2019: The Skinny

Welcome to the NINTH Annual Skinny!

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Hello to all 3 of my readers!

It is time to take a look at 2019, henceforth known as “The Year Superponte almost died”!

The purpose of this annual post is to review the films and TV of 2019. I do this in list format. As is standard for this site, I give “Skinnys”, short blurbs, on each subject.

Before we get started, I have provided links to all 516 films I have seen in theaters.  I will repeat; these links are the list of EVERY MOVIE I have seen in a theater. As a film lover, that means a lot to me. The act of sitting in a darkened theater is almost religious. It is a sacred space where artists transport us to different worlds. It took quite a while to compile this list. It represents 32 years of film-going, and I am honored to share it with you.

Disclaimer: This is the place where I mention that I have not seen everything. I am not a professional reviewer and am only able to see a very small fraction of the major releases, never mind every indie movie that is the darling of film festivals. This is also not a list of the BEST films of the year. This is a subjective list of my personal favorites. My biases will influence my choices. Judge me accordingly.

I had high hopes for 2019. I’ve found that the last year of a decade tends to be the best for cinema. Based on review and buzz of others, 2019 was a banner year for fans of all genres. I saw 35 films in 2018, a new record. I fully expected 2019 to blast that out of that water, but things got weird.

I’ve detailed it a few times in other posts, but I nearly died, like really die. I was going to be dead in 10 hours without emergency surgery and I was looking at a 50/50 chance of making it two weeks post surgery. That shit will mess you up, in many ways. By the time of this writing, I am actually still in pain. The recovery will take at least a year, but I am starting to feel myself again. In the absence of film and TV I’ve been reading a lot. I’ve actually blown through 19 or 20 books since September, far outstripping my movie tally for the year. I normally have a top 10 films with a best and worst of the year and I list the others under “okay/meh”. I only saw 11 films this year, so that section will be a bit anemic this year.


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This was a strange year for TV. I supplemented 2018 with a lot of youtube and streaming . That trend continued this year but I did watch some stuff though.

So, what did I watch? It’s more a question of what am I not watching. This was a year of astonishing television and I saw almost none of it. A big part of that is my old faithful:

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Star Trek – In 2016 I began re-watching Star Trek, at a leisurely pace, to celebrate the 50th anniversary. 3 years later I have finished TOS, TAS, Films 1-9, TNG, DS9, and am midway through Voyager. I expect to finish that up in the next few months and then knock out Enterprise. Picard is looming large for me next month, really excited.

So, what else I did see in 2019?

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Star Trek Discovery: So much hate has been thrown at this show, but I stuck my neck out last year and said that this had the best FIRST season of any Star Trek series aside from TOS. Season two, and the addition of Christopher Pike, pushed this show further into awesomeness. Definitely the best 2nd season of any Trek show. Season 3 is looking excellent with it’s ultra-futuristic setting. I am holding out hope for a new series with Pike/Spock on the Enterprise following the incredible response to Mount and Peck.

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Alta Mar (High Seas) – I got out of the hospital in May and after a few days of my wife tending to me, she eventually had to go back to work. This left me helpless on the couch with only the pizza delivery man to feed me. My first day alone, this pops up on my Netflix homepage; newly posted I guess. I am a fan of early 20th century period dramas so I gave this a chance. It sucked me right in. An excellent show. I recommend you watch it in the original Spanish with subtitles. The original performances are the way to watch this, not dubbed. Season 2 recently posted so I will be diving into that very soon.

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American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace – I started watching this in the days before I was hospitalized. I gave up and did not finish it. I am not sure if this is the fault of the show or my worsening condition. I might give the last few episodes a chance this year to see how it ends.

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The Crown – This was a pivotal year for the show. Every two years the cast will be aging up and this is the first time they’ve done it. Of course, they friggin nailed it. Erin Doherty stole every one of her scenes as Princess Anne, but everyone was an excellent casting choice. I initially thought Helena Bonham Carter was miscast as Margaret, but I am happy to admit how wrong I was. Olivia Coleman was more than able to step into Foy’s shoes as Elizabeth. Tobias Menzies even more so. Charles Dance was a great elder Lord Mountbatten (season 4 should be explosive for him) but, aside from Doherty, Josh O’Connor was near perfect casting as Prince Charles.

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Frontier – Season 2 of Frontier was good, maybe not as good as season 1, but ok. Season 3 however….woof! They really screwed the pooch with this one. It had a great setting and good cast. It just went off the rails in season 3. His main rival was killed offscreen between season and the whole thing almost felt like a different show as they took the action to Europe. Netflix happily gave this a mercy killing. Goodbye Declan Harp.

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Game of Thrones – I watched this while in the hospital, being released the week of the finale. So rushed. Some amazing moments, but so rushed. This needed to be split over 2 seasons. I am ok with Brann being the King, and the general state of things. The increased pace just killed it.

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Iron Fist – I’m still behind on the final seasons of the Netflix Marvel shows, but I did finish this. Better than season one, but still the weakest of the Marvel series. I do like me some corporate/legal shows though, but this should be a ninja show. It had a good ending, and Alice Eve was a nice addition.

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Lost in Space season 2 – I just started this one! Only one episode is down but the quality is still there.

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Riverdale – I watched the newest season, RIP Luke Perry, and I think I am done with this show. I am a huge fan of D&D, but even that couldn’t save this for me. The writing, especially the dialogue, is just terrible. I’ll probably get sucked back when it hits Netflix.

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Tidying up – Rot in hell you sick woman… My sock drawer shall remain messy!

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Toast of London – The best comedy I’ve watched this year. I am a fan of IT Crowd and when I saw there were a few seasons of another show starring my favorite actor from that series I had to watch it immediately. Quotable as all hell, nearly perfect. I patiently await further series of this classic show.

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The Toys that made us – Season 3 of this amazing nostalgia trip aired recently. I devoured it in one sitting, as is tradition. Keep em coming!

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The Movies that made us – and they did keep em coming! They made a spin-off show about movies! I see this having a far longer lifespan that “toys”. There are a lot of toys they can talk about, but there are a shit-ton more movies they could cover.

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It’s a tie! I cannot choose between them

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Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – Magic, Pure Magic. This could have gone wrong in a thousand ways but it all went right. The Henson company really pulled off something special here. There needs to be more seasons, dark ending and all.

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The Mandalorian – This was obviously going to be my favorite show of the year. It was perfect for what it aimed for: Star Wars meets Old West TV Show by way of Lone Wolf and Cub. Perfect. Baby Yoda deserves all the acclaim. That dude is amazing. Favreau, Waititi, and Filoni are a great team.


 

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2019 was a rough year for me, as stated above. These are movies everyone had access to at the local cinema. I cannot see everything. There are several I wish I had seen, and many others I am glad to have missed. My crap filter has developed to the point where I can save myself a lot of aggravation. Despite this, some garbage does make it’s way in.

Original reviews can be found on the 2019 Movie Page as well as below.

My 11 films of 2019


Gerard Butler took this prize in 2016 and 2017 but lost 2018. Will he win this year??

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Dark Phoenix – Sadly no! If I saw Hunter/Killer I am sure Butler would have been in the running, but Fox gave one last F.U. to the X-Men with this absolute travesty. They already screwed up this story in X-Men 3 so of course they took the writer of that film and let him direct this one. Thank you Disney for buying Fox. Please reboot this and do it right. We all know, however, that CATS likely would have taken this spot if I had the guts to see it. (Review)


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The Torture Report – I wish I had seen this in theaters, it was very well done. A biopic about the staffers investigating torture during the Iraq War. Adam Driver is excellent, as always. Netflix had some other heavy hitters but I’ve not seen them yet. I am regretting not seeing The Irishman, that seems to be outstanding.

Here are the five “okay” entries this year. No particular order

Captain Marvel
It Chapter two
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Detective Pikachu

So what were the best? Here are the top 5!

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5: Spider-Man: Far from home – The final film of Phase 3 and one of the best. The cast was excellent, the ending was shocking. I am so glad they cut a deal to keep Spidey in the MCU, for a little while at least. (Review)

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4: The Rise of Skywalker – The weakest of the sequel trilogy but still a great movie. I thought it was an excellent ending to the saga. (Review)

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3: Once upon a time in Hollywood – When I saw this it was not my favorite Tarantino film. I gotta admit though, it is sure growing on me. This might be the best movie of the year, time will tell if my personal tastes evolve on this one. It just might. (Review)

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2: Avengers Endgame – I was literally dying. This premiered the night before I was hospitalized and I went to the cinema regardless. I’ve been living with these characters since I was 7 years old and nothing was keeping me out of that cinema. When Cap grabbed the Hammer, “Assembled” everyone, and Tony “snapped” I cried like a baby. My best experience in a theater this year. (Review)

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1: Joker – This movie strikes a chord with a lot of people, myself among them. It is a film for our times and probably the best Comic Book film ever made. It won’t win a Best Picture Oscar, but it should. Phoenix better get nominated, at least. (Review)


Well, that’s it folks! 2019 is behind us, but we are not finished!! This is the end of the decade and it’s time to choose the best/worst of the 2010’s! I choose from the films I previously selected as the best/worst of each year. This does not necessarily mean they are the actual best, just the best of the choices I’d previously made.

The Nominees

Worst Best
2010 Grown Ups Inception
2011 Conan Sherlock Holmes 2
2012 Red Tails Skyfall
2013 Movie 43 American Hustle
2014 Noah Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2015 Gods of Egypt The Nice Guys
2016 Geostorm Blade Runner 2049
2017 Pacific Rim: Uprising The Death of Stalin
2018 Dark Phoenix Joker

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Movie 43 – It was inevitable. I’ve known that this was a lock for almost 7 years. Gods of Egypt was its closest competition. I have a sneaking suspicion that CATS might have overtaken this one. Oh well. There was so much talent on screen, all of it wasted. Gerard Butler gets the MVP of the Decade award though. He was in 3 of the worst films and could have easily been on there every year if I saw his films in the theaters. One of my goals is to see every Gerard Butler action film of the 2020’s to see if he can hold up the streak. Congrats Movie 43! You stand alongside Battlefield Earth as a decade defining film!  The quest for the worst film of the Twenties now begins! (Review)

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Drum Roll….

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Blade Runner 2049 – A Masterpiece. Denis Villenueve has got the goods. His films stand out from the rest as something really special. A follow up to Blade Runner?! Insanity. I saw the original in the theater the NIGHT BEFORE this opened. How could this hope to compare to that experience? Well, it did, and even held it own against one of the best films of my lifetime; perhaps even better in some ways (looking at you Roger Deakins). Villeneuve has a movie coming out in 2020. It is one of my top 3 books – Dune. We might have the best of the year/decade pegged already. (Review)

Thanks for reading! Happy New year!

 

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