Tag: 4 out of 4

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

 

Oh what is this? A new theatrical release but on VOD? This is the first? 

Sure, Trolls World Tour (which comes out on April 10) is a much bigger movie that was meant to come out in theaters and is instead going straight to video for families. And there have been a lot of recent movies that were in theaters for a short time having VOD releases way early to make up for the money lost.

But Never Rarely Sometimes Always hadn’t made it to theaters yet and it was supposed to, and is now getting released digitally instead. So it is the first to really do this. 

And that is brave of them, even if they are a much smaller project. Especially a project with a theme like this one that would have maybe sparked protests anyways, and we don’t want protesters to protest, because then they’d be in groups. Even if they have dumb opinions. 

work
Me judging people with dumb opinions. 

Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) is just a girl, living in a world, that isn’t the nicest to teenage girls. She has a job as a grocery clerk, where she and her cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder) are definitely getting harassed by a boss.

Autumn is mad a lot of the times. Her parents (Ryan Eggold, Sharon Van Etten) don’t seem to give her a lot of attention due to their plentiful amount of kids, and her dad is a full on ass towards her. She has emotions, is getting bullied, and doesn’t know why she is so angry.

And then she finds out she is pregnant. About ten weeks. But she lives in Pennsylvania, in a small community, and the only place that was free for her to use was an organization that would never let abortions happen, complete with all the lie filled propaganda. And a parent would have to be involved.

So Autumn does what any girl would do. Sets an appointment in New York City, steals money from her dipshit bosses, and along with her cousin, go to get the deed done quickly and quietly, with hopefully no problems along the way. (There will be problems along the way).

Also starring Théodore Pellerin.

nyc
Just two teenage girls on a fun filled middle of week NYC trip to get an abortion. I’m surprised this jolly movie wasn’t made decades ago. 

 

I had this thought when I first saw the movie, I swear. It isn’t hyperbolic because of the closing of theaters. But this is my favorite movie of the year. So far.

And yes, the last few weeks have had movies pushed out, some of which already pushed to next year. There is going to be a big lull in films for the rest of the year, so I have no clue what this sort of landscape will bring for cinema. This might remain my favorite movie of the year, the only one that I have given this rating to so far.

Now, this movie is not funny. It is a realistic take on the subject, it is serious, and some not great things happen. The scene where the title comes from definitely wrecked me emotionally. And that is why my intro wasn’t spent making fun of it like I originally planned.

I love that this film comes out the year after the terrible, propaganda induced Unplanned movie (sponsored by Ted Cruz). That one made my worst of the year list (spoilers). It took everything from the anti-abortion list playbook and tried to make it seem like a true story in incredibly deceptive ways. 

This film is quiet. It is just a story. And yes, an abortion happens. Does that make it pro abortion? Maybe. What it really does is highlight how shitty these various state by state laws are that make it incredibly hard for people to get out of a tough situation. And that isn’t cool.

4 out of 4.

 

Best of the Decade – Part 5 (10-1)

10) The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

Why? Wes Anderson is a director that took me a long time to appreciate. I didn’t really know much about him and his earlier work, but wasn’t a fan when I was younger. After Fantastic Mr. Fox, I was a fan, and it took a couple more to bring me to this one which made me fall in love with its insides.

After seeing it for the first time I have seen other films he did, still not all of them, and this is just the most spectacular to me. A larger cast, full of oddballs, love, and life lessons. And hell, the main character is not a great man, but Ralph Fiennes goes completely into this hotel madman and leaves nothing behind.

It is a film that is visually stunning and funny enough that it is easy to revisit over and over again with similar tummy bellows.

Favorite moment? The punch outs.

10

9) La La Land 2016

Why? Musicals are hard to make and hard to make well. Slap some songs in a movie and we don’t always fall in love. Have choreography? Who cares, so do music videos. I need a good story, I need acting, and I need songs to move the story forward and not feel awkward.

La La Land feels like an attempt to make a more low key realistic musical, while still having the same show stopping type numbers. The first couple of songs in it are full on flash and color, but after that, we get our slower song for both leads to dance, and then it slows the hell down. It lets them breath, we get our main theme with reprises and add-ons, and it lets the story work.

I feel like I get the best of the both worlds, along with an ending I can hate while still respecting at the same time. Gosling and Stone, you are beautiful people who keep coupling in our movies. Thank you for that. This is my favorite musical of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Another Day of Sun.

9

8) The Social Network 2010

Why? Here is a film a lot of people have called the best of the decade, and it is a wonder that it came out at the start of the decade. It is a film many say should have won Best Picture and are still annoyed by that fact today. And I get it, I love it too.

We combine David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, so of course we get some amazing creation they can call their own. Add in a great score, actors who were sort of just coming into the game, and some boy band experience, and it is a hard film to top.

It still feels timely, and likely will be for quite a long while given how little our online interactions have actually changed. It is the type of film that I feel I will always be down to watch, and was peak Eisenberg (but thankfully not peak Garfield or Hammer).

Favorite moment? The ousting of Eduardo.

8

7) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 2010

Why? A lot of this list could be seen as “What films does this guy think are better than The Social Network from the 2010s?” And I will do you one better. What film from 2010 itself do I think is better? Scott Pilgrim, that’s what!

I will say this is a film where I had read all of the source material before the film, and it completely delivered six books in one film. You know, the type of thing books try to avoid since then. They wanna stretch it out. Edgar Wright instead filled it with action, game references, and totally captured the nature of the graphic novel. Sure, a lot is missing, and that is okay.

This is a stone soup of younger actors and actresses to piece together this strange story that is really just a complicated metaphor that tells us that people have baggage. Relationships are hard. And it can be difficult to let things go that have helped define us up to that point. And its funny. This is my favorite comedy AND comic book movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? CASUAL SEX! Okay, that’s the book. The Chris Evans and Vegan fights.

7

6) Warrior 2011

Why? And now onto more serious things. I didn’t hear about Warrior until it was coming out on DVD as a recommendation from my brother. I wasn’t expecting anything, just another “boxing movie” but instead I got an extremely heartfelt story about two brothers, no longer in each other’s lives, both overcoming their own hardships and difficulties in life to do what they do best. Fight.

I will admit I don’t really like Nick Nolte in most films the last 20 years, but him being a hard to decipher mess of a human actually works for this movie. One of my favorite aspects of this film is that this basically introduced me to Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy in movies, and they have continued to show why they are both highly sought after actors.

UFC is new to the sports world still, and it found a way to take what would normally be just a boxing story and change things up, with different styles mirroring their lives and attitudes. And of course, when I see the ending, I cry every time. This is my favorite sports movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The four second fight, the final fight, the Marines song.

6

5) Nightcrawler 2014

Why? Another film I never got to see in theaters, and I blame poor advertising on that. I blame the advertising on its lack of awards as well, because Jake Gyllenhaal should have been nominated and won those acting awards for his scary portrayal.

This film takes morals and completely throws them out of the window. Gyllenhaal rarely blinks and talks in a charismatic rapey way like he was born to be that person. But hell, Gyllenhaal has been one of the most consistent actors this decade, so it makes sense.

Nightcrawler is unsettling and questions our fascination with the news and what people want to see and hear. If anything, it predicted what people have started to do with features like YouTube/Facebook Live when it comes to unthinkable crimes, and hopefully if enough people see it and take its messages to heart, we can put to end to this nonsense. So, probably never. This is my favorite Thriller of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The home invasion and fallout.

5

4) The Perks of Being A Wallflower 2012

Why? When I saw this film in theaters, I remember just sitting there in the theater, watching regular credits with music blasting, and finding myself unable to get up and leave. I had to deal with the emotions and thoughts running through my head. I had to wipe away tears and make sure I wasn’t a wreck of a man walking into the lobby. I noticed the few people in the theater were also not getting up right away. It seemed like a universal feeling.

What starts out as a story about a loner who wants to be accepted but is too introverted and shy to get out there turns into something bigger. Coming out of your shell is risky, and so is accepting others into your life. But even if we bring others in, there is still a lot hiding under the surface that they can never know about, to know what you are going through and subconsciously dealing with at all times..

The reveal about our protagonist and his past comes along shockingly, but when rewatching the film the hints are right there. Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller are great leads, and Emma Watson in this film helps break out of her Harry Potter sphere. It is so well acted with a kicking soundtrack, it should be a staple of its genre for hopefully decades to come dealing with timeless problems. This is my favorite coming of age story of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Truth or dare.

4

3) Colossal 2017

Why? Colossal is a hard film to fit into any genre. It is a film that has plot holes and doesn’t try to explain all of its quirks. And that can rub people the wrong way.

But when taken as a larger metaphor for emotional abuse and substance abuse, and trying to overcome these issues with your body and past, it is a shining example of how someone can feel. Full of depression and anger in their own lives, it sometimes feels like there is a monster inside of them that is destroying others. And that can be literal if the monster completely consumes the individual.

Thankfully, this movie also offers hope. And I love that the answer isn’t just another man or a relationship. It is about fixing yourself and not relying on others to handle your problems for you.

Anne Hathaway I enjoy in most films, and she feels very vulnerable in this film Jason Sudeikis I also love, but plays the bad guy in a creepily realistic way. The twists and turns are wonderful. This is my favorite…uhh…fantasy film (?) of the year. Maybe romance? I don’t know. 

Favorite moment? The introduction of the Robot.

3

2) Arrival 2016

Why? In 2016, this movie was the third on my list, right a different Amy Adams movie and a musical, and in those years since I have realized that Arrival is the better film. At this point I was more familiar with Denis Villeneuve and still blown away with the story put together in this film. Sure, it is based on a story, but the visual work and cinematography, and the alien design and the ORDER this story gives is mind blowing. It is a mind blowing film.

Amy Adams is probably the best actress of the decade. Just look at the number of nominations, the quality of films she has been in year after year, even the more silly and family friendly roles are above the curve. And I don’t think she has ever been better.

This film is a major gut punch when the whole story gets revealed and told and deals with a complicated timeline, but not shying away from complicated stories is a good thing. When we get original stories that don’t feed you through a straw the plot, we need to reward them and celebrate them. This is my favorite science fiction film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The death of the alien.

2

1) Steve Jobs 2015

Why? And finally, the shocking moment, the one that will make people say huh. But probably not people who know me. When I made my top of 2015 list it made 4th, with the two above it not making my top of the decade, and the other one being The Big Short, further down this list. So HOW could a film like this move all the way up to my number one spot?

First of all, repeatability. Since I bought the film I have seen it probably twice a year always on a whim. I get a feeling, I want to see Steve Jobs again, so I do it. It being a film in three acts that mirror each other and grow is a rewarding watch, to see the connections, to connect it to history, to see how people grow.

Secondly, I can still tear up usually near the end each and every time. Having it be about a very mean and modern myth filled man, but actually a story about learning to accept your responsibilities as a father? That is a twist, and movies that deal with father/daughter relationships always get me now.

Thirdly, Aaron Goddamn Sorkin. I love the hell out of his dialogue, and the words come out at a pace with such passion that it is like an action movie…with words.

Strangely enough, I am in no way an Apple fan boy. I have had an iPhone for one year before they got rid of the Aux, so I went back to Android. I had an iPod way after they were cool and that is about it. I just can acknowledge that Steve Jobs was an interesting individual and did a lot of good with a lot of bad.

Fassbender should have won best actor over DiCaprio that year. Rogen was great. Winslet completely became a different person. Daniels molded his suave from the Newsroom into something similar, but different. And the other people involved are equally fascinating.

If it wasn’t for the several F-bombs, it is a film I would show my gifted students every year, so they could understand that being smart doesn’t mean one has to be a dick. A play that never was a play, Steve Jobs is my favorite drama, favorite “biopic”, and favorite movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? It’s not binary.

1
Thanks for reading! Hopefully you check out the other parts and can tell me in the top 50 why I am stupid and missed your favorite film, or why you think Steve Jobs isn’t a great film. I might not listen, but I will still “listen.”

Click here for Part 1 (50-41)!
Click here for Part 2 (40-31)!
Click here for Part 3 (30-21)!
Click here for Part 4 (20-11)!

Best of the Decade – Part 4 (20-11)

20) Margin Call 2011

Why? Earlier in the list I already had The Big Short, which talked about the 2008 Crisis in a much different way than Margin Call. Margin Call did it dramatically, with a fake company, to showcase the ineptitude of those at the top, and how they could still screw over other people on the way to trying to save themselves.

I rated this higher featuring some good performances from various actors involved, and just in generally it is really thrilling for such a bland sounding topic.

Favorite moment? The day after.

20

19) 1917 2019

Why? You try to pretend your movie is done in one take, and I am going to enjoy it. Flex away your cinematographic and directorial skills to put that together. The story is a simple one, and through it we get to see the realities of the trench, just how much they worked like any movie before.

We see a lot of the biggest aspects of WW1, including the fear, the excessive death, and how hard it was to find an eventual resolution. This is my favorite war movie of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The night time escape.

19

18) Baby Driver 2017

Why? Another movie with Kevin Spacey in the same article, ack! This was really hard to place in its original top list, due to scandals, but honestly, I still love this movie very much. Edgar Wright pieced together a high energy film, with a unique soundtrack that made me want to speed down the highway myself. Okay, that’s bad.

But a heist movie where things go bad, the bad guys are various level of bad, and a journey for redemption? What a hero arc.

Favorite moment? Hocus Pocus Focus escape.

18

17) Parasite 2019

Why? Come on, of course right? I mean, come on. Many are saying Parasite could be one of the best films of the decade, and there is a lot of reason for that. I often worry about getting caught up in “current year hype” and knowing how well 2019 films compare to the previous 9 is really hard. But I think Parasite is one of those keeper films. This movie will likely be fast tracked to some sort of American remake and it won’t be as good.

Thankfully, this version is so good, without going into too much detail, about Korean class warfare, that it feels universal regardless of where you are from.

Favorite moment? What’s in the basement?

17

16) Waves 2019

Why? See above. I don’t know if Waves should be this high, but it was my number one in 2019. I haven’t been able to rewatch it, and don’t know if it has staying power. But like Parasite, it told a classic tale of a rise and fall, but also included the potential rise again after the fact. After tragedy, we need to cope and move on, and Waves makes sure to focus equal attention on that aspect as well.

Beautifully shot and acted, it brought me to tears several times.

Favorite moment? The party aftermath.

16

15) Swiss Army Man 2016

Why? This film is one of the greatest and most original films I have seen in my life time. It is bananas to the wall, hell, to the ceiling, complete and utter madness. Paul Dano can practically do no wrongs when it comes to films in his career, and although Daniel Radcliffe is more hit and miss, this one is certainly a high hit for anyone who decides to accept its weird and give it a chance.

If it takes a lot of fart and masturbation jokes to discover what it means to be human, then sign me up for this evolved life.

Favorite moment? The soundtrack.

15

14) Les Miserables 2012

Why? No! Not the french remake that isn’t actually based on the book that came out in 2019, the goddamn musical! I had never seen the stage musical before seeing this film and was only slightly familiar with one of the songs, so I wasn’t sure what to expect on that Christmas morning in 2012. This film made me cry four times my first time in theaters, and from that I went on to watch it at least three more times in theaters. It was a day one buy when it hit Blu-Ray and has been seen several times over.

The songs have complexity, and it just hits you over the head over and over about how shitty this time in France was. Time machine? No thank you. And by having the actors sing live for the movie added such a personal touch that can only be recreated in real life.

Favorite moment? One Day More and Javert’s suicide.

14

13) Goon 2011

Why? It took a little bit for Goon to leak its way out of Canada into an American release, and I was excited to give it a shot. Little did I know it would become something I needed to see again after watching it by myself. I remember showing it to my dad later the same day due to how ridiculous it was, and funny, and strangely heart felt.

Seann William Scott made his career out of being a lovable idiot, and this role is another iteration of that, which he executes perfectly. An extremely quotable movie at points, it takes some extremes in the sport of hockey without breaking out into a musical.

Favorite moment? The Ross Rhea showdown.

13

12) About Time 2013

Why? About Time felt like it would easily fall into “Creepy movie territory” real quick. A romance where the guy can go back and time and just try again until he makes it perfect? No! Rapey! ack! And then despite starting with those elements, they make our hero the perfect gentlemen, going back to help everyone he can, even if it means setting himself back.

And by the end, with the implications of his travels, it is hard to not cry over the relationship he has with his father and the family he has created. It is an incredibly smart film given the stipulations it put into its time travel and how one should try and approach life no matter their circumstances.

Favorite moment? Ping pong.

12

11) Blindspotting 2018

Why? My top film of 2018 wasn’t able to make my top ten of the decade, despite being still a great film about an important subject matter. Gentrification is not an easy subject to make a comedy/drama about. So why not two people who have experienced it themselves growing up in radically different ways due to the color of their skin?

Daveed Diggs (who blew up thanks to Hamilton) and real life friend Rafael Casal give an emotionally charged performance in wake up police brutality, harsh sentences, and how felons are treated in our society. 2018 had a lot of social justice films that were top of the line, and this one was just on top of the pile overall.

Favorite moment? Post party arguments.

11

Click here for Part 1 (50-41)!
Click here for Part 2 (40-31)!
Click here for Part 3 (30-21)!
Click here for Part 5 (10-1)!

Best of the Decade – Part 3 (30-21)

30) The Favourite 2018

Why? While not my favorite movie of the decade, this is my favorite of Yorgos Lanthimos, whom was doing really good in the last few years of the decade. A women centric cast, that is a bit absurd, while having some historical truth, it led to a lot of comedic gold moments that could only happen with a great script and great actresses to carry it all out.

Also, the camera work in this film was atypical, and a bit inspiring.

Favorite moment? Don’t look at me.

30

29) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2018

Why? This is my “half” sequel on the list. Technically standalone, but also one of the realities is totally the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, so it takes place after them. Spider-Verse is on this list as my third (and not yet highest) rated animated film because of how blown away I was with the art style.

It offered something unlike any other animated film of that year or recent years, keeping it still feeling like a comic movie, and with stunning fight scenes and humor throughout.

Favorite moment? Alright, let’s start at the beginning.

29

28) Sing Street 2016

Why? This is a film I expected almost nothing out of, and should have realized it was something special. The third music centered film by John Carney feels very personal and ends up being more than a strange pre-teen romance film.

It also deals with a strong relationship with brothers and how those older can pave the way for their siblings, taking on more burdens that the younger ones would never realize. And hey, the music is fun too.

Favorite moment? Basically every scene with Jack Reynor.

28

27) 12 Years A Slave 2013

Why? 2013 called, it wants its number one movie back. 12 Years A Slave is a hard movie to get through. Torture, near death, and obviously enslavement does not equate to a movie you want to see over and over. Hell, I knew it would take me awhile to rewatch it after I saw it in theaters, and only rewatched it for this list finally, never really getting in that mood again.

Well acted, a terrifying real story, but one that is something I will rarely ever see again in my life.

Favorite moment? Favorite is a bad word here, but the “hanging” scene is the most powerful and shocking.

27

26) Hereditary 2018

Why? I do believe Toni Collette was robbed for he performance in this film, and not given anywhere close to enough credit as she deserved. I knew she was a great actress, and this film really cemented it in my mind. A demented film overall, one that builds the fears inside of you overtime and masterfully at that.

Very few “jump” scares but instead an overall sense of dread and wondering how could things get worse or scarier. This is my favorite horror film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? Dinner time.

26

25) Whiplash 2014

Why? I don’t know if I need a long paragraph for this one? J. K. Fucking Simmons. There. That’s why.

Favorite moment? Tempo changes.

25

24) Kubo and the Two Strings 2016

Why? Kubo is an animated film that tried to give me something I hadn’t seen before. Laika has been pushing the boundaries of their stop-motion films a lot over this decade, and I don’t think anything came out as fresh and stunning as Kubo. Combining characters both big and small, we got a fresh lead with an interesting story, and hell, some scary villains to boot.

It still felt like a good film for the family, despite its darker elements. Honestly, the only thing I hated were the names of the sidekicks. This is my favorite animated film of the decade. 

Favorite moment? The magic origami.

24

23) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 2014

Why? Another top film of its year that is getting surpassed by others, I will still attest that Birdman is a wonderful film, start to finish, really no faults. I love everything about it, from the meta casting choices, to the long takes and monologues, to the play within a play. The catchy drum beat that wraps up most of the film keeps it moving and on the edge.

It is a great movie and will be celebrated for a long time.

Favorite moment? Edward Norton.

23

22) Gone Girl 2014

Why? Gone Girl is a thriller where the twist is revealed much earlier on than most thrillers. Hell, the twist turns it into almost a completely different movie, and makes it go places that would be very hard to predict. Affleck is wonderful as the distant husband, but Pike really gives a haunting performance, which elevated far past anything I’ve seen her do before. Mostly TV shows, notably.

Because the twist is so early on, it is still a movie worth watching over and over.

Favorite moment? What happened to Amy.

22

21) Mad Max: Fury Road 2015

Why? Ah! Many people picked this their top of that year and top of the decade, and I will admit, this is an over the top film unlike almost anything else. The stunt work, the practical effects, the gruesome moments. It is definitely a story that doesn’t hold a lot of equals. And I can acknowledge all of it, and still want more from the actors and plot.

This is the only other sequel on the whole list, which is interesting as this one works very well as a standalone and just uses 1 character.

Favorite moment? The race back.

21

Click here for Part 1 (50-41)!
Click here for Part 2 (40-31)!
Click here for Part 4 (20-11)!
Click here for Part 5 (10-1)!

Best of the Decade – Part 2 (40-31)

40) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 2015

Why? Besides being a solid A+ on the naming department, the title gives you everything you need to know about it. A movie dealing with teens dealing with death, the awkwardness of friendship and love in general, and how one can face the inevitable.

The Nick Offerman and love of movies in it doesn’t hurt it either.

Favorite moment? The movie reenactments.

40

39) Aftershock 2010

Why? Partially picked because of how few people know about this film, Aftershock is one of the first lesser known films I watched that had a great emotional impact on me, and that was when I was still only 21 or so! The hard choice a mother faces can be seen as an allegory to the One-Child policy that China already had.

And the fact that we get to see so much of the events after the earthquake (you know, the Aftershocks) and how it affected so many lives is just heartbreaking.

Favorite moment? Hard to beat the initial earthquake scene.

39

38) Life of Pi 2012

Why? Life of Pi, like The Martian, ends up being one of my go-to movies to show the youth of the world as a teacher when we have time, except I try to say it relates to math because of Pi. Life of Pi changed the way CGI worked in films forever, winning plenty of awards along the way because of how aesthetically beautiful it was.

It deals with a lot of hard topics in a way that those young and old can relate to.

Favorite moment? The “real story” being told.

38

37) Uncut Gems 2019

Why? My first film from this year on the list (which was very hard to place in the decade, mind you) feels like a reminder that Sandler knows what the hell he is doing with the acting game, he just chooses to phone it in for easy paychecks. This film is an uncomfortable two hours, of people making bad and risky decisions for a payoff that may or may not be worth it.

It is excruciating in all the right ways, and a tense experience that is really hard to create.

Favorite moment? The final bet.

37

36) Inside Out 2015

Why? My second animated film on this list, Inside Out hit me like a bag of trucks. First of all, it was led with Lava, which as a short made me cry by itself. But the journey of “emotions having emotions” through the guise of a pre-teen girl was its own a tear-filled experience, at least twice in theaters, and usually again when I watch it on my own or with my family.

It is a wonderfully weird concept, that sure, doesn’t make a lot of sense with scrutiny (see: many Pixar films), but a ride worth taking nonetheless.

Favorite moment? Bing bong bing bong.

36

35) The Big Short 2015

Why? What’s this? My number 1 film of 2015 already on the list? That is okay. The Big Short is still wonderful, done in an exciting and informative way, and made me generally smarter about things I didn’t understand well. Hell, it still has good rewatchability. Just maybe that we are farther from the crisis in general, and there are other movies on the subject I like more (spoilers for this list), this felt like a good spot to land.

Adam McKay‘s heel-turn into Oscar nominated films was a shocker and a welcome one at that.

Favorite moment? The celebrity cameos to explain terminology.

35

34) Get Out 2018

Why? After working on a whole lot of skits, Jordan Peele realized he knew what was missing in the world, and he gave us Get Out. With Us being good (and not as good), he has cemented himself fully as someone to watch. A lot of films in the late 2010’s deal with racial tensions in America, but almost none as creatively do it as with Get Out, in the guise of a regular horror and creepy film.

It fuses the truth, with horror and comedy to get people in the doors and more importantly, get people talking.

Favorite moment? The hypnotism.

34

33) Before Midnight 2013

Why? Before Midnight is the first sequel on this list, and after examining the whole thing, there are only 2, maybe 2 and a half films that are sequels. So this is definitely the only end of a trilogy! The raw emotions that Linklater let these two do, just to talk, about love, and fear, and sadness, and hope. It is inspiring on its own. Add to the difficulty of creating the trilogy in sort of real time with 9 year gaps lets us come back to a couple we adore and want to succeed and cheer for.

There is a chance of a forth film in 2022, but as for now Linklater hasn’t told us anything.

Favorite moment? The argument.

33

32) Prisoners 2013

Why? Prisoners is a movie I went in with no expectations, only a trailer, as I didn’t know who Denis Villeneuve was. Turns out, he is a director I love and is featured many times on this list. This is one of those films that really showed me for the first time how good of an actor Gyllenhaal and Dano really are. Already had my assumptions about Jackman.

A long, mystery, dealing with moral ambiguity and a terrifying conclusion. Prisoners changed the way I saw cinema for the next few years.

Favorite moment? Jackman losing it.

32

31) Marriage Story 2019

Why? Marriage Story deals with a topic we don’t talk a lot about in films. Divorce! Getting married is easy, keeping it and ending it is harder. Two PHENOMENAL performances from Johansson and Driver, this is done in such a way that there are not too many overall scenes, but it is overall very awkward and sad.

I haven’t reseen the movie, but I have gone out of my way to rewatch various parts and I am able to with ease already knowing the full context. This will be a hard movie for me to rewatch and sit through beginning to end, but definitely one that warrants it at some point in the future.

Favorite moment? The court scene.

31

Click here for Part 1 (50-41)!
Click here for Part 3 (30-21)!
Click here for Part 4 (20-11)!
Click here for Part 5 (10-1)!

Best of the Decade – Part 1 (50-41)

Welcome to my top 50 of the decade list! Every day I will do the next group of 10, according to all of the Staff here at Gorgon Reviews, on what we thought was the best of the decade.

We decided to not include documentaries, as they are much harder to compare, but you will see films represented more than one country at least.

50) The Martian 2015

Why? To me this movie is entirely pro-science in a fun and exciting way. We have smart characters, who solve problems by being smart, despite obstacles in their way. Smartness isn’t played as a joke, it is appreciated, and a lot of care went into making most (not all, that is fine) of this movie at least somewhat realistic.

I have seen this movie usually many times just showing it to my students near the end of the year.

Favorite moment? While the ending is very emotional, I enjoy most when they finally get communication up and running.

50

49) Chi-Raq 2015

Why? I want to make some statements with a top 50 list, and not be incredibly boring. This movie rolled a few of my jams up in one. Lyrically spoken, it brings back an Ancient Greek play into modern times, to deal with modern problems, and it is dripping with satire.

It gives new light to a problem. It doesn’t actually offer real solutions, but it is still making great points with its power.

Favorite moment? Samuel L. Jackson laying those smooth lines down as the narrator.

49

48) 50/50 2011

Why? Coming out earlier in the decade, this felt like the perfect blend of a comedy/drama for me. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed some more. Joseph Gordon-Levitt really showcased his emotional range and showcased how someone might deal with a surgery that didn’t technically have a favorable outcome. He isn’t in it for the sympathy.

Favorite moment? When his mood shifts right before the surgery. Tears every time.

48

47) I, Tonya 2017

Why? I, Tonya does a few things for me. It gives me a very different view of a story that I just had assumptions about (I was 4-5 at the time) and that is likely true about a lot of people. And it also finally let me see Margot Robbie in a different light as an actress that I had never seen before. You know, acting.

Favorite moment? The scenes where Tonya/Jeff’s relationship blossomed into an abuse for all.

47

46) Nocturnal Animals 2016

Why? Strangely enough, this movie probably dropped the most out of any film compared to their respective rankings in top of the year lists. For 2016, I had this as my second favorite movie, a harrowing experience I never wanted to experience again.

However, on a rewatch, it is still extremely well acted and an interesting movie, but without the surprising fear elements, it didn’t sustain as much interest.

Favorite moment? It still has to be the highway scene.

46

45) August: Orange County 2013

Why? Take an all-star cast of incredible actors, have them act a popular play, and sure enough, we will get emotions and wonderful acting. I hadn’t heard of this play before hand, so it was shock to me when I realized what was going on.

Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are wonderful together, in that they bring out each other’s worsts.

Favorite moment? Hard to beat the dinner scene as it brings everyone together and everything full front.

45

44) The Greatest Showman 2017

Why? Honestly, I loved this movie when I saw it. The worst part about it for me was how short it was (and still is). It was my most anticipated film of 2017, and I knew I was getting a fictionalized story about the real man, but didn’t care. It gave me a sense of fun and wonder that a circus was meant to give its audience, and honestly, as he deceived them, you could argue it was meant to deceive us about the real man.

This would be much higher if it was a little over 2 hours long.

Favorite moment? My favorite song shifts constantly, so at the time of the writing, I will go with The Other Side.

44

43) The Witch 2015

Why? I was completely shookith with this film when it came out, appreciating how much the director went for realism in a story dealing with the supernatural. The clothes, the house, the language. Anna Taylor-Joy has started her career off really with this film, escalating her into several other horror/thriller roles.

The introduction of the film started things off very bleak from the beginning, and it was the struggle throughout that made it just that much more horrifying.

Favorite moment? The ending scenes with our goat.

43

42) Moana 2016

Why? Our first animated film on the list, and not the last, Moana felt like they finally perfected the “modern Disney Princess” film. Trying to fix the backlash of their older films with problematic narratives.

Tangled and Frozen were obviously stepping stones to get there, but Moana has it all, including a banging soundtrack with only one overall dud in my eye. Looking at you Shiny.

Favorite moment? The ending reveal/victory I didn’t see coming and it still holds up in repeated viewings.

42

41) Bodied 2018

Why? Likely to be one of the more controversial films on this whole list, because this damn thing is a controversial film. It has so many elements going on in it that SHOULD lead to it being something we should avoid, that it somehow mashes together to make an uncomfortable masterpiece.

When I rewatched this movie, it still made me captivated, and cringe at all the right moments.

Favorite moment? I am going to say I love/hate the ending.

41

Click here for Part 2 (40-31)!
Click here for Part 3 (30-21)!
Click here for Part 4 (20-11)!
Click here for Part 5 (10-1)!

Best Films of 2019

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
My honorable mentions this year are a bit weirder. These are 100% just movies I didn’t get to see, and wanted to, and maybe would have made my list if I saw them. None of these have reviews at the time of posting!

Honey Boy, Richard Jewell, Ford v Ferrari, Weathering With You, Judy, Hustlers, Clemency, and Just Mercy.

Okay fine, one review almost made the list and didn’t. Sorry, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? but you were number 16!

For the rest of the reviews below, just click on the title to get the original review of the movie!

15) Long Shot
Why is it on the list? Good question! Usually my 15th movie is questionable. This one was just the feel good rom com I need at the time after a long string of bad movies. But the leads just really make it work.
Favorite moment? Basically every time O’Shea Jackson is talking.
Any Best Awards? Best RomCom of 2019!

15
14) Booksmart
Why is it on the list?  In a year where two films were hailed as spiritual successors to Superbad, this is the one that reigned supreme to me and made me giggle the most. I liked Good Boys too, just these gals sealed the deal for me.
Favorite moment? The graduation speech.
Any Best Awards? Best comedy of 2019! (Yes the next films are all bleak).

14
13) Joker
Why is it on the list? Great performance from Phoenix, unexpected plot line, and a pretty fun ending. Plus, it helps prove the only thing that DC films know how to right are related to Batman.
Favorite moment? The subway revenge scene.
Any Best Awards? Best origin story of 2019!

13
12) Ad Astra
Why is it on the list? Visually a winner of a film, that takes its time to tell a personal story despite the great lengths and really respects the setting of outer space. Also, Pitt carries the universe of troubles on his face, and I love that misery.
Favorite moment? The baboons.
Any Best Awards? Best purely Sci-Fi film of 2019!

12
11) The Farewell
Why is it on the list? Awkwafina showcasing she can do anything she wants in the media world, and we just have to take it. Beautiful story, learning a lot about another culture, and telling us there are many ways to say goodbye.
Favorite moment? The Wedding
Any Best Awards? Best excuse for a wedding in 2019!

11
10) Bombshell
Why is it on the list? Three women give wonderful performances with two of them delving so deep into their real life counterparts, I forget who was acting. It is an important
Favorite moment? Robbie‘s restaurant breakdown, and the beginning debate.
Any Best Awards? Best real story of 2019!

10
9) At the Heart of Gold / Leaving Neverland
Why is it on the list? First of all, I am allowed to have two things in the same spot if I want. It’s my list. Secondly, both of these documentaries came out around a similar time on HBO about similar subjects, sexual assault and unfortunately with different outcomes.
Favorite moment? The reading of accounts from the gymnasts in At The Heart of Gold, and the men describing when they finally realized what occurred in Leaving Neverland. Both very powerful moments.
Any Best Awards? Best documentaries of 2019!

9
8) Paddleton
Why is it on the list? This film flew completely under the radar, appeared on Netflix early in the year, and captivated me with its simple story. If you aren’t crying by the end, you weren’t paying attention. Romano continues to rock it in these more dramatic roles.
Favorite moment? The ending.
Any Best Awards? Best heterosexual life mates of 2019!

8
7) Avengers: Endgame
Why is it on the list? I feel like this one is rather straightforward. Much like the first Avengers, it feels like all of the build up, which was fun along the way, was brought together for these moments. And you know what? They were very creative with this film. No one expected how a lot of it would have gone down. The wait was worth it.
Favorite moment? Avengers Assembling.
Any Best Awards? Best superhero film of 2019!

7
6) Midsommar
Why is it on the list? Although not as good as Hereditary, Midsommar gives me a horror film unlike any other in an unexpected setting and all in daylight! The director’s cut isn’t worth seeing just for the differences, the original stands on its own. Pugh has a great year for an actress, and this was her crowning achievement.
Favorite moment? The fertility blessing.
Any Best Awards? Best horror film of 2019!

6
5) 1917
Why is it on the list? Incredible cinematographic films will always catch my eye, including ones with a bold premise like this one. Mostly real time, seemingly one shot, huge sets? Oh my goodness, all of my pants come pre-wet for this premise. I was going to dismiss it as just another war film, but the technical style and skill behind it are a sight to behold.
Favorite moment? The night time village.
Any Best Awards? Best war film of 2019! Best action film of 2019!

5
4) Marriage Story
Why is it on the list? Rarely are actors so realistic with their emotions and passions as our two leads here. Couple that with fantastic dialogue and a story that should be told, that never gets told, leads to an unforgettably unpleasant and sad, yet beautiful story.
Favorite moment? Most of them? The intro, Laura Dern‘s first scene, the courtroom scene, the argument, the inspector.
Any Best Awards? Best divorce of 2019!

4
3) Uncut Gems
Why is it on the list? Sandler can bring it when he needs to, and he brought it and more with this Safdie brothers flick. An intense thrill ride of uncomfortable scene after uncomfortable scene.
Favorite moment? The final bet.
Any Best Awards? Best Dark Comedy of 2019!

3
2) Parasite
Why is it on the list? A lot of reason Parasite is on here is due to how shockingly original it is. A tale of class warfare that is specific to South Korea but able to resonate with everyone. And it tells a story that is impossible to figure out ahead of time.
Favorite moment? The basement reveal.
Any Best Awards? Best foreign film of 2019! Best thriller of 2019!

2
1) Waves
Why is it on the list? The film changes so much throughout. From calm to extreme and back. It gives us time to grieve and to heal. The cinematography is inspired, the acting is great, and the heart break is real. Also, the soundtrack is so immersive, it is a full cinematic experience given.
Favorite moment? The party scene and the last wrestling scene.
Any Best Awards? Best drama of 2019! Best film relying heavily on music of 2019! And of course best movie of 2019!

1

Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Joker

Todd Phillips has directed a handful of movies in the past, including every Hangover movie, Old School, Road Trip, and Due Date. All comedies, not all of them necessarily good, but all comedies nonetheless.

So it makes sense on that level for him to direct a movie called Joker. After all, that title sounds like a comedy.

Oh wait, this is a serious drama piece, about the origins and rise of a super villain? A big acting movie that is probably going to be offered awards? Oh uhh…Todd? Are you sure you are ready for this?

steps
Nothing screams out humor like a clown smoking on some stairs. 
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is an adult, but why? Being an adult sucks. He has a disorder that causes him to laugh out spontaneously, and annoyingly, at weird times, so much that he has a card to warn people. He used to be in an asylum, but he is doing much better now. He works as a party clown, for kids, or whatever the occasion, even if it means standing on a corner with a sign.

More importantly he cares for his sick mother (Frances Conroy), who used to work for the Wayne family a long time ago. She still hopes they will respond to her letters, because they are good people. She is bed ridden now, and Arthur´s income isn´t a whole lot of money. But Arthur is kind to her and watches their favorite shows together and makes sure she is comfortable, even if he is having a bad time.

Like when he gets beaten up by some kids who steal his sign. Or his job threatens to fire him, or when they do actually fire him. A lot of bad is adding up, and he can´t take it. So when he kills some young rich adults in self defense, it starts a movement in the city. A city who is tired of the wealthy getting away with everything but murder, while the poor suffer.

This whole thing is a big misunderstanding, and a joke. But maybe it is just what Arthur needs to find his purpose in life.

Also starring Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, and Bill Camp.

stare
Phoenix playing someone with mental illnesses? You don´t say! 

Now that it has been out for over a month, most have you had already heard the praises of this movie and its record breaking $1 billion in the box office. It is by far the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time. All these records needed was just to put a superhero tag on the film and they were good to go.

Phoenix does an incredible job, but this type of role is something he has shown again and again in previous movies. It is very much in his wheelhouse, they are just usually more independent films that no one feels like watching (and honestly, a lot of them I have disliked). No other actor is really a standout here, although De Niro is at least interesting in his role.

This film offers a very unique look into the start of a movement, and the start of a supervillain. It does not say the Joker is right in his regards, but pointing out societal problems is good in the long run so that we can collectively all work on making the world a better place. There will always be problems between the classes, when one side suffers over the other. And a movie like Joker takes that to the logical conclusion. Eventually people get tired of being pushed around.

And yet, all of this is still an over simplification of what Joker is all about. The only really way to know, is to experience it and see where it takes us.

4 out of 4.

Marriage Story

Marriage Story is somehow both a film I wanted to see for so long, and also never. I knew the plot, I knew it was sad, and I didn’t want to feel sad in that way.

I love it when a film can make me cry. It usually means it had me invested in their story to care about these usually fictional characters. But to cry about a divorce and losing love? That seems like something I can totally go out of my way to avoid if at all possible.

And I waited what felt like forever for when some of my critic friends saw in theaters, and when I finally had time to see it on its Netflix release AND when I had a good span of two or so hours to try and watch it.

Not only was the wait a pain, but so were parts of the watch.

argument
And now the powerful moments are meme’d.
Love is a fickle thing. We have seen it in plenty of movies. Different ways that people fall in love, how they plan their wedding, how they spend their post marriage life rekindling that lost spark. But what about for those who do not ever rekindle that spark? For those lost souls who actually can no longer make it work with their soul mate, and need to move on with their lives with very difficult decisions to make?

Marriage Story is about the end of a marriage, and how hard it can be to let go and change. When both sides want drastically different things, there can only be one solution that works, through the courts, but it opens up a dark and dirty underside to marriage.

Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) wants to move back to LA, to work on a TV show, and live closer to her family again. Charlie (Adam Driver) wants to keep his life in NYC, where his theater company is flourishing and culture is a walk away. Their son (Azhy Robertson) is not a strong source for his feelings one way or another, because he’d rather his parents stay together.

Marriage Story is about tearing apart people, past their breaking point, and finding out truths about themselves that they kept hidden for so long.

Also starring Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Kyle Bornheimer, Julie Hagerty, and Wallace Shawn.

breakdown
Meme’d and parodied into submission. 
Director Noah Baumbach has done an incredible job of giving me movies that I liked a whole lot, and some I did not, and rarely any in between. And this film goes on his excellent pile, like most of his work with Wes Anderson and his movies about relationships.

Without getting too hard into the details, because you should just go and watch it yourself, it thrives in its realism. Both people feel strongly in their decisions and both feel they are right, even if we can see the flaws in their ideas and plans. Longer scenes are there to make us experience the awkwardness of all levels of the divorce, and you just will feel bad/sad/angry about the whole thing.

As soon as the movie finished, I knew I had to see a few of the scenes again, and I was surprised at how many of them flowed from one into another. It basically turned into a most of the movie re-watch.

Driver and Johansson are incredible at these leads. I am so angry at them for their fictional divorce, and I will always associate them with their non-real break up. Well, Driver with Outer Space, but Johansson is stuck with this one despite so many films under her belt.

Outside of the fictional money spent in this movie, it really feels like the best ending they should have had after I could reflect and revisit aspects of the film. Rarely does a film strike so hard at the realities of two people whose paths no longer coincide. And I am just so happy it is on a wide enough format for a lot of people to grieve over as well.

4 out of 4.

1917

When I got the invite first for 1917, I really just assumed I would ignore it. I try not to watch trailers, I try to avoid spoilers and go out of my way to research movies before I watch them. All I knew was that this was a war movie?

A war movie? In my 2019?! We just had Midway which was WWII (and I have not seen). I skipped one, why not skip this one as well? How can you wow me war movies?

And then a friend knocked some sense into me. He told me that this movie was done in real time. With the illusion of one continuous shout.

Hold my green apple Smirnoff ice, I’ve GOT to see this on the big screen.

trench
Words cannot describe the fear the audience will experience.

Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) is awoken one afternoon with urgent orders that General Erinmore (Colin Firth) needs him and one other for an urgent mission, time is of the essence. He chooses his buddy Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay), and they hope it is just a supply run mission to head back and bring more food for the troops. They are quite hungry.

Unfortunately, it is a lot more urgent than that. There is another British division in the woods outside of a nearby French village. They are planning on attacking the German troops nearby at dawn, who are supposedly retreating, but the intel has changed. It is a trap. And Blake has an older brother in charge over there, another incentive to get there in time.

Now these two men have to travel through trenches, across no man’s land, hope that the German’s in their area did retreat, then travel several miles over land and hopefully get to the troops before it is too late and 1,600 men get killed.

Also starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, and Richard Madden.

house
Two men, one note, no cups.

Roger Deakins is god and we are just living in his well defined cinematographic world.

Breath taking. Wonderful. Immersive. It is hard to explain. If any film had to talk about the dangers and realities of World War I, this is probably the film we need. Our delivery boys are not bad ass guys who take their revolvers and head shot Nazis left and right running down a field. Every potential threat is just that, a threat, and potentially the end of their journey.

I never can tell if they will make it out of their current predicament, and if so, will they be fully in tact along the way.

The smaller roles given to big names help give some gravitas to their situation. Also, so do the explosions, and the hundreds of extras, and the miles and miles of real sets built, and the natural lighting.

An ending scene where a runner is going across the battlefield, while bombs are going off and explosions is one of my favorite and tense scenes of 2019. Along with a nighttime scene, running through the village with fire, flares, and German soldiers. It is hard to pick which scene feels more intense, honestly, and that is a good problem to have.

I loved 1917, and it is something that should be discussed for years to come on how to just do every little thing right with a movie.

4 out of 4.