Top 10 Movies of 2019

published on July 2, 2020

Here we are December is
coming to a close and

we're staring down
the barrel of a new decade

But before we pop the champagne and
put on a pair of those dumb glasses

Let's take a look back at the past
year and the films we loved in it,

these are our picks for
the 10 best movies of 2019

(Music)

There were a lot of good movies this year
so we have to break it down by category

Let's start big,
this year on the blockbuster front,

we were most impressed by movies
like John Wick Parabellum

Pushing its set pieces to their most
bombastically heightened conclusions

In Ford versus Ferrari, it would
have been just a better-than-average

biopic if it weren't for
the rip roaring driving scenes

And don't tell anyone we said this, but
we actually loved Alita: Battle Angel

And we're sorry it bombed so bad we
likely won't get to see another one

However, there's nothing quite so
climactic as finishing off a decade with

the capstone to the most
expensive story ever told

So for our first pick,
we've gotta go with Avengers Endgame

>> You know how I keep telling
everybody they should move on and grow

(Music)

Some do

(Music)

Atlantis

>> There is something to be said for
the importance of sticking a landing

And in the superhero comic book world,
where cheating death is no big deal,

Endgame stands out by making death and
finality matter

There is a serious amount of runtime real
estate dedicated to the breath of our

hero's experiences with grief

And the confrontation for what feels like
the very first time of their own limits

As the film follows their attempts to
bring back half an entire universe snapped

away, they create a sense of scale

National mourning, and

cost that elevates End Game beyond
all the previous Marvel offerings

If you grew up in the Marvel era, Endgame
asked you to stay goodbye to characters

you've know since you were a kid

And no matter how you feel about comic
book movies and whether they are or

are not capital C cinema, that matters

(Sound) On the other end of the spectrum,
we have our indies

Telling stories that
feel just as important,

with stakes that are just
a little bit less universal

This year, we fell most in love with
the raw honesty of The Souvenir,

the subtle vulnerability of Gloria Bell

The ballsy empathy of Honey Boy,
and for our second pick,

the endless warmth of The Farewell

(Foreign)
>> Farewell is a home-cooked meal with

grandma in cinematic form

Heartfelt, hilarious,
based on an absolutely bonkers

premise that also just so
happens to be actually real

The love is palpable everywhere
in Lulu Wangs breakout picture,

the story follows Awkwafina as Billie

As her and her family head to China for
a wedding,

it is really just a cover to see
the family matriarch once more

After she is diagnosed with the cancer
that the family has decided

not to tell her about

A lesser story with a shoehorned in
a generic romantic side plot and

a lot more will they,
won't they spill the beans

But the farewell knows
exactly where its heart is

Somewhere amidst the marvelous
chemistry between its hero and

her delightful grandmother, Nai Nai

(Music)

What about animation in 2019?

Well this year brought a fourth Toy Story
that we didn't think we wanted but

totally did

A lovely animated Klaus,
rural colonialism,

and a whimsical stop motion
clothing in this magnificent cake

And our absolute favorite,
the delightfully bizarre I l Lost My Body

(Sound)

A boy loses his had in I Lost My Body is

the story of how he puts
himself back together

Except, instead of following the boy he
follows his hand crawling its way back to

him like a five legged flesh crab,
well sometimes

Other times it looks like
a tiny little person

And somehow you end up feeling for
the strange little bugger, him and

his owner both, and for
a surprising amount

Most films in one way or another
engage with our experience of sight

Quite a few engage equally
with our experience of sound

But it's a rare film that renders
a sense of touch quite so

cinematically as done here

Evoking sense memory so

powerfully specific that you
can almost them as you watch

It's a point of view from which
we've never seen a story before, and

it's completely impactful in the telling

(Music)

2019 was yet another good year for
exciting cinematic documentaries

The capitalist culture
clash of American Factory,

the meta cinema of Varda by Agnes

The magnificently time traveling
restoration of They Shall Not Grow Old,

the powerful love amidst
destruction of For Sama

The ever better ninth
installation of 63 Up

But the one that really blew
us back into our seats,

like five million pounds of rocket fuel,
had to be Apollo 11

>> Ten, nine, ignition sequence starts

(Sound)
>> Apollo

11 mines an enormous wealth
of archival sources

Including some magnificent and previously
undiscovered 7 mm footage to retell

the story of the moon
landing as if you were there

It uses no narration,
no interviews, and no recreation

Even the synthesizers used in
the fantastically tense score were

period accurate

The story is told almost
completely with recorded

conversations between the astronauts and
their mission controllers

With plenty of screen time set aside
to just marvel at the colossal

scale of it all

And in a year of visually impressive space
movies, that weren't quite our speed,

some with truly massive CGI budgets

They still don't come near
to feeling as awesome and

monumental as what it was actually
like when we put a man on the moon

(Sound)
Next up, what made us laugh this year?

Well certainly Tyco YTTs
impossibly irreverent Jojo Rabbit

If there's a difficulty modifier for

funny we think the Hitler
comedy is probably the highest

But we also love the warm or friendly or
Tarantino of Once Upon a Time

in Hollywood, Knives Out is so
well written it drives us nuts

And it was good to see Eddie Murphy and

J Low back in full form in
Dolomite Is My Name and Hustlers

However, it was a freshman filmmaker
with some relatively unknown actors that

capture our hearts

And our humor this year with our favorite
2019 comedy, and fifth pick, Booksmart

>> Name one person whose life was so

much better because they
broke a couple of rules

>> Picasso

>> Yes, he broke art rules

Name a person who broke a real rule
>> Rosa Parks

>> Name another one
>> Susan B Anthony

>> God damn it

>> Basically a female Superbad complete
with Nick McLovin esque psychic actually,

kind of a couple

Two girls that played it safe in high
school learn that as they were busy

studying

Their classmates were partying and

still managed to get into
the Ivy's alongside them

So they set out to get themselves into
some good old-fashioned trouble before

graduation

Script is hysterical, and

the two previously unknown
leads make the dialog crackle

Teen romance is handled with far more
complexity than your usual sex comedy

without ever sacrificing humor for
its honesty

It gets the emotions right and
it is the hardest we laugh all year

(Sound) Of course, on the opposite
end of the emotional spectrum,

we have got the tense and the scary

There was a lot to like about the young
Ian self confrontation of Us

Dread in the sunlight of Midsommar, and
sea shanty insanity of The Lighthouse

But they just didn't quite impress us
like Get Out, Hereditary, or The Witch

Thrillers though, were a different story

Joker was gorgeous, with yet another
performance that proves Joaquin Pheonix

is an acting talent unlike anyone else

Uncut Gems was maybe too good
of a thriller, seriously

One of two reasons we're not picking
it is because it gnawed at our stomach

lining from start to finish
like a two hour panic attack

The other reason, of course, is that Bong
Joon Ho's Parasite came out this year

And just so happens to be the best
thriller in a very long time

(Laugh)
>> Parasite is

truly unlike any movie we have
ever seen before or since

Part comedy, part thriller,
part social drama, mixing and

transitioning between its
tones effortlessly and often

Bong Joon-ho is in full control
of his craft and soaring, and

then there's the story

An hour in you're trying to guess where
the hell this could possibly be going, but

you can't, it's impossible

It always seems like
there's 100 different,

satisfying ways he could
take it at every turn

But he always seems to
pick none of the above and

do something even more interesting
than you could have imagined

In a world where people say silly things
like there's really on seven stories

And experienced viewers pride themselves
on the savvy to see every twist and

turn coming miles in advance

Parasite manages to make us feel like
kids at the movie theater again

Truly in awe and wonder at what
the silver screen has in store

(Sound) It wasn't just Parasite though,
2019 saw some of its most

interesting movies come from overseas and
outside of Hollywood

From China, Ash Is Purest White and

especially Long Day's Journey into
Night were god damn experiences

While Bacurau and
Monos hit hard from South America

However, this year we had two favorite
foreign films, and we loved them both so

dearly we couldn't choose between them

So they're getting our numbers three and
four slot

They are Pedro Almodovar Pain and
Glory and

Céline Sciamma’s Portrait

of a Lady on Fire

(Foreign)
>> In Pain and

Glory we see Almodovar reach for
new personal and autobiographical heights

While his life-long collaborator, Antonio
Banderas, delivers a performance subtle

and honest so far beyond what we
had previously thought in capable

It is the story of an aging director
in Madrid struggling with health and

art turning to heroin in his 50s

Mending fences and then breaking
them again and remembering his past

The film is at its best when Benderas
shares the screen with his aging mother or

with his former lover

And although neither episodes are very
long, that's sort of seems like the point,

you love them so much and
really wish they wouldn't go

And then there's the final shot, it's
neither tragic, heroic, melodramatic, nor

flashy, but
there's a power in its simplicity

It just broke us into tears

(Music)

There's less mystery surrounding the tears
that flooded the theater after Lady on

Fire's ending, but
they felt very much the same

Shama's quiet, gentle masterpiece
follows three women alone in an estate

on an isolated island over
the course of a week

Heloise is to wed against her wishes,

Mary Ann is to paint her portrait
also against Heloise's wishes

And Sophie, the maid,
falls pregnant but doesn't want it

The rest is simple, they pass the time,
paint a portrait, fall in love,

slowly and then very fast

Much of the movie is filled with silent
looking, regarding, observing, painting

But God, this drama fill each look and
brush stroke with such meaning

You never miss the dialogue because
each quiet moment is so very full

And by the end, the only thing you miss
is exactly what you are supposed to

(Sound) Finally closing out our list and
our year we have our prestige dramas,

call them our best picture picks

This year 1917 was an absolute
roller coaster ride of a story and

the best possible deacons clap
back at Chivo for Birdman

Waves was beautiful and emotional and
sensitive in all the ways that we love

Little Women was an absolute
delight in proof positive that

Greta Gerwig is just too good for
this world

And, A HIdden LIfe is malacky
a malick as he ever did malick, but

god damn that means there's
a lot of beauty amidst his mess

  However this year we think
nobody has gone as big as Netflix and

at serious expense

They tackled love, loss,
regret, faith, and

mortality itself in two of
the best movies of the year

Baumbach's The Marriage Story and
Scorsese's The Irishman

>> What's this?

>> It's a manilla envelope

Ooh, can I start over?

>> It has my name on it

>> Ooh

Jesus, sorry, you're served

>> Feel like I'm in a dream

>> We don't have a marriage anymore

I know you don't want the disruption, but
you don't want to be married, not really

>> But I don't want this

>> There's been a change,
instead of going up,

we're going to hang around tomorrow
morning and then go up and drive home

>> But I told Jimmy that we were
going to be up in the morning

I told Jimmy we were going to
be up in the morning

>> What?

>> Frank, we did all the could for the man
>> Marriage Story

sees Baumbach channeling Bergman and
his own marriage to Jennifer Jason Leigh

Into a personal, sometimes funny, often
devastating portrait of the parade of 1000

little heartbreaks that come with divorce

The acting is just as good as everyone
singing its praises says it is and

the empathy for
all involved is practically endless

The whole thing is so
clearly somebody's fault but

nobody really seems to deserve the blame

They're all doing their best and they
hurt each other deeply in the process

But beneath all this pain and
the resentment it turns in to over and

over, Baumbach finds an irrepressible
compassion in his characters

Because his hope,
that it may well be there in us as well

Then there's the Irishman,
it may not be a movie for everyone,

but my god, was it the movie for us

We came in expecting another Goodfellas,

another Casino, another gangster
story with rapid fire montage

And a bunch of Rolling Stones cues and

every talented Italian American
actor there ever was

And you get that for a little while,
until you look down and

realize it's become something else
entirely right beneath your feet

Because it's been 30 minutes since
the last music cue, and suddenly you just

feel so hollow and sad, as if the best
parts of your life are behind you

But you still have so far to go and
no way to turn back time and

undo your mistakes no
matter how hard you try

It brings together the two most
prominent trends of Scorsese's career,

the criminal epic, and
the religious contemplation

And seams them together in
a beautiful alchemy that

feels like his entire filmography has
been building towards this very moment

It's Marty in conversation with himself,

re-evaluating all the fun he had
with his loveable scoundrels

Shouldering the full weight of the remorse
a life of crime really begets

It aches with the heaviness of existence
which is why it's one of our absolute

favorites of the year

(Music)

So what do you think,
disagree with any of our picks?

Did we leave out any of your
favorite films of the year?

Do you think that's because we didn't see
them or just because we didn't like them?

We'll never tell

Let us know in the comments below and
be sure to subscribe for

more CineFix movie lists

(Music)

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