Long ago, in the mythical, sepia-toned era of hope, liberty, and prosperity that was 2019, I watched a grand total of 38 new films. That was 38 newly-released films from the beginning of January to the end of December, 38 separate contributions to the operating costs of both my local Theatrical Symposium for Degenerate Fancies and reputable Cineplexes in neighboring towns, 38 fresh notches on my cinematic utility belt. As far as the film industry was concerned, it was a pretty packed year, and that’s factoring my intentional avoidance of most mainstream tentpole releases (I’m pickier than the average wannabe film critic and therefore only subject myself to films that appeal to me, so no, I didn’t see f***ing Captain Marvel). Even with nearly forty citations on my annual cinematic rap sheet, I still had a hell of a time populating 2019’s Top Ten, because the vast majority of movies I watch simply don’t resonate with me (really, I should just pen an annual Top Four List for all the films I actually end up remembering by the time I turn over my ‘Seasons of Ryan Reynolds’ wall calendar).Continue reading 2020 Top… One List: Featuring ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ and True Confessions of a Personal Nature
My feelings towards 2019 as a year-in-film are mixed, because it felt like two radically different years fused together in the middle whose individual parts ultimately coalesced about as well as bone marrow and cheddar cheese. January until about June was one of the most disheartening seasons I can recall, and that was despite a conscious effort to avoid movies I knew I’d hate such as Godzilla: King of the Kong and X-Men XXII: Dark Phoenix Revisited. I must have angered the Indie Film Gods at some point, because there were key movies in the early portions of 2019 that I had pegged for a slot on the ol’ Top Ten that proved woefully disappointing. In fact, until about July I had been getting ready to give up on films altogether and devote myself to more worthy pursuits, such as reading, exercising, and dating—oh God, help me…
July, however, triggered a dynamic shift in the quality of films available to me, with some surprisingly great films trickling into my hometown’s Theatrical Symposium for Degenerate Fancies (likely by accident) and slowly but surely filling up my Top Ten.
2018 started with such promise, but much like that one Thanksgiving where I attempted to make beef wellington for my loved ones, it ended with decimated expectations, disillusionment in the promise of good things, and a round of pumped stomachs. Though a few worthwhile releases certainly caught me by surprise, by and large this was a tedious and mediocre year marked by bitter disappointments, even where my beloved Indie market was concerned. Many of the films I had high hopes for fell flatter than grandma after that aforementioned Thanksgiving dinner, while other movies I had no expectations for whatsoever taught me to never again ask “How bad could it possibly be?” unless I’m planning on French kissing a pencil sharpener.
Come with me on a journey through time and space, to the world of 2015 –
When I looked back on 2015’s release schedule in preparation for this saunter down memory lane, I was frankly appalled at how dismal most of the year really was, especially since I actually once compared it favourably to 2016 when penning that year’s Top Ten. There was a lot of garbage and mediocrity this year that I had apparently repressed until now. That being said, most of the films on the Top Ten itself still hold a special place in my heart and in my film library, but everything else? Cinematic flotsam and jetsam. Incidentally, this was one of those rare years where I decided to watch (nearly) every movie nominated for Best Picture, so make of that connection what you will.
When I looked back on 2017 in preparation for this list, I realized I actually liked most of what I saw. Maybe it was a rare quality year for cinema (unlikely), or maybe I’ve just become increasingly scrupulous about the films I choose to view (bang on). Whatever the case, after slotting the eight films I loved enough to purchase on DVD, I found it was a bit of a challenge to sort through the plethora of other films I just sort of liked in a ‘Good 7’ kind of way but don’t harbour much enthusiasm for. This pool of films included The Founder, John Wick 2, War for the Planet of the Apes, Wind River, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and The Meyerowitz Stories, which were all certainly good but not good enough that I’d brand any of them Top Ten material.
Strictly speaking, this list kick-started this entire venture. I had written it on a Sunday afternoon in January of 2017 in a fit of boredom and posted it to Facebook on a whim — the positive reaction from my peers inspired me to take a dip into the sacred waters of scholarly thought and emerge as the SnootyFilmCritic, ready to take on the film industry with naught but my laptop and an intense disdain for stupidity. I post it here affectionately as the post that started it all.
I recall 2016 being a tedious year for films. 2015 satisfied my palate with the likes of Mad Max, Sicario, It Follows, Ex Machina, Kingsmen, Inside Out, and the criminally underrated Krampus, among others, but alas, the barren, arid entertainment wasteland that was 2016 forced me to scour every Indie nook and film fest cranny for something actually good to occupy all ten slots on my annual roster. Continue reading 2016 Top Ten List