Perhaps the first thing you are wondering why I am only listing 7 movies on my best of list this year. My stated goal at the end of 2018 was to see more movies in the theater during 2019. I failed. I actually saw FEWER movies that were released in 2019 than the year before. And of those 15 movies, only 7 fit my less than scientific requirements.
Those requirements being: Did I like the movie? Would I pay to see it again in the theater? Would I watch it repeatedly when I saw it on movie channel/On Demand OR Would I buy it on DVD? You've got to hit at least three of those categories to make my list.
You'll note that the majority of these seven films are of the mainstream pop culture types. These are the movies I tend to enjoy the most these days. While it means I won't be getting an invitation from Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola to watch movies with them, these are the movies I love the most. I like Marvel movies. I like Star Wars movies. I like movies that don't seek to be dreary tracts masquerading as art and feel like I'm being made to eat broccoli all day every day.
Don't get me wrong, I like a good drama and even a movie that might cause me to think on it long after I first watch it. But make it entertain me at the same time, would you please?
So once again, I'm aiming to see more movies in the theater once 2020 gets underway. Will I fail once again in that aim? I guess only time and a new article like this next year will be the only way to find out for sure.
As for what movies made my list, here they are:
#7 - JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL - It's funny that this movie made my list because up until a few days before it hit theaters, I'd never saw or had an interest in seeing the first one in this new film series. But since I was going to see this one on Christmas Day with a friend of mine AND answering the challenge of a cousin, I watched the first one and loved it. Then I saw this one and other than a minor issue I had, pretty much loved this one as well. The cast is funny and watching them play against type or just play absurdist versions of what they are best known for had me cracking up. Watching Jack Black trying to emulate a teenage girl in a man's body is worth the price of admission alone.
Will I get this on DVD? Well, the jury is out on that but I do know if I see it on On Demand I'll happily watch it a number of times.
#6 - FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW - While the entire Fast & Furious franchise will never be mistaken for the best movies have to offer, they are immensely popular. You can count me in as a big fan of the series as well. Now, Hobbs & Shaw goes a long way towards crossing the line from action thriller to science fiction but in the category of big dumb popcorn action flick, it totally works. No matter how ridiculous the stuff in the script seems, I can't help but love the unrepentant one liners the two leads throw at each other throughout the movie. And you can't really find fault with the insane level of action sequences here either, the laws of physics be damned.
Would I buy it on DVD? Yes, I plan on picking it up as soon as I can. I love the series and own almost all of them on DVD.
#5 - ANGEL HAS FALLEN - The third movie in this Gerard Butler series featuring Secret Service agent Mike Banning doesn't seem to get a lot of love even from action movie enthusiasts, but I've had a soft spot for them myself. It's nice to see Butler in a series that never fails to entertain me with each new movie in the series and I hope to see it continue onward.
Would I buy it on DVD? Yes indeed, I will add it to my collection.
#4 - WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND: LOOKING BACK AT STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE - It's not often I will watch a documentary. But when it is about my favorite Star Trek series, you can bet that not only will I watch it, but on the one night it played in theaters, I'd be there with metaphorical bells on. And the filmmakers upped the ante by making this documentary more than just a series of talking heads reminiscing about the show. There was an original song and writers from the show were shown breaking an episode from a figurative 8th season. The show lost both Aron Eisenberg ("Nog")and Rene Auberjonois ("Odo") after the release of the movie which gives their parts in the film even more poignancy. Suffice to say, this was a tremendously entertaining look back at the show and I'm glad that I saw it on the big screen.
Would I buy it on DVD? Ha, already did!
#3 - FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY - If you told me that a movie about a female wrestler in the WWE would be the one movie with the most heart in 2019, I probably would've laughed at you. I didn't even have any plans to see this movie because I don't think I saw the trailer until the week the movie hit theaters. I was intrigued at least and when I came out of the theater, I was really happy that I hadn't missed out on the film. Based on the true story of two-time WWE women's champ Paige, this had all the earmarks of a sports underdog movie without being all that sugary sweet about it. And I thought actress Florence Pugh was marvelous in the lead role. Factor in Lena Headey and Nick Frost as the parents (who had some of the funniest lines in the movie) and you really had a wonderful film on your hands. I was definitely shocked, but I was also definitely won over.
Would I buy it on DVD? Yes, I own it already and have watched it a number of times already.
#2 - STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - In order to get the full measure of what I thought of this movie I am just going to copy and paste what I wrote about it on Facebook:
"42 years after I saw "A New Hope", I sat in the theater this afternoon and watched as the Star Wars saga came to an end. And I think they gave this series a fitting ending.
I liked this movie a lot because It was a STAR WARS movie, not something that was CALLED a Star Wars movie (The abysmal The Last Jedi, I'm talking about you.)
It wasn't a perfect movie as there were a couple of things that made me want to retch. However, there were a couple moments that made me clap in my seat too.
And throughout it all, from the opening scrawl and John Williams amazing theme, through the very last shot, I felt my body tingling with the kind of excitement I first felt when I met a young restless moisture farmer, a roguish ship captain, a steely princess, the Wookie and the two droids I was indeed looking for and joined their Rebellion's quest for freedom.
I plan to go see this one again in the theater because it is well worth it in my opinion."
Would I buy it on DVD? Hell yes I will!
And my favorite movie of 2019 is (this can't be a surprise, right?)
#1 - AVENGERS: ENDGAME - Say what you want, and again people like Martin Scorsese have, but the path laid out by Marvel Studios for the decade-long Marvel Cinematic Universe came to a stunningly fitting ending. This movie had everything you could've possibly wanted to see as the first "volume" of the MCU closed out the Thanos storyline on the highest of high notes. It's not often a studio boldly lays out a plan that will chart a course over a ten year period or more and then actually pulls it off so well, that they effectively rule the box office. Marvel did it and for the most part, gave moviegoers movies that they will love for years. Avengers: Endgame is just what comic book fans should've always hoped a big screen Marvel movie would be back when the idea of comic book movies was a joke. One last time...AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
That's it for me for movies in 2019. Here's hoping once more that I can accomplish my movie goals next year. Until then I will (full acknowledging the stealing of the phrase) see you...At The Movies.
One in common, and one that I will see (John Wick 3) if I ever get around to seeing the 2nd one.