2019: The Big Movie House's Favorite Films

2019 had a lot of winners and a lot of losers. This list is for the films that we loved the most.

One of the first films released in 2019, The Kid Who Would Be King tells a modern-day King Arthur tale that is smart, thrilling and doesn't talk down to its audience like many films aimed at families do. This is one of many films on this list that put a giant smile on my face and reminded me of the 80s in the fact that it was a film about a group of kids going on an adventure that adults would snark at. Think The Goonies or The Monster Squad.

2014's Godzilla was a remake that did so many things right that there little to improve on. That is except for seeing Godzilla for more than twelve minutes within the film's two hour run time. That was the main complaint with the 2014 film, so the filmmakers, headed by Trick 'r Treat's director Michael Dougherty, made a big effort to showcase Godzilla way more than the 2014 film while adding classic Godzilla friends and foes to the mix. The main two problems I had with the film are: 1. The human characters suck and the ones that don't are killed off and 2. Most of the action takes place mostly at night AND with either rain or snow obstructing our view of these massive fights. These complaints are minor though as who really cares about the human characters in any Godzilla film? AND We get to see Godzilla fight King Ghidorah in the BIG SCREEN. Us Americans haven't really seen that before.

1917 was a film that wasn't really on my radar. The trailers made the film look ok, but nothing to special. Then the reviews came out and people started talking about how great the film is. Then it won the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Drama) and Best Director and I wondered if this was a film that I needed to see. Thankfully, the film went into wide release the weekend after the Golden Globes and I figured that I might sit through a film that I don't like. Man, this was the exact opposite of a film that I didn't like. From the first frame of the film, I was hooked. We know nothing about what is going on, but the film knows that and introduces us to everything that we need to know exactly when we need to know it. There are sequences in the film that took my breath away like the scene inside the German bunker. The film is a looker too. I just loved almost everything about this film that I am going to go back and see it again.

I am very happy that It Chapter Two is as good as it is. I was a bit worried given how good the first film was, the wait of two years between films, and it's almost three hour run time. Horror films usually can't sustain a long run time like that. Hell, tons of films can't even survive on two hours, let alone three.I do appreciate that the filmmakers try to scare us with actual scares more than with jump scares (there are plenty of those though) and that there are sequences here that freaked out my wife who NEVER gets scared by anything in the movies. Although the ending is way too similar to the ending of the first film, I really loved It Chapter Two.

I am glad that Fox (now a part of Disney) released Jojo Rabbit to theaters. Even though i think they had to contractually, I know that they were nervous about the subject matter. It doesn't fit into their "wholesomeness" that they try to make people believe about them. The fact that the film is as good as it is is a testament to Taika Waititi's ability to find humor in the weirdest of places. He is also able to find heart and fear and, in one scene that made me gasp audibly, sadness. I know that there is a ton of sadness outside the confines of the film, I mean it takes place during the Holocaust and the main character really wants to be a Nazi, but this scene I have in mind really wrecked me. Anyways, this is a great film that treats Nazis like the buffoons they are all the while making us laugh and cry.

I had no plans to see Parasite in theaters. It's not that I didn't want to see it but I have been burned far too many times by recommendations for films that turned out to be not very good. It wasn't until my wife saw that it was playing at our local theater that I said ok. Man, was I happy she talked me into seeing this? The film is about the class struggle in South Korea and that is all I'm going to say about the film's plot. Parasite is the type of film that will have you leaning forward in your seat a lot. "Where is this going?" is a question you will be asking yourself quite a bit and you will walk out of the theater very satisfied.

I, like many Eddie Murphy fans, have been waiting for him to return to form after being gone for so long (he did a few films before he disappeared but none of them made a lasting impression) and here he is as Rudy Ray Moore, the man who would become famous for his Dolemite character. Murphy shines as Moore and not just the loudmouth portion of him either, but his joyous way of going after things. Moore loved performing and so does Murphy so it's a natural fit. This isn't just one of the funniest films of the year but one of the most honest as well. Moore just wanted to entertain people and this film is a love letter to him and all that he gave us.

Over the course of ten years, DreamWorks has crafted a trilogy of films that even Disney would be jealous of. The first film introduced us to the world and never once spoke down to its audience. The second film expanded on everything we knew from the first film and added to it. Now, with this third film, the filmmakers have found the perfect way to end the trilogy while keeping the series fresh and new. There is a ton of beauty and heart in this film that it had me crying by the end. I love the fact that DreamWorks makes mature films for kids that deal with death and other darker subject while making more mass audience films that appeal to everyone.

The John Wick trilogy, soon to be a tetralogy, is a blessing through and through. The first film was something that many thought would be a joke because the plot boiled down to “man avenges the death of his dog”, but it turned out to be a really great flick. The second one-upped the ante with more great action scenes and a lot of world-building, which I love. Now, this third entry takes everything that came before and turns it up to eleven. We get more hand to hand action, more gun action, and we also get dogs added to the action, which is something we never see. There are enough action scenes here to fill five films. Sure, the film is a bit too long with a large chunk taking place for no other reason but to get Halle Berry in the film (I know that the plot needs to move on with this section of the film, but the filmmakers could have done a bit better with the plot here). Still, with these minor quibbles aside, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is a fine way to end the decade with loads of bullets and coolness.

There a few directors that when they release a new film, I will fight anyone who tries to stand in my way trying to see the film. Tarantino is one of those directors. His films are so well written and directed that you wish he would make more but not too many as they would stop being special. OUATIH is Tarantino's love letter to Hollywood, specifically 1969 Hollywood, when the studio system was transferring from studio heads to corporations running the businesses. This was also a time when filmmakers were taking chances and winning. Taking course over the span of three days (two of those days together and then last one six months later.) Tarantino tells three stories, one about a fading movie star, one about an almost shunned by the business stuntman, and one about a rising star taking in success but not letting it go to her head. There are so many great moments here that the almost three hour run time is justified. I love this film so much that when I broke a tooth watching the film for the first time, I just put the broken part of the tooth in my pocket and didn't let it take anything away from the viewing experience.

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