It appears another Academy Awards is upon us, this year earlier than ever. I have not seen everything, but I have seen most of the movies I would like to see.
Here are my rated-but-unranked takes on this year’s films:
- 1917 – Masterful from start to finish.
- Knives Out – Hilarious. Loved watching how everything came together.
- Parasite – Terrific and profound.
- Toy Story 4 – Not quite as good as Toy Story 3 in my estimation, but still great.
- Ford v Ferrari – Hugely entertaining and probably the most broadly accessible of the year’s best films.
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Really fun, but by the end it becomes readily apparent that Tarantino has a formula for these “revenge on history” movies.
- Country Music – Ken Burns’s latest marathon documentary is worthy of total immersion if you’re a music fan.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home – Haven’t seen it since I started reviewing the MCU movies, so this rating is subject to change, but I absolutely loved Far From Home. Zendaya truly had a banner year in 2019.
- Avengers: Endgame – Like Far From Home, I haven’t seen Endgame since I started reviewing the MCU movies, so this rating may also change. But I remember liking it a lot, even if I wasn’t catching all of the references.
- Zombieland: Double Tap – Tons of fun. I liked this one even more than the original.
- Captain Marvel – Haven’t seen this since I started reviewing the MCU movies either (I’m trying to watch all of them in order), so this rating may change as well. But I totally dug the ’90s nostalgia and thought this was a solid effort.
- Downton Abbey – I love the show, so I was into the movie as well. Yes, it’s just like a long episode of the TV show, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Especially not when the king visits!
- Hustlers – Now that I think about it, this was almost like a companion film to The Wolf of Wall Street. Solid, but not exceptional. Jennifer Lopez is great (and ridiculously hot for freaking 50).
- Ad Astra – Visually this was great and had some really interesting ideas, but ultimately this fell kind of flat. For a movie about an astronaut reconnecting with his father, this was kind of emotionally muted.
- The Two Popes – The actors are certainly very good and it’s kind of cool to see these popes brought to life, but even as an admittedly character-driven piece it’s fairly formless.
- Crawl – A low-rent Jaws that is more fun than it has any right to be. Check it out on streaming or something.
- El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie – Since Better Call Saul is so good, I was excited to dive back in to see what Jesse Pinkman has been up to, but this movie is a bit of a reach and just didn’t need to be made, though it’s certainly competently made.
- The Irishman – I don’t always like Scorsese’s movies the first time I watch them, so I have some hope I’ll like this one more at some point down the road. At three and a half hours, it’s just too long and repetitive.
- Joker – Pretentious fucking claptrap. Phoenix is terrific, but this ripoff of Scorsese’s The King of Comedy isn’t as dangerous to impressionable youths and involuntary celibates as it wants to think it is. Who gives a shit about any of this? This movie is supposed to explain how massacres at Columbine and Sandy Hook happen? Yes, art imitates life, but since when are comic book movies supposed to imitate every single aspect of life?
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Did these guys have any idea how this trilogy was supposed to end when they made The Force Awakens? It would appear the answer to that question is a resounding no. Not since Revenge of the Sith has the Force been raped like it is here — new rules appeared out of absolutely nowhere. There was a lot to like about the movie, but overall, a pretty big disappointment, at least on the first watch.
- Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – Ridiculous and stupid, but also somewhat fun. Worth catching on streaming or something if you’re in the mood for something nonsensical and over the top. (There’s also a character named Locke in this movie, for those into philosophy jokes.)
- Terminator: Dark Fate – Interesting idea to create a new timeline, but what they did with it decidedly sucked. James Cameron may have been back as producer, but unless he’s directing a Terminator movie, I’m not interested.
- The Lion King – Visually this was quite impressive, but I got absolutely nothing out of watching this. I love what Jon Favreau did with the recent Jungle Book remake but this left me feeling totally empty. I would much rather watch the original Lion King.
Still Haven’t Seen
- The Aeronauts
- Alita: Battle Angel
- American Factory
- Apollo 11
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
- Dark Waters
- Dolemite Is My Name
- The Farewell
- For Sama
- Frozen II
- Gemini Man
- A Hidden Life
- Honey Boy
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
- I Lost My Body
- Jojo Rabbit
- Just Mercy
- The King
- Late Night
- The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
- The Lighthouse
- Little Women
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
- Marriage Story
- Missing Link
- Motherless Brooklyn
- Pain and Glory
- The Peanut Butter Falcon
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire
- Queen & Slim
- The Report
- Richard Jewell
- Uncut Gems
Best Picture —
Best Director —
Sam Mendes, 1917 Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Best Actor — Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Best Actress — Renee Zellweger, Judy
Best Supporting Actor — Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Supporting Actress — Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Best Adapted Screenplay — Jojo Rabbit
Best Original Screenplay — Parasite
Best Animated Feature — Toy Story 4
Best Documentary Feature —
Honeyland American Factory
Best International Feature — Parasite
Best Costume Design — Little Women
Best Makeup & Hairstyling — Bombshell
Best Production Design —
1917 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Original Score —
Best Original Song — “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman
Best Cinematography — 1917
Best Film Editing — Ford v Ferrari
Best Sound Editing — Ford v Ferrari
Best Sound Mixing —
Ford v Ferrari 1917
Best Visual Effects —
Avengers: Endgame 1917
Best Animated Short — Hair Love
Best Documentary Short — Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone
Best Live-Action Short —
Brotherhood The Neighbors’ Window