I meant to put this up a long time ago but never got to it. Now COVID-19 has given me some free time so I figure I might as well post my list now for anyone looking for a good way to pass the time while they are locked indoors. For more movie recommendations, you can see my favorite movies of 2018 here. For TV and videogame recommendations, my favorite TV shows of 2019 can be found here and my favorite games of 2019 can be found here.
I have also included a link to the YouTube trailer for each of these movies at the end of my writeup.
10. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
For most of the movie's runtime I had no idea what the hell was going on or where the story was going but eventually it clicks as I grew to love the protagonists. Adam Driver does a great job of playing the role of a character trying to find his balance with the audience as all sorts of weird shit happens. A few of the scenes could have been paced better and for a movie this self aware and off-kilter the casual sexism and tropey-ness of the female characters is disappointing. Even with those issues, there is still a lot of heart in this story that demands you question what sanity, dignity and normal means in a capitalistic world of disgusting inequality and immorality. Trailer can be found here.
9. In The Tall Grass
This is not a good movie by any definition, but damn if I didn't find it entertaining as hell. It is a straight to Netflix adaptation of a Stephen King story and they were clearly given a tiny budget to make this movie. But it is a really fun bit of nonsense to help pass the time. If you are unfamiliar with the story it will take a bit before you start to get a grasp of what is happening but the gimmick is enough to carry the movie through its runtime. Trailer can be found here.
8. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
This one did not immediately click for me. I came in expecting a lot more in your face Tarantino craziness but what I got instead was a much more subdued, meandering film that takes it's time following some characters. The real life history of what happened to Sharon Tate is pretty much the only thing providing this movie any tension. That said, it wasn't until after the first viewing, once I was able to see how things wrapped up, that I was able to really appreciate the whole package. I realize that probably doesn't make much sense, but I am struggling to write out my thoughts without delving into spoilers. Trailer can be found here.
This is a terrifying movie that is not for everyone. A unique kind of terrifying that can't be accurately described with words. The premise of it is that people get drugged and chaos ensues. I hated it but also I couldn't stop watching. Absolutely horrifying, nausating, and headache inducing, but also so, so mesmerizing. Fuck this movie. Trailer can be found here.
I only went to see this movie because of Lili Reinhart and while I was disappointed she did not get more screen time, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the film overall. A damn fine crime film that can hold its own with the best of em in the genre. It moves at a solid pace, has a solid soundtrack and some beautiful tracking shots. Trailer can be found here.
5. Ford v Ferrari
The theater was filled with fathers and sons when I went to go see the and I was no exception. Went with my dad to watch the new car movie and it was incredibly well done. Christian Bale, Matt Damon, and Jon Berenthal all do an amazing job playing legends in the automotive industry. Ford comes across absolutely terribly in this movie and are basically the villains, so much so that I was surprised that it was able to move forward as is. And the race scenes are all absolutely ace of course. Trailer can be found here.
4. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Y'all, this movie is actually really really good. I felt the need to support this movie on principal, because no one else is throwing a budget at a latinx led film. I did not walk into the theater expecting much of anything but walked out having experienced likely the best adventure movie since The Mummy Returns. No "good for a kid's movie" qualifiers needed, this movie is just straight up great. Good hearted and defiantly positive and enthusiastic without being obnoxious about it. Trailer can be found here.
Man, this movie is something else. Even now, more than a year later, I don't think I've been able to fully wrap my head around it. This movie is riddled with foreshadowing and it also feels meticulously crafted even though not everything is explained. Jordan Peele's first movie, Get Out, was a much different animal. It was straightforward and spoon feed the story and even the themes in an easily digestible way. Us on the other hand decides not to explicitly answer all questions but seems to provide just enough information taunting you to figure it out. Peele is flexing with this movie and I am here for it.
There is commentary on societies undesirables, the question of "good vs bad," and whether people have a responsibility to help their fellow man. And it raises these questions in such a way as to not hint at what Peele thinks is right or wrong. And that is just the stuff that resonated with me. I have seen so many other people discuss their own interpretations and themes that I completely missed but also seem totally valid. Us is so clearly focused on larger commentary that arguing about the logic of the specific plot feels ridiculous. It would be like arguing the logic of Aesop's Fables or an episode of The Twilight Zone. Like, that's not the point. Don't miss the forrest for the trees when watching this one or you might miss out on one of the most brilliant films ever made. Trailer can be found here.
2. It Chapter 2
Like most people, I absolutely loved what they did with the 2017 remake of It. Unlike most people, I feel like It Chapter 2 managed to completely capture that same lightning in a bottle again. I was disappointed when I went online after watching this movie and saw so many people down on it. The casting in particular is spectacular, the characters feel like grown up versions of their old selves. I loved getting the chance to revisit this world one final time. Trailer can be found here.
1. The Lighthouse
This movie is an experience. A beautifully stylized descent into madness led by two of the greatest performances I have ever seen. Willam Dafoe always brings an intensity to everything but I was surprised to see Robert Pattinson able to hold his own with him in scene after scene. The movie has a real Lovecraftian vibe that was totally my aesthetic. Trailer can be found here.