Yesterday I knocked out eight or so quick hits of movies I enjoyed in 2019. I should have mentioned in that first post that I’m talking about movies I watched in that year, not necesarily movies that came out in said year. If that were the case, I probably wouldn’t have much to write about as someone who mainly gets their entertainment from Netflix (digital AND disc, like an O.G.), Amazon Video, the library and Hulu! Let’s get back to it!
The House, directed by Andrew Jay Cohen, is a comedy about two parents (Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) who decide to start an underground casino with their pal Jason Mantzoukas in an effort to pay for their daughter’s college! If that cast alone doesn’t sell you, it’s also got Nick Kroll, Allison Tollman, Lennon Parham , Rob Huebel, Michaela Watkins, Cedric Yarbrough and more, so get after it!
I try to watch every available Tony Jaa movie and am also a big fan of Scott Adkins, so when I found out they were both in Jesse V. Johnson’s Triple Threat, it was super easy to hit play! This turned out to be my favorite action movie of the year, thanks in large part to a cast that also includes Iko Uwais (The Raid), Tiger Hu Chen and Michael Jai White!
The premise behind Jeff Tomsic’s Tag might be bananas — a group of friends in their 30s are still playing the same game of tag they’re been at since they were kids (even it it’s based on a real story) — but it also makes for a great comedy starring Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Hannibal Buress, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Leslie Bibb and Rashida Jones! Plus, I like movies about longtime friends who really care about each other.
I actually started watching Graeme Clifford’s Gleaming The Cube starring the iconic Christian Slater years ago, then it left Amazon Video and it came back in 2019! This one hits both my love of 80s skateboarding — Tony Hawk and Bones Brigade are in this piece! — and the kids-dealing-with-crazy-dangerous-situaitons subgenre I do so love as Slater tries to figure out who killed his brother! You can see how big of a star Slater will be as he out acts half the adults in this flick!
It’s funny, when I saw Adam Sandler’s new comedy, Murder Mystery, hit Netflix, he wasn’t the big draw for me, but Jennifer Aniston was. I think she’s wildly underrated as a funny person who often takes film roles that aren’t too interesting to me. But, in this case, she and Sandler get swept up in a who dunnit when they’re brought into a very rich family as pals. From there this regular couple gets a crash course in the bourgeoisie, European travel and solving real crimes!
Robert Rodriguez is one of those directors whose films I always try to see, so when I remembered that Alita: Battle Angel came out, I requested a copy from the library and had a great time with this sci-fi-actioner set in a cyborg-filled future. For what it’s worth, I haven’t read the manga it’s based on, so I can’t compare there, but this cast is stellar and they sell what could have come off as clunky incredibly well.
Last, but certainly not least, I was blown away by an Antonio Banderas movie called Gun Shy helmed by Simon West. I went in thinking I was going to get a crazy action flick to go along with the modern day Dolph Lundgren classic Command Performance, but got a really funny comedy instead. Basically, he’s an Ozzy-esque rock star whose wife gets taken by bumbling kidnappers and he has to try and figure out how to get her back. I’ve never heard anyone talk about this movie, but it’s definitely worth a watch in my book.
And with that I’m done writing about movies from 2019…actually, no I’m not. As it happened, I put a lot of connected films into my brain and I’m going to talk about them real quick before ending this series of posts!