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Top 25 Films of 2019

on December 09, 2019, 12:00am
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25. Crawl

Crawl (Paramount)

Crawl (Paramount)

Who’s In It? Kayla Scodelario, Barry Pepper, and plenty of gators

“Garth, that was a haiku!”

Florida is flooded
Gators on the attack
Better swim or sink

You Gotta See This: It’s ironic that a movie about killer alligators is the rare horror movie in 2019 that doesn’t bite off more than it can chew. By avoiding any social or political commentary, Crawl’s central message remains simple: don’t fuck with Florida ‘gators. Directed by Alexandre Aja, this slickly executed thriller flexes its muscles within the “when animals attack” sub-genre, providing an abundance of electrifying set-pieces throughout its brisk 87-minute runtime. There’s also a little dark humor in these waters that nurtures the tension until the credits roll. –Mike Vanderbilt

Extra! Extra! Read Meagan Navarro’s full review here.

24. Booksmart

booksmart olivia wilde beanie feldstein kaitlyn dever movie annapurna

Booksmart (Annapurna)

Who’s In It? Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, Jessica Williams, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, and Jason Sudeikis

“Garth, that was a haiku!”

The jumpsuits you want
Billie Lourd is everywhere
Ivy league slackers

You Gotta See This: Booksmart does two important things: 1.) It represents Gen Z, thus giving old fart millennials like me (and beyond) an accurate depiction of their feelings and experiences and vision for the future; and 2.) For women of generations before Gen Z, it’s the movie we always wish we had. In her directorial debut, Olivia Wilde delivers one of the most realistic displays of female friendship: the highest ups and the lowest downs, all in the unapologetically vulgar but heart-warming tone that Judd Apatow joints dominated in the aughts with straight male leads. –Carrie Wittmer

Extra! Extra! Read Randall Colburn’s full review here.

23. Ready or Not

Samara Weaving, Ready or Not

Ready or Not (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Who’s In It? Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Melanie Scrofano, Elyse Levesque, Nicky Guadagni, and Kristian Bruun

“Garth, that was a haiku!”

Wedded bliss falters
In-laws take Game Night too far
‘Til death Do They Part

You Gotta See This: All hail Samara Weaving! This star-in-the-making turned in a killer performance in one of the year’s biggest surprises. Pun intended. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett know exactly what type of movie Ready or Not should be and deliver an air-tight horror-thriller that zips along with raucous energy and gory glee. Full of suspense and macabre humor, the cast fully commits to every cheeky eccentricity the script requires of them. The satire aiming for the jugular of the 1% has never been as deliciously violent or as stylish as it is here. It’s the horror-thriller riff on Clue we didn’t know we needed. –Meagan Navarro

Extra! Extra! Read Meagan Navarro’s full review here.

22. Blinded by the Light

 Top 25 Films of 2019

Blinded By the Light (Warner Bros.)

Who’s In It?: Viveik Kalra, Kilvinder Ghir, Meera Ganatra, Dean-Charles Chapman, Rob Brydon, Haylet Atwell, and Nell Williams

“Garth, that was a haiku!”

It’s Thatcher’s England
Finding purpose with the Boss
You can’t stop smiling

You Gotta See This: Feel-good movies are often dismissed as mawkish, cloying, and unrealistic. But Gurinder Chadha’s sunbeam of a motion picture (based loosely on the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor) infectiously charts the life of a Pakistani British boy named Javed (a beautifully exuberant Viveik Kalra), who finds purpose and actualization in the music of Bruce Springsteen during the tumult of Thatcher-era England. The Boss’ words swirl around Javed’s head and paint themselves on the fabric of his surroundings, cutting right to the heart of the way the right art at the right time can actualize us in the best, most inspiring ways. –Clint Worthington

Extra! Extra! Read Clint Worthington’s full review here.

21. High Life

high life a24 movie claire denis robert pattinson

High Life (A24)

Who’s In It? Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, and Mia Goth

“Garth, that was a haiku!” 

Welcome to the box
Convicts see the galaxy
Space is a bummer

You Gotta See This: Extraterrestrial exploration generally fosters stories of curiosity or critter-like danger, but in the case of Claire Denis’ High Life, her thesis on deep space is far, far more sinister. Perhaps we’re all alone in this universe, and the final frontier is confronting our own awful selves. Hell of a hard-hearted, right? Well, get ready to see final frontiers unlike you’ve ever seen in Denis’ vicious vision. Denis places Pattinson’s Monte, a by-all-means decent convict, against insurmountable odds and dangers. Between defending himself from others onboard, to protecting his space-born daughter, the outer rims of our existence have rarely looked this existential and menacing. –Blake Goble

Extra! Extra! Read Dominick Suzanne-Mayer’s full review here.

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