Total movies and TV shows watched during 2019: 246
That’s only counting a TV series as one entry, not its individual episodes per season or series. And I’m thinking about making a separate post to highlight my favorites in TV of 2019…
Sadly, I wasn’t really WOWd by much this year. My Top 5 choices (and several honorable mentions) REALLY stood out from the pack. Here’s to having my socks knocked off in 2020.
Fast Color (2018)
Watched on DVD: 9/10/2019
Plot summary from IMDb: “After years in hiding, a woman is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home.”
It’s rare we get a sci-fi movie centering and starring a woman. Rarer still is the sci-fi movie centering a Black woman. Let alone a Black woman with human flaws AND unique abilities. Even more, there’s a whole family of gifted Black women. Modern times. A superhero origin type storyline. I absolutely adored this movie – I didn’t want it to end! It’s my favorite movie watched in 2019. Selfishly, I would love a prequel AND a sequel. Oh yeah, bonus: it’s written and directed by a woman.
Watched on DVD: 8/31/2019
Plot summary from IMDb: “What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?”
The genre “superhero horror” caught my attention. We often get to see a hero’s origin story, but villains are rarely afforded the same exploration. Perhaps because villains are scarier when we don’t humanize them with backstories? And no matter how much my brain kept saying “This kid is effed up. There’s no saving him,” my heart held out hope he could be redeemed.
I Am Patrick Swayze (2019)
Watched on DVD: 9/23/2019
Plot summary from IMDb: “An inside look at the life of Patrick Swayze as told by the people who knew him best.”
Patrick Swayze stars in one of the few non-horror movies I remember exactly when and where I saw it the first time. It was a Saturday. I was 11. I’d just had my ears pierced, so I was feeling my tweeny oats, and we’d rented a few tapes for that evening’s viewing. The only one I remember though, is Dirty Dancing. Oh, Johnny Castle — very likely my first cinematic crush, and the “bad boy” character by which I would measure all other bad boys. Yet, after watching all of Swayze’s movies over the next 20-ish years, I never dared look behind the curtain for fear of what I’d find. This documentary shows he was indeed flawed but, ultimately, he was a good man with a passion for his work, and lifelong trauma as a result of his upbringing. I really appreciated his wife participating in this film and really opening up about who her husband was. I felt like everyone interviewed was authentic and genuine in their perceptions of who Patrick was to them and to the world at large.
American Honey (2016)
Watched on Netflix: 11/2/2019
Plot summary from IMDb: “A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.”
Andrea Arnold knows how to capture (and maybe even exploit) chemistry in such a way that it could carry the entire movie on the two actors alone. Yet there is more to this story than the romance — Star is such a charming young woman with an urgency to find her place in the world and at the same time not be trapped like her loser mom. She has a big heart and big dreams. I like to consider myself a non-romantic, but damn, this story moved me. Probably my free spirit self, locked up decades ago after having to grow up fast in order to escape a toxic home life. Star’s life resonated with me on a deep level. And the music!!
Watched on DVD: 7/1/2019
Plot summary from IMDb: “A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.”
After I finished Us, it took some time for me to digest the story and really appreciate its horror. But mostly I tried to block out all memories of Lupita Nyong’o’s voice as Red. *shiver* The story has a strong premise and a great twist, but if it weren’t for the Wilson family, I’m not sure I would’ve cared as much. All four of them were brilliant. The little girl who played Zora — ahh, she was SOOO creepy as Umbrae!!! The little boy who played Jason gave me nightmares as Pluto. There was something in the way he moved his head that really messed with my mind. My daughter really summed up how I felt with her reaction, “I wasn’t super scared while I was watching it, but then later that night, I found myself turning on all the lights, hurrying down the hall, and watching the dark out of the corner of my eye.” Us has an insidious horror that’s, well, it’s just plain fun if you’re into that sorta thing.
While the following didn’t make it into my Top 5 of 2019, they each earned at least 7 stars (or higher) from me on IMDb, and definitely deserve mentioning. Listed in alphabetical order. Each image is linked to its trailer on YouTube.
I’d love to hear about the best movies you watched in 2019, so please feel free to share your favorites in the comment box. They can be from any genre, produced in any year; the only stipulation is that you watched the movie sometime during 2019.
Post history notes: Drafted 12/31/2019; First published on my blog 1/13/2020; Last updated 1/15/2020