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broodings from the burrow

January 8, 2020

top ten favorite movies of 2019
posted by soe 1:14 am

Keeping in mind that if I’d managed to see Little Women before the end of the year that it probably would have topped the list, here are the ten movies I saw last year I enjoyed most:

10. Shazam!: A teen boy is suddenly imbued with powers that include giving him the body — but not the decision-making — of a grown man. But his superhero-loving foster brother warns him that with great power comes great responsibility. The set-up of the villain becoming evil irritates me tremendously, but Zachary Levi is such a favorite that I can overlook that terrible plotting.

9. The Sun Is Also a Star: I loved the y.a. novel, written by Nicola Yoon, so was particularly interested to see how they were going to adapt this modern romance. While they changed some details, losing perhaps the message of how random acts have unintended consequences, both good and bad, it did tighten the focus on illegal immigration and deportation in its current iteration. This is a love letter to New York City, as well as to soul mates.

8. Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase: In a modern interpretation of our teen sleuth heroine, skateboarder Nancy and her pals have access to modern tech (Carson has never not texted her at least once a day since her mom died), but still must rely on their wits to solve the case. Linda Lavin has a great role as Nancy’s client.

7. Yesterday: A failing wannabe pop star awakens after a freak accident to discover that no one else remembers The Beatles (among other things, like Coke). He capitalizes on this by recording all their songs, but it’s tough to remember all the lyrics — and why would a modern guy born after the Cold War write about being “Back in the USSR?”

6. Spider-Man: Far from Home: Tom Holland is my favorite Spider-Man. He is goofily earnest as Peter Parker, and it’s great to see an actual teenager in the role. In this post-Avengers story arc, Peter must come to terms with the death of mentor Tony Stark and the interest he has in M.J., while trying to just have a normal school trip in Europe. But when Nick Fury shows up in his hotel room, he’s going to have to make some compromises. Is it possible to walk away from our destiny?

5. Rocketman: This biopic about Elton John acknowledges the pop star’s struggles with addiction and depression, while also elevating his friendship with lyricist Bernie Taupin.

4. Captain Marvel: Vers cannot remember her past before coming to the home planet of the Kree, but when she is kidnapped and then ends up on earth, she meets a young Nick Fury and discovers her past as ace pilot Carol Danvers. Forced to question everything she knows about herself, Carol relies as much on dry humor as superpowers to win the day. Her subsequent demotion to plot device in the final Avengers movie (which you’ll especially enjoy if you’ve been wondering why white dudes don’t get all the superhero roles anymore), was highly disappointing.

3. Knives Out: In this modern whodunnit homage to Agatha Christie and Poirot, a successful mystery writer is found dead, and a super-sleuth is hired anonymously to solve the case. At the center of the tale is a spoiled family and a young personal nurse who had befriended the writer. The story is expertly crafted and remarkably acted, and despite both of those facts, does not take itself overly seriously. This is an entertaining film.

2. It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Mister Rogers has gotten a lot of well-deserved posthumous fame since 9-11, when his advice about looking for the helpers resurfaced to comfort generations of people exhausted by the constant negativity in the news and the world around us.
In this biopic, a hard-hitting magazine journalist is forced to interview Fred Rogers, whom he is certain cannot possibly be the real deal. But as with everyone else, eventually he, too, is won over.

1. The Farewell: Awkwafina stars as a Chinese-American woman who returns to her Chinese homeland to attend a wedding that has been hastily arranged so her family can surreptitiously say goodbye to her beloved grandmother. Unbeknownst to the old woman, she’s been given a terminal diagnosis, but tradition dictates that she not be informed lest her death be hastened. — “It’s not the cancer that kills … it’s the fear.”

How about you? What were your favorite films you watched in 2019?

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