The 10 best movies of 2019 definitively ranked, from ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to ‘Jojo Rabbit’ – USA TODAY
Published 6:00 AM EST Dec 3, 2019
If you didn’t find at least one movie on a big screen to absolutely adore in 2019, you probably were watching too much TV.
This year was jam-packed with greatness, not just goodness. Huge sagas, from one with a bunch of Marvel-ous superheroes to a decades-old galactic extravaganza, are ending with a bang and no whimper in sight. There are a number of movies featuring women, created by women, about women’s stories, that are straight up superb. Jordan Peele followed up his breakout “Get Out” with something arguably scarier, and Korean director Bong Joon-ho gifted us with a foreign film that was universal in its resonance.
Not only all that but the best movie of the year has Adolf Hitler in it. Who saw that coming?
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Here are the best movies of 2019, definitively ranked. (Sorry, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Cats”: They won’t make the cut unless they really rock our world on Dec. 20.)
10. ‘Avengers: Endgame’
Marvel’s sprawling, time-traveling epic (now on Blu-ray and digital HD) paid off 10-plus years and more than 20 movies of storytelling before it unleashed a breathless final confrontation between a good-guy collective and A-list big bad Thanos. The swan song for stalwarts Robert Downey Jr. (as Tony Stark) and Chris Evans (Captain America) was rousing, emotional and goosebump-inducing, all sealed with a long-anticipated kiss.
The poor Kim family go from making money folding pizza boxes to running a mini-mansion in Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean dark comedy (in theaters now). One by one, the four ingratiate themselves as key cogs of the rich and naive Park family. It’s a clever bit of class warfare for the first half until it twists into a deeper and more socially conscious look at ourselves that’ll stick with you after it’s over.
8. ‘Wild Rose’
The musical drama (on Blu-ray and digital HD) stars newcomer Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn Harlan, a Scottish woman fresh out of the slammer with a big voice and even bigger dreams of being a Nashville country star. However, she also has two little kids who need her as much as she needs the Opry, though they’re not always at the top of her priority list, and her quest becomes a search for family as much as fame.
A family endures absolute hell when they’re introduced to their killer doppelgangers in Jordan Peele’s scary tale (on Blu-ray and digital HD), which offers eerie imagery, wonderfully dark humor and an intriguing concept inspired by, no joke, Hands Across America. What’s really horrifying, though, is why we’re not all discussing Lupita Nyong’o being an Oscar nomination shoo-in for her dual roles, including as 2019’s best villain.
6. ‘Ford v Ferrari’
Director James Mangold’s throwback racing drama (in theaters now) will zoom right into your soul with super-cool and ultra-speedy car sequences plus its two leads: Talented British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) and ace automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) are on a mission to help Ford Motor Company win the 1966 Le Mans, facing off with both Ferrari but also corporate stuffed suits.
Like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “The Breakfast Club” before it, debuting director Olivia Wilde’s rowdy high school comedy (on Blu-ray and digital HD) redefines the teen movie for the 21st century. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever play overachieving best friends who finally let loose the night before high school graduation – with a quirky crew of multidimensional, scene-stealing classmates in tow.
Filmed as one continuous take, Sam Mendes’ immersive World War I drama (in theaters Dec. 25) plays more like a thriller, surrounding viewers with the constant danger of trench warfare and ticking-clock stress of a deadly mission. The film is packed with British notables (Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch), though it’s George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman who you’ll care most about as two young soldiers looking out for each other in the worst of circumstances.
3. ‘Little Women’
Louisa May Alcott’s classic coming-of-tale (in theaters Dec. 25) feels oh-so-resonant now in the capable hands of writer/director Greta Gerwig. A retro setting meets modern elements to create an atmosphere anything but anachronistic, and the March sisters all feel wonderfully vibrant, especially Saoirse Ronan’s hot-tempered writer Jo and Florence Pugh’s vain Amy.
2. ‘Marriage Story’
Complete emotional exhaustion is rarely this satisfying. Writer/director Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama (streaming Friday on Netflix) follows theater director Charlie (Adam Driver) and actress Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) as the separating couple navigates a time of emotional turmoil, battle over personal and professional matters – like where their son Henry (Azhy Robertson) will live – but also revisit their own love story.
1. ‘Jojo Rabbit’
Taika Waititi’s brilliant World War II satire (in theaters now) centers on young Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), a kid so devoted to the Nazi youth that his wacky, hype-man imaginary friend is also his idol: Adolf Hitler (Waititi). When he discovers his mom (Scarlett Johansson) has been harboring a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their house, Jojo gets a life-altering lesson in love and empathy that we all could use.
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