The Year in Movies: 2019 (First Half)

**These lists are in no particular order.**

The first half of 2019 is already over. Out of all the movies released so far, I watched 53. Some of them were great, others… not so great. The following are all the movies I watched that were released this year, and what I thought about them. I have watched most of these only once, so it’s more of my initial impression.

Sections:

  1. The Best
  2. Honorable Mentions
  3. “Eh, It Was Fine”
  4. Disappointments
  5. Hot Garbage
  6. Final Tally (with Honest Consensus)
  7. The (Big) Ones I Missed

The Best

On the Basis of Sex

Felicity Jones in On the Basis of Sex (2018)

Release Date: January 11th
Director: Mimi Leder
Writer: Daniel Stiepleman
Starring: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer
Plot: We follow Ruth B Ginsburg from her first day at Harvard to tackling her first big case for equal rights.
Why it’s good: I’m normally biased against historical movies, but the performances made up for that. Plus, how can you not love this woman?
Interesting Fact: Daniel Stiepleman – the writer of the film – is Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nephew.
Best Line:
Judge: “The word ‘woman’ does not appear even once in the US Constitution.”
Ruth: “Nor does the word ‘freedom,’ Your Honor.”
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%
Coffee Sip Score™: 8/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

Felicity Jones, Justin Theroux, and Armie Hammer in On the Basis of Sex (2018)

Dragon Ball Super: Broly (English Dub)

Ryô Horikawa and Masako Nozawa in Doragon bôru chô: Burorî - Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2018)

Release Date: January 16th
Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Writer: Akira Toriyama
Starring: Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat, Chris Ayres, Vic Mignogna
Plot: Goku & Vegeta must fight against a new Sayain named Broly.
Why it’s good: If you’re a fan of Dragon Ball, this is a no brainer. If you’ve never seen anything Dragon Ball before in your life, this would be very confusing. Obviously, I’m the former, and therefore I have a huge bias. While this does have questionable CGI and not many characters (Emperor Pilaf is in this… but Gohan is not even mentioned.), it is awesome. I honestly don’t know what else to say. It’s more Dragon Ball action that we’ve all come to love, a new and better Broly origin story, hilarious, an incredible scene where Broly goes super sayain, and I will always jump at the chance to see Goku on the big screen. I hope they continue making more and I honestly will not care what the plot is.
Interesting Fact: The hype for this film was so high that the tickets were sold out in Japan, 5 months before the official release.
Best Moment: The entire movie.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
Coffee Sip Score™: 9/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: LOL could you imagine?

Vic Mignogna, Masako Nozawa, Sean Schemmel, and Bin Shimada in Doragon bôru chô: Burorî - Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2018)

Brexit: The Uncivil War

Benedict Cumberbatch in Brexit: The Uncivil War (2019)

Release Date: January 19th
Director: Toby Haynes
Writer: James Graham
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch
Plot: The story of how Brexit came into fruition.
Why it’s good: We get to see everything that led up to one of the craziest events in history, shown through well-acted performances and a wacky high-energy atmosphere.
Interesting Fact: Despite himself being a ‘remain’ advocate, Benedict Cumberbatch only agreed to do the film after he had been assured by James Graham, who wrote Brexit: The Uncivil War, over a meeting that it is not going to end up being a ‘pro-EU stitch-up.’
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%
Coffee Sip Score™: 8/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

Benedict Cumberbatch in Brexit: The Uncivil War (2019)

Fyre / Fyre Fraud (Netflix / Hulu Fyre Fest Documentaries)

*I included both because they’re both good. Both have things the other doesn’t.

Fyre (2019)

Fyre Fraud (2019)

Release Date: January 14th (Hulu) / January 18th (Netflix)
Director: Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason (Hulu) / Chris Smith (Netflix)
Plot: The story of quite possibly the biggest scandal of the millennial generation.
Why they’re good: You have to see it to believe it. A popular rapper and an insane con artist team up to launch the biggest music festival since Woodstock. As things go wrong one after another, it’s absolutely insane to see how everyone defends not shutting the festival down, and what the people actually go through once they arrive. Anyone else get Tanacon vibes from this?
Interesting Fact #1: Billy McFarland agreed to appear in the [Hulu] documentary on condition that he be paid.
Interesting Fact #2: I swear to God I never heard about this whole story until these documentaries.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76% (Hulu) / 92% (Netflix)
Coffee Sip Score™: 8/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: One of them should get Documentary Feature

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Jay Baruchel in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Release Date: February 22nd
Director: Dean DeBlois
Writer: Dean DeBlois
Plot: When Toothless gets a girlfriend and a new threat arises, it is up to Hiccup to decide the fate of both the Dragons and the people of Berg.
Why it’s good: Colorful, beautiful animation, epic soundtrack, action-packed, hilarious, smoothly paced, and an ending that almost made me lose my shit.
Interesting Fact: With a running time of 104 minutes, this is DreamWorks Animations longest film.
Best Line:
Hiccup: You brought a baby to a battle?
Fishlegs: I couldn’t find a sitter.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Coffee Sip Score™: 9/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

Us

Release Date: March 22nd
Director: Jordan Peele
Writer: Jordan Peele
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex
Plot: A family vacation to the beach turns fucking weird.
Why it’s good: Uh… uuuuuhhhhhh. Well… without trying to delve deep into this, Jordan Peele’s second feature film is wonderfully made. Smooth camerawork, brilliant writing, the pacing was fine, and the performances all worked together flawlessly. And the score, let me tell you, was one of the best horror movie scores I have heard in the past decade. I genuinely believe Jordan made a film that will keep people talking and theorizing about for the rest of the year.
Interesting Fact: Lupita Nyong’o based Red’s voice on Robert F. Kennedy Jr and specifically the spasmodic dysphonia he suffers from.
Best Line: “OK. Playing “Fuck tha Police” by N.W.A.”
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Coffee Sip Score™: 8/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

Evan Alex in Us (2019)

Avengers: Endgame

Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Danai Gurira, and Karen Gillan in Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Release Date: April 26th
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring: Literally everyone from the MCU from the last 11 years.
Plot: The finale to the MCU Infinity Saga.
Why it’s good: The culmination of the past 11 years. Even if you don’t care for these movies, you can not deny this is the biggest cinematic feat in all of film history. An absolute emotional nostalgic rollercoaster through this incredible 3-hour adventure. Thor was at his prime in this, I am genuinely worried that we will never have a Thor as good as this again. (I hope to God he is in Guardians Vol. 3 and he is still fat.) I was very happy that these guys did time travel the way they did. (Check out my video here: https://youtu.be/BaQkFUfBwIw) Everything leads up to an incredibly shot, scored, and performed finale that is both satisfying and emotionally exhausting. The final act had me losing my shit.
Best Line: “Avengers… Assemble”
Best Moment: Everything that happens from the start of the final battle until the credits.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Coffee Sip Score™: 9.5/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Please for the love of god give them Visual Effects

Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Taika Waititi, Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Pratt, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Chris Hemsworth, Dave Bautista, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Tessa Thompson, Pom Klementieff, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland, and Winston Duke in Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Isn’t It Romantic

Rebel Wilson in Isn't It Romantic (2019)

Release Date: February 13th
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Writer: Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, Katie Silberman
Starring: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine
Plot: Rebel Wilson gets stuck in a PG-13 rom-com… and she is aware of it.
Why it’s good: I was surprised that I enjoyed this movie. All the performances were fine, great script, lots of familiar faces, and the meta-humor was hilarious.
Best Line: “What? How… how did we get here so fast? That was, like, 18 seconds.”
Interesting Fact: During test screenings, Rebel Wilson would wear a wig and sunglasses and sneak into the back to hear feedback from the audience.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%
Coffee Sip Score™: 7/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

The Legend of Cocaine Island

Rodney Hyden in The Legend of Cocaine Island (2018)

Release Date: March 29th
Director: Theo Love
Starring: Bo Butterworth, Bri Bryant, Andy Culpepper
Plot: A goofy looking dad goes on a quest for $2 million dollars of cocaine.
Why it’s good: Okay well first of all anything involving cocaine I already find hilarious. But this documentary tells a crazy (but very predictable) story that genuinely feels like it can’t be real. You got a guy down in the dumps, a crazy accomplice, a drug lord, adventure, and betrayal. It so wild I swear to god.
Best Line: “If you knew where $2 million was buried in the ground, would you dig the shit up? Fuck, yeah I would. And I did it one time.”
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%
Coffee Sip Score™: 9/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Unfortunately Not

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Release Date: May 10th
Director: Rob Letterman
Writer: Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, Derek Connolly
Starring: Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ryan Reynolds
Plot: A boy and a Pikachu team up to solve a mystery.
Why it’s good: Finally, a video game movie worth seeing. Detective Pikachu doesn’t waste time building a world literally everyone is already familiar with. I loved the look of all the Pokémon, but, of course, I wish there were more. I could definitely see this movie as being an experiment. So now that it did very well (in comparison to other VGMs), they could expand greatly on this universe/concept. The trailer for this movie was stupid and spoiled a lot, but regardless it was still cute, funny, asinine (in a good way), predictable, and visually pleasing.
Best Line: “Well, I’m actually pretty good at being alone at night.”
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%
Coffee Sip Score™: 8/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Visual Effects

Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith in Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Booksmart

Booksmart (2019)

Release Date: May 24th
Director: Olivia Wilde
Writer: Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katie Silberman
Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein
Plot: Two high school senior girls realize they’ve focused too much on getting good grades and try to cram 4 years of fun into one night.
Why it’s good: I’m normally biased against high school movies, but Booksmart‘s script, performances, and pacing all helped me look past that.
Best Line: I can’t pick one the whole script was great.
Interesting Fact: Screenwriter Katie Silberman said that Billie Lourd did such an impressive performance that extra scenes were written specifically for her.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%
Coffee Sip Score™: 9/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Original Screenplay

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart (2019)

 

Murder Mystery

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in Murder Mystery (2019)

Release Date: June 14th
Director: Kyle Newacheck
Writer: James Vanderbilt
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston
Plot: …it’s a… murder mystery.
Why it’s good: Cute, light-hearted, nicely paced, genuinely funny at times, cliche, Adam Sandler is really goofy, and it’s just overall a nice film. Not outstanding, but not bad at all.
Interesting Fact: This movie set a new Netflix record. In the first three days, 30,869,863 accounts watched the film – 13,374,914 North American accounts and an additional 17,494,949 accounts watching worldwide.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%
Coffee Sip Score™: 8/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, and Luke Evans in Murder Mystery (2019)

 

Honorable Mentions

The following movies were not good enough to make the “Best” list but were good enough to at least mention.

Glass

Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and James McAvoy in Glass (2019)

Release Date: January 18th
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson
Plot: David Dunn is back to track down Kevin Crumb. But when Elijah Price also returns, things get real shitty real fast.
Why it’s good: James, Bruce, and Samuel were perfect as predicted, several twists that lead to a satisfying ending, Anya Taylor-Joy is 😍, and enough plot structure to keep things going and interesting enough to see what happens next. That’s it. Honestly, it was James McAvoy’s performance, the ending, and the hype that a movie from 2000 is getting a sequel that allowed me to enjoy this.
Why it didn’t make the list: Definitely didn’t live up to the hype, wonky dialogue, questionable pacing, a boring middle, and David Dunn didn’t shine as much as I was hoping.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 36%
Coffee Sip Score™: 7/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: lol no

Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Release Date: February 1st
Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Zawe Ashton, Rene Russo, Daveed Diggs
Plot: After a series of paintings by an unknown artist is discovered, weird shit begins to happen to those that take monetary advantage of them.
Why it’s good: Original, creepy, a few jump-scares, and lots of familiar faces.
Why it didn’t make the list: The performances and writing suffered bad enough to make these 2 hours drag.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%
Coffee Sip Score™: 7/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Tiffany Haddish, and Stephanie Beatriz in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

Release Date: February 8th
Director: Mike Mitchell
Writer: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett
Plot: 5 years after the events of the first movie, Emmit and crew journey to find the source of the evil Duplo’s power.
Why it’s good: More adventures of Emmit and crew, a very strong beginning, visually pleasing, funny, colorful, heartwarming, and lots of references for us adults.
Why it didn’t make the list: This should be obvious, it was nowhere near as magical and fun as the first movie, the writing was eh, not as quotable [as the first], it has geared more towards kids but kept references for adults (For example: a certain character does a certain popular dance move from a certain popular video game, but then there is a heavy, yet hilarious, Die Hard reference.), a lot of musical and “real world” parts that were used for time addition became annoying, and a very questionable twist towards the end. I hope they don’t try to milk this.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%
Coffee Sip Score™: 8/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pratt in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

Captain Marvel

Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (2019)

Release Date: March 8th
Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve
Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law
Plot: Vers, a Kree from the planet Hala, becomes stranded on Earth with a group of alien shapeshifters called Skrulls.
Why it’s good: More MCU lore, every character that wasn’t Carol Danvers were phenomenal, the chemistry between Fury and Danvers was perfect, the personality of the Skrull surprised me, but I came to like them a lot, a twist that saves the movie, an action-packed and smooth second half, and a heartbreaking Stan Lee commemoration.
Why it didn’t make the list: I wouldn’t necessarily say Brie Larson was bad, it was just the directing and writing for her character that was awful, I hated the smug look she had the entire movie, the dialogue for everyone was poorly written, every scene before she lands on Earth was horribly paced, there was no world building when it came to the Kree, and a very bad post-credit scene.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%
Coffee Sip Score™: 6/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (2019)

See You Yesterday

Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow in See You Yesterday (2019)

Release Date: May 17th
Director: Stefon Bristol
Writer: Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol
Starring: Eden Duncan-Smith, Dante Crichlow
Plot: Two friends discover time travel.
Why it’s good: A cute little Netflix movie. Genuinely funny dialogue, well-acted, well-paced, and thought-provoking.
Why it didn’t make the list: Time travel is stupid; as is the end of this movie.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
Coffee Sip Score™: 8/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

The Professor and the Madman

Mel Gibson and Sean Penn in The Professor and the Madman (2019)

Release Date: May 10th
Director: Farhad Safinia
Writer: John Boorman, Todd Komarnicki, Farhad Safinia
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn
Plot: A professor takes on the challenge of creating the first Oxford Dictionary when he realizes… that it’ll be really hard.
Why it’s good: Lots of familiar faces, adequate performances, I always love seeing Natalie Dormer ♡♡♡, and I aspire to have Mel’s beard.
Why it didn’t make the list: It should come as obvious that a movie about the creation of the Oxford dictionary in the mid-1800s will have an overloaded and overwritten script that focuses more on dialogue than the story.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 43%
Coffee Sip Score™: 7/10
Oscar Odds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Nah

Mel Gibson and Sean Penn in The Professor and the Madman (2019)

“Eh, It Was Fine”

The following titles are ones that I found weren’t great, but also weren’t terrible. They were just fine, nothing to rave about. These ones are the most likely to be forgettable.

  • Reign of the Supermen
  • American Hangman
  • The Upside
  • Leaving Neverland Parts 1&2
  • Triple Frontier
  • Dragged Across Concrete
  • Pet Semetary
  • The Highwaymen
  • I Hate Kids
  • Justice League vs. The Fatal Five
  • The Kid Who Would Be King
  • The Perfect Date
  • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  • IO

Disappointments

These movies were ones that I was hoping would be great, but ended up coming in way below expectations. And I put them in their own category instead of Hot Garbage because I want people to know I had high hopes for these, and I was let down. And I’m sad about it.

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Hot Garbage

The following titles are ones that I found to be very bad, mentally damaging, and/or boring, and I absolutely do not recommend them.

  • Escape Room
  • The Prodigy
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Donnybrook
  • Fighting with my Family
  • Serenity
  • Sgt. Will Gardner
  • The Dirt
  • Replicas
  • Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter
  • A Dog’s Way Home
  • Abduction
  • Polar
  • The Silence
  • Drunk Parents
  • What Men Want
  • Rim of the World
  • Real Cases of Shadow People: The Sarah McCormick Story
  • Welcome to Acapulco

The Final Tally

Best: 13
Honorable Mentions: 6
Eh, It Was Fine: 14
Disappointments: 1
Hot Garbage: 19

Total: 53

Honest Consensus (My opinion): This year is half over and I feel my Best category is only going to have at most 20 movies.

The (Big) Ones I Missed

I will try to watch as many of these as I can next year. But with a new year, means 500+ new movies. So, I will finalize this list at the end of February (after the Oscars); after that, I will cease to update it.

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