|BEST MOVIES OF 2019MOVIES OF 2019FILM CRITICSBEST MOVIES|
A few weeks back, Chappelle Show co-creator Neal Brennan tweeted, “The fact that critics write, 'Best of 2019' and not 'My Favorites of 2019' is wild.”
I initially reacted negatively, overcome by the idea that in the year 2019, any person could be confused by the idea that an arts review is subjective. While I suspect this question comes from a long line of flawed “critics only exist to tear things down” thinking, as if our goal in writing about the arts is for people to stop making art because, grr, we hate art!, and not to participate in an artistic form of our own that we enjoy, I admit Brennan made me reconsider the kind of headline we reflexively stick on our requisite year-end lists. If you missed it, you can read Uproxx's Best of 2019 movies list here.
Why do we say “the best” instead of “my favorite?” There are plenty of answers. The most basic and pragmatic is that newspaper writing best practices have long all but banned any use of the first person. Such that using “my” in a headline in any form would be a nonstarter with 95% of editors. And anyway, one might argue, “my” would be redundant, as any review is automatically assumed to be subjective, with the opinion coming from the writer. Why say “my favorite” when that's already obvious?
That being said, I suspect the preference for “the best” over “my favorite” comes in part from a notion that people won't read an opinion unless it comes with the sheen of authoritativeness. This isn't AO Scott's favorites, who the hell is that? This is the NEW YORK TIMES and their OFFICIAL LIST of GOOD THINGS, that is CORRECT because they are EXPERTS. There's also the question of whether a reasonably intelligent person being able to understand that opinions are subjective excuses the relative untruth of writing “the best.” Just because things have been done a certain way doesn't make that way the best.
Anyway, something to think about. All I can say is, I don't particular care whether anyone thinks I'm an “expert” as long as they read what I'm writing. Ideally, I'm just a guy whose opinion you enjoy reading, regardless of whether you agree. That's how I've always felt about my favorite critics and there are pieces of criticism that have stuck with me over the years as much as any work of fiction has. At the risk of stating the obvious, there's no such thing as an “expert” movie watcher. If that's the myth you need in order to read my reviews, I can play along, but the only type of expert I truly aspire to be is opinion-haver.
So here they are, the best movies of 2019, as determined by rigorous experimentation and a proprietary blend of unique genius. If you need, go ahead and picture me pouring...
“I have some big news,” the Los Angeles Times lead film critic Kenneth Turan tweeted on Wednesday. “After close to 30 years in the most exciting and rewarding of jobs, I am stepping away from being a daily film critic for the Los Angeles Times. I will keep writing about film but at a different pace. To quote Ecclesiastes, ‘To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.’ Looking forward to what’s to come.”
The outpouring of praise for Turan, who is 73, was intense and immediate. “The maestro takes a bow,” responded The New York Times lead film critic A.O. Scott on Twitter, who himself stepped down from full-time daily criticism on March 15 for one year, leaving that task to his fellow lead critic Manohla Dargis. In his case, taking the title of Critic at Large as he writes “bigger, cross-topic essays,” per The NYT, was long-planned.
Congratulations, my friend, and thank you for guiding movie lovers for all these years and helping make film culture better. I’m greatly looking forward to spending some time with you, face to face and outside a movie theater, when we’re no longer practicing social distancing. https://t.co/fwr1OaKHOR
— Manohla Darkness @ManohlaDargis March 25, 2020
But there was more to the response to Turan’s departure than one veteran hanging up his spurs. Before the pandemic, film critics were already struggling to survive in a fragile newspaper economy that whittled out hundreds of working critics. And since theaters closed down last week, critics are trying to figure out how to function in a post-theatrical world. Write essays about why movies matter? Recommend classic movies on TCM to watch at home? Review anniversary DVDs? Pivot to television and streaming?
Turan opted out as a daily critic after almost three decades on the film beat. After joining the paper in 1991, the Brooklyn-born former book editor became known for refusing to revel in screen violence, a humanistic approach to movies, a deep understanding of how movies are crafted, and most notoriously, for panning Oscar-winning blockbuster “Titanic,” driving James “King of the World” Cameron into attack mode. Turan kept his job for 22 more years, outlasting fellow critics Sheila Benson, Peter Rainer, Kevin Thomas and Michael Wilmington. His last review, on March 12, was of the German escape thriller “Balloon.”
The departing Turan promises to contribute film essays and think pieces, and leaves in place gifted critic Justin Chang, who moved over to the Times after paying his dues at Variety. How many other senior critics will...
Last Updated: April 4th
The Netflix name has meant many things, including the best shows not on TV. And while there are some glaring omissions in their selection of good movies, there's still plenty to peruse. Narrowing them down to just 50 of the best Netflix films wasn't easy. Nonetheless, here's a ranked list of the best movies on Netflix streaming no film lover should miss, all of them just a simple click away.1. Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 Paramount
Run Time: 115 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
The Indiana Jones franchise has been housed on Amazon Prime for a while now, but it's finally making its way to Netflix with the streaming platform hosting all four feature films. Of course, nothing beats the original, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and as far as travel and adventure go, this movie has everything you could possibly want. A hero with a love for archeology and whips? Check. An adventure to recover a stolen artifact with destructive powers? Check check. Harrison Ford beating up Nazis while uttering sarcastic one-liners and with a twinkle in his eye? Did movies even exist before this?2. The Matrix 1999 Warner Bros.
Run Time: 136 min | IMDb: 8.7/10
The Wachowski sisters created one of the greatest sci-fi films in cinematic history with their mind-bending Matrix trilogy, but the original is hard to top. Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a young man unplugged from the matrix — a kind of alternate reality that keeps humans docile, so machines can harvest their life energy. He teams up with a band of rebels fighting the machines Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus and Carrie-Ann Moss as Trinity and faces off against a henchman named Agent Smith Hugo Weaving. The real draw of this trilogy, besides its inventive storyline, is the CGI effects. The movie also sports some of the most imaginative fight sequences you'll ever see on the big screen.3. There Will Be Blood 2007 Miramax
Run Time: 158 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Daniel Day-Lewis stars in this gritty, Oscar-winning drama from Paul Thomas Anderson playing a turn-of-the-century prospector, who risks his faith and his family for oil. Daniel Plainview is a shrewd, callous businessman who adopts the orphaned son of a dead employee to make himself look more appealing to investors. When he hits oil in California, he wages a war with a local preacher and his family who stand in the way of Daniel's progress. Violence and yes, plenty of blood, follow.4. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse 2018 Sony
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 8.5/10
The Oscar-winning animated film follows a young kid named Miles, who becomes the web-slinging hero of his reality, only to cross paths with other iterations of...