As I look back on the 2019 year in cinema, two thoughts come to me. The first is that wow, I saw a lot of movies last year! The first few months of the year saw the release of the “Us,” the sophomore film by “Get Out” director Jordan Peele, of “Captain Marvel,” straight out of the MCU, and “Glass,” a miscalculated sequel to both “Unbreakable” and “Split,” if you can imagine such a thing. Later, we got the sentimental “Toy Story 4,” the “Superbad”-but-for-girls comedy “Booksmart,” and a quiet little think piece called “Avengers: Endgame.”
The second-half of the year gave us a few above-average horror films (“Doctor Sleep,” “The Lighthouse”) and a few below-average ones as well (“It Chapter Two,” “The Dead Don’t Die”). Finally, the end-of-year Oscar-bait bombardment gave us such diverse fare as “Richard Jewell,” a compelling true story by octogenarian Clint Eastwood, “Uncut Gems,” a intense and in-your-face thriller starring a better-than-usual Adam Sandler, and a slate of Netflix titles given the briefest of Oscar-qualifying runs, such as “The Two Popes,” about an imagined meeting between Popes Benedict and Francis.
Phew! I try to avoid seeing bad movies at the theater, and enjoyed most of what I sought out. A few films disappointed me, like the mis-marketed Mr. Rogers movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” and the Brad Pitt-starring “Ad Astra.” Still, there was much to like, and I tried to catch up via Netflix or Amazon Prime on anything that I may have missed in the theater. Good thing for those reward cards – lots of free popcorn!
Here are my picks for the Top Ten Films of 2019: