The Best Of The First Half Of 2019


Welcome to July folks. Here’s something fun, which we do every single year right around this time. This article should come as no surprise, as you see me write this around the same point (either the final days of June or first days of July, like now), but time really flies, doesn’t it? We’re officially in the month of July now and have entered into the second half of the year. That of course means one thing…well, it means a lot of things, but here it means one thing specifically: it’s time for my mid year look at the best of the first half! As of the writing of this piece, I’ve seen just over 175 movies so far in 2019, which is a bit more than the normal amount for me, for what that’s worth. It’s going to be a fairly thorough and doesn’t really omit any huge early year releases, so that’s good. By and large, I’ve hit everything that needed to be hit in order to put together a decent list like the one you’re about to see.

Alrighty. Below, you’ll be able to see my rankings for everything that I’ve seen since the year began (plus what I saw early or saw last year but had pushed back into 2019). Take special note, as unlike last year when I threw out my rules governing what to include and what not to, I’m not highlighting anything that hasn’t been in theaters. So, a couple of Tribeca Film Festival titles, as well as impending July releases aren’t eligible. Just keep that in mind. Starting right now, you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with a handful of my picks for the best in certain individual categories, as well as my awards for the first six months of 2019. Here you go, and as always, enjoy these handful of lists:

Enough teasing it out. Here we go. Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the first half of 2019. Here you go, and enjoy:

10. Knock Down the House
9. The Mustang
8. Us
7. The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
6. High Flying Bird
5. Long Shot
4. Toy Story 4
3. The Public
2. Avengers: Endgame
1. Booksmart

Honorable Mentions: Captain Marvel, Cold Pursuit, Dragged Across Concrete, Fighting with My Family, Fyre, Late Night, Shazam!, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, Under the Silver Lake, and Wrestle

Special Citation: The Art of Self-Defense, Buffaloed, The Kill Team, Midsommar, and Spider-Man: Far From Home (not eligible but would have made the list)

Most Underrated: High Flying Bird, Long Shot, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, The Mustang, and The Public
Most Overrated: Ash is Purest White, High Life, and Rocketman

Here also are my top ten performances of the year so far:

10. Ben Mendelsohn in Captain Marvel
9. Ray Romano in Paddleton
8. Bruce Dern in The Mustang
7. Florence Pugh in Fighting with My Family
6. Mary Kay Place in Diane
5. Matthias Schoenaerts in The Mustang
4. Lupita Nyong’o in Us
3. Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart
2. Charlize Theron in Long Shot
1. Sam Elliott in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot

Honorable Mentions: Zazie Beetz (High Flying Bird), Hermione Corfield (Rust Creek), James Badge Dale (The Standoff at Sparrow Creek), Laura Dern (JT Leroy), Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame), Emilio Estevez (The Public), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Jim Gaffigan (Being Frank), Andrew Garfield (Under the Silver Lake), Tom Hanks (Toy Story 4), André Holland (High Flying Bird), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Fast Color), Alexander Skarsgård (The Hummingbird Project), Harley Quinn Smith (All These Small Moments), and Emma Thompson (Late Night)

Most Underrated: Bruce Dern, Sam Elliott, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Romano, and Charlize Theron

As you might have guessed, my number one pick above would be my choice for Best Picture so far (with number two the runner up, and so on, but here are the other awards I would give out…

Best Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo for Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Emilio Estevez for The Public and Olivia Wilde for Booksmart)

Best Actor: Sam Elliott for The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (runner up: Andrew Garfield for Under the Silver Lake and Matthias Schoenaerts for The Mustang)

Best Actress: Charlize Theron for Long Shot (runner up: Kaitlyn Dever for Booksmart and Lupita Nyong’o for Us)

Best Supporting Actor: Bruce Dern for The Mustang (runner up: Ben Mendelsohn for Captain Marvel and Ray Romano for Paddleton)

Best Supporting Actress: Harley Quinn Smith for All The Small Things (runner up: Zazie Beetz for High Flying Bird and Laura Dern for JT LeRoy)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Toy Story 4 (runner up: Avengers: Endgame and Cold Pursuit)

Best Original Screenplay: Booksmart (runner up: Long Shot and The Public)

Best Ensemble: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Booksmart and The Public)

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 4 (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part)

Best Documentary Feature: Knock Down the House (runner up: Fyre and Wrestle)

Best Foreign Language Feature: Non-Fiction (Woman at War)

Best Production Design: Us (runner up: Booksmart and The Public)

Best Cinematography: Under the Silver Lake (runner up: The Mustang and Us)

Best Costume Design: Aladdin (runner up: Avengers: Endgame and Dumbo)

Best Film Editing: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Booksmart and Cold Pursuit)

Best Makeup: Captain Marvel (runner up: Aladdin and Us)

Best Sound: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Captain Marvel and Us)

Best Original Score: Us (runner up: Avengers: Endgame and Toy Story 4)

Best Original Song: Aladdin (runner up: Child’s Play and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part)

Best Visual Effects: Avengers: Endgame (runner up: Aladdin and Captain Marvel)

As a bonus, here are ten movies I can’t wait to see during the second half:

10. Joker
9. Frozen 2
8. Lucy in the Sky
7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
6. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
5. Ad Astra
4. The Irishman
3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
2. Blinded by the Light
1. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quickly, in case you’re wondering, these are my least favorite films of the year so far, in order from worst to, well, slightly less terrible:

Unplanned
The Haunting of Sharon Tate
The Dirt
Replicas
Serenity
Escape Room
Domino
The Amityville Murders
Mapplethorpe
Glass

Let us never speak of those flicks again…

Here’s to a great second half of the year!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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