Here are the best movies of 2019

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Photo by Darrien Funk

The Oscar buzz is veering up again and there’s some questions to be answered. Will Joaquin Phoenix have an existential crisis on stage? Is that Martin Scorsese or did Eugene Levy hire a stylist? Where’s Adam Sandler? Is Jared Leto still a thing? Why the hell is Elton John here?

Do we even care? All that red carpet hullabaloo and all the pre-established dramas are just a money grab that cinephiles roll their eyes at. We’re here for the films.

I struggled to rank these movies. Even the top three could be considered completely interchangeable. I decided to leave out The Joker, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Knives Out not because they aren’t wonderful films, but because they didn’t resonate with me past the theatre. A good movie makes you question everything you’ve ever believed in, even if just for a day.

Here are the best movies of 2019:

Honorable Mentions

2019 was a strong year for movies. It’s impossible not to leave off some worthy contenders on a top three list. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is a charming and engaging take on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel. Sure, Timothee Chalamet is an utter, absolute bore — but it’s surprisingly easy to look past his bland, forgettable performance. Gerwig’s directorial follow-     up to the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird was executed perfectly and deserving of your attention.

Rocketman makes Bohemian Rhapsody look like low-budget porn shot at a reasonably priced Airbnb. Taron Egerton plays Elton John to perfection, nailing the vocals while showing the harsh realities of drug and alcohol addiction.

Booksmart is today’s Superbad, excluding the blatant misogyny and homophobia. A story of two girls trying to jam all the high school fun they missed into one night, Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut will very likely stand as an all-time cult classic.

Marriage Story just made me want to hug my dad. Adam Driver is amazing. Enough said.

3. Avengers: Endgame

I can’t seem to bring myself to watch The Irishman. Not due to disinterest — it looks fantastic — but who the hell has three hours to kill? That being said, I saw Avengers: Endgame twice within the first 24 hours after it’s release, and four times since.

Kevin Feige and the team at Marvel Studios have truly perfected the art of the superhero film. What used to be a dopey, rather foolish visual genre (thanks to sixties television renditions) has morphed into a full out tear jerking cinematic universe.

Robert Downey Jr. deserves endless praise. Talk about Oscar snubs. It’s not often you see an actor throw that much dedication into the development of a character over eleven years.

I recall embracing the man beside me in the theatre during the heart wrenching climax. We wailed and sobbed together as we watched our entire world fall apart. We mourned our heroes, holding each other tight like a mother holds her newborn. It wasn’t until the end credits finished that we finally let each other go, finally inhaling the shock and horror we’d been fed.

We exchanged nods as if to say “that is all” and never spoke. We left separately, he with his family and I with the date I wouldn’t be seeing again. I never did get the man’s name. I think about him a lot.

But um, yeah. Go see this movie.

2. Jojo Rabbit

It’s difficult not to put Taika Waititi’s cinematic masterpiece at the #1 spot. Nazi Germany and the destructive effects of fascism has never been satirized so well. Jojo Rabbit will have you crying when you want to laugh and laughing when all you want to do is weep. I have a hesitation — almost refusal — to re-watch this film thanks to a single chilling image I can’t bring myself to view again.

Scarlett Johansson reminds us why our mothers are the best, delivering a heartfelt performance while putting on a pretty decent German accent. Roman Griffin Davis is the most lovable Hitler Youth recruit you’ll ever meet and Sam Rockwell is, well, Sam Rockwell. Other than the obvious miscasting of Rebel Wilson, this film is by all means impeccable.

1. Parasite

A film about a manipulative family and differing social classes, Parasite is more than deserving of the top spot on this list. The dialogue is a work of art, leaving you with severe abdominal cramps from constant, sometimes unexplainable laughter.

It’s difficult to explain what makes this movie so fantastic without spoiling anything, so instead, just go watch it. A healthy mix of boundless humour and uncertain fear always makes for a good late-night panic attack.

For those hesitant to watch a lengthy film full of Korean subtitles, consider director Bong Joon-ho’s quote from the Golden Globes: “Once you overcome the one inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” This movie may seem daunting to some, but believe me: it resonates in ways you won’t be able to shake for days.


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