2019 was an odd year for movies, and not just literally. I actually had trouble making a bottom 5 list while there was barely enough room for the movies I liked this year. So, without further ado, here’s my top 5 best and worst movies of 2019.
5th best- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The 9th film by esteemed writer and director Quinten Tarantino is a love letter to old Hollywood while also being a great comedy about a washed-up Western actor and his stunt double. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio have amazing chemistry, and the ending is an over the top riot. That being said, I can’t put it any higher because it appropriated a horrible real-life murder, presumably just so Tarantino had an excuse to film Margot Robbie’s bare feet.
5th Worst- 6 Underground
6 Underground is what you get when you let a middle-aged man with an explosion fetish have as big of a budget as he wants. It makes me question the point of cinema existing if we’re just using the medium to let hack directors spend enough money to cure world hunger on an action movie with absolutely no plot whatsoever. But that would imply Michael Bay actually understands what a story is when he clearly spent those days in film school ramming two notebooks together and fantasizing about the explosion they would have made. At one point, the movie got so over the top bombastic that I honestly began to wonder if Michael Bay has become self-aware… Then there were about 20 low-angle shots of hot girls getting out of expensive sports cars and then I realized that this is just who Michael Bay is. Hobbs and Shaw should feel lucky that it had Eiza Gonzales, which saved it from being on this list.
4th Best: The Irishman
Scorsese teaming up with DeNiro, Pacino and dragging Joe Pecsi out of retirement to all be in a mobster movie seems like a match made in heaven. Admittedly an overly-long heaven with a bit of distracting CGI de-aging, but heaven nonetheless. It’s the characters and dialogue that really drives this story based loosely on the true events of a hitman who worked for the mob and Jimmy Hoffa. The Irishman is as much a narrative about the passage of time and morality as it is a movie about mobsters and politics. Amazing performances from the entire cast really puts “The Irishman” up there with some of Scorsese’s best crime epics.
4th Worst: Terminator Dark Fate
Maybe I’m being harsh on Dark Fate. I mean, it’s the least bad of the 3 new Terminator movies, but I’m goddamn upstanding with this. Of all the film franchises that shouldn’t be franchises, Terminator is definitely up there. At this point Arnold is being held together with cheap glue and Linda Hamilton acts like she’s huffing said glue with how much she seems to care at this point. The reason this is on the list though is because it has the audacity to try to fix the horribly convoluted cannon… By making the same mistake Genisys, which it tries to ignore completely makes, by trying to remake Terminator 2 again. Just fucking stop with this franchise, there’s no stories worth telling left. To use an analogy with another doomed Fox property; you either die an X-Men: First Class or live long enough to see yourself become X-Men Apocalypse.
3rd Best: One Cut of the Dead
One Cut of the Dead seemed destined for cult-classic status the minute it came out. It presents itself as a generic zombie flick, but the second half has a twist that makes it something unique and special. That’s all I can say because the film isn’t really as impactful if you go in knowing what the whole movie is like. The gimmick of it being all “one take” is an interesting mechanic to the film that adds to the cultish, 70’s action movie feel that propels the entire movie.
3rd Worst: Replicants
“Why did you have to be so mean to me?” Replicants seemed to say as I half-heartedly watched it while looking at my phone “I just wanted to quietly fuck off to the bottom of Rotten Tomatoes for the rest of eternity and you couldn’t even let me have that.” Well, sorry Replicants. If you didn’t even want to be even remotely remembered for being the dated, generic and honestly painfully dull sci-fi “Thriller” that you are, then you shouldn’t have gotten the guy that has the adoration of literally the entire internet to star in it.
2nd Best: The Lighthouse
Robert Eggers’ claustrophobic black and white drama of two sailors stranded in a lighthouse is one of the simplest, but most captivating films of the year. With creative and cleverly symbolic cinematography that keeps the film visually interesting, and tour-de-force performances by Defoe and Pattinson, the excellently written movie that borders on being a dark comedy at times, really captures the descent into madness of two men trapped in a small space together.
2nd Worst: The Fanatic
If you thought throwing bundles of money at Michael Bay was a destructive practice to the art of cinema, then doing the same with Fred fucking Durst is more destructive than a Trump foreign policy campaign. Ok, maybe that’s going too far. The movie isn’t poorly directed at all, where this movie loses me is with the mediocre on the nose writing, especially when a character calls a Limp Bizkit song “Hot” and the incredibly tacky performance of a mentally handicapped character by Travolta, who at this point I’m not convinced didn’t actually switch faces with Nic Cage in Face/off with the way his career is going. The internet tries to make at least one movie like this a year “The new Room” so to speak. A movie so bad that it’s good. But a “Birdemic” “The Fanatic” is not. It’s just bad. It’s so bad that Redbox didn’t even release it to their kiosks even though they published the fucking thing.
Best movie of 2019: Parasite
A late entrance to my list, but a welcome one. If “6 Underground” is the type of movie that makes me believe that cinema isn’t worth defending, then “Parasite” is the type of movie that makes me remember that it can also be wonderful art. Much like “One Cut of the Dead” I can’t really talk about it in depth because going in with little to no knowledge of the movie is the best way to experience it. I will say that it is the best-looking movie of the year, and one that effortlessly goes from thrilling suspense to comedy. Every once in a while, a foreign film comes along that reminds us that countries other than America can make some incredible films. Or maybe I just put this here to piss off the people who think Joker is a deep movie.
Worst movie of 2019: Dark Phoenix
A wise man once said “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” An even wiser man also said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting shit to change.” Obviously, Fox subscribed to both ideologies. Having not been content with butchering one of the most iconic and beloved comic book stories of all time once, they just had to take another crack at the Dark Phoenix saga. Was this and Dark Fate a long-term practical joke by Fox to make Disney foot the bill for 2 massive flops? I can think of no other reason to bring back the writer of the original X-3 other than as a last fuck you before Disney makes X-Men movies that will be universally acclaimed and make billions. Here’s a drinking game; drink every time Jean Gray says “I can’t control it.” If there is anybody left at your party that hasn’t died of alcohol poisoning by the end of the second act, then congratulations on having befriended a Norse god. Satirical, you already used this exact joke in your review of the film. Well you know what? I refuse to put more effort into this shit than the people making the movie did. Dark Phoenix is a lazy, poorly written and acted film that is worthy only of being called the 2nd worst franchise starring Sophie Turner with an ending worse than the fucking 1930’s of the year.