Every year, AndersonVision sits down and selects the best films of 2019. Last year, we farmed out the selections to our full team and that made for a visually pleasing but hard to read format.
This year, we’re taking things back to basics. Anderson himself will walk you through the long-form reasons behind the best films of the year. But, first…we discuss the movies that almost made the list.
AndersonVision’s Almost Best of 2019 List
Balloon is a short film directed by Jeremy Merrifield. Some people might notice that it boasts a wonderful supporting role from Paul Scheer. However, I feel that misses the point. In an era where superhero fantasy is at an all-time peak, Balloon examines the role that mythic strength plays on our reality. As superhero fiction takes a firm hold in Western Entertainment, I feel that we’re due for a whole slew of films examining that impact on wider audiences.
Just as Steve Martin and Woody Allen fetishized and poked fun at Detective Fiction, we’re due decades of the same for superheroes. While this short ends as expected, this is the tone I’d like to see going forward with these examinations. It’s one of the Almost Best of 2019 for a single reason. Short films don’t qualify for the Top 25 of the Year. Sorry for enforcing my imaginary rule.
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
2019 was Netflix’s year. While 2018 was a warning shot, Velvet Buzzsaw kicked off a year of Netflix stomping its name on Hollywood’s face. Jake Gyllenhaal is rapidly turning into one of my favorite actors. So, what’s not to love about a pretentious art critic (Gyllenhaal) feeding the Coastal Art Scene to killer art? If the humor would be more on the noise, it’s the kind of movie that I could see Paul Bartel directing back in the day.
What’s funny about Dan Gilroy’s direction is his standard approach makes the film feel darkly cold and comical. Check it out on Netflix!
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Always Be My Maybe made me love romantic comedies again. While I’m not a huge fan of Ali Wong’s comedy special, I respect her style. Plus, Randall Park is probably the best comedy straight man since Phil Hartman. The film made my Almost Best of 2019 for the reason why a lot of films never made the list. It wasn’t the most revolutionary film, but I enjoyed the hell out of my repeat viewings of it.
Hell, even the Keanu Reeves memes on social media didn’t ruin it for me. What almost did was seeing how something close to my generation is becoming the kind of stock fare that made me hate Baby Boomers in movies like When Harry Met Sally. Yet here we are now.
Her Smell (2018)
Her Smell should have annoyed me. But, damn if Elisabeth Moss at her peak can’t get me to watch anything. Just don’t mind the fact that she plays a feminist icon on Streaming TV, but tows the line for Scientology crap in reality. All points of derision aside, we view entertainment here and not artists. Maybe that kind of dichotomy helped inform Moss’s turn as a 90s Grrl Power rocker trying to make sense of her life.
Also, Eric Stoltz! Stoltz was great in this one and I never hear anyone praising his performance. It’s nice to see him acting and not helming episodes of Glee. The guy is too talented to become this generation’s Paul Michael Glaser.
Don’t Let Go (2019)
Don’t Let Go impressed me, but took three viewings for me to grasp. When time travel is handled to a logical degree, it’s enough to make you have a tension headache. Yet, Blumhouse producing a late summer dump that plays with big ideas for an urban audience…it gets no respect. Kicks, Sleight and so many other films play in this wheelhouse and they all kill. It’s just that unless you have a secondary market push like Fast Color has been getting, these movies get lost in the shuffle of media bloat.
The Almost Best of 2019 release is a quick blast, but I wish I had more time to explain these picks. But, for the sake of brevity…let’s roll into the Top 25 of 2019.