My Year at the Movies – 2019

Best Non-2019 Films Discovered in 2019

https://letterboxd.com/paulstanis/list/best-non-2019-movies-discovered-in-2019/

Best Comedy of the Year

Booksmart

Good Boys

Isn’t it Romantic?

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Toy Story 4

Director Trajectory: Up

James Bobin. Dora and the Lost City of Gold > Alice through the Looking Glass

Tim Burton. Dumbo > Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Ruben Fleischer. Zombieland: Double Tap > Venom

Bong Joon-ho. Parasite > Okja

Guy Ritchie. Aladdin > King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Director Trajectory: Down

Danny Boyle. Yesterday < T2 Trainspotting

Bill Condon. The Good Liar < Beauty and the Beast

Joe Cornish. The Kid Who Would be King < Attack the Block

Michael Dowse. Stuber < What if?

Jon Favreau. The Lion King < The Jungle Book

Paul Feig. Last Christmas < A Simple Favor

F. Gary Gray. Men in Black: International < The Fate of the Furious

Neil Jordan. Greta < Byzantium

Steven Knight. Serenity < Locke

Best Heroes or Antiheroes of the Year

10) Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), Long Shot

9) Dora Marquez (Isabela Moner), Dora and the Lost City of Gold

8) Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett), Where’d You Go Bernadette

7) Jasmine (Naomi Scott), Aladdin

6) Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), Happy Death Day 2U

5) Natalie (Rebel Wilson), Isn’t it Romantic

4) Molly Davidson and Amy (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever), Booksmart

3) Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), Knives Out

2) Anna (Kristen Bell) & Elsa (Idina Menzel), Frozen 2

1) Nebula (Karen Gillan), Avengers: Endgame

Nebula

Best Horror Film of the Year

Doctor Sleep

Escape Room

Happy Death Day 2U

It Chapter Two

Ready or Not

Moments of the Year

12) Bureaucracy monologue, Ford v Ferrari

11) The last shot, Pain and Glory

10) Happy pep talk, Spider-Man: Far from Home

9) Astral projection, Doctor Sleep

8) Losers Club reunion, It Chapter Two

7) Picking yourself up, Captain Marvel

6) Picking yourself up, “Be with me” edition, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

5) Good acting, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood

4) Knife out, Knives Out

3) Death montage, Happy Death Day 2U

2) Avengers assemble, Avengers: Endgame

1) Ahtahollan, Frozen 2

Show Yourself

One-on-One Fights of the Year (SPOILERS)

10) Henry Brogan (Will Smith) vs. Junior (Will Smith) Round 1, Gemini Man

9) Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) vs. Ken Miles (Christian Bale), Ford v Ferrari

8) Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) vs. Franklin Yoshida (Bobby Nish), Ad Astra

7) John Wick (Keanu Reeves) vs. Zero (Marc Dacascos), John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

6) Rey (Daisy Ridley) vs. Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

5) Elsa (Idina Menzel) vs. The Water Nokk, Frozen 2

4) Stu Prasad (Kumail Nanjiani) vs. Victor Manning (Dave Bautista), Stuber

3) Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) vs. Red (Lupita Nyong’o), Us 

2) Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) vs. Thanos (Josh Brolin), Avengers: Endgame

1) Steve Rogers (Captain America) (Chris Evans) vs. Thanos (Josh Brolin), Avengers: Endgame

Fight Steve Thanos 3

Best Pop Culture References/Allusions of the Year

6) You’ve Got Mail, It Chapter Two

5) “The Phantom of the Opera”, Dora and the Lost City of Gold

4) Danica McKellar, Knives Out

3) The Doors, Rambo: Last Blood

2) Kenner Star Wars, Toy Story 4

1) Back to the Future time travel cue, Happy Death Day 2U

Ranking Disney-Distributed Movies (best to worst) 

10) The Lion King

9) Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

8) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

7) Noelle

6) Dumbo

5) Captain Marvel

4) Aladdin

3) Toy Story 4

2) Frozen 2

1) Avengers: Endgame

Disney Fox

7) Dark Phoenix

6) Ford v Ferrari

5) Stuber

4) Terminator: Dark Fate

3) Ready or Not

2) Jojo Rabbit

1) Ad Astra

Best Remake of the Year 

Aladdin

Child’s Play

Cold Pursuit

Dumbo

Gloria Bell

Best Science Fiction Film of the Year

Ad Astra

Alita: Battle Angel

Happy Death Day 2U

Serenity

Terminator: Dark Fate

Sequel Improvement 

Avengers: Endgame > Avengers: Infinity War

Angel Has Fallen > London Has Fallen

It Chapter Two > It

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil > Maleficent

Rambo: Last Blood > Rambo

Spider-Man: Far from Home > Spider-Man: Homecoming

Terminator: Dark Fate > Terminator: Genisys

Zombieland: Double Tap > Zombieland

Sequel Decline 

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World < How to Train Your Dragon 2

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum < John Wick Chapter 2

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part < The LEGO Movie

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker < Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Sequel (#2 – Second Installment) of the Year

Frozen 2

Doctor Sleep

Happy Death Day 2U

It Chapter Two

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Stray Observations 

After last year’s Smallfoot, Missing Link and Abominable are two more tales of yeti in the Himalayas or thereabouts.

As a connoisseur of bonkers mainstream movies with prestige casts, I declare that Serenity is 2019’s Winter’s Tale or Collateral Beauty. It also wins my “Pardon One Turkey” award for underrated movies.

In 2019 we had The Aftermath, After the Wedding, and regular old After.

Last year Regina Hall played the best boss ever in Support the Girls, and this year she played the worst boss ever in Little.

Matt Damon was punched in the face while wearing glasses in Suburbicon, and again in Ford v Ferrari.

Movies that feature Deep Purple’s “Hush”, and a Manson or Manson family-adjacent plot element include Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood and Bad Times at the El Royale.

The Rambo series used to be one where each installment was consistently worse than the last, but I do prefer Last Blood to the 2008 Rambo, so the formula is broken.

“Wakanda forever!” is said in Long Shot. Not in Avengers: Endgame! There’s also a Wakanda reference in What Men Want.

Tearjerkers of the Year 

Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Avengers: Endgame, Booksmart, Toy Story 4, Happy Death Day 2U, Frozen 2, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Little Women

Best Villains of the Year

11) Jexi (Rose Byrne), Jexi

10) Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), Glass

9) Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard, et al.), It Chapter Two

8) Jafar (Marwan Kenzari), Aladdin

7) Sue Ann Ellington (Octavia Spencer), Ma

6) Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

5) Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks), Toy Story 4

4) Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), Doctor Sleep

3) Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), Shazam!

2) Red (Lupita Nyong’o), Us

1) Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), Spider-Man: Far from Home

Quentin Beck Mysterio

WTF (bad) 

Northern California hospitality, The Intruder

The motivation twist, The Good Liar

The title drop, Angel Has Fallen

Palpatine’s magical mystery tour, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Late night talk show host makes fun of a nobody, Joker

Never-ending mid-credits scene, What Men Want

Fighting over the helicopter, Dark Phoenix

Abandonment issues, Shazam!

WTF (good)

“Be Our Guest”, The Lion King

Social worker sequence, Marriage Story

Sound mixer meltdown, Black Christmas

Dark throwaway frat house joke, Good Boys

Special bullets, Rambo: Last Blood

The dog, Polar

Les Miserables allusions, Frozen 2

Mad Max on the moon, Ad Astra

Dennis Quaid’s over-the-top villain performance, The Intruder

And two movies, Ma and Cats, embody all of WTF (bad) and WTF (good).

(Rough) Final Ranking of All (79) 2019 Films Seen (Best to Worst)

Avengers: Endgame; Booksmart; Frozen 2; Ad Astra; Knives Out; Parasite; Doctor Sleep; It Chapter Two; A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood; Little Women; Toy Story 4; Jojo Rabbit; Her Smell; Spider-Man: Far from Home; Isn’t it Romantic; Happy Death Day 2U; Good Boys; Aladdin; Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood; Marriage Story; John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum; Ready or Not; The Irishman; Terminator: Dark Fate; Serenity; Dora and the Lost City of Gold; Escape Room; Ma; Pain and Glory; Captain Marvel; Us; The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part; Dumbo; Where’d You Go Bernadette; Stuber; Long Shot; Pokémon: Detective Pikachu; Ford v Ferrari; Noelle; Zombieland: Double Tap; Cold Pursuit; Hobbs and Shaw; Gemini Man; Missing Link; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker; Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; Rambo: Last Blood; Gloria Bell; Child’s Play; Everybody Knows; Alita: Battle Angel; Jexi; Greta; Black Christmas; Men in Black: International; Angel Has Fallen; Crawl; Yesterday; Rocketman; Late Night; Godzilla: King of the Monsters; The Laundromat; The Good Liar; Dark Phoenix; Last Christmas; Shazam!; The Intruder; The Upside; Brightburn; After the Wedding; The Lion King; The Aftermath; How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Glass; Polar; The Kid Who Would be King; Cats; Joker; What Men Want

By the Numbers 

Percentage of films viewed that pass the Bechdel/Wallace Test: 47%

8 Films featuring a character symbolically or literally killing their younger self (Avengers: Endgame, It Chapter Two, Gemini Man, Zombieland: Double Tap, Her Smell, The Good Liar, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Rocketman)

7 Films featuring carnivals, theme parks, or Ferris wheels (Us, Dumbo, Shazam!, Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Far from Home, It Chapter Two, Rocketman)

5 Disney movies with elephants (Dumbo, Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, The Lion King)

5 Nick Fury appearances (Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Long Shot, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood)

4 Evil doll appearances (Shazam!, Toy Story 4, Child’s Play, Annabelle Comes Home)

4 Groups putting their hands together in solidarity (Shazam!, Avengers: Endgame, It Chapter Two, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)

4 Head bumps that change the lead character’s perception of the whole world (What Men Want, Isn’t it Romantic, Last Christmas, Yesterday)

4 Stalker thrillers (The Intruder, Greta, Ma, Child’s Play) (In both Greta and Ma, it’s an adult woman stalking younger prey.)

4 Steve Rogers appearances (Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Long Shot, Spider-Man: Far from Home)

3 New York Mets pennants (Spider-Man: Far from Home, Marriage Story, Yesterday)

3 Steven Sondheim numbers (Joker, Knives Out, Marriage Story)

2 Aurora borealis appearances (Frozen 2, Noelle)

2 Films featuring a child and mother whose life forces are supernaturally tied together (Frozen 2, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)

2 Films featuring Dennis Quaid showing up at the front door with food and being told, “You can’t show up like this” (The Intruder, A Dog’s Journey)

2 Films featuring evil frat boys (Good Boys, Black Christmas)

2 Films where the heroes fight elemental forces (Spider-Man: Far from Home, Frozen 2)

2 Fresh Prince-era Will Smith appearances (Aladdin, Gemini Man)

2 Films featuring horse-fu (John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, Missing Link)

2 Ice castles (Missing Link, Frozen 2)

2 Films featuring Jason Clarke being cheated on by his wife (Serenity, The Aftermath)

2 Films featuring Julianne Moore singing along loudly in a car and dancing to disco music (Gloria Bell, After the Wedding)

2 Films featuring a kid locking a cop in a store (Shazam!, Good Boys) (The inverse happens in Child’s Play, where a cop arrests and handcuffs a kid in a store.)

2 Films where the lead character walks into a glass door (Joker, Jexi)

2 Mungo Jerries (Avengers: Endgame, Cats)

2 Films featuring old 80s action stars celibately helping out a woman and a kid on an idyllic homestead near the U.S.-Mexico border (Rambo: Last Blood, Terminator: Dark Fate)

2 People saved by counterfactual history (Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, Yesterday)

2 Quicksand appearances (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Dora and the Lost City of Gold)

2 Redrum appearances (Doctor Sleep, Her Smell)

2 Scary scenes in a funhouse of mirrors (Us, It Chapter Two)

2 Settlers of Catan appearances (Cold Pursuit, Happy Death Day 2U)

2 Sleeping Beauty’s Castle appearances (Aladdin, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil)

2 Superman appearances (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Shazam!) (Shoutout to Brightburn, which is a take on “evil Superman”.)

2 Films featuring a character throwing a weapon into water (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Irishman)

2 Time travel movies that reference Back to the Future (Avengers: Endgame, Happy Death Day 2U)

2 Films featuring toy surgery (Toy Story 4, Child’s Play)

2 Films featuring a male tutor kissing his female student (Parasite, The Good Liar)

2 VHS copies of The Right Stuff (Captain Marvel, Us)

2 Wives having to properly install a booster seat (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Marriage Story)

2 Woke comedies featuring Molly Gordon (Booksmart, Good Boys)

 

Messing with the studio logos (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Dark Phoenix, Toy Story 4, Happy Death Day 2U, The Lion King, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Men in Black: International, Terminator: Dark Fate, Zombieland: Double Tap, Doctor Sleep, Noelle)

Opening title sequences – * = dedicated sequence (Glass, The Kid Who Would be King, Us, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum*, Aladdin, Greta, Hobbs and Shaw, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, Ready or Not, Jexi, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Pain and Glory*, Zombieland: Double Tap, The Good Liar*, Ford v Ferrari, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood*, Yesterday, After the Wedding)

Wrap Party Finales (Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Isn’t it Romantic, The Lion King, Last Christmas, Her Smell, The Good Liar, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Little Women)

Epilogue text (Ford v Ferrari, The Laundromat)

Curtain Call Cast Credits – * = no specific character iconography (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World*, Captain Marvel, Shazam!, Avengers: Endgame, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Booksmart, What Men Want, Isn’t it Romantic, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Missing Link, Good Boys, Knives Out, Noelle)

Mid-Credits scenes – * = does not take up the entire screen (Glass*, Captain Marvel, Shazam!, Aladdin, What Men Want, Toy Story 4, Isn’t it Romantic*, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Happy Death Day 2U, Hobbs and Shaw, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood*, Where’d You Go Bernadette*, Angel Has Fallen, Rambo: Last Blood*, Brightburn, Jexi*, Zombieland: Double Tap, Last Christmas*, Her Smell*, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood*, Marriage Story*, Rocketman*, After the Wedding*)

Post-Credits scenes (Captain Marvel, Shazam!, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Hobbs and Shaw, Zombieland: Double Tap, Frozen 2)

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