By: Henry J. Fromage and Movieboozer Staff & Contributors –
2019 was such a good year for film that our “Best” and “Worst Of” lists have metastasized into some truly unwieldy behemoths (well, mine particularly). So, we continue the tradition thunk up by our very own Felix Felicis (kitten wrangler to the stars), who last year suggested we institute one more level of our near-comprehensive filmic bucketing- The Medium Place- to house all of our Honorable Mentions. So we give you not the (top 10) best, not the (top 10) worst, but instead all of the rest worthy of mention from the bountiful 2019.
Without further ado:
Not Quite “Good” Enough:
Fighting With My Family: No need to be a wrestling fan to enjoy this heartfelt underdog film based on a true story.
Brightburn: I guess I was in the minority on this one, but despite a few issues, I really enjoyed this dark take on the Superman origin story and I’m bummed it’s likely a one-off.
Brittany Runs a Marathon: I wasn’t expecting much when I came across this comedy on Prime one evening. By the end, I was cheering and crying.
Always Be My Maybe: Still thinking about Keanu Reeves’ thumbs.
Toy Story 4: Unnecessary? Yes. But about as good as an unnecessary sequel has any right to be.
Rocketman: Was everything I wanted Bohemian Rhapsody to be.
Joker: I didn’t love it, but Joaquin Phoenix’s performance cannot be denied.
Bombshell: Worth watching for the hair and makeup alone, but fortunately there’s a lot more in this compelling and well-acted depiction of the Roger Ailes scandal that shook up Fox News.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: A lovely film about a lovely human being with a predictably lovely performance by Tom Hanks. Maybe it would have made more of an impact if it wasn’t released so close to the superior documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.
Uncut Gems: An intense, wild ride, but, like the Insanity at The Stratosphere in Vegas, one I only want to take once.
Not Quite “Bad” Enough:
Child’s Play: Would have worked just fine if it wasn’t Chucky or as I call him “Fake Chucky.”
The Upside: It has its moments.
Miss Bala: Stick with the original.
The Curse of La Llorona: Predictable and forgettable entry into The Conjuring universe.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged: Lazy follow-up to the much better sleeper hit original.
Ad Astra: Daddy issues in space. Space monkeys. Moon pirates.
Jexi: Funny concept that runs out of ideas midway.
Playing With Fire: Harmless family movie with very few laughs.
The Dirt: Not sure if the end result was worth the wait, but the guy who played Ozzy nailed it.
Her Smell: I couldn’t make it all the way through this one.
Not Quite “Good” Enough:
Not Quite “Bad” Enough:
Cats: deliberately did not watch; feeling ever more confident it was the correct life choice.
The Boys (Controversial Take): this relentless, viscerally disturbing Amazon Prime series is literally a nihilist’s wet dream… and my unmitigated nightmare.
Not Quite “Good” Enough: Midsommar – The VelociPastor – Long Day’s Journey Into Night – Ad Astra – Happy Death Day 2U – Climax – Rocketman – Ready or Not – Avengers: Endgame
Not Quite “Bad” Enough: The Intruder – The Secret Life of Pets 2 – Hellboy – The Dirt – Glass – Gemini Man – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Escape Room
For my honorable mention section this year, I have 10 films. 2019 was really an exceptional year for film. So here’s my 20-11 for 2019.
20. The Last Black Man in San Francisco: Delightfully surreal and a brilliant film about the love/hate relationship with the place you’re from.
19. Jojo Rabbit: It’s tone gave me whiplash, but still an enjoyable film. Easy to see why it has done so well this year.
18. Rocketman: Love Elton John and loved this take on his life. Taron Egerton gives a knockout performance.
17. Marriage Story: Maybe my expectations were too high, but I didn’t love this film. Very well crafted and acted, but I prefer Kramer v Kramer.
16. Knives Out: Super fun whodunit filled with a great cast and excellent performances. Glad Ana De Armas is finally getting discovered.
15. The Lighthouse: I was fond of this lobster! Very weird, very good.
14. Us: Peele’s follow-up wasn’t as good as Get Out, but still a good horror film with a lot to say about society/race.
13. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Man, bring the tissues. Great emotional piece centering on a beautiful person played by another beautiful person.
12. Queen & Slim: Very in your face with reason. It’s not an easy watch, but it is a necessary watch.
11. Midsommar: Instantly became one of my favorite horror films. This year I discovered I love Pagan/Cult horror.
Honorable Mentions: Climax – Ad Astra – The Irishman – A Hidden Life – Pain & Glory – Knives Out – Ash is the Purest White – Her Smell – El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie – The Nightingale – Homecoming: A Film By Beyonce – Dragged Across Concrete – The Art of Self-Defense – Under the Silver Lake – One Cut Of The Dead – Luz – Horror Noire: A History Of Black Horror – The Souvenir – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – Paddleton
Dishonorable Mentions: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil – The Curse of La Llorona – Jay and Silent Reboot – Black Christmas (2019) – The Banana Splits Movie – Gemini Man
Dishonorable Mentions That I Kinda Respect: Cats – Serenity
Still Haven’t Seen: Primal – Unplanned – Jexi – Shaft – The Haunting Of Sharon Tate – After – Arctic Dogs – No Safe Spaces – Rambo: Last Blood – Countdown – Zeroville – Replicas – Wonder Park – The Intruder – The Goldfinch- The Hustle – The Prodigy, and several others I’m forgetting about
Not Quite “Good” Enough: The Hate U Give – A Private War – Isle of Dogs – Lean on Pete
Henry J. Fromage
Once again, I’m giving you way too much to watch. *Sue me (*But actually don’t).
Not Quite “Good” Enough (2019 movies you should watch – in tiers):
First Tier (you could create another great Top 10 out of this, easily)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night – Transit – The Peanut Butter Falcon – Monos – Waves – Midsommar – Little Woods – Luce – The Irishman – Knives Out – Uncut Gems – Judy – Portrait of a Lady on Fire – JoJo Rabbit – Joker – The Art of Self Defense – Honey Boy – Dolemite is My Name – Bombshell – Atlantics – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Rocketman – World of Tomorrow Episode 2: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts – Under the Silver Lake – Motherless Brooklyn – Pain and Glory – Dragged Across Concrete – Birds of Passage – The King – I Lost My Body – The Report – The Laundromat – Hustlers – El Camino – The Aeronauts – Les Miserables – Asako I & II – Burning Cane – The Farewell – Just Mercy – The Two Popes – Villains – US – Toy Story 4 – Climax – High Flying Bird – The Beach Bum – Ad Astra – Synonyms
The Mustang – Piercing – Relaxer – Triple Frontier – Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile – Breakthrough – The Sun is Also a Star – Deadwood: The Movie – Hotel Mumbai – Lords of Chaos – Her Smell – The Highwaymen – The Best of Enemies – One Cut of the Dead – Tigers Are Not Afraid – The Current War – Dementer – Greener Grass – Little Joe – The Souvenir – Harriet – Ford v Ferrari – Doctor Sleep – Midway – Happy New Year, Colin Burstead – Richard Jewell – Brian Banks – The Hummingbird Project – Wild Roses –
Studies in Pure Entertainment:
Avengers: Endgame – John Wick 3 – Little Monsters – The Lego Movie 2 – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Captain Marvel – Cold Pursuit – Shazam – Shadow – Happy Death Day 2 – Escape Room – Guava Island – Fighting with my Family – The Kid Who Would Be King – Long Shot – The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience – Skyscraper – Always Be My Maybe – Wine Country – Child’s Play – Spider-Man: Far from Home – The Divine Fury – Good Boys – Hobbes and Shaw – The Intruder – The Hustle – Ready or Not – Ma – Between Two Ferns: The Movie – Gemini Man – Tomb Raider – Zombieland 2 – Terminator: Dark Fate – Beyond All Boundaries – Jumanji: The Next Level – Spies in Disguise – The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil – Frozen 2 – Dora and the Lost City of Gold – Blinded By the Light – Klaus – The Breaker-Upperers –
Docs to Watch:
Honeyland – Apollo 11 – American Factory – One Child Nation – 63 Up – The Edge of Democracy – Fyre – Fyre Fraud – The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley – Cat Heaven – Leaving Neverland – Knock Down the House – For Sama – The Cave
Not Quite “Bad” Enough:
The Prodigy – Wonder Park – Pet Sematary – Dumbo – Godzilla: King of the Monsters – The Lion King – The Knight Before Christmas – Detective Pikachu