Day 3 of the 2019 Movie Rankings! If you’ve missed days one and two you can find them here:
As was the case for the past couple days, I am still definitely critical of today’s group of movies. However, I do think they all have some redeeming qualities and are worth checking out if you have the time and interest.
21. Captain Marvel (73/100)
I was really excited for Captain Marvel! Introducing a new uber-powered superhero played by an Oscar winning actress (Brie Larson) felt like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, there were some aspects of the movie that just didn’t really do it for me.
Brie Larson has amnesia for most of the movie, during which they show us flashbacks that depict her as this person full of life. For whatever reason, we never actually see this version of her though – she gives a very wooden performance throughout. I heard that Emily Blunt was, at one point, on the shortlist to play the titular role. Based on her performances in both Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario, I think that would’ve been an excellent casting decision.
The Skrulls are a major part of the plot – they’re a shapeshifting alien race. In the first act we see them shapeshifting a ton. It kind of felt like they were setting this movie up to be part-thriller where you’re not always sure who you’re talking to and who you can trust. They mostly abandon the shapeshifting following the first act, however, with a few exceptions here and there.
Parts of the story also felt rather thin to me. Jude Law’s character was paper thin and goes in the hall of underdeveloped MCU characters with the likes of Ronan the Accuser (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Kaecilus (Dr. Strange). Also Annette Bening plays the Supreme Intelligence, which is sort of an important part of the story, yet they never really explain what the Supreme Intelligence is at any point.
I’ve already spent way too much time going through my thoughts on Captain Marvel, so I’ll give one last quick negative – the action was somewhat underwhelming.
I know I just wrote a book about what I didn’t like about this movie but I think it’s worth checking out if you haven’t seen it yet. The de-aging on Samuel L. Jackson is done well, Goose the cat was phenomenal, and, most importantly, I had some fun with it.
20. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (75/100)
The Last Black Man in San Francisco is one of those A24 movies that seemingly come out of nowhere and are done so, so well. I know this ended up on more than a few “Best of the Year” lists and I can absolutely understand why. In particular I thought the cinematography was amazing and was only aided by a soulful score.
I really think it was worthy of an Academy Award nomination in at least one, if not both, of those categories.
So why is this so low on my list? Well, while I liked the main characters, I didn’t agree with their actions. Not all movies are set up for you to support the protagonists but this one is and I just wasn’t rooting for them.
19. Booksmart (76/100)
Booksmart is another movie that received unreal hype that just didn’t fully do it for me. That’s really been the story for most of the movies I’ve gone through so far. This was billed as “modern day Superbad with female leads” which is a really big ask of any movie.
I thought this was an excellent directorial debut from Olivia Wilde and there were parts of this movie that are genuinely hilarious. Where this fell short for me is that, in terms of the plot, it’s almost like it’s trying to match Superbad beat-for-beat, just with a more modern take. It does this while not delivering on the comedic side as frequently or satisfyingly as Superbad.
P.S. The lead is played by Jonah Hill’s sister, Beanie Feldstein.
18. Us (77/100)
Let me dust off the old line quick: this movie had a ton of hype going in – it was considered by some to be better than Get Out. While Us centers around a very cool premise, it almost feels a little J.J. Abrams-esque in that it created more questions than it answered. I won’t spoil anything but I do think I would’ve ranked it higher had Jordan Peele not clearly telegraphed one of the main twists.
That being said, there are plenty of positives from this movie, the most notable being the acting. Obviously, the chances are slim that an actress would receive an Oscar nomination for her work in a horror movie that released in the springtime. Still, I would’ve loved to have seen Lupita Nyong’o receive a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in Us.
Also, the remix in the trailer was pure fire.
17. Detective Pikachu (78/100)
I was a huuugee Pokemon nerd growing up. I had those pocket monsters for days. I had a binder with the cards. Pokemon Yellow in my Gameboy color. Did I own Pokemon Snap – the game where you did nothing but take pictures from the safety of your car? No, no I didn’t. But you know I rented it enough that I probably should’ve just owned it.
So, yeah, Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool schtick in a brilliantly animated Pikachu piqued my interest. Detective Pickachu has plenty of issues – the acting isn’t great, the story is mostly garbage, I could go on and on but I don’t really care that much. I thought the visuals were really impressive, and there’s such a big nostalgia boost for me, that I was able to look past a lot of flaws and have a lot of fun with this one.