday. I just couldn't get behind this movie. The central character is a plagiaristic asshole, and I hated his renditions of Beatles music. Stay home and listen to the reissue of Abbey Road.
6. Dumbo/The Lion King/Aladdin. While Aladdin was just slightly bad, Dumbo was terrible and The Lion King was a waste of time. So I'm giving this trio of live remakes of animated Disney classics a failing grade. Disney, I love you, but you have to stop with this nonsense. Don't worry you will still make money. Hell, the amount of dough I drop on coffee mugs in your souvenir stores rivals what these stupid movies made.
7. Hellboy. Maybe they should've let David Harbour be funnier in the title role? He kicked comedy ass when he hosted SNL. He's a total dud as Ron Perlman's replacement.
8. Mary Magdalene. Jesus was a lot of things, but super boring probably wasn't one of them. This pretentious slog was just an excuse for Joaquin Phoenix to hang out with girlfriend Rooney Mara and get paid.
9. The Dirt. The only thing cool about watching this shitshow was the knowledge that Motley Crue were over as a band. Now comes the news that those fuck sticks will be touring again, which takes away any good vibe that could be experienced watching this.
10. The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot. Some critics had the audacity to call this one of the year's best. To those folks, I say, mushrooms can apparently be a fun recreational drug sometimes but you shouldn't take them when you are writing your reviews or operating a band saw.
While they didn't make the year's worst list, shout outs to Godzilla: King of the Monsters for being soul crushingly dull, and Joker, perhaps the year's most overrated mediocre film. I was very excited for both, almost as excited as I was for the new Star Wars. Screw you, J.J. Abrams!