First things first: I'm a realist.
It has been quite a while since I’ve been on here. Apparently I reviewed Judy in February of this year but I really don’t remember doing so. I also honestly thought I had cancelled the domain for this website a long time ago. Apparently not – apparently I’ve been paying for it this whooole time.
I don’t have a particular movie that I want to review right now, so maybe I’ll start off slow, with some mini-reviews of my personal favourite movies of 2019, in no particular order.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
2019 was a particularly strong year, so I almost feel like HTTYD 3 got kind of swept up. Some absolutely exceptional filmmaking took place. That said, I have always had a soft spot for both preceding HTTYD films – Hiccup and Toothless have held a special place in my heart since 2010. The Hidden World truly shattered my heart into a thousand little pieces coming in as the best trilogy end that we HTTYD fans could have asked for. I’ve seen it a number of times now and also own it on 4K because it’s just that good. You’d expect a second sequel to take a nosedive in quality, but that just doesn’t happen with this one.
Parasite was the big stunner of the year. Bong Joon-ho has been one of my favourite directors for quite some time. I don’t remember the first time I saw Memories of Murder but I still remember what it felt like to be blown away. For those that can’t tolerate subtitles, probably not the movie for you, but I have to say – you’re missing out! I went into Parasite expecting a horror and what I got was… not exactly that, but not exactly not that either. It was a mind-bender that really threw us for a couple of loops.
Netflix exclusive Marriage Story was kind of polarizing – a lot of people hailed it as genius and those passionate fans wanted it to win Best Picture, others couldn’t help but express disbelief that it was receiving so much praise… I was more middled. I really enjoyed the performance by Adam Driver (as I always do), but I found Scarlett Johansson so wooden (as I almost always do). It was very Kramer vs. Kramer and I enjoyed it – watched it three times, in fact – but I just didn’t think it was exactly Best Picture material because other than Driver’s performance, everything else was somewhat subpar.
As far as nostalgia value goes, Little Women took the cake. One of my favourite books from my childhood, Greta Gerwig took this source material and made it her own. From cinematography to score to acting chops to costume design, Little Women, to me, was kind of perfection. Amy March has always been my favourite March sister and Florence Pugh really gave Amy the redemption she deserved after alll the other Amys making her look bad – even in the scenes where Florence is supposed to be 12 (hilarious), she made it work. It was awesome. Saiorse Ronan played Jo – casting perfection. Timothee Chalamet played Laurie – again, perfect cast. Emma Watson played Meg – worked because I think Emma is so dull. Some girl played Beth and did a wonderful job, but for some reason I can never ever remember her name (it’s Eliza Scanlen – I’m so sorry, Eliza). I will watch this at least three times a year until the day I die.
I kept hearing all this praise for Uncut Gems, calling it Adam Sandler’s best performance of his career, and I will be honest – I resisted. I did. I watched this movie and I was on the edge of my seat, riddled with anxiety, throughout the whole damn thing. But I loved it! I loved it so much. It was a wild ride from start to finish and one that I highly (hiiiighly) recommend.
I am so disappointed that The Farewell wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. Awkwafina (despite the embarrassing stage name) was absolutely balls to the wall fantastic. I was heartbroken and uplifted all at once. The performances are authentic and wonderful, the story is heartwrenching, and on top of that, it is a movie directed by Chinese-American Lulu Wang and starring an all-Asian cast, set in China, allowing me to learn a small bit about the Chinese culture. Man, I love a movie that is equally educational and entertaining.
Knives Out was my most anticipated film of 2019. I waited with bated breath for this one to be released into theatres and was so excited to see it. With a star- studded cast (the Queen herself: Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer…), a whodunnit storyline (the best kind of storyline), and the director of one of my other favourites (Rian Johnson & Brick)… there’s literally nothing that can go wrong. AND NOTHING DID! It was amazing. It IS amazing! Watch it, watch it now!
Okay. This one is not for everybody. Not at all. It’s an A24 movie (though so is The Farewell and actually, I think Midsommar too). It’s in black and white. It has two cast members: Willem DaFoe and Robert Pattinson. They speak like sailors from the goddamn 18th century. It was wonderful. I usually go into movies like this with a healthy dose of skepticism because sometimes these types of movies are pretentious and stupid, but this one… is not one of those movies. You should definitely give it a try, but I also won’t fault you if you aren’t a fan.
I loved Get Out. I love Jordan Peele from literally everything he’s ever done. He is amazing, he is funny, he is great, he is handsome. HE IS JORDAN PEELE! Us was just as good, if not better than Get Out! It is a commentary on classism while also being absolutely horrifying. I can never look at white rabbits the same way again. Lupita is pErFeCtIoN! Shahadi Wright Joseph – amazeballs. Madison Curry is first cute as heck and then a little unsettling. Great movie. Great. 10/10.
Midsommar is definitely an Ari Aster film. Definitely. There are things I didn’t quite enjoy about it, but overall, I did like it. I liked it way more than Hereditary, at least. First of all, it stars my favourite actress, Florence Pugh – her smooth, buttery voice is my favourite sound. Second of all, it’s just bizarre as all hell. Like, if you’re looking for a movie where you’re like, “……what? …….WHAT! ……WHAT?!?!” the whole time – you have found it. This is it. You are here.
I was looking forward to watching Jojo Rabbit also – I like Taika Waititi’s directing style a lot (i.e., What We Do in the Shadows and Thor: Ragnarok, also anything Flight of the Conchords). I wasn’t as in love with Jojo as I was with some of the others, but I did really enjoy it. It was a tough watch at some points during the film and it’s hard to grasp the concept of a movie about a little boy who’s imaginary friend is literally Hitler, but it’s clearly satirical and the performances were beyond impressive, especially considering there were so many child actors in this guy. I’d watch it again, for sure.
Another movie I was really looking forward to throughout the year was Honey Boy – starring and written by Shia LaBeouf while also kind of being a bit autobiographical, it was again, a tough watch. Shia LaBeouf plays the character who is supposed to represent his father (fictionally named James Lort). You can tell it was something of a catharsis for Shia, and you could tell that it was close to his heart. I liked this one.
The Peanut Butter Falcon
The second Shia LaBeouf film of 2019 – The Peanut Butter Falcon – was another gem that just straight up knocked it out of the park. The worst part about this movie was easily Dakota Johnson – she is just not a good actress, she doesn’t have the skills to match Shia by any means. Zack Gottsagen, a young man with Down’s Syndrome, was absolutely wonderful to watch.
Last but not least, a movie that was completely and entirely shunned at all the fricken awards shows – Booksmart. Directed by none other than THE Olivia Wilde, it was just something I wasn’t expecting. It was funny and it was real. It was very Pitch Perfect-y. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever were a blast. Highly recommend for a good time.