Top 10 Films of 2019

2019 was one hell of a year for films.

We were treated to some fantastic performances, spectacular imagery and some endings to long loved franchise stories that will stick with us for years to come.

As with all things entertainment related however, some films did it better than others.

Without further ado; here are the top 10 films of 2019 from us here at Scoophash!

Number 10: Richard Jewell

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Richard Jewell is a rare film that is getting a surprising amount of traction.

Focusing on the struggles of Richard Jewell after the 1996 Atlanta bombings, this film takes a dramatic look at the effect that media and government can have on an individual.

Based on the true story and with a wonderful attention to detail from director Clint Eastwood.

Richard Jewell is one of those films that draws an unfortunate amount of parallels to real life problems with media manipulation.

What mostly stands out about this film is the performances from Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser.

Hauser in particular turns in one of the most admirable and heartfelt performances since Three Billboards last year. He draws on the sympathy of his real life compatriot and manages to truly connect with you.

While Hauser easily eclipses the remaining talent, everyone in this film turns in a solid performance.

The cinematography is simple but effective, the usage of color and editing is easy to follow and really helps to create some depth to the film.

The only drawback to this film is the awkward performance from Olivia Wilde who serves as the primary driving antagonist to Hauser.

It isn’t that Wilde is a bad actress or that she turns in an objectively bad performance in Jewell. She just comes off far too much like a villain in a morally grey film about manipulation and public image.

None of that should dissuade you however, Jewell is a fantastic addition to a fantastic year for film.

Number 9: Ford V Ferrari

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A breathtaking throwback to films of old is what you get with Ford V Ferrari.

Based on real life experiences about the year that Ford went toe to toe with Ferrari at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

This is a film about perseverance, love of a craft and man’s oldest form of rivalry.

This is a film that works because of its simplicity.

It isn’t trying to be incredibly deep and philosophical, nor is it trying to be loud and dumb.

It lands somewhere in between with a heartfelt message about trying your hardest but tying in enough loud roaring engines to satisfy gearheads.

One of Ford v Ferrari’s biggest accomplishments is the cinematography and sound mixing.

These cars and how they perform fall somewhere between that plane of terrifying and wonderous.

You feel every impact, hear every roar and see every hairpin turn in glorious fashion. The camera crew and editing team needs to be commended for this film.

Bale and Bernthal are the two highlights of this film’s acting repertoire. While Damon does turn in a great and vulnerable performance, Bernthal just barely eases him out in sheer charisma.

The low points of this film are very few and far between, your mileage may vary on some of the actors performance.

For the most part it is nothing but a solid effort from all who were involved.

Number 8: Marriage Story

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Oh Noah Baumbach, you really know how to tug at the heartstrings.

Marriage Story is… Startlingly real and emotionally destructive if you are not prepared for it.

Do not misunderstand, this is not a terror movie or a dramatic horror movie, it just takes such a bleak but hopeful look at one of our oldest institutions.

It really makes you want to reach through the screen and just hug the characters.

The main reason behind that sentiment is just how perfectly matched the two leads are.

Driver and Johanssen turn in some truly spectacular performances as two people in a crumbling marriage.

You feel every emotion that these two go through and you sympathize and want them to work things out and find that slice of happiness that they both want.

This film just knows how to get under your barrier and shatter it. Even if you have no experience or history with the subject matter it is a supremely affecting look at something that you have no control over.

Number 7: The Lighthouse

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Talk about a weird movie.

The Lighthouse is two different films in one. On one hand, it’s a throwback to that film noir style of the mid 70s and 60s.

On the other hand, it’s a psychological horror movie with whacky visuals and a hauntingly panic inducing pace.

Depending on who you ask, it leans more heavily to one side or the other.

One of the best parts about The Lighthouse is its visuals.

This is a unique film these days on multiple levels. Firstly, the deep black tones and shadows of its black and white format.

The super tall 4:3 Aspect Ratio. The stunning usage of horrifying imagery. The constant usage of doorways and frames to actually block characters in and create a claustrophobic feeling.

This film is just a masterclass in how to visualize something effectively.

The other way that The Lighthouse excels is in the acting of Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.

Both men are at the top of their game in this film. Delivering both the truly bizarre and terrifyingly scary emotions that you would expect out of this film.

This is a film that is for film lovers. You probably will not get as much out of it as Robert Eggers last film, The Witch.

But you will get a lot more visually and aurally haunting moments out of this film than The Witch.

Number 6: Avengers Endgame

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Yes I know, we placed this higher than the other entries, I can see the inevitable arguments now.

Here’s the thing; Endgame is truly the end of a childhood era.

While the MCU will continue as new characters are introduced and explored, this is the official end of the last 10 years of build up to characters that a lot of us have grown up with now.

Endgame is an achievement in film and a landmark in paying off expectations with something truly emotional and epic.

While there are some definite downsides to Endgame, not everyone is acting their A-game in this movie.

Some edits are particularly horrendous and some moments are just not necessary in this 3 hour long film.

This film more than makes up for these shortcomings in pure, unadulterated nostalgic emotion and fun.

It is a rather difficult thing to explain, its like seeing an old friend for the first time in 10 years and then the next day is the last day that they ever speak to you.

This film is an old friend, saying goodbye for the last time but leaving us with an emotionally effective look at what made that friendship great.

What Endgame lacks in that technical and acting department that the previous films excel in, is made up for in sheer will and enjoyment factor.

This is a film for the ages, whether or not you want to agree with that, it is a huge landmark in cinema. What Kevin Feige and team managed to accomplish over these 10 long years is nothing short of spectacular.

Number 5: Knives Out

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Did you know that Rian Johnson made this film? The same guy who made the incredibly (in some opinions deserved) divisive Last Jedi movie two years back?

Yeah, same guy.

Knives Out is one of the most purely entertaining films that has come out in the last 5 years.

This is an excellent example of how to not only write great and compelling characters, sharp dialogue but also a pure masterclass in plot structure and payoff.

This film is like if you took the board game Clue and wrote in a bunch of narcissistic characters with the dry satirical wit of Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

It is so endlessly entertaining that its a struggle to come up with a low point for this film. Every actor feels like they are enjoying the fresh hell out of the role.

Every shot is gorgeously framed and exquisitely planned out. The concept and pllot structure of that Plant and Payoff method of mystery is spectacular.

The subversive way that the story unfolds and maintains its pace… This whole movie is absolutely going to spark a lot of video essays from filmmakers and fans of cinema, that I can guarantee.

Evans, Craig and Plummer are definitely the standouts in this film.

Craig in particular is just hysterically well cast as the Southern drawl detective in a so on the nose satire of Bond and Poirot.

Evans is just terrific as the dastardly jackass son of the family who sees through everyone’s facade.

And Plummer, man this guy has the energy of a twenty year old and the charisma of the Dos Equis commercials at the young age of 89.

It would be extremely unfair not to mention Ana De Armas as the wonderfully innocent Marta in this film.

She turns in a performance that borders on sappy at times but once again, the writing is so clever and on the nose that she’s near impossible not to like.

Knives Out will absolutely keep you guessing as to what the ultimately murder will turn out to be, and who is responsible.

Johnson manages to balance sheer suspense, terrific ensemble casting, spectacular framing and composition, terrifically wicked narcissistic humor and a sheer level of film enjoyment factor.

Number 4: Parasite

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What. A. Film.

Parasite is the quintessential example of a director in full control of his story.

This film is an absolute gut wrench of expectation subversion in the best possible way.

The downside to trying to summarize Parasite for this list is the difficulty of not spoiling some element of this film.

To put it in non-spoiler terms; Parasite is  a sort of modern fairy tale about the desire to always have more and the desire to take what others have.

A tale of envy, dishonesty and humor.

And then Bong Joon Ho completely rips the carpet out from underneath you.

Forcing you to watch one of the most delightfully twisted and elegantly crafted terror films that has ever been made.

The cinematography is incredible, the editing is near perfect, the acting is phenomenal, the score is superb and the end result is something that has to be seen to be believe to its fullest extent.

Parasite is one of the best films of the last five years and absolutely one of the best films of the year.

Number 3: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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While some people will have you believe that this film garnered a lot of controversy and is Tarantino’s most divisive film to date, that’s a bit of a stretch.

Almost universally acclaimed as fantastic satirical look into the insides of the Hollywood fame machine of the late 70s.

Once Upon a Time is a fantastic blend of social relevance, depressingly bleak look at stardom and relentlessly entertaining.

Tarantino’s signature style of whip smart dialogue, long lingering shots, brutal violence and unadulterated style of brashness is in full effect in this film.

It’s a wonderful film that only gets better with each viewing.

DiCaprio and Pitt have some of the most enviable chemistry of any two paired leads in film history.

Pitt especially excels as the charismatic and dangerous Cliff Booth is easily the best supporting role of the year. He just oozes style and clarity throughout the entire run time.

While some fans of Tarantino did criticize the lack of constant violence, heavier reliance on dialogue and a more mature storyline then Tarantino typically produces, this is Tarantino at his most unrestrained.

It feels like he’s trying to peel back the curtain and show people through his own form of storytelling just what Hollywood really is.

Fake people lying to each other and trying to maintain relevance in an ever advancing world.

Number 2: 1917

If you read our review for 1917, this entry will not surprise you.

1917 is an achievement. That is the best way to summarize this film.

It is cinema at its highest visual and aural form.

The easiest thing to recognize about 1917 is its style and visuals. This is undoubtedly the most gorgeous film of the year and one of the most gorgeous films of the last decade.

The way that every long shot just flows into the next and seamlessly captures you in the moment and forces you to endure the horrors along with the characters is impressive.

This movie is one of the most visually immersive films you will ever see.

The editing is so versatile and nearly unnoticeable that you feel like you are being pulled along and witnessing something rather than being dragged along and being forced to sit through tortuously hasty edits.

The sound is wonderfully immersive and dangerously close to what WWI probably felt and sounded like.

The acting here is extremely top notch. The two leads MacKay and Chapman are especially commendable.

They really nail the feeling of required wartime courage and completely uncontrollable fear in the face of death.

1917 is something that is truly a cinematic experience in every facet and level of the word.

It is extremely well put together, perfectly shot, well edited and strongly acted by two wonderfully paired leads.

Number 1: Joker

As a surprise to absolutely nobody, Joker takes the number one spot from us here.

Utilizing both an actor and a director at the absolute peak of their craft and drive.

Joker is something that can be called as pretty much near perfect as a film at the technical level. This film is shot, edited, composited and acted perfectly.

The cinematography is so simple and effective that every frame feels like a painting. Every shot and take in this film is incredibly effective and colorful.

It looks like something that the cinematographer knew exactly what to convey and knew how to convey it.

The score is wonderfully unnerving and one of the best original scores that has come out this year.

The sense of style within the simplicity of the film and the usage of practicality and strong writing over quickly edited scenes and abundant CGI.

The way that this movie completely trusts its crew is what makes it such an effective viewing experience.

Of course, this would mean absolutely nothing without mentioning the absolute tour de force that is Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck.

Everything you’ve heard about his performance in this film is 100% true and more. It is a performance that rivals some of the best performances in cinematic film history.

On par with Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview, Phoenix is just in complete control and completely amazing to watch.

Joker is… Just incredible.

In Review

So there you have it. Our picks for the best ten films of this year.

There were some truly incredible indie and streaming films that we didn’t get the chance to mention or review this year.

There was just so much to enjoy and view this year that putting it into a comprehensive list was nearly impossible to choose.

However, as with everything, there can be only some winners and not everyone’s the same level of quality.

Definitely see these films if you can, every single entry is something worth viewing.