The Top 10 Movies Of 2019
From superheroes to horror, 2019 delivered some truly fantastic movies.
2019 was something of a wild ride for movie-goers. Between major franchise finales, pulse-pounding dramas, and anxiety-inducing horror, there was something for everyone, but at the end of the day (or year, as it may be) the films that rose to the top and stuck in our memories still ended up surprising us.
Our 2019 film of the year is Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, a black comedy that we're thrilled to talk to you about--but still recommend going with as little knowledge as possible if you haven't seen it yet. Joining the ranks are other heavy hitters like Ari Aster's Midsommar, the story of a grieving girl going on what may be the world's worst vacation abroad, Jordan Peele's Us, which pit Lupita Nyong'o against herself in a deadly ballet-flavored dance fight, and Robert Egger's The Lighthouse which trapped Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson together in, well, a lighthouse.
But drama wasn't the only thing that captured our hearts and minds. We also loved candy-coated superhero comedies like DC's Shazam and the hilarious, touching Booksmart by actor-turned-director Olivia Wilde.
Take a look at our list and chime in in the comments below which movies you loved, what you missed, and what wound up being your favorite of the year.
Ari Aster had a lot to live up to following his debut feature, Hereditary, which managed to be one of the most horrifying movies of 2018, but somehow Midsommar managed to pull it off. With a stunning, gut-wrenching performance by Florence Pugh, Midsommar threaded the needle between drama and horror in a way that both thrilled and terrified us, and it all culminated into one of the most absurdly satisfying (and brutal) endings of the year. We can't wait to see what Aster has up his sleeve next. -- Meg Downey
Jordan Peele's follow-up to Get Out was a departure as Us delivered both very real and very unreal scares over the course of the movie. The first half of the film revolved around a family being terrorized by a family in red jumpsuits that looked just like them as they raced around their home to avoid being slaughtered. From there, the film introduced an underground world where doppelgangers live as they rise to the surface and commit heinous crimes on humanity. The combination of a home invasion movie and the world-building from the world of the tethered is an interesting mix, but it works exceptionally well, as the audience has no clue where the movie will head next. Peele's voice is bringing in a whole new era of horror, and we can't wait to see where his vision takes us next. - Mat Elfring
Things are finally looking bright for the DCEU, between strong showings from movies like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and finally, Shazam, which managed to sneak up as one of 2019's very best superhero films. Bright, bombastic, and just way too much fun Shazam had a heart of gold that it wore on its sleeve, embracing some of DC Comic's silliest and most classic premises, like the idea of a kid who uses a magic word to become an adult superhero and fighting against the literal embodiments of the seven deadly sins--for fun effect. The end result was a giddy, laugh-out-loud romp that made us forget all about the DCEU's over-the-top grimdark history. -- Meg Downey
Actor Olivia Wilde made an impressive directing debut with this high school comedy that puts a fresh, funny spin on familiar material. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever play Molly and Amy, a pair of studious, high-achieving students who, on the last day of school, realise they have literally one night to cram in all the rule-breaking fun that they missed out on over the past few years. While the overall plot might be familiar, as Molly and Amy encounter various mishaps while trying to get to a party, Booksmart sets itself apart from similar movies such such as Superbad or American Pie. The movie celebrates being smart and doing well at school, and its approach to gender and sexuality is hugely refreshing--the movie accepts all its characters for who they are, with no judgements made by either the filmmakers or any other characters. It also gives the more stereotypical "bad" characters--the jocks, the bullies--plenty of depth and sympathy, resulting in a rare high school movie where you ultimately like everyone. And, just as importantly, it never stops being funny, from the drug-fulled barbie doll sequence and Molly and Amy’s quickfire banter to some winning performances from the incompetant adults in their lives, including Jason Sudeikis’s taxi-drive principal. Booksmart is top of its class. -- Dan Auty
Based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, Jojo Rabbit is easily one of the most delightful movies of the year--despite tackling the sensitive subject matter of one boy's indoctrination into the Hitler Youth. Thankfully, young Jojo's (Roman Griffin Davis) world is turned upside-down when he discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johnasson) is harboring a young Jewish girl in their walls. Equal parts hilarious, sweet, and horrifying--and with an instant classic portrayal of a bumbling, imaginary Hitler by director Taika Waititi--Jojo Rabbit is a must-see of 2019. - Mike Rougeau
Avengers: Endgame was Marvel playing it’s greatest hits over a three hour, one minute performance. A movie of this magnitude and scope isn’t supposed to work -- a culmination of 22 films --and for some it didn’t. For others, it was everything they wanted and more, an epic that demanded it tie together numerous storylines and countless characters into a coherent conclusion (not really though, more Marvel is on they way). Unsurprisingly, it was the strong direction from the Russo Brothers that lead the way. The film revisited some of our favorite locations in the MCU, sprinkled in its familiar humor, took some risks and produced some tears. It concluded with a jaw-dropping final battle that comic readers never could have imagined possible to see on the big screen. Three words: On your left.
But the Marvel powerhouse was also divisive, as with nearly every big release these days. It made both our Top 10 Movies of 2019 list and our Biggest Disappointments list. The time travel stuff (branch timelines!) was a superhero-sized shrug emoji, it was convoluted, made little sense and nearly caused the entire GameSpot Universe staff to go crazy. There were also some major problems with how the film handled Captain America’s farewell. I highly recommend you read the feature from the much more qualified Meg Downey. Despite its flaws, Avengers: Endgame packed a punch, with a Power Stone no doubt, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time and a pop culture event. - Ryan Peterson
Robert Egger's debut movie The Witch was one of 2017's most acclaimed horror movies, and with The Lighthouse he went further into the realms of dark, weird period madness. Shot in stark black-and-white with vintage lenses to truly evoke the era, it starred Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson as two 19th century lighthouse housekeepers who find themselves going slowly insane over the course of a long winter. By turns scary, bizarre, hilarious, shocking, and weirdly moving, the potent atmosphere and incredible performances from its two leads make for utterly compulsive viewing. - Dan Auty
Joker succeeds, without equivocation, because it transforms the villain into the populist antihero we need him to be now. Joker wears its influences on its maroon sleeves, but it also carves its own gashes through the blood-soaked landscape of contemporary comic book movies, offering something that, despite teetering on the shoulders of 80 years of history, is wonderfully fresh, dangerously exciting, undeniably entertaining, and rock-solid in its artistry. It might make you uncomfortable, and it will no doubt stay with you long after the curtains close; great movies often do. -- Mike Rougeau
Pokemon Detective Pikachu
Before seeing Detective Pikachu, I knew very little about Pokemon. I know it stood for Pocket Monsters and, well, it was a game or something. Now, I'm a Pokemaster in my own right (Thanks, Pokemon Go!) and have this movie to thank for it. Honestly, Detective Pikachu is a movie I expected to find very confusing. Given that the source material spans decades, I fully expected it to end up way over my head. Instead, what I got was a smart and funny movie about a kid looking for his dad, set against the fantastical Pokemon world. It's a good movie that managed to teach me, a layman, more about Pokemon than I ever expected. And it did it all while being entertaining, easy to follow, and with a conclusion that has me begging for more Pokemon universe films. - Chris E. Hayner