Nick’s Top 12 Films Of 2019

Hello my fellow movie goers from around the world. Today’s editorial is about my picks for the best films of 2019. For this list, I’ve chosen specific films of the past year I liked. 2020 is just the beginning, so here is my Top 12 Films Of 2019. Why Top 12? Because I don’t want an extra number to give me bad luck.

Nick’s Top 12 Films

12. The Lego Movie 2

Final Verdict: A-

Box Office: $191,306,508

“The Lego Movie” was a surprise hit becoming an instant classic. Warner Bros. (WB for short) encouraged them to make “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” further exploring Emmet and his friends as they encounter new characters. Although I enjoyed the performances, comedy and characters, I think the sequel is just a rehash of the first film’s moral message. I’m saying it’s bad, but it’s tricky when it comes to making a follow up to a masterpiece. All it takes is coming up with a new direction whether it’s a new plot or message. Anyway Lego Movie 2 earns a 12th place ribbon.

11. Dragon Ball Super: Broly

Final Verdict: A-

Box Office: $114,102,821

“Dragon Ball Super: Broly ” marks the return of one of the best “Dragon Ball Z” (DBZ for short) villains in a canonical way. Broly appearances from “The Legendary Super Saiyan,” “Broly: Second Coming” & “Bio-Broly” aren’t actually connected to the series. As I’ve mentioned on my review for Broly, I am a huge fan of DBZ, I really had a blast watching Goku & Vegeta teaming up to battle Broly. I had a great time watching Goku & Vegeta beating the absolute crud outta Broly. Animation looked incredibly gorgeous bringing DBZ’s world to life. Action Sequences kept my blood pumping & the third act is worth your money.

I only had one problem spotted. Bardock’s origin story depicted in “Bardock The Father Of Goku” is completely discarded. Such a shame to witness Goku’s dad kicking ass onscreen. In the words of Marlon Brando in “The Godfather” “Look how they massacred my boy!” I was this close to Tripling Down this flaw. Thankfully, I was satisfied to watch Broly’s humble beginnings and his character arc fleshed him out.

I am totally relieved Dragon Ball Super: Broly isn’t similar for that god awful “Dragon Ball Evolution.” A sequel to Broly is currently in the works. I have no idea what direction it’s going.

10. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Final Verdict: A-

Box Office: $373,208,906

Oh boy, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” is unlike Quentin Tarantino’s works. His 9th directed film is completely different going back in time to 1969 back when westerns were dying, science fiction was climbing the ladder, Apollo 11 marked an accomplishment with Neil Armstrong walking to the moon, hippies attended Woodstock getting high with Jimi Hendrix rocking out, American troopers enlisted in The Vietnam War to aid their fellow troops, The Beatles released “Abbey Road,” Richard Nixon became president, Led Zeppelin released their debut album and rising actress Sharon Tate, tragically died by the hands of Charles Manson’s cult.

Although the film goes back to real life history, a fictional aspect is the duo Rick Dalton & Cliff Booth’s chemistry was the main highlight of the entire movie. It’s just about them trying to bounce their fading careers into the film industry, while Sharon Tate is enjoying her day off. I know the ending resulted in a mixed bag, but I really enjoyed the movie. I believe Quentin did the right thing not to upset Sharon’s surviving relatives, because it’s not about Sharon’s life, it’s really about a love letter to Quentin’s childhood and growing up in The 60’s.

The Cast (not you Lena Dunham) all did an amazing job, Quentin know how direct a picture writing decent material, chemistry between Leonardo & Brad Pitt earned high praise among many other details I’ve listed on my review for the film.

Despite winning Golden Globes, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood sparked controversy over its depiction of Bruce Lee, pissing off Bruce’s daughter Shannon claiming Bruce is a parody of her father. Hear me out, I’m gonna defend Mike Moh’s performance as Bruce. In real life, Linda Lee, Bruce’s widow reveals from her book, “Bruce Lee: The Man I Only Knew,” reveals Bruce wanted to fight Muhammad Ali, meaning he wanted to fight a worthy opponent. Quentin himself stated Bruce was sorta arrogant. Both Quentin & Linda have a valid point.

Shannon do me a favor and quit whoring off your father’s legacy by blaming Quentin. Don’t you realize the real controversy from my perspective is Lena Dunham (who touched her baby sister, doesn’t think before she acts, has no filter and falsely accused a man as a rapist) as a member of Charles Manson’s Cult. To get the outta my chance I’ll say this once, “F**K LENA DUNHAM!

9. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

Final Verdict: A-

Box Office: $385,900,138

2014 didn’t seem quite right for Godzilla’s reboot due to his lack of screen time. The sequel managed to give him a bigger role along with fellow monsters including Mothra, Rodan & King Ghidorah. In addition to giant monsters, famous actors including Kyle Chandler, Vera Farminga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe & Charles Dance carry the film as human characters tied to Godzilla. A follow up called, Godzilla VS. King Kong is in development scheduled to release on November 2020.

“Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” finally did Godzilla justice. Better human characters, the title character’s screen time is bigger than last time, familiar monsters from the old movies make their return and I cannot forget Kaiju fight scenes keeping me invested. This is what Godzilla is all about, a never ending battle between his adversaries. I’m shocked that this movie is under appreciated failing to recoup its expenses alongside mixed reviews. Hopefully, the next film might do justice for the critics and movie goers. I’m counting on WB.

8. The Irishman

Final Verdict: A-

Box Office: $8,000,000

“The Irishman” reunites Martin Scorsese & Robert De Niro since “Casino.” Their latest collaboration is about a gangster who recalls his life with the mob and his partnership with Jimmy Hoffa. Besides the pair reuniting, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel & Ray Romano all worked on this three hour plus crime drama. After a long process, it finally distributed on Netflix. The Irishman earned critical acclaim for the performances from the main leads, Marty’s direction, translating the book “I Heard You Paint Houses” in visual format just to name a few. You can look up my review of The Irishman for further details.

Like “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button,” Visual Effects were impressive to make Bobby, Joe & Al younger rather than hiring a new faces to resemble the old actors. One thing that bothered me was the slow pacing. Which is completely understandable for some movie goers and critics complaining about the run time. Performances Bob, Al & Joe saved me from looking at the clock.

Marty if you’re reading this, I’m gonna give you a chance to apologize over your comments on Marvel, claiming they are not pure cinema. I have nothing against you, because your one of my favorite filmmakers, but do me a favor and say your sorry. Otherwise you’ll never live it down. Care to explain your attempt to make “Joker” with Leonardo DiCaprio until Todd Phillips & Joaquin Phoenix earned massive praise?

7. Shazam

Final Verdict: A-

Box Office: $364,571,656

We all know superhero movies are over saturating the film industry, “Shazam” or a hypocrite like Martin Scorsese claiming Marvel movies aren’t cinema was quite a breath of fresh air described as Tom Hanks’ “Big” meets “Superman.” If you thought DC Films are garbage, “Wonder Woman,” “The Lego Batman Movie” “Aquaman” & the Oscar nominated Joker made a bunch of money and positive reception, Shazam is officially on the list. Zachary Levi & Asher Angel both did a great job playing the title character & Billy Batson demonstrating what a child would feel like if they transform as an adult superhero.

Shazam’s lighthearted tone perfectly matched the nature similar to the comics, rather than a carbon copy of “Batman Begins” something Zack Snyder & Christopher Nolan (sorry dude) failed to research Superman’s attitude by turning him emo in “Man Of Steel.” WB discarded a sequel to “Justice League” in favor of stand alone films. They learned their lesson not to rush before a cohesive complex story arc like “The Infinity Saga” from the Marvel Cinematic Universe took time to develop individual heroes, not piling them up too soon.

6. Toy Story 4

Final Verdict: A-

Box Office: $1,073,394,593

“Toy Story 3” was supposed to end a trilogy on an emotional finale. Then it all changed when a fourth movie continued Woody & Buzz’ story befriending a toy named, Forky. Woody guides his new friend on a spiritual journey about the true meaning of being a toy. “Toy Story 4” indeed put a smile on my face to relive my childhood all over again. The first Toy Story movie was my first exposure to cinema and my first movie I ever went at age two. The more you know!

Toy Story 4’s narrative brought back old faces as Woody & Buzz encounter new faces with interesting personalities including Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom a parody of an Evel Knievel toy. The entire movie didn’t seem like a rehash of previous entries or a cheaply made direct-to-DVD sequel. I found the fourth film a unique flavor. I wrote a fully detailed article about Toy Story 4 if you want to check it out for more information.

5. Dolemite Is My Name

Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Box Office: N/A

After enduring a few flops, Eddie Murphy went A.W.O.L. for a few years. When “Dolemite Is My Name” streamed on Netflix, it became a sleeper hit earning critical acclaim. Based on the life and career of Rudy Ray Moore, this biopic explores the late comedian’s rise to fame. Eddie did a decent job for his performance as Rudy putting him back on the map, if he doesn’t choose anything dumber than “Meet Dave.”

Dolemite Is My Name is my favorite comedy of the year, because it made me laugh I couldn’t breathe. Shazam was this close to become my favorite comedy of the year, until Dolemite took the crown.

4. El Camino

Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Box Office: $40,000

Remember when “Breaking Bad” ended on a high note in 2013? Series creator Vince Gilligan wrote, co-produced and directed a movie set immediately after the show’s final scenes. Aaron Paul reprises his role as Jesse Pinkman, now running from the law, he must collect remaining money and escape the criminal life forever.

As a fan of both Breaking Bad & “Better Call Saul,” “El Camino” managed to keep me invested without looking at the time. Narrative wasn’t a drab at all, it explores Jesse’s desperation to leave his troubled past, tragic setbacks and being mistreated by a biker gang. I won’t spill the beans, all ya gotta do is watch El Camino. All I can say is, it’s worth a conclusion to one of the best characters on the show. Walter White/Heisenberg already completed his arc, JimmyMcGill/Saul Goodman will finish his on his show.

3. Rocketman

Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Box Office: $195,179,299

Like Dolemite Is My Name, “Rocketman” is also a sleeper hit earning critical praise. Taron Egerton did a fantastic job for his performance as Elton John. Unlike “Bohemian Rhapsody,” this movie is told in a musical format drawing elements to Elton’s life story. The songs captivate selective scenes showcasing elaborate dance numbers as well as Taron doing his own singing. Still a better musical than Tom Hooper’s pretentious butt ugly “Les Misérables.”

Taron took home a much deserved Golden Globe award for “Best Actor In A Musical Or Comedy” The real Elton John earned a Golden Globe for “Best Original Song” beating Taylor Swift’s chance to win. Praise the lord, “Cats” is a future Razzie winner.

2. Avengers: Endgame

Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Box Office: $2,797,800,564

After eleven years worth a culmination building up to an epic conclusion, “Avengers: Endgame” ended on a triumphant high note. The Cast especially Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner & Chris Hemsworth all did an awesome alongside many familiar faces outside of The Avengers. Like Infinity War, Endgame takes another level of a heart pounding compelling story escalating action, character development, motivation, etc. The Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t ran out of gas.

Avengers: Endgame managed to surpass “Avatar” as the highest grossing movie of all time. Quite an accomplishment. It’s a shame Robert Downey Jr. got snubbed by The Oscars for his last hurrah as Tony Stark, even the movie wasn’t nominated for Best Picture.

As of today, Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios are currently working on stand alone films and television shows until a complex story arc brings both old and new characters colliding. I’m gonna predict the X-Men & Fantastic Four are probably gonna make their debut once everything is according to plan. It’s gonna be challenging to explain their absence back when Fox wasn’t purchased by Disney.

Honorable Mentions

Spider-Man: Far From Home (B)

It: Chapter 2 (B)

Blinded By The Light (A-)

The Dirt (A)

1. Joker

Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Box Office: $1,070,368,754

You probably knew this was coming from a mile away. Joker is my number one movie of 2019. Joaquin Phoenix follows in the footsteps of Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, Jared Leto and the late Heath Ledger. His performance as the title character earned him a Golden Globe. Joaquin’s interpretation of Joker is very different from previous incarnations. His version is a tragic villain who’s had it with society mistreating him causing him to become The Clown Prince Of Crime.

Unlike many superhero films, Joker is a unique movie lacking over-the-top action sequences, not setting up countless sequels/spin-offs, nobody wearing a cape among many other things I can list all day. This movie is much darker and depressing than “The Dark Knight Trilogy” described as a cross between “Taxi Driver” & “Black Swan.” Joker kept me invested without making me fall asleep. I was entertained from start to finish.

Joker earns the top spot as the best dramatic movie of the year. I can talk about this all day, I wrote a fully detailed review and a short review to support Joaquin Phoenix to win an Oscar. He totally deserves it and a Best Picture contender in the upcoming 2020 Academy Awards. Somewhere, Jared Leto is crying in the shower leaving DC to become Morbius The Living Vampire in Sony’s Marvel Universe in the hopes of crossing over with Venom & Spider-Man.

Besides critical acclaim, Joker became the first R-rated film to earn a billion dollars at the box office surpassing “Deadpool” as the highest grossing R-rated film. Bravo Joaquin Phoenix & Todd Philips for making an excellent character driven story. If a sequel is a go, count me in. Joker is set to become a trailblazer for villain origin stories under a banner called, “DC Black.” Rumor has it that Lex Luthor origin story is in the works.

So that’s it for my Top 12 Films Of 2019. What are your favorite movies of 2019? Please leave a comment. 2020 is just the beginning.

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