Anniversary 2019: The Top 5 Movies of the Past Year (For Whatever Reason) – Best Of
Maybe one day I’ll bring movie reviews back to I Just Hate Everything.
But five quickies once a year is a fair compromise, right?
It isn’t. But this is what we’ve got.
Now, onto those honourable mentions:
- Hereditary: High brow horror is back, bitches.
- Mission Impossible: Fallout: So. Much. Action. And villainous daddy Henry Cavill is best Henry Cavill.
- Under the Silver Lake: Way to blow all that attention after It Follows with this… thing. Ambitious? Yes. A catastrophic failure? Also yes.
- Upgrade: Oh, honey. You were so close to the list, but you lost out to our first entrant below. Condolences.
So here we go.
I was going to give one spot to an unbelievably tight thriller, and Upgrade would have made the cut if I hadn’t gotten around to seeing Destroyer a few weeks ago.
I had high hopes for this movie, considering its director Karyn Kusama made my 2017 list with The Invitation. And wow, she doesn’t disappoint. Destroyer is every bit the gritty, dogged, female-led crime drama of my dreams, with Aussie queen Nicole Kidman front and centre (in some tremendously hideous makeup).
Yeah, it missed out hard on awards season, and the twist ending, while spicy, didn’t really add anything to it. But I can tell you it was a hell of a lot better than bloody Widows. If you haven’t gotten around to Destroyer yet, do yourself a favour and settle in for a whole lot of Nicole Kidman getting fucking shit done.
And watching cool women get shit done is all that I long for.
On that feminine note, here’s another raunchy female comedy to take up the mantle from last year’s Girls Trip.
Look, Blockers is not revolutionary. It’s not going to be immortalised in the history books, and sans a breakout role from Tiffany Haddish, it will certainly not be remembered as fondly as Girls Trip.
But Blockers is just a damn good movie, with the added bonus of being gender progressive, which is rare for the genre (just look at Rough fucking Night). It has a great cast (aside from the name parent actors, the teen girls are all great, too), it keeps the laughs consistent and lewd, and it never pats itself on the back for any of it. It’s a high production value studio comedy that isn’t bland garbage.
I won’t remember Blockers well in a couple of years, but I’ll always remember it fondly.
A Star is Born
I am a gay clichè.
I honestly don’t think there is much left to say about A Star is Born that hasn’t already been said. Now that the pressure and drama over its awards nods (and vicious snubs. No directing nomination for Bradley Cooper? Ouch) is gone, it’s time for the movie to settle into its legacy as the soaring, if not original, romantic melodrama it is.
But even if the story was the most inventive script to ever grace the screen, nothing about this movie would ever be more powerful than its music. Shallow is the new Let It Go, and in a non-Disney, non-kids movie no less. Even knowing the rigid story outline going in, I was still blown away every time Gaga got her pipes going. She is absolutely luminous in the role; your eye, and ear, is never drawn away from her.
The Oscars performance cemented A Star is Born in film history. And I’ll never not shed a tear when listening to I’ll Never Love Again. Truly iconic.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
The first time I saw this in the theatre, I went in with some low expectations, man. I’d heard the buzz, and it was bad. So I was pleasantly surprised by how charmed I was by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on a first viewing. It was a lot of genuine fun, and although I knew the whole mansion thing was dumb, I didn’t feel dumb for enjoying it.
Upon multiple subsequent viewings, I’ll admit that has diminished. It is really dumb. But that’s the thing: I’ve already watched this movie three times in under a year. And I plan to keep on watching it. Yes, the story is silly and the characters are all cardboard cutouts, and definitely yes that clone thing is like, what. My love for this series isn’t diminished by all that, though.
I love me some dinosaurs, and I think I always will.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
I wanted to leave this final spot for a movie I genuinely loved.
Destroyer may have been tight, and Jurassic World may have had dinosaurs, but the closest thing to movie magic I felt this year was falling in love with this little Melissa McCarthy biopic. I went into it knowing only that Melissa had received praise for her performance from some (not all) critics. But as each minute ticked by, I became enraptured by a movie that had more warmth and empathy than its caustic characters would have you believe.
I mean, given that this is the follow-up feature film from the director of The Diary of a Teenage Girl, it makes sense to me, now. Gosh, imagine being so fucking talented that those are your first two movies?
If Can You Ever Forgive Me? doesn’t become a new gay cult classic, I will be seriously disappointed in my community. How often do we get a movie with A List talent, with its two lead characters being a gay woman and a gay man, with this much nuance and grace? What a triumph.
Also, shout out to my failed writers out there. This one’s for us.