Here it is, my favorite post of the year to write. Before I get to my top Little Movies of 2019, I should note that two potential (and in one case, actual) award-winners open this week.
1917, fresh off Golden Globe wins for Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Director, opens Jan. 10, along with Just Mercy (starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson).
Now on to my favorite Little Films of the past year! Note: This isn't a best of list, it's my personal favorites. Your list will be different, and that's a good thing! Feel free to share your favorites - I love to see what resonated with others. As always, these are all movies that screened at The Little in 2019.
Probable award-winners, that aren't on my top-ten list, but absolutely deserve kudos: THE IRISHMAN, THE LIGHTHOUSE, HONEY BOY, ONE CHILD NATION, JAWLINE, THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, BURNING, ROCKETMAN, MIDSOMMAR
Some of the above movies I really enjoyed, and some I appreciated as fantastic cinema, but didn't love them. Either way, they deserve some sort of shout-out and they're absolutely worth seeking out if you haven't watched yet.
Favorite non-Little movies: KNIVES OUT, BOOKSMART, US
Booksmart wins my Best Comedy Oscar, Knives Out wins the Most Fun Oscar, and Us wins the Twisted Creative Tale That Reminds Me of An Adult Goosebumps Oscar. All real awards.
Top ten countdown:
10. PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
A sweet, funny little film that truly is a "feel good" tale. Zack Gottsagen is an absolute star.
9. UNCUT GEMS
Howard's (Adam Sandler) rare black opal >>>>> The Infinity Stones. This film is a rush - full of frenetic scenes and bad decisions. Sandler is as fantastic as you've heard.
Now this is a psychological thriller. A film that was a bit under-looked, but wow, is this a powerhouse of acting, directing, and writing.
7. THE FAREWELL
Lulu Wang should win best director awards, she won't this year, and that's an injustice. Awkwafina is also brilliant, and Nai Nai is simply the best. In fact, we need a Nai Nai spin-off, origin story, and basically just a whole Nai Nai Cinematic Universe™️.
6. A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Marielle Heller is hands-down one of the best directors out there (her last two films aside from this were THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL and CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?). This didn't quite produce as many tears as the Mister Rogers documentary, WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, but still a film as cozy as a favorite cardigan. (Note to self: We need Little-branded tissues for films like this.)
5. LITTLE WOMEN
This week two fans of the book/movie went around Rochester and left 15 copies of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, plus iconic quotes from the book, around Rochester (including at The Little) for strangers to find and treasure. They did this as part of the #LWBookFairies trend, and it's simply the best. So is Greta Gerwig. And this cast. LITTLE WOMEN rocks.
4. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
The biggest Little hit of the year! We were fortunate enough to be one of 51 theaters across the country to screen a 35mm print of Quentin Tarantino's ode to 1969 Hollywood. Leo and Brad's characters are 100-percent the friendship goals we should all strive for.
3. HAIL SATAN?
The entire theater wore glowing devil horns during this One Take Film Fest 2019 hit. It was amazing. Penny Lane's doc is equal parts clever, fun, and eye-opening - simply put, it's a hell of a film.
2. JOJO RABBIT
Jojo and Yorki greeting each other with a hug every time they meet is the most wholesome thing in cinema this year. Perhaps below Taika Waititi's HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, but only slightly, slightly so. This shouldn't have worked, but absolutely did for me.
As soon as this ended I let out one of those guffaws that can only be summoned by something this unpredictable, funny, and mega suspenseful. My favorite of 2019, and the best movie released since GET OUT. A truly legendary Bong (Joon-ho) hit.