• Tara Lundrigan

Top 10 Movies of 2019

As 2019 comes to an end, I thought it would be a great time to make a list of all my favorite films and shows that have come out this year. This has been extremely hard for me, as I've been trying to watch a lot of older films I haven't seen (Paul Thomas Anderson, I'm blaming you) and ended up missing a lot of good new releases.

It seems I will forever be playing catch up in the land of cinema.



TOP MOVIES


1. Midsommar 6/5 - favorite of the year, and one of my favorites of all time.

Ari Aster I am in love you. First you bring me Hereditary, easily one of the best horror movies ever made. Then you go and make a better one? Fuck you. Thank you. This is exactly what my favorite genre needs. Someone who takes it seriously. Someone who wants to make stunning, original pieces of art with complex characters that make you leave the theater shook and questioning humanity on all fronts.

I saw this in the theaters, and have also read the script. Can't wait to get my hands on the 3 hour extended directors cut. The story follows a group of college students who go to a small village in Sweden to witness their fabled pagan traditions. What begins as an exciting psychedelic vacation quickly devolves into a violent and increasingly bizarre competition at the hands of a real cult. Yet another gem from A24...speaking of gems...

2. Uncut Gems 4.5/5 - I waited to complete this list specifically so I could see this movie in theaters first. I had a feeling that it was going to make my top 10, and boy was I right.

Safdie brothers do it again. Another shout out to A24 for constantly producing these amazing films. Non stop intensity and an interesting look at gambling addiction through the perspective of a sleezeball mobster that you somehow empathize with. This movies smashes you again and again, then boom its over, and you're left sitting there like WHAT. THE. FUCK. I may have shed a tear.

I love you Adam Sandler. I don't care what people say, you're a rockstar.

3. Earthquake Bird 4/5 - A new Netflix original that follows a foreigner who translates in Japan. She has a dark past that causes her to be cautious around people. She ends up falling for a mysterious, dark and handsome Japanese photographer. The movie opens with her brought in for questioning after her best friend ends up missing and presumed dead. This movie is far from perfect, but I really enjoyed the journey it took me on and how much it reminded me of traditional Japanese cinema. It really stands out to me amidst all of the other movies I have seen this year. Amazing performances and beautiful cinematography.

4. Ready or Not 4.5/5 - I am so mad at myself for thinking this was going to be another generic You're Next and not going to see it in the theater. What a thrilling ride it is.

A brides wedding night takes a sinister turn when her wealthy and weird new in-laws force her to partake in a ritual like initiation into their family. One of the best final acts I've seen in years. I can't say much more without spoiling it. Samara Weaving you're going to be the next scream queen and Adam Brody is still killing it.

"Officer: Jesus Christ, what happened to you?

Grace: In-laws."

5.Pure 4/5 - This seems to be a very divisive film, and I can see why. But it is also a personal film to me, as I have friends who have gone through situations very similar to the ones portrayed in this disturbing horror.

What makes this such a unique take on the possession genre is the demon isn't the monster in this tale. The very real setting is. The dads are. Belief is. It's very on the nose in the way it points out the blatant sexism that comes with most religions, and the hypocrisy when it comes to a women's sexuality. The need for them to remain pure. I think it's an important film, and what makes it even better to me is that is well crafted, and within my favorite genre. My favorite part is the exploration of the myth that is Lilith.

I would have given this movie a 5/5 if it wasn't for the stupid CGI smile they kept throwing into genuinely unnerving moments. Just stop it with that shit. Other than that, I have not said gross or gauged so much in a horror with so little violence and gore.

This is a part of Hulus "Into The Dark" series.

6. Hustlers 5/5 - Well shit. I've already watched this twice. What a good movie. I went into this for laughs and to see J-Lo strutting her stuff on a strip pole. What I did not expect was a gritty drama with solid characters, performances, music, and beautiful cinematography all wrapped up in a nice little plot that is about what desperation can make people do. The chemistry between the girls is pretty magnetic. I honestly can't say there are any flaws in this film. I'm a horror junkie, this kind of movie really isn't cup of tea but it sucked me in. I never thought I'd rate a movie with Cardi-B 5 stars, but here I am.

J-Lo could do Wolf of Wall Street, but Leo could never do Hustlers.

"This city, this whole country, is a strip club. You've got people tossing the money, and people doing the dance."

7. The Hole In the Ground 3.5/5 - Another A24 film, and I love it a lot. My biggest gripe with it is not expanding enough on the mother/son relationship before he becomes changed. While it isn't perfect it does a really great job creating a creepy atmosphere that is inspired by Irish folklore and a broken mother. It seems very allegorical to me, a horror built around a single mothers descent into hell. Battling demons brought on by the abuse of her spouse and losing her relationship with her child. The hole represents her world swallowing her up. Going in is the confrontation that changes her and gives her the strength she needs. Similar themes in The Babadook with more of a whimsical mysticism, all wrapped up with a delicious score and stunning cinematography.

8. Booksmart 4/5 - As the story goes, too over achieving academic girls, one with body image issues and one with issues coming terms with her sexuality, have a life altering moment where they realize, on the eve of their high school graduation, that they probably should have worked less and actually let loose once in a while. Determined to end their high school year with a bang, they set out on a journey they surely will never forget. This isn't just a silly funny movie, well it is that, but also so much more. You can relate with these girls from the beginning, but it also is a window into what it must be like growing up as a teenager in a world polluted with social media. We all know that has made bullying and body image issues an even bigger problem with our youth today.

You can watch this on Hulu.

9. Villians 4.5/5 - I needed this ridiculous movie in my life. It's like if True Romance('93) had a nasty threesome with Don't Breathe('16) and Parents('89), and that somehow birthed this deliciously obscene story. I don't even know, I see inspiration taken from so many of my favorite movies but it somehow manages to be unique in it's own right.

I never thought there would ever be a time I'd be jumping up and down saying "you better get a boner, you better get a boner" at my TV screen.

Jokes aside, the cast is out of this world and they all have so much chemistry with each other on screen. Even though it's completely over the top from the opening scene, it somehow manages to stay grounded in reality. A weird reality, mind you.

Oh by the way, I fucking love you Maika Monroe. Bill Skarsgård never really cared for you until now. You can rent this on Amazon.

"You know, the only thing that kills the demon...is love.” - Natural Born Killers

10. Knives Out 4.5/5 - What a fun movie. I'm no expert on whodunit style films, but I felt this one kept a nice balance between the old school and the modern. It was hilarious, I could not stop laughing. I did not see that ending coming and enjoyed the movie even more because of it. I was sad when the credits rolled.

It is so nice to see Toni Collette play a less serious character after all of the heavy roles shes been in lately. The rest of the massive cast did wonderfully of course. I was surprised to see Jamie Lee Curtis, and am also really excited to see Lakeith Stanfield being cast in seemingly everything these days.


TV SHOWS + MINI-SERIES


Unbelievable 5/5 - Well damn. This is a heartbreaking true story told in an 8 episode Netflix mini series that I think should be mandatory viewing for everyone.

What a raw and intimate look into rape, rape victims and how they deal with their trauma, how the judicial system so often fails these victims, how the system is so bad it even road blocks the few cops out there that want to do the right thing. What a depressing, but hauntingly beautiful story that is effortlessly brought to life by Kaitlyn Dever, Merritt Wever and Toni Collette. You can watching this on Netflix.

“Just because we can’t see the path doesn’t mean it’s not there."

Game of Thrones(Season 08) 4/5 - I don't give a shit what the haters say, and frankly am getting tired of how toxic "fandoms" are becoming in the age of the internet. If you don't like something, move on. I am delighted with the conclusion to one of the best television shows ever made. A story I love so much I've watched the show 2 and a half times, and read the books. The only thing that I think would have helped the finale, was 1 more episode to expand a bit on what happened between the murder of Daenerys and the meeting that resulted in Bran becoming the King of the Seven Kingdoms. Everything else was pure fire as far as I am concerned and kept me on the edge of the seat until the very end. It's been a good decade. Ramin Djawadi is such an amazing composer and the soundtrack for this specific season I think is some of his best work. HBO owns my heart.

"Love is more powerful than reason. Sometimes duty is the death of love."

Euphoria 6/5 - New HBO show starts out with a bang and does not stop delivering. Filled with pulp-culture references, every scene in every episode is oozing with love and inspiration from some of the best films we have ever been graced with. On top of that, the cinematography is completely bonkers. If you can, find some behind the scenes footage on how they make this show. Almost none of it is CGI.

Beyond that the characters are extremely dynamic. It is hilarious. It is dark. It deals with multiple types of mental health issues. Being an addict. What it's like having a loved one who is an addict. Body image issues. The pressure women feel to please. The pressure men feel with toxic masculinity. Abusive relationships. Sexism. Pornography. Transphobia. Pedophilia. It's raw, and it shoves your face into an exaggerated reality and screams "look at how much our youth is being affected by technology and the fast changing world around them." Every single shot, every sound, every song, every line delivered is fucking perfect. I have never connected so much with a show.

Too Old To Die Young 5/5 - I love you Nicolas Winding Refn. You can do no wrong. If you haven't seen any of his work, go back and watch his first couple of movies. Once you finish The Neon Demon, an all time favorite of mine, then you are ready for this show. This is a gritty, neo-noir crime show staring Miles Teller that dives into the life of a Deputy as his life is blow apart. He is forced into a deadly underground of cartel members, Yakuza assassins, and mysterious vigilantes. Like everything Refn does, it takes it's time. It's slow, deliberate, and fucking beautiful to watch. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely adore this mans fucked up mind. You can watching this on Prime Video.



HONORABLE MENTIONS


Marriage Story 4/5 - This is a very sad, very real story about a divorce. It is near perfect. Intimate and raw, which we can always expect from Baumbach, this film examines all the moving parts of a divorce. Scarlet Johansson and Adam Driver have amazing chemistry and really shine both together and apart. I love that it shows that two people who still have a lot of love for each other can still end up needing to be apart.

Laura Dern I love you and need more of you in my life. You can watch this on Netflix.

The Platform 3.5/5 - In the future, prisoners housed in vertical cells watch as inmates in the upper cells are fed while those below starve. One day Goreng wakes up with his future colleague in the 33rd level of a prison style place with multiple platforms. Each platform has meal remains left from the tenants from higher levels. His cell mate knows the rules that govern this mysterious place: two people per level and an unknown number of them. If you go upwards you survive...but if you think too much you will descend again. If you are at the bottom where there is barely any food left, you cannot trust anyone except your guts. Gaztelu-Urrutia's allegory is clear. What he's after, though, isn't as simple as eat the rich. He's curious about how the poor devour each other.

You can watch this on Netflix.

Daniel Isn't Real 3.5/5 - This was a pleasant surprise and would be a lot higher on my list if it wasn't competing with so many other bangers. A Troubled college freshman suffers a violent family trauma that causes him to resurrect his childhood imaginary friend Daniel as a coping mechanism. Charismatic and full of manic energy, Daniel helps Luke to achieve his dreams, before pushing him to the very edge of sanity and into a desperate struggle for control of his mind. What started as a mediocre psychological thriller finishes as a scrumptious and creative horror film, complete with creature features and journeys into the abyss. Oh, and you know I am a sucker for neon aesthetics.


Movies+Shows I am dying to see, know I'll love, but can't afford to live at a theater:


Parasite, Honey Boy, Fast Color, The Lighthouse, Little Monsters, Sweetheart, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Queen & Slim, When They See Us, season finale of Mr.Robot, new season of You, and Joker.



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