This year I saw 125 new releases in 2019. I’ve seen people saying that this was a great year for movies, and in a way, that’s true. The films that made my Top 10 this year are films I can easily see myself revisiting in the years to come. But I also think this was a year where a lot of movies were fine and forgettable. There wasn’t anything particularly bad about films like The LEGO Movie 2, Dark Waters, Frozen II, and others, but they’ve already largely slipped away from my memory. There was so much that was middling that I couldn’t help but admire audacious movies like Serenity, which may be bonkers and unwieldy, but at least was taking more chances than films like Last Christmas or The Aeronauts.
And yet when I look back over this year, I find that there are plenty of other good movies that deserve your attention. But I’m firm believer that year-end lists should be functional. They exist for folks who don’t get to see 125 movies in a year (and it should be noted, that with maybe a few exceptions, I saw these movies at press screenings or festivals, so I’m aware that I’m avoiding a budget limitation that faces other movie fans). They exist for people who want to know if there are only ten movies they should see in a given year, it should be these ten.