It is that time of year where L&D compare notes and catalog the year that was. And it was a decidedly unusual year, with lots of big budget productions that did not translate into great movies and mediocre superhero and serial epic movies that failed to impress (Terminator: Dark Fate, Men in Black, Avengers: Endgame, The Rise of Skywalker, Ad “it took four idiots to write that?” Astra, Midway).
Whew! Talk about CGI.
That we liked Brittany Runs a Marathon better than any of these probably gives you some hint as to where this is heading. So let’s head on over to the year that was…
Most Read Review: L’s review of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood wins this one going away. He was decidedly unimpressed with Tarantino’s re-imagining of the Manson murders (an L&D split decision) and our readers seemed to love it. But he didn’t hate it as much as he hated Mother!, which still holds the crown for the all-time most-read post here at The Report.
The Double Reviews: Four double reviews this year, with split decisions on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (L, D) and Rocketman, two frying pans to the noggin for McConaughey’s curious atrocity, Serenity, and two sympathetic nods of approval for the remarkable Cate Blanchett in Where’d You Go, Bernadette?.
Box Office Don’t Lie: We were two of the few people disappointed by Joker, evidently, though D did manage to get a sprawling review together. Although we brandished Avengers: Endgamewith the coveted “not terrible” tag, it was still overwhelmingly ungreat. And D wasn’t a big fan of the live action The Lion King, though you probably saw it and loved it.
Don’t Trust Anthropologists: Generally good advice in any year, but Midsommar cemented it for us:
Between the visuals and the music and the director’s patience with scenes and the hyper-deliberate pace of the plot-lines, the movie does a spectacular job of inducing dread. It wasn’t terribly scary scary, but it was unnerving and more disturbing than your average bear.
Stuff We Liked but Didn’t Write Reviews: Ford v. Ferrari (Bale and Damon road show, good stuff), Jojo Rabbit (crazy, heartbreaking, Scarlett Johansson is a genius), Zombieland Double Tap (very funny, extremely well done), Motherless Brooklyn (beautifully done, great portrayal of historic NYC, but a yawner).
L&D Top Six: And on to the Creme of the Fraiche, L took the lead on reviewing every single one of our movies that made the top six. Figure that one out.
#6 Knives Out: “a refreshing storyline and amazing performances by Ana de Armas and Daniel Craig. If you are into whodunits, do yourself a favor and check out this movie.”
#5 Yesterday: “We heard a few folks clapping during the credits. I can’t remember the last time I heard that.”
This was L’s favorite for the year and D liked it enough that it made his top ten. It’s pretty good.
At #4 we had The Favourite, which was a 2018 movie in L.A. and NYC, but a 2019 movie here in Badgerland:
There are few actresses who can hold an entire film together with so little as a fleeting glance, Emma Stone is one. In fact, Stone’s performance here is so strong that if she is not nominated for an Academy Award, I shall have to relive myself in the royal vomit bucket— there is apparently one in every room of the palace.
Definitely thought provoking and a conversation starter, even if you found its characters and/or its characterizations objectionable.
#3 Us: An imperfect but extremely innovative horror story that gave L&D the heebie jeebies.
Our clerk at the concession stand did an amazingly good job summing up the movie, even though his tag said his favorite film was La La Land. His 1 minute critique was concise, precise and didn’t include any spoilers. He said it was not a horror film but more of a slasher, suspense film that was very entertaining and had a great ending.
We replied — Yes, we would like butter. We would always like butter.
We both agreed that we should watch this one a second time now that we know what we know, but I think both of us were too creeped out to follow through on that pledge.
Awkwafina dominates in #2 Farewell, and L tells us that “I would watch it again, but it’s out of the theater. You should catch it when it’s streaming. I can’t recommend it enough.” D concurs.
And our we managed to see our #1 film of the year in the absolute last time slot that it showed here in Appletown (right before the Big Parade!), and we are sure glad we got to see Parasite, “a fascinating work and an instant cinema classic.” The L&D pick for the year in a runaway.
L&D will look for you in the theaters in 2020 and we might be experimenting with some new formats. Over the next few weeks we will be mopping up the Oscar bait that we didn’t get a chance to see in 2019, including Uncut Gems, Little Women, and 1917, and let’s hope February and March aren’t as dreadful as in year’s past.
We also heard a rumor that there is a L&D Best of the Last-Half Decade list in the works. Watch this space!
Thanks again for your eyes on these pages. This was our biggest year ever by far in terms of page views, and we’ll hope that we can continue to give you a reason to check us out.