Now that we’re in September and the summer blockbuster season had ended, I am well overdue for compiling my Top 10 Movies of 2019… So Far. I got a little side tracked with life and wanted to see a few last movies before I made this list. The summer movie season is over, and as we begin Oscar season, it is time to see which of those movies will be still on the list at the end of 2019. Thanks to finally signing up for the A-List* at my local AMC Theater, I have been able to see a few more movies in 2019, and I think I should hit a new high for new movies seen in a year. Now onto the list, which includes many sequels (some of which were #1 movies in the previous installments), as well as a few independent films and one from that small company Disney/Marvel, you may have heard of them. We have a flashback to one of man’s greatest achievements, a wrestling movie, a high-powered action movie, and on a different note, a few movies about family and friends. So no matter what you’re in the mood for, I think I got your covered.
10. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
A few years ago, the news came out about The LEGO Movie. I was a little intrigued and was pretty much in love after watching the first trailer. And as I walked out of the theater, I was filled with so much awesome, I think the first installment ended up pretty high on my top 10 list for that year. Well, they followed up with a LEGO Batman movie, which I also enjoyed, as well as a Ninjago movie, which I wanted to see, but sadly never got around to it. And when it comes to sequels, you are always a little worried about how they are going to turn out: Can they repeat the awesome or will they make you regret they made a sequel? And this is a theme that will repeat as we go through this list. Well, as you can see, I enjoyed this one very much. Yes, it is not high on my list, but that says more about the movies that have come out this year. I think The LEGO Movie 2 took a bit to grab me, but we had the catchy song and of course really hit some emotional cues towards the end. But a nice combination of comedy will even out the emotions while watching this one. I can’t wait to re-watch this again when it comes time to make my year-end list.
9. Toy Story 4
After the emotional end to Toy Story 3, as with most people, I really didn’t see the need for another movie. It was such a perfect ending and to continue it would seem like a ploy to make some money. I was a little nervous going into Toy Story 4, but as the emotional cues hit and I was once again crying in a theater, I am once again glad we got a new movie, which offered a nice ending to one story. And though I am sure another sequel will be coming, I think I will once again go in thinking, we don’t need another movie. But the question is, will my thoughts change once again after seeing it? Some may not like the lack of Buzz in this movie, as this focuses on Woody, as well as the newest member of the family, Forky, voiced by Tony Hale. Some love for the Key and Peel-voiced carnival creatures, and of course you can’t forget about the man, Keanu Reeves as Duke Kaboom, Canada’s greatest stunt man. It’s great to see the improvement in the look and the feel for this movie, as it’s been almost 25 years since the first Toy Story movie, and we’ve come a long way technically, they are always out to outdo themselves with each movie.
8. How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World
I am starting to sense a trend going on my top 10 list. We have a few animated sequels, all of which spent some time at the top of my list throughout the years, and this is no exception to that trend. Being a PIXAR fanboy, I had no interest in the How To Train Your Dragon series, until some very positive buzz came out about Part 3, so I gave it a shot. I saw it in glorious IMAX 3D and was pretty much hooked the moment they first took flight. I think another reason this series has stuck with me is the fact that the relationship between Toothless and Hiccup reminds us all of our relationship with our furry pets. I will say that the bad guy in this one is a little cut and paste, but that great relationship and of course the flying moments, were enough to hook me a third time. And of course, the little nod towards the end, pretty much made the tears flow. I recently had to put one of my cats to sleep, and I am sure if I watch any of these movies now, the tears and memories will be overwhelming. Sadly, I was only able to see this one in 3D, as it wasn’t shown in IMAX near me, so I was a little bummed about that, and perhaps a reason why this is somewhat lower on my list.
7. Fighting With My Family
Back in college, I got into wrestling again due to a few roommates. One was really into wrestling, keeping up on all of the news and behind the scenes rumors. We would spend our Monday nights watching RAW, and the rest of the week watching bootleg ECW matches. We ended up going to a few PPVs in Milwaukee as well. Well, after college I kind of lost interest in wrestling, until this year. As it got closer and closer to Wrestlemania, a few of the podcasts I listened to mentioned Becky Lynch and Kofi Kingston. So the day of Wrestlemania, I signed up for the network, a free month was all it took to get back into it. When it came to the ladies of wrestling, I was a fan of Lita, as she was not like the other Divas, plus she was a high flying wrestler, so her matches were memorable. I did sort of keep an eye on wrestling, due to some friends chatting about it, and that is where Paige comes into the story. And when Fighting With My Family came out, I knew I had to check it out. I knew a little about her story, but learned a little more from this movie. Even though you know the outcome, these sports movies always have a way to give you goosebumps. This is also the first time I have come across Florence Pugh, who is having a great year after starring in the horror Midsommar. And she continues to pop up more and more on the big screen, even heading off to the MCU in the upcoming Black Widow. A little shout out for Nick Frost as well, playing Paige’s father, bringing plenty of laughs to this movie.
6. Long Shot
And next up we have a comedy that sort of came out of nowhere, but some great buzz and early reviews made this one stand out, although perhaps not as much as it should. Some great chemistry between Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron, who can both be very funny, not surprisingly. There are a few aspects of the story that are a little over the top, but hey politics nowadays is more than over the top at times. I feel like I should be writing more, but you kind of know what to expect with this one, but like I said, Long Shot is better than you might expect going in.
5. Apollo 11
And here is where my inner space geek comes out, with the next movie on my list, a new documentary Apollo 11. This is a collection of newly discovered footage, as well as some digitally enhancement of some old footage. I sadly missed out on seeing this on a real IMAX screen, only my local LIMAX screen, but was still given many goosebumps from the sights and sounds on the screen. I bought this on Blu-ray as soon as it came out, but haven’t gotten a chance to check it out again on my normal sized TV. The one upside to watching it on my TV were the subtitles to help with some of the dialogue that gets drowned out at times from the soundtrack and sounds. Just a reminder of the technical feat that this mission was, all of the minds coming together for one plan, to land on the Moon. Keep an eye out for a possible return to your local IMAX screen, perhaps around Oscar time; it is well worth your time and money.
4. John Wick 3: Parabellum
As someone who was late to the John Wick film series, I watched the first two just a few weeks before the third one came out. I had heard great things, but just never got around to seeing it when they first came out. Well, as you can see, I really enjoyed John Wick 3: Parabellum. We’ve been lucky these past few years with some great action films, like Mad Max: Fury Road, the Raid series, and of course the Mission: Impossible movies. And the earlier John Wick installments got better with each one, expanding the universe and the action, and this was a great installment, leading it to the #4 spot on my list. Some very creative action scenes and set pieces, as well as some great utilization of animals, with the horses and of course the scene-stealing dogs. And the news that a part 4 is on the way makes me really happy. Such a great time to be an action movie fan.
3. Avengers: Endgame
And here it is, the final chapter in Marvel’s Infinity Saga, numerous movies spread over a few years, leads us to the Avengers: Endgame. I made a decision to see this right away, as to avoid spoilers. So there I was at my local LIMAX theater, second showing, wouldn’t be leaving the theater till early in the AM. And with a runtime past the three-hour mark, not including trailers, is it going to keep my attention, and more importantly, keep me awake. Well, I am happy to report that both viewings that opening weekend, not once did I look down at my watch to see how much longer we had left. I had a few minor issues with the previous installment, and that can be true for this one too. But oh my god, there are so many moments to give you goosebumps and even a few that will make you want to stand up and cheer. And that standing ovation is well deserved for all folks involved in this story and made it possible. If you went back in time and told people what level of comic book movies we are getting, they would never believe you.
2. The Farewell
You could fast forward to the end of 2019 and I would imagine that this movie is going to be very high on many people’s top 10 movie lists of the year. This was one of the few movies I wanted to make sure and check out before I did my list, and as you can see, I am glad I waited. I think I could go back and forth on these top two films, and each time, either one could be at the top. And so we wait to see where The Farewell lands at on my end of the year list. But enough talk of the future, let’s talk about the present. A powerful movie from writer/director Lulu Wang, starring Awkwafina in an equally powerful performance. A movie about family and culture, and one that will make you make a few phone calls to family members after seeing it. An emotional roller coaster that will have you laughing one second, and fighting off the tears the next. Some may pass on this one due to the subtitles, and I am sad that you are going to miss out on this great movie, along with a few others. I will be buying this one as soon as it hits Blu-ray, and I can’t wait to share it with my parents, and even my grandparents.
And as of now, my number one movie of 2019, so far, is Booksmart. The directorial debut from Olivia Wilde, with the funny and talented Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein leading the cast, Booksmart is a classic coming of age tale, from the female perspective, for once. A great movie about friendship and finding out who you are as a person and all of the challenges along the way. A movie that will require a few viewings to make sure you hear all of the jokes, because you will be laughing and cringing a lot. And prepare yourself for some great scenes whenever Billie Lourd makes an appearance on the screen, she’s a scene stealer for sure.
So there it is, the best 10 movies I have seen in 2019, so far. As I said, we are getting into Oscar season, and so we have to wait and see if anything new is going to knock any of these movies off of the top ten. Will a few re-watches help a movie move up the list, or perhaps move down. The goods news is that if you missed any of these movies, a good number of them are available for home viewing as we speak. Although my top two movies are not yet, so there is that bad news, but hey there are still others that are and you can check out for yourself. Hopefully you will love them as much as I did.
*This is not sponsored, but if you are a big movie fan like me, be sure to check and see if your local movie chain has something similar to the A List. It’s a great way to save money and see a ton of movies.