Alyx’s Best Movies of 2019

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Of course, everyone usually puts these kinds of lists out before the year is out BUT I wanted to give myself a chance to watch a few more movies I had in my queue, but I probably won’t be able to watch them and get this list out before its been too long. So, without further ado…
In my opinion these are “Alyx’s Best” or better yet “My favorite” Films of 2019. I saw a lot of movies, some I never managed to get to, but I saw most of the ones I was looking forward to.
Honorable Mentions: Frozen II, Abominable, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, Good Boys, Captain Marvel, It Chapter Two, Avengers: Endgame, Lego Movie 2: The Second PartJoker, Fighting with My Family, Toy Story 4, The Kid Who Would Be King, Us
Alyx’s Top Movies of 2019
12. Spider-Man: Far from Home
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I loved this movie. As I said in my review, it’s probably now my favorite live action Spider-Man film. It’s my opinion of course and that could change when I finally do my “Spider-Man” marathon but I loved what it did. It connected to the previous stories in the MCU, but I liked what they did on their own. Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man is so relatable. Zendaya’s MJ was given more life and we got to know and like her more. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio was a great villain and the story is emotional but contained. I really loved it.
11. Aladdin
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This movie is here because I loved it. It’s also second to last because I don’t think it’s the best movie out of my choices, but I loved it so much. So much. The music was great, the costumes were amazing. I loved the chemistry between Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, plus the friendship between Aladdin and Genie (Will Smith) was fantastic. I loved the new life they breathed into the story. It didn’t replace the animated classic, but it just added to my love for Aladdin in general.
10. How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World
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I went over the animated films I’d seen this year and I think this is the best one. I’m sure it will once again not get the Oscar is deserves, but this is a great finale to an equally great trilogy. The animation is amazing and clearly has gotten better since the first film. The emotional weight in this story between Hiccup and Toothless is handled well. I’m pretty sure I cried. If you want a wonderfully animated and written story, this trilogy is where to go, and this final film wraps it up beautifully.
9. Booksmart
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My friend and I saw this movie and we had a great time. The friendship between the two leads worked well, their chemistry was amazing. It’s a funny adventure of two high school graduates trying to rectify their high school career of not having fun. They want all the fun now and it leads to a ton of shenanigans. For Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, it was a great and hilarious film!
8. Fast Color
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I was going to put this in my honorable mentions but considering how different and fresh this film felt, I had to put it here. I spent most of this movie in awe because of how beautiful it is. There is a sadness to it because of the estranged relationship between mother and daughter on both ends. But a movie about generations of black women having powers? Not to mention, how the film portrays those powers using color, this film is so beautiful and subtle that I really want a sequel.
7. Shazam!
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This is the only DCEU film so far, that I really liked all the way through. It’s funny! It’s fun and I loved the chemistry between Billy (both versions) and Freddy. The superhero stuff is great too. While the villain was one dimensional, I liked Mark Strong in the role. I also liked the mythology behind the shazam powers. I like the idea of them being passed on to others who are worthy and that they look for kids because there is a chance they haven’t been “corrupted” by the world yet. That’s a very nice idea. This is a movie I would come back to often.
6. Ready or Not
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A movie I watched recently, I had no idea what I would expect but I really liked it! The characters are fun, and the actors clearly had a great time in the film. The story is unique in that the characters aren’t quite into doing what they’re doing but they do it because of… weird reasons lol. It gives a new meaning to the phrase “final girl” lol.
5. Rocketman
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I LOVED this movie. I mean I really did. I was surprised at how much I loved it. I am by no means an “Elton John fan” pass me knowing some of his music and I like it. The music is amazing, and Taron Egerton was so good as Elton! It’s emotional and being based on a true story, I like how they incorporated reality with music to allow us to understand the times in Elton’s life. I love musicals and this is very much one, but the music helps tell the story instead of just happening.
4.Luce
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I recently watched this movie and it’s amazing. The story leaves a lot of room for viewers to interpret differently. I think that’s important for a film like this. The acting is fantastic, led by Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Luce. His character is enigmatic and you’re probably going to go back and forth between what you believe in this. It’s a quiet film in a lot of ways and worth watching for different understandings each time you watch.
3. Knives Out
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I really liked this! The cast in this movie is AMAZING. Everyone really does a great job. The mystery is intriguing and mysterious and very well written. Plus, the cinematography and costuming give it this old-fashioned look and feel which works for the world these people are living in. I find that mysteries like this aren’t always handled well when it comes to films, they try too hard to make it “mysterious” or they don’t allow the audience to figure it out as well but this film doesn’t try too hard but allows the story to unfold and allows the audience to figure it out as well.
2. Queen & Slim
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It took me a moment to decide where this movie would fall in my lineup. I was a little unsure of how I feel about it when I finally saw it but the black romance that develops in this film is written really well. I found the two main characters well written and well acted, particularly Daniel Kaluuya who I love. The story is important, relevant and emotional. It think everyone will get a little something different out of it and perhaps discover something new each time they watch it. I hope for more well written black stories in the future.
 1. Little Women
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I LOVED THIS MOVIE. I’ve always loved Little Women and it truly is a timeless story because watching it in a different storyteller’s hands as an adult, gives me the chance to completely connect way more than I ever did. It feels new. The acting is amazing, especially Florence Pugh, who plays a character I never quite liked, but she made me like her. She made me be okay with the romantic choices that I was never okay with. Saoirse Ronan was also amazing as Jo March and I connected so much with her. It’s an emotional story that I loved and I will watch again and again.
That’s it! That’s my list! I hope you all have enjoyed spending the movies of 2019 with me! Please in the comments share your favorite movies of 2019. 
Happy New Year!

Movie Review: Booksmart (2019)

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Summary: On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. 
  • Beanie Feldstein as Molly Davidson. Molly is super smart, she’s Valedictorian and very narrow focused on her future, getting into Yale and of course any other important plans she has. However, when she finds out that other people who had fun in high school but also got into schools she freaks out and now has made it her personal mission to go to a party and have fun. To prove that she could do both. She’s very determined and bossy but she’s still very likable even though she could easily be unlikable. That might be because Beanie Feldstein finds that healthy balance for Molly. A lot of her journey is learning and understanding the type of person she is and how she views other people.
  • Kaitlyn Dever as Amy Antsler. Amy is also super smart and probably the nicer of the two. She seems to be on the quieter side and a lot of her journey is coming to terms with herself and taking chances but also standing up for herself, especially against her friend. This is a journey that a lot of people have to go through because it’s hard. I think Amy is a bit more relatable in that way then Molly is and you root for her because of that. Kaitlyn Dever is really good and she reminded me of a friend from high school.
Supporting Characters. There quite a lot of people we come into contact with on a regular basis. I’m definitely not going through all of them but I think it’s great to even give a sentence.
  • Jessica Williams as Miss Fine. I haven’t really listened to her podcast but I know who she is and I do enjoy what I have seen and heard from her. It’s nice to see her in some major films. She’s basically a cool teacher in this film and comes to the girls rescue when they need it. She is super cool lol with some questionable outfits in her car.
  • Lisa Kudrow as Charmaine Antsler. I mean it’s Phoebe! lol she has some great lines and I think laughed each time she was on screen.
  • Will Forte as Doug Antsler. He had great chemistry with Lisa Kudrow and I wonder how often they bounced off each other and just made stuff up. I feel like it was a lot.
  • Jason Sudeikis as Jordan Brown. He is the principal of the school and I don’t always find him funny but I like his awkwardness in this. It works for him.
  • Billie Lourd as Gigi. She is a trip and I love her. I discovered her in Scream Queens, and I get excited every time I see her because her character is soo odd. She is weird and hilarious. She keeps popping up in places and she just doesn’t care and does her own thing. I thought she was going to be a mean girl but thankfully she’s just quirky.
  • Skyler Gisondo as Jared. I really like Skyler and I get excited every time I see him because he’s awkward but so likable. I haven’t seen him in anything I haven’t liked him in. Jared is a rich kid who doesn’t seem to have any friends. He flounces his wealth but he doesn’t do it in an obnoxious way, it’s just super awkward. It’s clear from the moment he interacts with Molly that he has a crush on her and he’s always willing to be a hero but ya know… awkwardly lol.
Pretty Funny. I’ll talk about this a little more later but this movie is pretty funny. I think all the characters we come into contact with have a ton of great and hilarious lines and moments. However, I think most of the humor comes from situations and moments and characters reactions more so than the dialogue. Molly’s reaction to finding out characters  got into good schools as well as partied was hilarious and I totally get that hahaha. Also the Lyft scene with the radio… that was so awkward and gold. I think everyone in my theater died laughing. Billie Lourd and Noah Galvin I think got the most laughs from my theater. I swear, it’s always the background characters.
Best Friend Chemistry. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever had really great chemistry. I believed they were friends since they were kids. They had similar personalities but also very different. Molly (Feldstein) was more of the go-getter between the two of them, she also was the more pushy one. Amy (Dever)  is the more reserved one and less willing to do things than Molly but she was always willing after a little coaxing. That is how friends can be. I also think what they go through in terms of the friendship is realistic in how friendships go.
Coming of Age Story. I’ve always loved coming of age stories because they’re always so interesting and can be very different. In ways, they can end up similar because of the nature but teenagers can come of age in many ways and through many trials and tribulations. Molly and Amy have similar journeys in the film but they also branch out to have their own stories.
Direction Choices. Good job Olivia Wilde. The movie isn’t set in the 80s but it has a very 80s feel to it. It even looks like an 80s movie and I think that’s a good choice since everyone is obsessed with the 80s nowadays. I also quite liked how whenever both Amy and Molly were on screen, we saw them both because they were each other’s equals even if it didn’t always feel that way for Amy. One of my favorite moments was when Amy was in the pool and we just saw her swimming through, the music was great, her expressions were great and it just felt like a moment of growth for her even though it led to a moment of heartbreak. For her debut, I think Olivia Wilde did really well.
Cons:
Slow Buildup. It takes a moment for the movie to gain it’s momentum. I get it, I mean the fun stuff happens once school ends and you know it’s building towards a night of shenanigans but it spends too much time in some conversations at the school that we don’t particularly need to spend so much time on. Like the conversation in the bathroom with Molly listening to, it’s good because it leads up to her freak out but that conversation was just.so.long I was like “let’s get going now.”
Not All Jokes Land. Humor is subjective so it’s always hard to criticize humor because just because I think a joke is funny doesn’t mean that others will and vice versa. There were people in my theater who cracked up at almost everything but I didn’t laugh at all the jokes. I mean, I got them but they weren’t funny. Sometimes the jokes were there with the intension of being funny instead of just being funny the way the other jokes were. Organic jokes are way better. Don’t try to force the laughter, just let it happen.
Stupid Argument. I don’t think the argument itself was stupid BUT I think why it happened was stupid. It could have been avoided if Amy was straightforward with Molly. I get the whole “Malala” thing and it was a cool thing they did but it’s not the same as when Molly used ibecause YOU COULD HAVE JUST TOLD HER. I hate when movies make friends argue, probably an overdue argument, but make them argue in the worst of times. Like, if they’re going to argue then make it legit, don’t make it because one of them has an issue and won’t tell the other what the problem is… I mean I hate that and it’s lazy. Think of a better way.
Overall, I really liked Booksmart. If you like coming of age movies, then this is right up your alley. Movies like this never quite go out of style because you can get something out of it each time. The two standouts are definitely Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever and their friendship. The film rides on these two being likable, relatable to each other and the audience and I think the casting was really on point for this. The directional choices were really good, and it’s very funny, especially when it’s just letting characters be and they’re not riding on hilarious dialogue but on the actors just having fun and of course the situations they find themselves. With that said, it’s not always funny to me. I found some of the jokes felt forced or like they were trying to pull a laugh and I was like meh. The movie takes a moment to gain it’s momentum but when it gets going, it keeps going. Lastly, the argument between Amy and Molly towards the end, while the dialogue is necessary, I felt like the buildup to it could have been handled differently because I hate arguments over misunderstandings, especially when it could be fixed by just speaking up. Gosh! But this was a great movie and I recommend it for everyone, especially girls and especially those kids who focused so hard on school and never gave themselves the chance to have fun.
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Booksmart? If so, what did you think about it?
What is your favorite coming of age film? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for more movie reviews!