Best Movies 2019
I lucked out and enjoyed an especially large number of movies this year. There are a hand full of quality films that I wish I could list (I won't forget you Alita). But as for the tops...
5) Jojo Rabbit / Ad Astra
I decided to put these movies in a tie because they are each wrestling with the topic of strength (mostly from a male perspective). First, we have Jojo Rabbit in which an otherwise sympathetic boy is led astray by the facade of toughness and cruelty. Second, we have Ad Astra where Brad Pit tries to establish a vision of maleness connected with others and serving those around him. Each of these movies were awkward in their own way but I am glad to have seen them both.
The reception has been cooler on Us than Get Out because the former doesn't wear its metaphors as clearly. However, I think that as a piece of movie making it was super sharp. I enjoyed the torrent of dualities employed throughout the film. I thought the use of hair and body language to change characters from friendly to menacing was especially brilliant.
3) Uncut Gems
When you compress enough unstable material you can induce nuclear fusion. The resulting explosion will generate more light and noise than almost anybody can handle. By wrapping Adam Sandler in Howard Ratner and applying increasing waves of pressure the Safdie brothers have achieved something pretty close to a nuclear event. To enjoy this movie you have to be happy having your hair blown back and you head hollowed out, but if that sounds good to then best not miss it.
Everybody says this movie is great and they are right. It is a fun story, well told, and keeps you on your toes to the very end. The whole thing is made more effective by keeping the proceedings in a purely personal, rather than metaphorical, context.
1) The Last Black Man in San Francisco
You don’t need to love San Francisco to enjoy this film, if you have ever felt an attachment to a place you can relate. Yet, despite being built from this simple emotion the movie is rather daring. “This is my place, I am from this place, and they are the outsiders” is a human emotion that risks turning into ugly nativism. However, Jimmie Fails and Joe Talbot navigate this sentiment skillfully. The main character draws strength from San Francisco but also needs to grow as the city changes. Also worth noting is that the move is a joy to see and hear. Cinematography, acting, and the sound track are all excellent and contribute to the full experience. Finally, Jonathan Major's is amazing to watch. Please see this movie.