Psycho 7: John’s Top Seven of 2019

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SIMPLE: Finding Seven Movies I Really Loved

The task should have been simple: list your seven favorite movies, shows, books, or whatever of 2019. So I opened up the wine, again, and started thinking. It’s been that kind of year, when things are best handled with wine, and apparently the movies were no exception. Like the highlights of my ever-spiraling life, there are only a few good ones that immediately spring to mind. So let’s pour another glass and start chasing down the shit that sparkled.

I still haven’t seen ESCAPE ROOM, but VELVET BUZZSAW was alright. Just alright, like it should have been either more or less weird, but the exact amount of weirdness in it wasn’t quite right for me. GLASS ended stupidly, kinda screwing up the slightly-better path that M. Night Sha Na Na had been on recently. I feel like I could have loved ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, and maybe I still can, but I didn’t see it until the video release . . . I dunno, maybe I feel asleep. Too much fucking wine.

CAPTAIN MARVEL just made me look forward to ENDGAME, which might end up on the list just by default. I mean, it was enjoyable on all fronts, just as a movie with that much cash going into it is designed to be. The fact that it gave some time to the quieter moments in the beginning really won me over. And that snap . . .

US didn’t move me like it did a lot of you fancy-pants reviewers, nor nearly as much as GET OUT did last year. But I definitely look forward to Jordan Peele’s future movies.

Still haven’t seen SHAZAM!, though a lotta folks say it’s alright. Honestly, if they were gonna bring back old live-action Saturday morning stuff, my vote would have been for Isis. Guess no studios wanna chance it being mistaken for a terrorist biopic or something? I dunno, but what better way to reclaim the word than with some badass flying chick who can control, like, what, weather and animals? Anyway, two cents.

Speaking of which, PET SEMATARY has fucked me twice now. It’s like the few things that the 1989 version got right were swapped out in the new one, just so they could go wrong in their own way. Whatever, Pet Sematary. I’m done with you. It just made me look forward to IT CHAPTER TWO anyway.

HER SMELL was interesting. Huh. I like saying that, let’s say it without the caps. Her smell was interesting. Heh-heh, that was fun, more fun than the movie. But Elizabeth Moss was exceptionally mossy in this one, so that was cool.

THE CURSE OF LA LLORNA tried, but only had one really good scene. I think I saw FAST COLOR. It looks like something I’d like, but apparently I need to see it again. Also heard that Zac Efron serial killer thing was pretty solid, if only for his acting rather than the writing. I’ve got the Blu-ray set of all three John Wick movies sitting here too, though I’ve still only seen the first one. Not sure why, since I hear they’re awesome.

Wait, Mel Gibson made a movie this year??

And Johnny Depp was in something called THE PROFESSOR?  


ALADDIN was alright in my book, though I had low expectations. THE LION KING was the opposite. How’s that cash-grab going, Disney? You fuckers have enough castles yet?

I liked the idea of BRIGHTBURN more than the execution, but that Billie Eilish song at the end was perfect.

BOOKSMART was cool. That was the one with the super-smart high school girls trying to get laid before they graduate, right? If so, yeah, I really liked that one, and we could probably stand more flicks like that.

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS was the bomb, and I still wish it had been the first movie I went to see alone in the theater. You know, rather than MIDSOMMAR, which is a truly terrible fucking movie to see when you’re in the midst of a breakup. It was the girl, I think. Yeah, a lot of you loved that movie, but I couldn’t stand the girl . . . maybe it hit too close to home, I dunno . . . though, in a second viewing, I still hated her . . . but now I hated her boyfriend even more than the first time . . . the winking flowers on that costume at the end, though . . . those were trippy and cool, and  . . .

Oh, fuck.

(takes another drink)

Didn’t bother to see ROCKETMAN. Sorry, Elton. I just didn’t care. Or MA. Sorry, Octavia.

DARK PHOENIX . . . sigh. Like so many things in this life, the could-have beens . . .

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO. I think it was sad, and maybe magical? There’s this really cool dude at the library who recommended it. He’s rarely wrong about movies I end up liking (like last year’s HEARTS BEAT LOUD), but I don’t remember it clearly. Is it the wine? I dunno, see it anyway.

And then MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL. Hell, I’d watch Tessa Thompson take a shower. Really. Can we get that movie?

THE DEAD DON’T DIE is exactly what it’d be like if Jim Jarmusch made a zombie movie, so I’m not sure why so many folks were complaining. Meanwhile, that CHILD’S PLAY reboot, exactly what it’d be like it they made a CHILD’S PLAY reboot. But it had Aubrey Plaza, and she’s got that weird dirty-sexy thing going on in her smile, so it’s all good.

Annabelle came home too. Kinda didn’t care.

YESTERDAY was the one where the whole world forgets that the Beatles exist, right? Can we get a world that forgets Taylor Swift exists? Or Christmas songs after December 25th?

SPIDERMAN: FAR FROM HOME was good, but it made me miss ENDGAME.

I enjoyed CRAWL more than MIDSOMMAR. Sorry, shoot me. I’m not saying it was a better movie, because it definitely wasn’t. I’m just saying, it was more fun for me, and I didn’t see it alone.   

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD was a Tarantino movie. It had Tarantino scenes and Tarantino dialogue, not to mention a bunch of Tarantino music. Kinda surprised me too, that ending. Haven’t heard many people talk about this flick, but I really dug it.

HOBBS AND SHAW was exactly what it looked like. So if you didn’t like it, it’s because you never saw the trailer, any Fast and the Furious movie, or anything by the Rock, and that’s on you. Just saying.

So SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK . . . yeah. I was a bit too old to get onboard with the books, but this was not bad. For a PG-13 movie, that one with the creepy bloated chick in the hospital . . . that’s some nightmare fuel there, boy.

Wait, what? There was another Angry Birds movie? In 2019???

And a JACOB’S LADDER remake?

47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED was okay. Not as tense as the first one, but I give ’em props for not just rewriting the first script. READY OR NOT was a story we’ve seen a few times (starting with THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME), but entirely enjoyable. The main girl was cool.

Someone told me to see MONOS, haven’t yet. Same with AD ASTRA. No one told me to see RAMBO: LAST BLOOD. Does he die? Of he dies, I might see it. Pretty sure Renee Zellweger dies in that movie where she plays Judy Garland, who definitely died. My friend said she was really good, like maybe Oscar caliber. But why doesn’t Renee Zellweger look like Renee Zellweger anymore? Did she have work done? Like, badly?

Ah, JOKER . . .

That’s my movie, right there. Yeah, it’s half the world’s movie, I know. Whatever, I don’t care. My expectations weren’t high for this, though my hopes were. It was the second movie I went to see alone in a theater . . . and the third . . . and being alone, possibly in the world . . . forever . . . only enhanced my experience of a crazed loner with a strange condition . . . who, in the end, is like a messiah to other crazed loners . . . if only, perhaps, in his own mind . . .

Dude, there’s no way this wouldn’t be my movie this year.  


THE LIGHTHOUSE . . . my fourth solitary excursion into the dark . . . and I think I like it. It was weird, which is something I like, and beautifully black-and-white. But I lost a tooth while eating popcorn in that theater . . . alone . . . so it colors the movie with pain and regret that wasn’t there for most of you.

Someone said MARRIAGE STORY, but . . .

Not sure it counts, since it was an HBO thing and I didn’t see it in a theater . . . but CHERNOBYL will blow your mind like a nuclear blast. Start to finish, it was amazing. That fourth episode out of the five, though . . . the part with the old woman and the cow . . . and then the boy who has to shoot the radioactive dog . . . it’s all pretty ugly, but it’s beautifully done.             

The new Terminator was better than expected, though I expected diddly-dick.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD was syrupy sweet, and alright, but I’d say watch the documentary from last year instead. BLACK CHRISTMAS was equally unnecessary . . . the me-too beginning worked alright, but the third-act turn toward the supernatural did not. ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP was enjoyable, I guess, but not exactly timely or breaking any ground whatsoever.  

DOCTOR SLEEP was good. Why wasn’t it bigger? Wasn’t MIDWAY supposed to be bigger too?


Okay, that one makes my list. Not because it was amazing, but the sentimentality . . . the passing of things that have been . . . of watching it with my son, in the same year that my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness . . .

One more glass of wine and we shall be done.

The things I did not see, which all could be amazing, include MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, THE IRISHMAN, FORD V FERRARI, KNIVES OUT, UNCUT GEMS, 1917, and Greta Gerwig’s take on LITTLE WOMEN.  

No one is saying CATS is amazing.  

All of this is a bunch of sound and fury . . . (takes one last swig, wondering if this will be among the new year’s problems) . . . signifying nothing, but if I had to make a list of my seven favorite movies of 2019, it would be a hard thing to do. It’s been that kinda year, folks, and not just for me. If you care what I think, though . . . in all of my wine-infused uncertainty and fifty years of movie-viewing . . . here it goes:







and, without a doubt, JOKER.

Take it all for what it’s worth, and let’s all hope for a better year ahead.

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