Welp, here it is 2020 and time for my annual list of the BEST/WORST films (as I saw it) for 2019. So, sit back, relax, and let’s wax nostalgic for a happier time, a weirder time, a time for movies that we loved and movies that we couldn’t stand.
THE BEST OF 2019
The culmination of over 20 years of Marvel superhero films has led to this: over three hours of nearly perfect film-making by the Russo Brothers that wrapped up the stunning storyline of that intergalactic baddie, Thanos (John Brolin), his “snap”, and then the epic battle against all the good guys (and girls!) in which left a major casualty: the death of beloved superhero and new father, Iron Man, aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey, jr). Who didn’t feel the impact at the end of the movie?
Director/writer Taika Watiki delivered a one-two gut-punch with this extraordinaire film that is both a LOL comedy and a devastating drama. Who would ever have thought a movie about a 10-year-old boy living in WW2 Germany having a goofy, cynical Adolf Hitler (Watiki) as his imaginary pal would be a hit?
Ford v Ferrari
Oh. Yeah. Anyone who’s ever seen a Ford Mustang Boss 329 or a Ferrari 408 Spider race by knows what I’m talking about! This true story about race car builder Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and his unstoppable driver Ken Miles (played by the amazing Christian Bale), will make you cheer, laugh, and cry.
Stan & Ollie
Wow. Starting at the tail end of their incredible careers, Steve Coogan & John C. Reilly portray the immortal Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, and are nothing less than jaw-dropping. Unbelievably sad and poignant, this bio-pic shows the comedy team struggling with their own personal demons that the public never saw.
Hobbs & Shaw
Okay, I know what you’re gonna say, but I don’t care. This was, without a doubt, the dumbest, stupidest, most unbelievable film ever made… and I loved every minute of it! Why? Because it KNEW it was and didn’t take itself seriously! Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba showing inhuman feats of strength? Yes, please!
I gotta be real upfront about this, I didn’t like this movie, BUT I can’t deny the powerhouse direction of Todd Phillips and the mesmerizing performance of Joaquin Phoenix as the broken clown, Arthur Fleck, who eventually becomes a raging psychopath who kills a smarmy talk show host on the air! Oscar stuff here, people!
Dolemite Is Still My Name
Based on the true-life adventures of singer/writer/comedian/actor Rudy Ray Moore, this movie that gave Eddie Murphy his come-back. But it wasn’t just his acting, not by a long-shot! He was blessed to have a great script, a terrific ensemble cast to join him, and director (Craig Brewer) to give Murphy back his mojo, something we all wanted to see.
THE WORST OF 2019
Thank you Disney & Tim Burton for ruining my childhood! It’s bad enough you ruined Beauty & the Beast (A CGI Beast? Really??), but turning a kid-friendly, fun-filled animated classic about a happy little elephant and his mouse partner into a dismal, dark, and unfunny story?! What is WRONG with you? I suppose next you’ll have a live-action Peter Pan with Captain Hook tearing Pan’s heart out and eating it!
And speaking of tearing one’s heart out… this last entry in the ever-evolving X-Men saga nearly buried the franchise for good. I don’t know WHO thought this was a good idea, but geez, Louise! It was bad enough the acting sucked, but the direction looked like they used the rehearsal footage! The only decent footage was the ending shoot-out on the train; that was epic!
Somewhere in a classroom a teacher is pointing to this movie and saying, “THIS, boys & girls, is why you should never, ever remake a great movie franchise without the original director and actor!” With no Guillermo DelToro and no Ron Perlman returning, this insipid R-rated bloodbath was just the worst.
A shining example of a movie that was a total waste of celluloid. A typical “aliens take over the planet and humans who try to take it back” set-up that was rendered inert because of some of the worst direction and editing alive. Not to mention a promising screenplay that missed every golden opportunity handed to them on a golden platter.
Somebody thought this was funny, I’m guessing. I couldn’t believe how UNFUNNY this movie was! Kumail Nanjiani stars as a horny Uber driver who just wants to get home and bang his girlfriend, BUT almost-blind cop Dave Bautista commandeers his car. I swear the script was written by a 13-year-old who really needs a life.
What can I say that hasn’t been said already? Probably one of THE worst blunders in Universal Studios history, this stage-to-screen movie was DOA, thanks to the unanimous internet decision (that movie trailer!!) that human actors with kitty CGI accents looked creepy, disturbing, and just plain wrong! Even after Universal Studios pulled the movie after one week and performed CGI surgery to “fix” the problem, the damage was done and the effects still looked just as bad as before.