Sometimes, when narrowing down a top ten list, it becomes overwhelming and you decide to cheat and make a top fifteen instead. There were a lot of strong films in 2019; and while I am extremely annoyed that a lot of them barely got limited December releases, soon we will have successfully killed off the theater industry and we'll be able to watch the Oscar-grabs on Netflix instead of only in LA and New York. Not that I want the industry to die—it's just going to happen and I've accepted it. Even Scorsese is sold on Netflix, and he won't even watch a superhero movie. I suppose I'll quit rambling now and get to it.
15. Under the Silver Lake
13. Marriage Story
12. Pain and Glory
11. Long Shot
10. One Cut of the Dead
8. The Two Popes
7. Jojo Rabbit
6. Little Women
5. Knives Out
4. The Art of Self-Defense
3. Honey Boy
1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
top 50 of the decade, I thought Portrait of a Lady on Fire came out in 2020. And it does, but it also showed in New York/LA for like twenty minutes, so it counts as 2019. It also didn't get submitted for the Oscars, which proves that the French are as foolish as Academy voters. Although, to be fair, I actually haven't seen Les Miserables (which they submitted instead). The film is about an 18th century female artist, Marianne, who has the luxury of not having to marry in order to succeed in life. She is hired to paint the portrait of a bride-to-be, so that her future husband can have a look before he takes the plunge. Seems like an awful lot of trouble just to send a selfie. Adding to the trouble, she has been asked to paint in secret as her subject, Heloise, refuses to pose for any painter. Under the guise of being "a companion for walks," Marianne paints Heloise in secret, sneaking glances and scribbling sketches of her when Heloise turns away. Most every shot could be a painting on its own, and the chemistry between the two actresses is undeniable. As their relationship grows and inevitably falls apart, the film never stops feeling authentic. Maybe you don't like movies about French women staring at each other, but this is my list, and this is the greatest movie about two women staring at each other of all time.
COULD EASILY REPLACE 10-15 DEPENDING ON MY MOOD:
The Farewell - A Chinese grandma is dying of cancer and no one will tell her.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco - A guy got evicted but still loves his house.
Hustlers - Basically Goodfellas, but with strippers and more realistic friendships.
The Breaker Upperers - You can pay these women to break up with your boyfriend.
Brittany Runs a Marathon - I thought it would be too sentimental but it was much more genuine.
Waves - A great movie ruined by its pivotal narrative moment.
Motherless Brooklyn - The only 2 and a half hour movie I didn't notice was too long.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - Adam Driver has a self-reflective acid trip.
Avengers: Endgame - I literally don't remember this movie.
Captain Marvel - Something about an alien cat.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum - Keanu Reeves fights things for a third time.
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood - A collection of amusing scenes.
Ready or Not - Marriage usually doesn't result in murder this quickly.
Monos - Some kids steal a lady.
Ford V Ferrari - Christian Bale drives fast.
Long Day's Journey Into Night - A long journey before the movie finally gets good.
Shadow - They fight with umbrellas. What else do you need to know?
1917 - A war movie.
In Fabric - A dress kills people for some reason.
Uncut Gems - Adam Sandler makes terrible choices, just like he does in real life.
Transit - A strong drama about falling in love and escaping from Nazis.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - Tom Hanks is super awkward.
Tigers are Not Afraid - Some kids fight with gang members.
Richard Jewell - I think we can all agree to hate the news media.
Dark Waters - I think we can all agree that corporations are poisoning us.
The Standoff At Sparrow Creek - A poor man's Reservoir Dogs.
The Report - Adam Driver reads internal memos for five years.
Yesterday - Everyone forgets who The Beatles are. I discover that The Beatles are good.
Plus One - Two people who should clearly date start dating.
The Peanut Butter Falcon - Shia LaBeouf kidnaps a boy with Down's Syndrome and makes him wrestle a large man.Diamantino - An idiotic soccer star dreams of puppies and saving refugees.
Good Boys - Some kids get into trouble and it's funnier than I thought it would be.
Chained for Life - A diegetic horror movie is made with real life "freaks" as the actors.
Always Be My Maybe - Decent even aside from the brilliant cameo.
STILL KIND OF GOOD:
The Forest of Love - Some kids make a fictional movie about a real life pop star murdering people.
Shazam - A superhero movie with family values.
Bombshell - Kate McKinnon made me laugh, but that's about it.
High Life - Robert Pattinson gets weird in space.
Joker - Just watch You Were Never Really Here. It's the same movie but better.
The King - Timothee Chalamet starts off as a promising drunkard, but then becomes king.
A Rainy Day in New York - Timothee Chalamet does a Woody Allen impression.
Better Days - A girl is bullied and hires a boy to protect her. It becomes an after school special.
Queen and Slim - A Black couple kills a cop in self-defense on their first date.
Stockholm - Ethan Hawke robs a bank.
The Perfection - Musicians are all psychopaths
A Hidden Life - I'd love it if it was an hour shorter.
An Elephant Sitting Still - I'd love it if it was 2 hours shorter (it's four hours).
To Dust - Matthew Broderick and a Hasidic Jew learn about decomposing pigs.
Dolemite is My Name - Eddie Murphy tells dirty jokes and makes a B movie.
Freaks - Superheroes shouldn't hide in houses.
Ad Astra - Brad Pitt had daddy issues in space.
The Beach Bum - Basically a documentary of what I imagine Matthew McConaughey's life is like.
The Irishman - 1/3 Goodfellas, 1/3 original content, 1/3 Godfather Part III.
Ash is Purest White - A lady goes to jail for her man and he forgets about her.
Pokemon Detective Pikachu - Deadpool for children.
Greener Grass - So delightfully weird I can't describe it.
Zombieland: Double Tap - It's Zombieland again. It's that simple, really.
The Death of Dick Long - A tragicomedy about some Nickelback fans who have weird hobbies.
Aladdin - I cringed so hard for the first five minutes, but it's not Disney's worst live action remake.
Polar - A hitman tries to retire.
Late Night - A mean, old lady learns to be friendly. And hip.
It Chapter 2 - Some grownups kill a clown.
Velvet Buzzsaw - Paintings kill things.
Rocketman - Elton John drank a lot more than I thought he did.
Atlantics - The boys in town leave on a boat and a girl is sad.
Aniara - Passengers except everyone is awake and going stir crazy.
THE AWESOMELY BAD:
Last Christmas - A literal interpretation of a Wham song. It's so bad it's good.
Harpoon - Idiots get themselves stranded on a boat.
Brightburn - Superman is evil as a child.
The Souvenir - A woman gets financially taken advantage of by her scumbag boyfriend.
The Lighthouse - Two fools shout nonsense at each other.
Harriet - A movie you watched in 7th grade history class, but with a higher budget.
Us - Tried and failed to entertain and/or provide any social commentary.
Oh, Ramona - A kid gets laid for the first time.
Happy Death Day 2U - A sequel to a good movie. It's the same movie.The Nightingale - A woman gets mad and seeks revenge but then is too wimpy to take it.
Glass - They arbitrarily made a trilogy just to provide us with this garbage.
Blinded by the Light - A Pakistani teen is too obsessed with Bruce Springsteen.
Between Two Ferns: The Movie - Zach Galifianakis makes people feel awkward.
Climax - People dance and take drugs and do bad things.
Her Smell - Elisabeth Moss pisses people off—including the viewer—for two hours.