As 2019 comes to a close and the New Year quickly approaches, I’ve done my best to compile my ten favorite films of this year. Please do keep in mind that even as the year wraps, there are still far too many movies that I haven’t yet had the chance to check out, and out of all I have seen there was certainly no shortage of great titles to consider. I’m sure there are plenty I missed, haven’t seen or simply wasn’t able to squeeze into my list, so please don’t hesitate to sound off in the comments after checking out my Best of 2019 selections with your own favorite films of the year! Now, with that being said, let’s get to it and start counting them down!
#10: Long Shot (Jonathan Levine/Lionsgate)
‘Long Shot’ is one of those rare raunchy comedies that some may be initially uncertain about, but ends up being far more than you might expect. A massively enjoyable and surprisingly touching romantic comedy for the modern age that serves up nearly constant laughs and raunchy fun, while never sacrificing the heart and charm it radiates in spades, courtesy in large part to the perfect pairing of stars Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron and the smooth guidance of director Jonathan Levine. It’s certainly one of the year’s most pleasant surprises and a touching romantic comedy that’s as unique as it is charming and well worth a watch if you haven’t yet had the pleasure.
#9: US (Jordan Peele/Universal)
Jordan Peele’s sophomore outing as filmmaker delivers an intense, intricately detailed and frequently hilarious horror thriller that will keep you guessing every step of the way, while dragging you for a wildly entertaining, thought provoking and quite clever overall ride populated by stellar performances that you won’t want to miss out on. Delving into various familiar aspects of the world around us, while managing to craft a horror film that reflects the moral uncertainty and overall state of our world today, it’s as intriguing as it is unsettling and only seems to get better upon each subsequent viewing. An unusual, masterfully crafted and just downright enjoyable horror film, Jordan Peele’s ‘US’ is easily one of the year’s most strange and clever mainstream horror offerings.
#8: Dragged Across Concrete (S. Craig Zahler/Lionsgate)
‘Dragged Across Concrete’ is yet another masterpiece from talented filmmaker S. Craig Zahler (Brawl In Cell Block 99, Bone Tomahawk). A brutal, moving and engrossing crime tale that never plays by the rules or follows a familiar formula, calmly evolving into far more than you might expect and taking viewers for an uncertain ride full of twists, tension and blood-soaked violence that will have you glued to the screen until the final moments. Featuring a talented cast at their finest led by Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn who are nothing short of spectacular as the two key leads, S. Craig Zahler continues to prove himself one of the most original and unique filmmakers of our generation.
#7: Ready Or Not (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett/Fox)
‘Ready Or Not’ is a bloody, funny and wildly enjoyable film with a lightning pace and gory fun and surprises around every turn, as well as a talented cast complimenting the beautiful surroundings and quick witted tone, all perfectly guided along by directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillettthat. Almost resembling a board game in its own right; with the location serving as the board and the various characters participating within making up the pieces competing upon it, ‘Ready Or Not’ is another unforgettable gem in the world of horror this year that couldn’t be more exciting and just downright fun; genre fans definitely won’t want to miss out on this one.
#6: The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers/Lionsgate)
Talented filmmaker Robert Eggers (The Witch) returns with an outstanding sophomore effort in ‘The Lighthouse’ which is as eerie, unsettling and marvelous as it is intriguing and unique simply in the care and detail that went into its creation alone. Presented in a black and white shot pillar box format (an almost perfectly square presentation nearly unheard of these days in modern film) that captures the tone, historical placement and so many minute bits of wear, anger and more as a result of the simplistic black and white film format which does a great job of putting you in the mindset required for such an odd and insanely detailed historical piece of sorts. With everything from the filming process down to the dialogue and accents approached with a remarkable care and attention to detail. Add into the mix the Oscar-worthy performances from leads Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson and ‘The Lighthouse’ is easily one of the most memorable and impressive films of the year.
#5: Crawl (Alexandre Aja/Paramount)
‘Crawl’ is a brutally intense and lightning paced thriller from director Alexandre Aja, and a magnificent creature feature in its own right as well with plenty of scares, nasty moments and terror to offer, all balanced throughout a ninety minute ride that quickly gets moving and doesn’t relent for a moment thereafter; dragging the viewer along for a wildly exciting and unnerving adventure for survival that’s nothing short of fantastic and terrifying. A perfectly constructed concept with two brutal forces of nature at their most aggressive up against two people and a family bond, as well as their refusal to give up, and the combination and passion within not only results in a perfectly crafted and paced thriller, but also an emotional journey with a surprising amount of heart at its core and some layered characters you actually care for.
#4: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois/Universal)
‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ is simply phenomenal in every way. Not only a magnificent and moving film for the entire family in its own right, it also serves as a perfect and heartfelt conclusion to the series that should leave fans thoroughly satisfied and likely also brimming with emotion along the way. A truly marvelous animated adventure and conclusion to the lovable tale that offers up plenty of action, thrills and danger combined with loads of heart and humor, while taking things to a perfectly satisfying overall outcome that fans will probably want to relive time and again. In a year with at least a few magnificent animated features, ‘How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ is easily the best of the bunch.
#3: Bliss (Joe Begos/Dark Sky)
‘Bliss’ is a splendidly insane and blood-drenched horror masterpiece, not to mention one of the most noteworthy horror films in some time. Dragging the viewer along for an uncertain and mesmerizing journey soaked in blood that starts off moderately paced, then continually increases the levels of tension and bloodshed every step of the way. Quickly evolving into a full on chaos that’s nothing short of magnificent, and easily the best horror film of the year. Filmmaker Joe Begos continues to prove a true talent in the field of horror and he’s only managed to top his already impressive previous efforts with ‘Bliss’ which is nothing short of a horror masterpiece and one horror fans won’t want to even think about overlooking, his work behind the camera only further complimented by the notable performance from star Dora Madison.
#2: The Peanut Butter Falcon (Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz/Lionsgate)
‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is a phenomenal piece of filmmaking that hits all of the right marks. Touching, frequently funny and downright beautiful in its approach, surroundings and tone, it comes together into a massively enjoyable tale that’s drastically unlike nearly everything else you’ll see this year. It’s not often that films like this come around these days, but ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is nothing short of amazing, almost guaranteed to leave you feeling fulfilled and moved from start to finish. Even with the high expectations I already had for this unique movie, I couldn’t help but still find myself blown away by its unabashed kindness and just plain sweet demeanor; the real challenge here would be managing to not fall fully in love with this remarkable tale of friendship, hope and love, and it was a close toss-up for the absolute best of the year.
#1: Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino/Sony)
The ninth film from talented filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, ‘Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood’ is nothing short of outstanding, and a true love story to the world of film that might just be one of the greatest love letters to Hollywood ever made. Overloaded with breathtaking landscapes, surroundings and unique perspectives (not to mention an admirable eye for detail) into the world of moviemaking at that time and populated by a laundry list of the most talented stars in Hollywood today, led by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt who are outright magnificent together. It’s a beautiful, moving and unforgettable look at Hollywood in the late 60’s that’s perfect in every regard, and just as unforgettable; while somehow only managing to become even more enjoyable and impressive with each subsequent viewing. If it isn’t Tarantino’s finest work yet, it’s certainly close to it and without a doubt the best film of 2019 as far as I’m concerned.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the list and found some of your favorites from the year within, or at least some new titles that you might have missed or overlooked that are definitely worth a watch. As mentioned at the top of the review, there are far too many potentially great films that I haven’t yet had the pleasure of, and many I may have overlooked or simply wasn’t able to squeeze into my top ten list. Therefore we hope you’ll all chip in with your own best of lists or favorite films of the year in the comments as well.
Thanks for tagging along with us during another great year of entertainment, and we look forward to another unforgettable year of news, reviews, and more from the worlds of home entertainment, film and television here at Screen-Connections.com in 2020! Wishing happy holidays and a safe new year to each of you!