So, I decided to go with a list of fifteen films on my list of favorite films for the year. I missed Parasite in theaters and so have not yet gotten to see it and I have not seen 1917 since it does not go into wide release until Friday.
- Knives Out
Rian Johnson’s Knives Out was the most fun I had in the theater this year. I loved this movie. Original characters in a story that pays homage to classic whodunnits, it is filled with nothing but terrific performances with some fun twists. Johnson has announced a new Benoit Blanc mystery and I am excited.
- Jojo Rabbit
You could never make Blazing Saddles today. Comedy is too hard in today’s woke environment said Joker director Todd Phillips. Boo hoo, folks. Taika Waititi tells the tale of a young boy so dedicated to the Nazi cause, his imaginary best friend is Hitler. A surprisingly funny and touching film, Jojo Rabbit is a gem.
- Little Women
I have never read the book, nor seen any of the prior adaptions. But this movie worked so well. Gerwig and her cast weave together a beautifully engaging film.
- Uncut Gems
Adam Sandler’s best performance since Punch Drunk Love, the Safdie Brothers give an intense story of human greed and misery.
Ari Aster does it again. Where Hereditary was full of darkness, Midsommar attempts the rare choice of a well lit horror. Tense, unnerving and a tad goofy, this film is terrific.
- A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood
While not flawless, this film is a beautiful exploration of love and forgiveness through the eyes of a heartbroken cynic who meets the beloved Mr. Rogers. Marielle Heller makes some beautiful choices (such as imitating the television show’s models for transitions).
- Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy gives a great performance here. The movie itself manages to be a crass love letter to Rudy Ray Moore, a man determined to make it against a world that seems to not be interested in his success.
- Ford vs Ferrari
Really enjoyed this supposed “Dad Movie”. Genius in the face of corporate roadblocks push the drama here. The racing scenes are exciting and the film is inspirational.
- The Lighthouse
I still do not know what to make of the film, but it is so visually beautiful, I still think about it.
Some people got really hung up on the “how does it work” aspect. But honestly, Jordan Peele’s followup to Get Out had my attention from the beginning and just never lost me.
- Avengers Endgame
Technically, I think Infinity War was the better movie…but this one was so much more satisfying.
- the Irishman
While I think this has some great performances, I was not nearly as pulled into this one as I hoped. It was good, but was not my favorite Scorsese film. I know a lot of people praised this as a great triumph, but honestly, part of me feels like those folks felt obligated to really hype the film over the silly Scorsese/Marvel brouhaha.
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Fun film from Tarantino, not his greatest film, but entertaining and great performances.
- John Wick 3: Parabellum
The weakest of the three films, but still an amazing feat of action choreography and enjoyable performances.
- Ad Astra
A thoughtful Sci-Fi film with Brad Pitt as a detached astronaut on a mission to discover if his presumed dead father may still be alive. Beautiful visuals and a quiet pace make this a solid sci-fi film.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
Doctor Sleep- I am almost tempted to switch out John Wick 3 for this one. Doctor Sleep was a real surprise.
Ready or Not- This was just a fun and ridiculous horror film.
Spider-Man: Far From Home- I enjoyed this one a lot. Mysterio was a cool villain and it was nice to see a villain we had not seen before. Plus, the mid credit scene.
Klaus- A beautiful little animated film.
Godzilla: King of Monsters- I had a blast with this one.
Shazam!- This is a fun movie. I had a great time.