2019 End of Year Report Card

With 2019 ended, I wanted to keep up tradition and look back at what came out this year.

It’s always a surprise to lay out everything like this. Movies can be so individual at times – once it is over, you like it or you don’t. But to then take that opinion and line it up with its peers?

Last year, for example, both Paddington 2 and Annihilation made my list of must-see movies. In short, it can be very strange.

What I struggled with this year was how I was thinking about these lists, and thereby my recommendations. Letter grades were a convenient shorthand – barring alternative education routes, most folks understand A=great, B=good, etc. From there, I could translate to “must see”, “should see”, etc.

While this was always subjective, I felt uneasy continuing to describe things in this objective-seeming way. I don’t think of movies in terms of letter grades, so I shouldn’t recommend them this way.

If you want scores, there are many aggregates out there, and plenty of reviewers who use stars. I tend not to. This is not an indictment of those systems – they are the overwhelming choice for a reason. But it never felt quite right to me. It’s not how I talk about them. And that’s what I want to capture more.

So I’m making things more personal this year. 5 simple categories that you’ll see shortly, based solely on how I felt about the movie.

Reviews are linked in gold, with updates to come. This list will also grow as I make my way through stuff I missed, so if your fave didn’t make it, nothing personal.

Please enjoy.

I Loved It

You must see these movies.

They are the best 2019 has to offer. They challenged me intellectually, emotionally, and artistically. They were shockingly creative in their use of theme, setting, and/or visuals.

Go out of your way to watch these. Buy them, rent them, stream them.



John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Jojo Rabbit


Knives Out

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood


I Liked It a Lot

You should see these movies.

Some subverted expectations, using tropes to great effect. Others were deeply sincere in their presentation, forcing you to contend with their earnestness.

You’re not wrong to buy them, rent them, stream them.


Avengers: Endgame

Detective Pikachu

Dolemite Is My Name

Good Boys

Little Women

Long Shot


I Liked It

You might want to see these movies.

They’re not perfect, but they do have moments that really stand out. Some provide interesting commentary, others are feats of representation, and most are just plain fun.

These are worth renting, but you can also wait for streaming.


Deadwood: The Movie

Ford v Ferrari

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Missing Link

The Kid Who Would Be King

Toy Story 4

I Thought It Was Fine

You can see these movies if you really want.

These are just fine. They may have performed below expectation, or been exactly what they meant to be: just fun rides. That is not to say they’re duds – they’ve got something for just about anybody. Your mileage may vary.

Find them on when they hit streaming if you want.

Aladdin (2019)

Captain Marvel

Frozen II

Isn’t It Romantic?

Jumanji: The Next Level

Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Queen & Slim

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

I Didn’t Like It.

You don’t need to see these movies.

These movies are disappointing. Some fail to execute on their basic premise. Others are just boring, or far too contrived.

If you see them on streaming and feel like you’d be a fan, then go for it.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Gemini Man

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

The Goldfinch

The Lion King (2019)

The Secret Life of Pets 2


I mean…how does one even…I just…


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Originally from the bear-infested schools of Wyoming, but now lives in Chicago. More importantly, he achieved minor Twitter fame once and hasn’t stopped bringing it up since. He has a healthy obsession with Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Bulbasaur. Please validate him by following him on Twitter, @ericsmorals

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