Best and Worst Movies of 2019

BEST

#5: Uncut Gems

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“This is me! This is how I win.”

This is the best performance I’ve seen Adam Sandler give in a while, and the film is a white knuckle ride from start to finish about a jewelry store owner who is addicted to gambling, and trying to get a stone back from the basketball player, Kevin Garnett. This is another great movie by the Safdie Brothers, who also directed the movie “Good Time” with Robert Pattinson- a movie I still tell people to check out.

#4: Dragon Ball Super: Broly

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“How is this possible? Damn it, he’s learning as he fights!”

I used to be a really big Dragon Ball fan, but I fell out of it over time- however, I always felt like Broly could’ve been an interesting character if written correctly… and that’s exactly what this movie does. This is perhaps my favorite version of the character, with Vic Mignogna voicing the titular character, as we come to understand why he is the way he is. The fight scene is this movie is simply astounding as each characters’ power level gradually rises.

#3: Doctor Sleep

“I don’t know about magic… I always called it The Shining.”

The sequel to the beloved psychological horror film “The Shining”, Doctor Sleep decides to tell a different story with an adult Danny, portrayed by Ewan McGregor, trying to protect a girl with similar abilities as him from people who survive off the life force of people who can Shine. This film smartly gets you to care about the new characters, so that when call-backs from The Shining happen at the end, it feels earned.

#2: Joker

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“I used to think my life was a tragedy, now I know it’s a comedy.”

Joaquin Phoenix provided a stand-out performance as struggling comedian, Arthur Fleck, who would later become the legendary villain Joker. This movie excels at horrifically demonstrating what happens when a disturbed individual is pushed too far by a society that doesn’t try to help him, and doesn’t care about him. Having a movie with an unreliable narrator makes it hard to know what’s real and what’s not- and that helps the audience to get in the mindset of the titular character.

#1: Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel ii. Lost Butterfly

“I will become a hero of justice for you alone, Sakura.”

I immediately knew after walking out of the theater from this film, that this movie would be very tough to top. “Lost Butterfly” is the second installment of the three part Heaven’s Feel film adaptation, and completely blew the first film, “Prestige Flower”, out of the water. The visuals are breath-taking, the score by Yuki Kajiura is not only heartbreaking- but it’s also hauntingly sweet. My personal favorite track is “what he has believed.” As far as fight scenes in the film goes, the fight between Berserker and Saber Alter was a visceral display of amazing animation by Studio Ufotable. But the real magus opus of the film is the further developed relationship between Shirou Emiya and Sakura Matou who went from classmates to living together in the first film, to having a more romantic relationship in this film. We find out how truly broken Sakura is as a person, and Shirou decides to set aside his ideals in order to be with her which is a huge character development for him. I can’t say enough good things about this film.

WORST

#5: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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“Your journey nears its end.”

Cool action is not enough for me to enjoy a movie that doesn’t bother answering questions like how Emperor Palpetine is still alive, and many other questions it brings up during the run-time.  It’s a convoluted mess that tries to both ignore The Last Jedi, and tries to be an epic finale that fell flat to me.

#4: Playmobil Movie

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This movie was very clearly a movie that tried to rip off the surprisingly successful Lego Movie, but completely missed the charm of that film. This movie is both lazy and makes no sense half of the time. I still wonder sometimes if this was a real movie instead of a fever dream.

#3: Madea Family Funeral

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“No matter what is going on in your life, you can always count on the Lord… or somebody.”

The only Madea movie I’ve seen that I hardly laughed during. This movie was painfully average, with characters that you hardly cared about. I would say that the best part of the movie is Madea herself… but I’d be lying. If you’re a fan of the Madea movies, I’d avoid this like the plague.

#2: Hellboy

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“Why do you fight for those who hate and fear you?”

A movie that tries way too hard to be edgy, that it’s completely laughable. David Harbour is a great actor who was given a movie that even he couldn’t save. The villain was a complete stereotype who’s motivation was just petty, and to me the biggest issue with this is it completely tarnishes the legacy of Guillermo del Toro’s masterful two Hellboy movies starring Ron Perlman as the titular character. Compared to those movies, this is a big step backwards.

#1: Serenity

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“Some people do bad things for good reasons.”

The greatest sin that this movie commits is inserting a twist that is not only bad… but it completely destroys the film and everything that’s come before it. This movie has great actors, and it’s shot well- but if your story sucks and thinks it’s more clever than it really is… then I simply can’t forgive you for that. It’s a twist that’s so nonsensical, that I would look crazy simply trying to explain it.

The Top 10 Worst Films of 2018

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10. A Wrinkle in Time:

The problem that this movie had to me was the fact that it didn’t know what it wanted to be. There were times where it was a movie for kids, and then other times it felt like it was the brainchild of someone who took too much drugs. The main character in this movie is looking for her dad, who disappeared, and she’s unlikable in the film instead of being sympathetic like she should be. I didn’t have a huge problem with the movie, but what put it on this list was the video package in the beginning of the the movie with the director pretty much telling me to lower my standards- and I did not appreciate that.

9. Truth or Dare:

If you think about this movie as a comedy instead of a horror movie, and you hang out with friends while eating pizza and drinking- then this should be a fun time! The stupid Snapchat face isn’t terrifying at all, the rules of the game change constantly, there’s unnecessary info that’s put in as a ‘twist’ and the ending was dumb because the main character completely changes her morale when the issue could’ve been solved in a better way.

8. Venom:

A Sony classic right here- take a promising concept and straight up ruin it. “Venom” only has one thing going, and that’s Tom Hardy. The problem with this movie is that it’s tone is all over the place- it’s a horror movie, a comedy, a romance, and an action film- and the film is a mess. But the biggest problem to me was the dumb wig Woody Harrelson had to wear as Cletus Kasady in the Post-Credit scene.

7. The Strangers 2: Prey at Night:

This movie bummed me out because the first movie was so good. To me, I was disappointed because it took them ten years to make the sequel, and this was the best they could do? It felt lazy to me… and the fact that they tried to end it on a cliffhanger made me laugh.

6. Slender Man:

Another example of classic Sony taking a cool concept and messing it up. “Slender Man” could’ve been a cool psychological horror movie with this creature terrorizing these kids- instead we get a “The Ring” ripoff. The worst part was this movie was so BORING! I couldn’t care less if any of these characters lived, especially the main girl who acted like a jerk to her clearly distressed friend all because she wanted to hang out with some dude. The final nail in the coffin was the dumb ending with Slender Man turning into an awful CGI tree. Now that I think about it, this movie’s problems could’ve been solved if one of the girls had kept her eyes closed during the Slender Man ritual… but nah, she had to be a dumb girl in a horror film.

5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom:

This movie had so much promise… It stated off great, but just stumbled and tripped all over itself. The fact that there’s people who are trying to save dinosaurs is dumb to me, because they’re a race of creatures that had already went extinct millions of years ago… and these are highly dangerous creatures that have wrecked havoc over the whole series. And the worst thing about this movie is the dumb ending it had. I don’t care how sci-fi your movie is- you don’t end it like that!

4. Unfriended: The Dark Web:

This movie is everything that’s wrong with these Found Footage films. It had dumb, unlikable characters. It explored the concept of the dark web, but unless these hackers are from Hogwarts, none of what they did could be possible… I’ve seen Mr. Robot, I have a basic idea of how hacking works. But the worst part of this film is the fact that it was promoted with multiple endings- and the one I got was really really stupid: the main character is in the middle of the street on his bike and get run over by a hacker driving a car. THAT’S THE PAYOFF??!! I took a look at the other endings and I’m mad that I didn’t get the casket ending, because that one I felt tied things together better.

3. The Nun:

This film was everything I feared it was going to be when it was announced that the Marilyn Manson Nun from “The Conjuring 2” was gonna get his own movie. To be fair, it had a cool RPG set-up with a badass priest, a farmer who knew the town, and a lady who wasn’t a nun yet. But as soon as they got in the church abbey, all the problems of this film were unveiled. It had cheap jump-scares, and The Nun, the title character, only had 5 minutes of screen time and relies on “The Conjuring 2” to make the demon, Valek,  frightening instead of the movie trying to make the demon scary.

2. Winchester:

The problem with “Winchester” is unlike “The Nun” it doesn’t have a cool beginning… It has a cool hook, but the film is super boring and lazy. It was so bad that I fell asleep at points watching this movie. The problem is that this film is riddled with lazy jump-scares, and it tries to throw a “Sixth Sense” twist that failed miserably.

1. Life of the Party:

This movie makes me have the shakes whenever I see Melissa McCarthy advertised in a movie. This movie felt like a nepotistic, vanity project by Melissa McCarthy and the director… who is also her husband. The film isn’t funny, and the script feels like it was written on loose leaf paper in crayon. McCarthy’s character makes a Harry Potter reference in the beginning, but when a character says she’s like Dumbledore, she doesn’t know what he’s talking about- which to me makes no sense. There’s a scene where McCarthy’s husband in the movie dumps her after they drop off their daughter at college, and when the daughter finds out, all she says is “Wow, dad sucks.” THAT’S IT??!! She should’ve been way madder in my opinion. I felt like this film was personally attacking me with the weird Goth chick that’s McCarthy’s college roommate. And the worst part about this film is it doesn’t have a third act until they involve a celebrity.  Melissa starts acting up, so her husband pulls the money that’s paying for her to go to college, so her daughter and her friends decide to throw a party and say that Christina Aguilera is gonna show up… but McCarthy’s weird Goth roommate says she knows Christina isn’t coming because she’s her cousin and Christina appears at the party. The only thing I liked about this movie was that my favorite extra, Demetri Landell pops up in the movie. I hated this movie so much.