The top 10 movies of 2019 include Harpoon, Good Boys and The Peanut Butter Falcon – Check out all of my top picks right here:
DC film adaptations are on a roll with the latest release Shazam! managing to reach levels of fun that current Marvel studios efforts have been trying to attain but unable to capture outside Thor: Ragnarok and the Guardians of The Galaxy franchises. Aquaman was a visual spectacle and thrill-ride unlike anything before it and Shazam! continues that trend of lighter material and a director who knows how to make one helluva kick-ass comic book adaptation. David Sandberg is known for his horror resume-you’ll get some crazy glimpses of that background in Shazam! from time to time, but the effort is mostly a family-friendly affair that flips the superhero origin on its head, creating this exhilarating up-to-date version of Big meets The Monster Squad. (full review HERE)
#9. TIE – Avengers: Endgame & Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Avengers Endgame is currently the highest grossing film of all time. It probably deserves to be higher up this list, but I’ve found it difficult re-watching all three hours for a second time. However, this is an incredible achievement in movie-making – a culmination of over a decade’s worth of Marvel Studios films all coming together for the ultimate showdown. If you didn’t get the hardest nipples in your lifetime watching Captain America pick up Thor’s hammer and go toe to toe with Thanos then you are most certainly dead inside friend.
Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker may not be the best of the franchise (you know what – it’s tied with The Force Awakens as the best in the franchise soooooo – suck on that), but it’s a damn fine ending to the wackiest science fiction tale ever told. Aside from the jarring first 30 minutes or so, Episode IX is a thrilling and emotional tale that will resonate with fans who have grown up with these characters their entire lives. You can’t please everybody, but I’ll be damned if J.J. didn’t try and I think he needs to be commended for that. (full review HERE)
Jordan Peele’s US is the real Twilight Zone episode of 2019 — forget that half-assed resurrected TV series, this movie is so crazy and cool that I’m kind of blown away that it’s only ranking at number 8 on this list. For the longest stretch of the year it was my number one. Seeing the ‘doppelgangers’ grunt and scream as they embark on their stabfest is one of the most unsettling versions of the apocalypse one will ever witness. Also – that damn score and use of ‘I’ve got 5 on It’ might be my favorite piece of movie music in 2019. Yo know what? Yes it is.
Munro Chambers is Canada’s best indie actor right now and a force to be reckoned with. He headlined one of my favorite movies OF ALL TIME with Turbo Kid a few years ago and then he shocked and disturbed me BIG TIME in Michael Peterson’s Knuckleball playing a deranged individual. In HARPOON – Chambers flexes all of his acting muscles, playing funny, sympathetic and yes at times… scary. All three actors are amazing, thankfully, because this film is literally THREE people stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean, losing their damn minds. HARPOON is literally the gold standard now for third wheel relationship discomfort… Chambers should be cast in a major flick outside of Canada as fast as possible so more film studios can tap into this actor’s genius. He’s doing things that remind me of Christian Bale in his prime and HARPOON is his finest performance to date. (full review HERE)
#6. TIE – IT: Chapter 2 & Doctor Sleep
Considering the second half of Stephen King’s killer clown epic is usually considered the weaker and stranger part of the story, translating that material to the bigscreen was no easy task, but the cast and talent assembled for IT Chapter 2 was unprecedented. Bill Hader stole the show, but this three-hour horror masterpiece and perfect conclusion to the Pennywise saga was definitely a team effort. It’s a film about growing up, moving on and letting the past die – literally. I’ve rewatched it at home and it’s still just as messed up the second time. Maybe even more-so which is unsettling.
I hated The Shining. I love Doctor Sleep – HARD. This was easily the biggest surprise of the year for me as I wasn’t expecting this superhero horror hybrid rollercoaster to hit me so hard emotionally. The film is about the little Redrum kid all grown up and dealing with his unique powers which were only hinted at in Kubrick’s overrated film, as he deals with depression, alcoholism and passing the torch to another gifted youngster who is dealing with the same problems. Doctor Sleep is so good that it actually elevates The Shining and in my mind, manages to make that movie better. This is the sign of a true masterpiece in sequel movie making.
#5. Good Boys
Good Boys is funnier than Superbad. I haven’t laughed that hard at a movie in years and even just writing about how funny Good Boys is, conjures up some of the most laugh-out-loud memories I may have ever had watching a film. Seeing these young kids (who are dangerously close to the age of my own children) – talk about sex in ways that makes no sense because they aren’t old enough to comprehend everything, is what makes the comedy so magical, innocent and original here. It’s hard to explain, but when these little adorable bastards say things like, “I heard he blowjobbed that kid’s sister – what a f***ing legend” – I can’t help but burst out laughing just thinking about the delivery. This is THE funniest movie of 2019 and easily one of the best comedies of the entire decade to boot.
Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Joker is so twisted and masterful that even if you had problems with Todd Phillips’ DC Comics origin story, you can’t deny that Phoenix just delivered as good, if not better a performance than Heath Ledger’s legendary Oscar-winning portrayal of the same character all those years ago. That in itself seemed an impossible task, but Phoenix managed to lose himself in this part in a way that you just feel that something special is happening onscreen. This is one of those iconic ‘all-timer’ performances and after seeing Joker twice, there’s no denying it is the best comic book film of 2019 by a mile and that’s saying something considering how many damn good films in that genre came out this year…
#3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is his love letter to the movie making industry. It’s not your typical Tarantino affair in that there’s more here about the craft of making movies rather than blood and bullets flying left and right, but it’s so magical and well made that you can’t help but lose yourself in the golden age of cinema alongside these perfect characters. This is Brad Pitt’s greatest performance to date and the less you know about how the movie ends, the better… Let’s just say that although the film feels like it’s the least violent of Tarantino’s filmography – all of that goes right out the freaking window in the final 15 minutes of what could be the most mayhem-filled finale of all time? Yup. I think so.
#2. The Peanut Butter Falcon
Shia LaBeouf is in the midst of a long overdue comeback and delivers his greatest performance to date in The Peanut Butter Falcon, while breakout star Zack Gottsagen proves that performers with Down syndrome can headline a film and do a damn good job at it. If there’s any justice in this world, Gottsagen would get a leading Oscar nod with Shia receiving one in the supporting performance category. These two have more than just some typical onscreen chemistry, because I could feel their bond emanating from the screen in a way that didn’t even feel like I was watching a movie anymore. LaBeouf and Gottsagen may have just set the new standard for the entire genre of brothers on the run. (full review HERE).
#1. The Irishman
Martin Scorsese’s 3.5 hour Netflix epic The Irishman is so damn good that it could have just been Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino talking about the weather and I would have still been entranced by these masters at work. Everyone is delivering what feels like their career best performances here and that in itself is shocking considering the talent assembled for this mafia masterpiece. It is hands down the best film of 2019 and one of the most remarkable movies that Scorsese has ever made – easily his best since Goodfellas and let’s not forget he made The Departed a few years back… Yes it is that damn good. It is what it is and what it is – is perfect.
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