My 10 Favorite Films of the Year

What an incredible year of film it has been! I hope you all have enjoyed the recent breaks and gatherings this holiday season. As the year comes to a close, I’d like to share with you my favorite films of 2019. These are the films that I personally found myself enjoying the most this past year and that have remained in my thoughts well after the end credits. I have not seen every film released in 2019, and needless to say, there may be some other great and enjoyable films I have yet to see that I look forward to discovering in the days and months ahead. I highly recommend you consider these films in your own time, and may you all have a wonderful and Happy New Year!

– Tyler Pacholski, Creator/Head Writer


[The following films are ordered by their release date]

Shazam!

Release Date: April 5, 2019

Fun, witty, and surprisingly dark at times, Shazam! is a heartwarming and thrilling superhero romp of a film. Dare I say, a new Christmas classic.


Avengers: Endgame

Release Date: April 26, 2019

An exhilarating spectacle and fitting end to an era of incredible MCU storytelling. Avengers: Endgame is an epic of scale and scope in each and every way.


Toy Story 4

Release Date: June 21, 2019

Toy Story 4 is a gem of a film that marks the end and beginning of relationships both old and new in true Toy Story fashion. Keep your Kleenex box near, tears are guaranteed to abound.


Midsommar

Release Date: July 3, 2019

A hypnotic, daytime haunt that is in equal parts a breakup movie as it is an engrossing look at family and cultural relativism. Having seen both the theatrical and director’s cut, Midsommar cast its spell with a most disturbing and dreadful fright.


The Farewell

Release Date: August 9, 2019

Both laugh-out-loud funny and balling-your-eyes-out crying, The Farewell is a poignant and amusing look at a family both different and similar to us all.


The Peanut Butter Falcon

Release Date: August 23, 2019

A tale of triumph and brotherly love, The Peanut Butter Falcon is a sweet and darling film that left a lasting smile on my face from beginning to end.


Joker

Release Date: October 4, 2019

Brutal and visceral in its content and presentation, Joker is a masterful character piece and commentary that is sure enough to burn the most sturdy of facades down and piss on its ashes. With a tour de force turn from Joaquin Phoenix, expect a slew of award nominations (and wins) in the coming months.


The Irishman

Release Date: November 27, 2019

A class act of filmmaking and acting that harkens back to the epic gangster films of the 1970s, The Irishman succeeds in both its patient and pressing telling of events behind the scenes in one of history’s most notorious and unsolved disappearances.


Parasite

Release Date: November 8, 2019

One of the best films of the year, Parasite is a most wicked ride crafted by stunning writing, taut direction, and a stellar ensemble of actors. If there ever is a sure winner for a film in a best feature category, this is the one to beat.


Knives Out

Release Date: November 27, 2019

Devilish and delightful, Knives Out is a film that relishes in its subversive take on the whodonit genre and wins with its wry wit and charm.

Honorable Mentions: It: Chapter Two, Doctor Sleep, John Wick 3: Parabellum, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Review – Parasite (2019)

Woo-sik Choi in Parasite (2019)

Release Date: October 11, 2019 (limited)

Directed by: Joon-ho Bong

Cast: Kang-ho Song, Yeo-jeong Jo, So-dam Park

Synopsis: Twists and turns lay ahead as a family in need seeks to exploit a wealthy household by clandestine means.

Rating: 4/4 Stars


[The following review is spoiler-free and compiled in collaboration between writers, Ashton and Tyler Pacholski]

The Korean auteur Joon-ho Bong has found a new host with his latest film, Parasite. With a decadent recipe for films that tackle socio-economic issues of class (e.g. his dystopian feature, Snowpiercer), Bong delivers a modern-day parable that really festers inside its viewers. By being his most grounded work to date, devoid of imaginative creatures (e.g. the wonderfully created Okja), Parasite is filled with authentic people dealing with real problems, fears, and ambitions. I haven’t seen and experienced a film in a long time that allowed me to feel empathy for both sides of the economic spectrum. An eclectic tapestry of emotions, tones, and visuals, Parasite transcends the notion of genre to become something else entirely: a beautiful singularity.

Woo-sik Choi, Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, and So-dam Park as the Kim family in Parasite (2019)

The story follows the family of Mr. Kim, patriarch to clever con-artists, set upon a mission to exit their impoverished plain and find a new habitat. With eyes locked on the gullible and rich Park family, the Kims meticulously infiltrate and integrate themselves in the Park’s inner circle of help; through a series of wonderfully orchestrated events, viewers will relish at the execution of their “long con.” With their operation in full swing, the humor of the job begins to take a dark turn, and it’s in this tonal shift of circumstance and mood that the true genius of the film shines.

Yeo-jeong Jo in Parasite (2019)

With Parasite, it’s the metaphorical nature, lively characters, and original narrative that will have its viewers coming back for seconds. Deeply layered, nuanced, and complex, the film is a technical masterpiece that offers a smart and entertaining look into the realities of class division with gushing gusto. Channeling the grand tragedies of Shakespeare, this familial tragedy infects the pathos of its audience, balancing their emotions in a way only a master storyteller could. And with that, Bong provides a stage so brilliantly and intentionally decorated that it had me taken aback several times by its thematic resonance.

Ji-so Jung in Parasite (2019)

Winner of the 2019 Palme D’Or, it’s no surprise that Parasite is one of the very best films of the year. As I walked out from my viewing of the film at the Tallgrass Film Festival earlier this fall, I hadn’t the slightest idea of how much I would be blown away by its effect. To infect my mind with creative inspiration I have been ruminating over ever since my initial viewing, the film finds its hook and raises the temperature to boiling heights. With Parasite, Joon-ho Bong has found a new host in us all. Not just as future storytellers and purveyors of thought, but as a species for the future.

Parasite is rated R for language, some violence, and sexual content.