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2019 Movie Rankings: Top 10

The final day, the Top 10, of my 2019 Movie Rankings Countdown has arrived. Leading up to the 92nd edition of The Academy Awards, I have been revealing my rankings for all 185 new movies I watched this year.

RANKINGS SO FAR:
Bottom 15 (171-185)
170-161
160-151
150-141
140-131
130-121
120-111
110-101
100-91
90-81
80-71
70-61
60-51
50-41
40-31
30-21
20-11

No bullshit here today, let's get right to the 10 movies I felt were the best of 2019...

10) Midsommar (93/100): A horror and thriller in the light? It's simple yet so fucking effective...

Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’ is a triumph in tension and horror with stunning visuals as good as anything we’ve ever seen from the genre. The unique, unusual horror setting lends to the shock and awe amidst a gripping story packed with intense symbolism. (This is what I wrote in my review and, honestly, I can't do a better job the second time) 'Midsommar' stuck with me all year long and I like it more than Aster's other movie 'Hereditary'. It's also worth noting that this is another Florence Pugh movie in the Top 50. She had an unbelievable year.

09) 1917 (93/100): Few movies define the concept of "you need to see this in theaters" as much as '1917'...

Sam Mendes' World War I one-shot movie is a stunning achievement in filmmaking. Technically speaking, with the aide of cinematography legend Roger Deakins ('Blade Runner 2049' among many other things), '1917' is a complete masterpiece. How you have this ranked amongst the best movies of the year will mostly depend on your connection to the stories and characters. Regardless, I would struggle to see how anyone could place this outside of the ten best movies of the year.

08) The Irishman (94/100): It seems as though the hype for 'The Irishman' has died off considerably since its release, but this was still one of my favorite movies of the year. I think you can put this movie up there with some of Scorsese's best work and that's in large part due to its stellar cast and compelling story. The idea of the aging mobster and watching their lives unravel and slowly become less and less important is a side of this genre we do not often get to see. I know the de-aging and visual effects have taken some heat, but I think the decision to go with this technology worked in the movie's favor. 'The Irishman' worked so well because it was De Niro, Pesci and Pacino the entire time. The "sadness" and coping with dying relevance played better because of the casting and de-aging decision.

07) Jojo Rabbit (94/100): This satirical comedy is bold, daring and further proof that Taika Waititi is one of the brightest minds in Hollywood…

Even if the brightest star of creativity in Hollywood is burning out, we will always have Taika Waititi. His willingness to be bold and different makes his movies so unique, the fact that they're also good movies helps too! 'Jojo Rabbit' is no exception, with a ton of heart and emotion mixed into a hilarious script, it effortlessly stands out from the pack.

06) Rocketman (94/100): The Elton John musical biopic went wire-to-wire, sticking in my Top 10 for the entire year following its early 2019 release. This biggest reason? Taaron Egerton's insane portrayal of Elton John…

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The legendary singer told Egerton to not play his exact replica but to put his explosive twist on the role. Egerton did just that and won a Golden Globe (and was an Oscars snub) in the process. I was fairly critical of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' last year. It was a good but bland and boring musical biopic that pulled so many punches. The unique hybrid of a fantasy style to its music moments with the usual beats of a biopic resulted in a genre-bending movie that I couldn't get enough of as a viewer.

05) Marriage Story (95/100): I know this movie has been meme'd to death, but this scene?

Good lord is that stellar acting! It's a tour de force acting, I would say. Both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson deserve all the praise in the world for their raw, emotional and gut-wrenchingly personal performances. It's like watching an intense broadway show playout right in front of your face. But at the same time, it has enough subtle, heartfelt moments that make this movie so relatable for a variety of reasons. 'Marriage Story' is a movie and story deeply rooted in its fleshed-out characters and an easy choice to land in my Top 5.

04) Knives Out (95/100): The fact Rian Johnson was able to not just make this movie work, but make it one of the year's best releases is nothing short of incredible…

We've seen recent ensemble casts ('The Murder on the Orient Express') flop hard in recent years and this movie's group seemed almost too good to be true. But my word did Rian Johnson pen a perfect story that played off the personalties and acting chops of all the actors and actresses on board. Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas were the standout performances that gave this movie so much shine. The "Whodunnit?" genre isn't new and is easy to make stale as hell, but Johnson was able to flip the concept on its head to generate a boatload of new ideas, surprises, and twists.

03) Uncut Gems (96/100): I am still rattled by the chaos and intensity of this movie…

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I wish the nightclub scene with the Weeknd was online because that is the one I would have linked above.

What the Safdie Brothers were able to do with this movie is unlike anything I have ever seen. The buzz when I left the theater was crazy, everyone was all over the place in shock, discussing the craziness that unfolded. It's provocative and frenetic, but in a way that beautifully tells the story of a broken man and world. The music is jarring, the constant close-ups throw you for a loop and you never get a point to relax during the movie. It feels like the movie is hooked right up to your veins and it never lets up at any point. Adam Sandler is great in the lead role, and he should have been nominated at the Oscars, but the movie as a whole has been far too disrespected in my eyes. 'Uncut Gems' threw convention out the window and acted as a disrupter in a Hollywood littered with "more of the same." I understand why some people don't vibe with the movie, but boy oh boy did I fucking love it.

02) Parasite (97/100): This was one of the best movies of the decade. If you have yet to see 'Parasite', I have one question for you: why?

Plain and simple, 'Parasite' is a brilliant movie. It's a movie unlike anything I have seen and one that doesn't really have a defined genre. Part of what makes the movie work so well is the constant guessing game you do while watching it. Is it about to be a thriller? Are there supernatural elements to it? It's eerie, dark and ominous and pulls you right into the story and characters as you begin to analyze every frame, every piece of dialogue and all of the intricate details director Bong Joon Ho placed in the movie. Visually speaking the movie is undeniably a work masterful work of art. The subtitles are barely noticeable and, honestly, the visual cues are enough to make this movie work without subtitles (still use them, because the script is award-worthy on its own).

Everything about 'Parasite' is simply "wow."

01) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (97/100): I am a sucker for Tarantino movies and sucker for any movie that is a love letter to Hollywood. This movie is that and so much more… and it also features my favorite scene of 2019!

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I love character stories and Tarantino dives as deep as he ever has with characters in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'. The vibrant characters and performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie were impossible for me to not fall in love with right from the start. The converging storylines of the washed-up but accepting Cliff Booth (Pitt), fading yet hopeful Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), and the innocent curious Sharon Tate (Robbie) was done perfectly. Add the slowly built-up tension of the Manson Family subplot in the background? Brilliantly done. The Spahn Ranch scene with Brad Pitt was so fucking tense and cut right into the story at the perfect time. You always felt on edge after the scene and it paid off in an explosive way at the end of the movie.

It really didn't get any better than this for me in 2019.

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Here are the rankings so far in picture form…

That's it! It's over! What was your TOP MOVIE of 2019? Let us know below. We move on to 2020 but remember that you can still rate all of the movies released in 2019 on a scale of 0-100 below. Make sure to subscribe (click here) to Lights Camera Barstool to enjoy our twice-a-week movie podcast…

Give your rating for all 2019 movies:
January: https://goo.gl/forms/tyUaQnv8QgMyHfcf1
February: https://goo.gl/forms/N98XcvIy3SukhrIw2
March: https://goo.gl/forms/4QbmSMj6wK0feMZ13
April: https://forms.gle/uRUg5xPyfsE8bk9B6
May: https://forms.gle/cdBDBdjNcHZ93sog6
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October: https://forms.gle/wjyrNUxbX8MYVLHUA
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December: https://forms.gle/uCYmh7uMtxE99Vj88