As I previously stated in my underrated Top 10 List, this year has been an unbelievable year for movies. I really can’t quite remember when there were so many awesome options and it’s crazy imagining I had to compose My Top 10 three different times because I knew I had to dwindle it down.
The best surprise film of the year for me was “The Biggest Little Farm” and I can’t state that enough. To say I’m excited it’s on the shortlist for Best Documentary at the Oscar is one thing, but the fact it takes place in my own backyard (Moorpark) makes it even more special.
Now after talking with friends and analyzing my lists the inevitable, “Well what was the worst film you saw “ comes up. I’m sad to say it’s a tie with “Charlie Says” and “Lucy in The Sky”. Although “The Fanatic” is bad, John Travolta’s performance alone is worth watching and has already cemented itself as a cult classic whereas the other two are just painfully bad movies you shouldn’t go see at all.
When I first mentioned by Top 10 list in October it was very solid and in any other year could’ve remained untouched. However, since then “The Farewell” , “Honey Boy” , “Brittany Runs A Marathon” , “Richard Jewell” and “The Report” have fallen off in two subsequent revisions. Needless to say, it was a list I meticulously altered and arranged throughout the year consciously. I’m very proud to say I’ve seen every movie on my list at least two times and as high as four times IN theaters.
#10 “Pain and Glory”
Perennial awards contender Pedro Almodovar returns to form with “Pain and Glory” starring Antonio Banderas in a tour-de-force performance. Salvador Mallo (Banderas) is a filmmaker on the decline suffering a creative crisis having not created any new work since his mother’s death. By chance Mallo reconnects with the lead actor of his hit film “Sabor” Alberto Crespo (Asier Exteandia), who he has not spoken with in 30 years, and suddenly his imagination is awoken. As the Spanish entry for Best International Feature Film, “Pain and Glory” will be a great film to watch and in any other year, Banderas performance would be a sure lock for Best Actor.
#9 “The Lighthouse”
Arguably A24 knows how to embrace and entertain audiences with amazing auteurs better than anyone. As the modern day indie powerhouse, A24 released Robert Eggers’ (“The Witch”) second feature film “The Lighthouse” in black & white with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe delivering two of the most captivating characters of the year. This immersive character study shows two men, Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Wake (Willem Dafoe), during the late 19th century working at a lighthouse on an isolated island off the coast of New England. This psychological horror film fantastically demonstrates the deterioration of each man as a storm strands them on the island and how they cope with isolation.
Similarly to Adam McKay, Todd Phillips has taken the industry by surprise with a more edgy and sophisticated film beyond the realm of comedy. In the performance of the year, Joaquin Phoenix portrays Arthur Fleck, a struggling clown and aspiring comedian, who lives with his mother. Frustrated with the how Gotham City continues to look a blind eye to crime and atrocities, Arthur arises to the occasion and the persona of the “Joker” is born. In the Batman cannon, the film reinvents the origin of the most iconic villain of all time and creates an amazing standalone film. There’s no denying Phoenix’s performance and the unbelievable score by Hildur Guðnadóttir, but the polarizing message and image definitely does leave its mark on you.
#7 “Knives Out”
Almost akin to classic whodunits, Rian Johnson’s delightful take on the genre hits the spot with a star-studded cast. Featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Rikki Lindhome, Anna de Armas, Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer ”Knives Out” will leave you laughing and thinking the entire way. The perfect fall movie and enjoyable experience fans of every genre can enjoy. Grab the family and figure out how this murder mystery plays out.
#6 “Jojo Rabbit” (https://www.mikethefanboy.com/jojo-rabbit-movie-review )
#5 “Marriage Story”
Noah Baumbach’s brilliant interpretation on divorce stuns audiences with one helluva great script. Containing two tour-de-force performances by lead performers Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, this electric ensemble cast with Laura Dern, Alana Alda, Julie Hagerty and Ray Liotta light up the screen. I highly recommend this movie and believe this will be the biggest surprise winner during awards season. One thing I would strongly suggest is NOT to watch this movie for date night unless you want to have an epic conversation about relationships. It’s a heavy, honest film focusing on the deterioration of marriage and how long-distance relationships heavily weigh on both partners. Imagine “Kramer vs. Kramer” meets “The Squid and the Whale” meets “Enough Said” with a beautiful balance of comedy combined with drama.
#4 “The Irishman”
Most of the time not everything on paper can exceed expectations, but for Martin Scorsese fans this 3 ½ hour epic film delivers the goods. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino are at the top of their games telling the story of Frank Sheeran and his relationship with Jimmy Hoffa. Unfortunately, individuals with short attention spans have agonized and attributed the “slow story” for their boredom instead of addressing their inability to focus. Scorsese fans will easily digest the film and its arguably his best gangster film since “Goodfellas,” but I’ve always been more of a “Casino” guy myself. Nonetheless, everyone in front and behind the camera carefully created an engrossing, entertaining epic most movie aficionados will absolutely appreciate. However, I do admit you certainly have to take a leap of faith with some of the de-ageing involved. For anyone accustomed to playing on their cellphone and digital devices throughout, this film is definitely not for you.
#3 “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”
Quentin Tarantino’s 9th film fantastically recreates the swinging 60’s with an unbelievable soundtrack and an equally entertaining, exciting ensemble cast. I regret not posting a proper review earlier, but like most I didn’t want to be tempted to discuss the 3rd Act. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio deliver career best performances, but the breakthrough performances by Margaret Qualley, Julia Butters and Mike Moh will leave you talking long after leaving the theater. This film is a smorgasbord for film buffs, western aficionados and anyone who can appreciate nostalgia. Whatever you do, don’t think about the real life history otherwise you’ll take yourself out of the movie.
#2 “Parasite” (https://www.mikethefanboy.com/parasite-movie-review-jm-says-bong-joon-ho-infests-your-mind-once-again-with-the-magnificent-modern-day-masterpiece )
#1 “1917” – https://www.mikethefanboy.com/1917-movie-review/
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