Reviews: The Top 10 Movies of 2019

Cody Downey and Ver Lumod

2019 has come and gone, and it was definitely a great year for the film industry. Many longtime series provided installments of massive proportions. Prolific directors brought new films to both theaters and streaming services. Foreign films came into the spotlight to provide relevant stories worldwide. Regardless of what kind of movie fan you were, there was something to satisfy your itch this year.

Compiled here are the top 10 movies of 2019 for both myself (Cody Downey, Reviews Editor) and Ver Lumod (Assistant Reviews Editor). Obviously, these two broke and busy college students didn’t get the opportunity to view everything that came out this year. If the two of us missed a movie you believed was one of the best, let us know in the comments below or on The Maroon’s social media.

Ver Lumod’s Top 10 Movies of 2019

10. “Booksmart”
Directed by Olivia Wilde

Courtesy of United Artists Releasing

A bracingly refreshing coming-of-age comedy that’s free of cliches and is actually relatable for once.

9. “The Farewell”
Directed by Lulu Wang

Courtesy of A24

A heartfelt and relatable drama that centers on intricate family dynamics.

8. “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Courtesy of Sony

Tarantino’s solid love letter to Hollywood cinema from the 1960s dazzles and excites while, at the same time, showing that he can actually adopt a restrained pace, which is refreshing for a chance.

7. “Knives Out”
Directed by Rian Johnson

Courtesy of Lionsgate

A smartly plotted, star-studded whodunit with an unexpectedly social slant.

Click here to read The Maroon’s full review of “Knives Out.”

6. “Uncut Gems”
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie

Courtesy of A24

The Safdie brothers, as well as Adam Sandler, thrive on chaos, so it’s only imperative that the audience should feel the same way. It is the equivalent of being on a high speed train with no brakes.

Click here to read The Maroon’s full review of “Uncut Gems.”

5. “Midsommar”
Directed by Ari Aster

Courtesy of A24

A dreamy and unsettling horror tale on the dangers of being drawn into a cult. It is a wickedly satisfying breakup tale.

4. “The Lighthouse”
Directed by Robert Eggers

Courtesy of A24

A dreamy and unsettling horror tale on the dangers of isolation. It is an instant classic thanks to the phenomenal performances of Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe.

Click here to read The Maroon’s full review of “The Lighthouse.”

3. “Marriage Story”

Directed by Noah Baumbach

Courtesy of Netflix

An incisive yet sympathetic portrait of two artists going through a divorce.

2. “Parasite”
Directed by Bong Joon-ho

Courtesy of Barunson E&A

A Korean genre-bending thriller that is so brilliantly made that it will make any viewer find their faith in cinema ably restored.

Click here to read The Maroon’s full review of “Parasite.”

1. “The Irishman”
Directed by Martin Scorsese

Courtesy of Netflix

One of Scorsese’s finest films since “Goodfellas” and “The Departed.” The sprawling crime epic strives to bury the myth of glamour being associated with a life of crime.

Click here to read The Maroon’s full review of “The Irishman.”

Cody Downey’s Top 10 Movies of 2019

10. “Yesterday”
Directed by Danny Boyle

Courtesy of Universal Pictures


Though this is very controversial to admit, I am not the biggest fan of The Beatles. Despite this, I really liked “Yesterday.” Though the film may have some logical leaps, the film provides a nice story with good performances and a refreshingly original idea.

9. “Aladdin”
Directed by Guy Ritchie

Courtesy of Disney

In a year of Disney live-action remakes ranging from “Dumbo” to “The Lion King,” the live-action remake of “Aladdin” was the most entertaining for me. Though it adds only slight variations to the original tale, it is a fun movie that has both great laughs and songs.

8. “The Sun Is Also a Star”
Directed by Ry Russo-Young

Courtesy of Warner Bros


A teen romance film may seem like an odd choice for one of the best films of the year but, “The Sun Is Also a Star” is different enough from others to be worth viewing. The chemistry of the lead actors and the story of the film provide a genuine and believable plot that can make the most love lost person consider the feeling to be real.

7. “It Chapter Two”
Directed by Andy Muschietti

Courtesy of Warner Bros


Horror movies can be a real mixed bag, with most having cheap jump scares and bland stories. But, “It Chapter Two” provides some cleverly creepy imagery, great performances and a decent plot.

Click here for The Maroon’s full review of “It: Chapter Two.”

6. “Jumanji: The Next Level”
Directed by Jake Kasdan

Courtesy of Sony


Though not as good as its’ 2017 predecessor, “Jumanji: The Next Level” provides a fun, action-packed adventure with good comedy and visuals.

Click here for The Maroon’s full review of “Jumanji: The Next Level.”

5. “The Farewell”
Directed by Lulu Wang

Courtesy of A24


For many, it can be hard to relate to a story that features characters and stories different from their own experiences. “The Farewell” subverts this situation, presenting a heartfelt and touching tale of a family’s love for their matriarch despite the lies that they tell.

4. “Queen & Slim”
Directed by Melina Matsoukas

Courtesy of Universal Pictures


Though this film may seem extremely serious, which at times it is, “Queen & Slim” tells an interesting story of how an unfortunate scene of events changes and develops the lives of two strangers.

3. “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”
Directed J.J. Abrams

Courtesy of Disney


Despite how controversial it is to have this film here, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” satisfies most of my needs for an entertaining film. The action, story and visuals all combine to make a great experience for the young “Star Wars” fan in me.

Click here to read The Maroon’s full, spoiler-free review of “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.”

2. “Avengers: Endgame”
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

Courtesy of Disney

“Avengers: Endgame” has to be the best film of the year in my opinion. Though it is no “Infinity War,” this film brought me the most joy I had ever experienced in a theater in my whole life. I will never forget how watching this for the first time felt.

Click here to read a full, spoiler review of “Avengers: Endgame.”

1. “Joker”
Directed by Todd Phillips

Courtesy of Warner Bros


“Joker” is more than just another superhero film. It is powerful not only in performance but also presentation. As a long time fan of comic book movies, I have to say this is film is one of the best, not only for fans but also those who are unfamiliar with the characters.

Click here to read The Maroon’s full review of “Joker.”