Wednesday, January 01, 2020

My Ten Favorite New-to-Me Movies of 2019

Happy New Year!!!

In 2019, I watched 102 movies.  Not 102 separate titles, as I am a major re-watcher, but I sat down and watched a movie 102 times. T'was a happy year.  As always, I'm here with a retrospective in the form of a list of the 10 new-to-me movies I liked best this past year.  Titles are linked to my reviews where applicable.

1. Midway (2019).  Faithful, dazzling, elegant presentation of the early Pacific Theater of Operations during WWII, from the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, through the Battle of Midway June 4-7, 1942.  I love this movie so much, I've put it at #14 on my list of my 100 favorite movies.  I've seen it in the theater four times now, and I'm aching to see it again.

2. Captain Marvel (2019).  This movie is just plain, unadulterated fun.  A woman (Brie Larson) learns the truth about her identity and sets about undoing all manner of injustices she was an unwitting part of.  Yes, it's a superhero movie, but it speaks to the universal longing for self-knowledge and finding your true place and purpose.

3. Avengers: Endgame (2019).  I'm okay now.  I was not okay after Avengers: Infinity War (2018), but I am okay now.  The Avengers have triumphed.  The saga is basically complete, and I will tentatively be interested in the MCU going forward, but I might be okay just letting the story be done here for me.  We'll see.

4. Captain Carey, USA (1949).  An OSS agent (Alan Ladd) gets betrayed to the Nazis while on a mission in Italy.  When the war is over, he goes back to seek vengeance for the death of the woman he loved, only to discover that much of what he thought he knew about that fateful night was a lie.  Ladd is the best part of this movie, but it's still a solid watch even if you're not his fan.

5. The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017).  Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) needs money.  And he needs his career to stop fizzling.  And he needs these grumpy characters in his head (especially Scrooge, played by Christopher Plummer) to cooperate.  And he needs people to stop pestering him so he can just write his next book.  I was WAY more charmed by this movie than I expected to be!

6. Up (2009).  Cute kid and grumpy old guy and funny dog have an adventure.  This movie made me cry a lot.  Pixar does that well.

7. 17 Again (2009).  Middle-aged guy (Matthew Perry) thinks his life would have been so much better if he'd only fulfilled his potential as a basketball player after high school.  Then he gets turned back into his 17-yr-old self (Zac Efron) and sees his life in a whole new light.  I thought this movie would be dumb, but wound up totally digging it.

8. Dodge City (1939).  A cowpuncher (Errol Flynn) becomes a lawman so he can bring law and order to Dodge City.  And also to gain the respect of a woman (Olivia de Havilland).  My first Errol Flynn western!  Won't be the last, I assure you.

9. The Thin Man Goes Home (1944).  Nick (William Powell) and Nora (Myrna Loy) visit Nick's hometown, where he gets no respect, no respect at all.  But he does get to solve a mystery.

10. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019).  Every story has a ending, including Hiccup and Toothless's.  This movie also makes me cry, but I like it anyway.  So do my daughters.  My son hates it.

Special Mention: They Shall Not Grow Old (2018).  Peter Jackson's haunting presentation of WWI that transcends the documentary genre.

What wonderful movies did you discover this year?  Did you see any of these?

If you want to see my lists from 2014 through 2018, there are links to them at the bottom of my "Ten Favorites Lists" page.

Here's to a new year of watching movies!


  1. Loved Captain Marvel sooooooooooo much. Carol is so relatable and I want to hug both Young Fury and Goose. [if I could do it without making them uncomfortable . . . lolz]

    Endgame was EVERYTHING I WANTED IT TO BE. I'm so stoked for the next movies, esp. Thor and Black Widow's.

    They Shall Not Grow Old is on my list of all-time favorite films now.

    1. Katie, yeah, many hugs required within Captain Marvel. Talos needs one too.

      Endgame was pleasing. I'm cautiously looking forward to the next movies, but not hyped up about them.

      They Shall Not Grow Old is staggeringly good.

  2. That's so cool that you saw Up in 2019! One of my Pixar favorites. <3 I had seen one of your comments somewhere about how you liked 17 Again so I gave it a try and liked it more than I thought I would! It reminded a lot of this:
    I haven't seen the movie, but I've seen a play version.

    I've seen two Thin Man movies (the first and the last), but I want to see the rest!!

    Also, The Man Who Invented Christmas, Endgame, Hidden World and Dodge City are so good!!

    1. MC, there are a handful of Pixar movies I still haven't seen, like Wall-E and Ratatouille and Inside Out. Now that I have Disney+ we'll see if I can rectify that.

      I've never seen Damn Yankees, but I read the article you linked to, and wow, it does have a lot of similarities to 17 Again!

      I love all the Thin Man movies. Some more than others. Now that I've seen all of them, I plan to slowly rewatch them and review them.

  3. I am SO GLAD you recommended Midway. I got to see it in theaters with a few of my siblings and man. What a powerful movie. I don't watch military films all that often, but the good ones always leave me stunned with gratitude and awe at the courage it takes to fight and die, and Midway did just that. Not to mention it was aesthetically pleasing and emotionally investing...and the airplane sequences made me very happy indeed...and yeah, I wanna see it again.

    I love Endgame and The Man Who Invented Christmas, too.

    1. Megan, that is AWESOME!!! I'm so happy you got to go see Midway AND you liked it. :-D Hurrah!

  4. I loved Endgame, and I think I'm about done with the MCU for now. It tied everything up so nicely. I'll probably watch Spiderman (I think there is going to be another?), but not sure I like the direction of the new Thor and Black Widow was never my favorite.

    I want to see the last How to Train Your Dragon, I'd forgotten about that.

    I'm afraid most of my movies were once again Hallmark, even though I've been burned out. I just like going downstairs and hanging out with my mom while she's watching them.

    1. Livia, yes, Endgame did tie everything up nicely, though Spider-man: Far From Home had some interesting stuff going on too, showing how the un-snap affected people. I'm cautiously interested in the next movies. Especially Black Widow, as it appears to take place earlier in the timeline.

      Nothing wrong with Hallmark movies! I've seen and enjoyed a few of those myself.

  5. Hi! Happy New Year! I've just joined a movie-a-month group to expand what I watch and who I talk to about what I see ;) I've been very bad about keeping track on what movies I see in the past, despite watching about 200 a year, but starting last month I'm trying to keep track and assign ratings - my favourite (re)watch in December was In a Lonely Place - not exactly a new movie, but with the online movie-a-month club I should be seeing some more newer movies in the next year! (I also re-watched Joan of Paris last month. For...reasons you can probably work out.)

    Also this year I'm trying to read a western novel a month and am making blog posts about them - anyone who wishes to play along is welcome, although so far my book club has exactly one member - myself. I've already read and posted about January's novel - Owen Wister's The Virginian. I expect a Hamlette book to come up some time this year for this so-far-one-person club!

    P.S. - Phew, glad to see your banner is... behaving again ;)

    1. VT, oh, a movie-a-month club sounds like fun! (Except I would promptly rebel against their plans... it's something I'd like to start, not belong to, lol.)

      A western novel a month would be great fun too :-) I really like The Virginian, so I'll have to pop over and see what you say about it. And awwww, I would be so honored if you read one of my books for your challenge!

      PS -- LOL! Too funny. In truth, Bobby Darin is dearer to me than Alan Ladd... and yet, Alan gets all the banners these days. He's even topping my book blog right now too...

    2. Bobby Darin seems like he was a gentleman as well ;)

      The more I think about The Virginian the more I liked it, although I wasn't entirely sure when I finished reading it. I might well want to re-read it at some point in the not too distant future.

      Our first movie-a-month movie was selected and I sighed. (I've seen it and thought it was just okay.) But I am hopeful that a second viewing will increase my satisfaction - and that next month will be something new to me! Hope you're having a good day.

    3. VT, I think he could be a gentleman when he wanted to, anyway ;-)

      If you want to see a good movie version of The Virginian, I really like the one from the '90s starring Bill Pullman.

  6. Midway is the only one of those movies I've seen. I enjoyed it, but not enough to go see it again. Instead I want to watch the old 70's version to compare. Did you see Shazam! or was that a 2018 movie. I enjoyed that one. Although, as far as super heroes go, The Incredibles will always be the top of my list.

    1. Stanley, glad you did get to see Midway, and enjoyed it! I've got the '70s version on my watchlist now too. I remember thinking it was really boring when I saw it way back when.

      Nope, haven't seen Shazam!, though it looks fun. As superheroes go, The Avengers and X-Men: Days of Future Past are my absolute tippy-top faves.

  7. 17 again is hilarious and The Man Who Invented Christmas is soo good!


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