2019 has been a phenomenal year at the cinema. We have seen records broken, we have gotten to see on our favorite sagas end, numerous amounts of A24 movies that have reached the culture, and we have had the chance to see some of our greatest directors all put out movies in the same year. Here is the list of prestige directors that put out movies this year.
- Martin Scorsese
- Quentin Tarantino
- Greta Gerwig
- Bong Joon Ho
- Taika Waititi (My King)
- Noah Baumbach
- Sam Mendes
- J.J. Abrams
- Guy Ritchie
- Jon Favreau
- James Mangold
- Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi is good and yes please @me)
- Michael Bay (his movie stunk)
- Tim Burton
- Kevin Smith
- Clint Eastwood
- Jay Roach
- Pedro Almodovar
- Steven Soderbergh (twice!)
We also had a number of female Directors on the rise with Lulu Wang, Alma Har’el, Olivia Wilde, and Andrea Berloff. When you have great filmmakers great films get made and that is what happened this year. So without further ado, here is my top ten movies of the year for 2019.
10. Honey Boy – Juice Rating 91/100
Directed by newcomer Alma Har’el this unbelievable story was written as an autobiography by Shia Labeouf while he was in rehab. It is an incredibly honest look at how hard being a child actor is and on top of that having a parent who pushes you to the edge. The performances of Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges as Shia at different stages were both incredible and Shia himself playing his father, an aspiring circus clown, was mind blowing. Not an easy watch but well worth it especially for someone who grew up watching Shia in everything.
9. Jojo Rabbit – Juice Rating 92/100
Directed by my guy Taika Waititi (Thor Ragnarok, What We Do in the Shadows) this is a story that you might never have thought could be told on screen. A young german boy who thinks of himself as a Nazi that confides in his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler. However, this story is funny, charming, and everything that Waititi has become known for. It is an anti hate satire as he described it and it really comes off that way on screen. And you get to see Sam Rockwell, Scar Jo and Waititi do their things as actors as well.
8. The Farewell – Juice Rating 92/100
Directed by Lulu Wang this is a semi autobiographical story about her family. Awkwafina’s character is her avatar and she finds out her Grandma is going to die but she also finds out it is custom in China not to tell the person they are dying. This creates tension between her and her family, but she is also trying to enjoy her Grandma’s life as well. So this movie is funny, sad, smart, and will have you smiling leaving the theater. Do not be scared of the subtitles because this is a wonderful movie.
7. Marriage Story – Juice Rating 93/100
I seem to enjoy people being honest with themselves because this movie is another semi autobiographical story by Noah Baumbach. He tells the story of his divorce through the incredible performances of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. He never makes the audience really pick a side and shows what a divorce can do not only to yourselves but to the family as a whole. Driver and Johansson should both be nominated for Oscar’s for this and best of all this movie was released directly on Netflix, so go watch it!
6. 1917 – Juice Rating 93/100
One of the best World War I movies ever made and it is because of the mastery of Director Sam Mendes and Cinematographer Roger Deakins. They decided to make this movie in a one shot style to follow these two young soldiers as they cross through enemy territory for their mission. This movie is one of the coolest pieces of art I have ever seen and should sweep the technical categories at the Oscars.
5. Uncut Gems – Juice Rating 94/100
This movie is so near and dear to my heart not only because of the Jewishness of it but because it stars one of my all time favorites in Adam Sandler. Sandler puts in an Oscar worthy performance as Howard Ratner a scummy diamond jeweler and sports gambler, and Josh and Benny Safdie have arrived as Directors to watch moving forward. You also get serious performances from Kevin Garnett, The Weeknd, and Mike Francesa so what else could you possibly want?
4. Avengers: Endgame – Juice Rating 95/100
What else is there to say about the biggest movie of all time? I remember sitting in the theater for Iron Man and seeing Sam Jackson say “I’d like to talk to you about the Avengers initiative” and thinking no way this is happening. And yet 11 years later we got the culmination of 22 movies in a stunning and emotional finale. They stuck the landing and then some and the magnitude of the accomplishment is really what puts it this high on the list. To weave this story throughout all these different heroes journeys, while also making all the different heroes likable in their own right, is just bananaland. There is a reason that is made the most money in the history of cinema and I just cannot believe we actually got to see it.
3. The Irishman – Juice Rating 95/100
When the two G.O.A.T.S. make a movie it is probably gonna be in the top 5 of that year. De Niro and Scorsese found a way to make one more masterpiece with the help of Joe Pesci and yes Al freaking Pacino. This is a story about how Frank Sheeran worked his way into Jimmy Hoffa’s inner circle and how that eventually led to both their downfalls. This is also a story about what it means to grow old and to look back at the choices you made and what the consequences were in the long term. All the acting is incredible and man does Scorsese not still give you some of the best filmmaking that you can see on a screen. Oh and yes this is also a Netflix movie so who cares that it is 3.5 hours it flies by when you are on your couch enraptured by greatness.
2. Parasite – Juice Rating 96/100
This is a movie that jumped up in my ratings on my second viewing of it and I saw the true greatness of what Bong Joon Ho was trying to do. This movie is in Korean subtitles but you quicikly forget about them because you are so taken with the story and the characters. We see a story about class in South Korea and what changing your circumstances can do for you and your family. The greatness of this movie comes in the genre flipping throughout and the way Bong engrosses you with the two families. This should easily win best Foreign Film and hopefully will have a real shot to win Best Picture.
1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Juice Rating 97/100
Every Quentin Tarantino movie is an event, but this one really felt special because of his love for the city of Los Angeles. He grew up there and you can just feel his passion for the city and the culture in every frame of this movie. He weaves us through old spaghetti westerns with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt while also keeping the Charles Manson story hanging over our heads the entire time. After 2 hours of hanging out and meandering through old Hollywood, QT gives us a vintage climax to show why he is one of the all time greats. Given the Direction, the Performances, the Music, and my overall enjoyment of it, Tarantino’s latest masterpiece is in my opinion the best movie of the year.
I would like to throw out a couple honorable mentions here as well:
I still have my awards post coming for 2019 but what an awesome year this was. I cannot wait to see what 2020 has to offer because we have a Christopher Nolan movie coming, a David Fincher movie coming, a Spike Lee movie coming and much much more. So on we go to 2020 Juicers I hope everyone continues to go to the theater and support the greatness of movies.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
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