Ryan’s Best Movies of 2019

2018 represented a significant shift in my moviegoing habits. Thanks to the advent of MoviePass, I went from going a couple times a year to 3-4 times per week. In 2019, with MoviePass failing and other movie subscription services not viable due to my location, I saw fewer movies but still 1-2 a week. Of these films, the following stood out to me:

1. Transit

© Photo by Christian Schulz
© Photo by Christian Schulz

Transit is a simply magnificent exercise in filmmaking and my favorite movie of the year by a mile. A compelling blend of vintage and modern, this film evokes so many emotions. Frank Rogowski turned in a particularly notable performance as a World War II refugee beset by love and loss.

2. Shazam!

© 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
© 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

My favorite superhero movie of the decade. Zachary Levi was perfect in the role of Shazam. His two co-stars, Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer, both gave notable performances as well. I can’t wait until the sequel comes out in 2022.

3. Booksmart
An absolute joy to watch. Brimming with loads of fresh humor, Booksmart reminds us of the value of friendship and acceptance. It is a coming-of-age comedy for the modern age that manages to convey a socially inclusive message but in a non-preachy way.

4. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
This was such a nostalgia trip. An epic love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino has delivered a true masterpiece in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Strong cast, topical storylines, music is on point, everything about this film was a 20/10 for me.

5. Blinded by the Light

Photo by Nick Wall - © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Photo by Nick Wall – © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

A brilliant, uplifting story that’s filled with optimism and nostalgia. Viveik Kalra was excellent in the lead role and really brought the music of Bruce Springsteen to life.

6. Ready or Not

© 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved
© 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

An excellent black comedy with a perfect combination of humor and violence. The story is bonkers, but so much fun.

7. Us
What a story! Jordan Peele turned in another epic masterpiece with Us. Great acting, very original plot, and a soundtrack to die for.

8. Knives Out
A twisty, irreverent, devilishly fun whodunnit with an all-star cast. Entertaining to the last minute.

9. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Photo by Lacey Terrell - © Sony Pictures Entertainment
Photo by Lacey Terrell – © Sony Pictures Entertainment

An inspirational story that drives home the importance of love and kindness. In the present day, this message — and film — is more topical than ever.

10. Motherless Brooklyn

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

This certainly had its issues, like with pacing, but for the most part, it was an endearing throwback to the days of noir films. The inclusion of a fictionalized version of the legendary Robert Moses further enhances it.

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