M. N. Miller’s 2019 Year In Film
The year has come and gone. 2019 was a very good year in film and while many have said it can’t hold a candle to last year’s crop — 2018, admittedly, had an incredibly deep bench of quality films where any in your top 50 list could slide into this year’s top end-of-the-year rankings — I would still say your favorite 20 films this year are as strong as any from this decade.
What have I done here? Well, I decided to rank every single film I saw that was considered an official release within this calendar year. I don’t care if something was labeled a “television” event on Netflix like American Son, or that I am counting Falling Inn Love in the same category as cinema; if the streaming king wants to run with the studio system during the awards season, then we need to hold all their films accountable. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, they all count in my book; I even managed to include a Redbox original release.
So, please take a few minutes to stroke my ego, as I pretend everyone in the world wants to know that I saw 219 films in 2019 (the fact that number worked out that way is pure dumb luck) and how I ranked them with the incredible amount of time I wasted creating this list. Is it a bit self-absorbed, perhaps? Maybe. Does it lack some humility? Well, I don’t agree. The reason is that I’ve always said why I’m so great is because of my incredible modesty. Could you even call it self-indulgent? You’re goddamn right.
Please note, I can’t possibly see all the films this year. The most notable one I failed to see was The Lighthouse. For all you Pattinson heads out there, please understand that I can’t help the digital projector failed at my local Regal; please forgive me.
Note: Please use the links at the bottom of the page to navigate through the pages of this article.
M. N. Miller’s 2019 Year In Film: Part 1
Earlier in 2019, I wrote, “To whom it may concern, I may have been too hard on Replicas, The Hustle, and Drunk Parents. Please accept my apology. I have just watched Redbox’s first attempt at original content, Benjamin. I am prepared to say it’s the worst film of the year, and it’s not even close.” I was right.
So poorly written, it might have the worst dialogue of any feature film in a decade. An immediate shoo-in for a host of Razzie awards and there is a little over 350 days left. This isn’t so bad it’s good comfort food. Replicas is taxing, frustrating, and tediously boring.
217. Drunk Parents
This — I think — comedy from Fred Wolf that is so inept, so crass, so humorless, so tactless, it actually attempts to double down on sex-offender jokes as if it had struck a wellspring of situational comedy about pedophilia. Drunk Parents is the equivalent of being stuck in a crowded party with a new intoxicated friend who won’t leave you alone and who thinks they are funny and entertaining but are, in fact, overly crass, and unbearably humorless.
Vin Scully wasn’t talking about Kirk Gibson’s home run during the 1988 World Series, I’m certain he jumped in a time machine and just saw the musical Cats. There is no rhyme or reason for anything that goes on in this overblown production and is equivalent to the worst kind of self-indulgent street art. Tom Hooper’s film is practically incoherent in almost every single way.
214. The Hard Way
Remember that scene in Arrested Development when Michael Bluth opens up a paper bag marked, “Dead Dove, Do Not Eat,” then comments, “Well, I don’t know what I expected.” Well, that’s the same reaction I had for this direct to Netflix tawdry action film.
213. Berlin, I Love You
Berlin, I Love You is an anthology film that is the worst of its kind because it has no idea how people actually talk, interact, or connect with each other in any real way. It’s an eye-rolling, tedious bore, that drowns in its own overtly outlandish sentimental mouth drool.
212. The Fanatic
Films like The Fanatic write a character with a development issue like Autism or Asperger’s that never work because they are used as a subplot with little understanding of the disorder. This is one more limp notch in the Travolta filmography bedpost that has gotten worse with every passing year this decade.
211. Secret Obsession
Love hurts not only for the characters, but for the viewers of this cheesy Netflix formula stalker film. Secret Obsession could have actually used a lot more Velveeta to cover up how surprisingly tepid, stale, and mind-numbing this outing is.
210. Holiday in the Wild
As I watched Holiday in the Wild‘s African river picnic, I kept praying for one of those hungry crocodiles to end it all — and viciously. Netflix’s continued descent into the Hallmark abyss must have been saved by those elephants that can “read your soul.” Oh, shoot me now.
One of those films that takes a shovel full of exposition and creates moments of drama unnaturally out of nowhere, just to set up emotional reveals no one asked for and care about; poorly written, with characters woefully underdeveloped, and mind-numbingly boring.
Remember when some films were just never released, buried, and never talked about like an embarrassing family secret? Now Netflix buys them up like a Walmart discount and streams them all. The result is a film like Polar, a Canadian John Wick wannabe import based on a graphic novel that’s a lurid mess.
207. The Last Laugh
Filled with filler, the best of The Last Laugh are the stand-up bits which are far too short and led to a finale that acts as if arriving at the destination is the same thing as fulfilling the goal that drove the characters in the first place. A missed opportunity.
206. Last Christmas
I now have my very own, The Brown Bunny. I hated Last Christmas. I found the leads dull, lacking chemistry, and besides only two scenes with Thompson, the film is virtually laugh-free. That, however, is beside the point. The lazy and peculiar twist has no justification. It simply doesn’t work.
205. Rambo Last Blood
It’s saying something when the creator of Rambo lets people know how awful the latest and likely last installment is (until a reboot starring, my guess, Dave Bautista). This film is violent, gory, and rarely develops thrills while trying to relive the glory days.
A typical B-movie that the streaming giant blew the two- ears of dust off with competent components (lighting, framework, and editing) and fresh-faced actors spewing out some of the trashiest dialogue you’ll ever hear.
203. The Hustle
The makers of The Hustle had me originally worried that they ruined a childhood memory of watching films with my father and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels being one of his favorites. After sleeping on it a day, I have come to realize they have only made me deepen my appreciation for it more. So, this weekend, I’m going to give him a nod as he looks down at me from above, and then watch Steve Martin go to the bathroom while sitting at the dinner table while wearing an eye patch. And for that Chris Addison, Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, and Stanley Shapiro, I thank you.
The cinematic equivalent of The Stanford Prison Experiment
201. The Curse of the La Llorona
A folklore ‘conjured’ up in Mexico by some old biddies so their kids would stay in line or The Curse of the La Llorona will get you. A stagnant studio attempt to keep the money flowing and the casting of Cardellini, who is of 100% European descent, is highly questionable.
200. Point Blank
Have you ever asked when will Hollywood make an original film that showcases Frank Grillo stomping his foot into the face of Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden? Well, Netflix is here for you with Point Blank, an action flick void of comic relief and any real thrills.
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.